How To Find The Right Dog For You

By Renee Colvert

You've decided to bring a furry friend into your life! But where to begin and how to decide on your dream dog? We got you covered on what kind of dog is right for your lifestyle, where to find him, and what you should consider before making an adorable pup the newest member of your family.

Group of dogs
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Find a dog that fits your lifestyle

Dogs are as wonderful as they are varied. Finding a dog that's right for you can take a little bit of research. First up, consider what type of dog will fit best into your life. Are you active or more of a homebody? Do you have a big yard or a small apartment? Do you want your pooch to protect or snuggle you? The American Kennel Association categorizes dogs into seven main groups.

  • Herding Dogs In general, these intelligent dogs make excellent companions and respond well to training.
  • Hound Group These pups are known for their signature baying and excellent sense of smell.
  • Sporting Group Sporting dogs are ideal for active owners as they require regular, invigorating exercise.
  • Non-Sporting Group
    These dogs are a varied collection in terms of size, coat, personality, and overall appearance.
  • Terrier Group These buddies make engaging pets but require owners with the determination to match their dogs' lively characters.
  • Toy Group These dogs make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap warmers on nippy nights.
  • Working Dogs These protective pups were bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues.

Let's not forget mutts and mixed-breeds which are awesome on so many levels.

Terrier playing with a colourful ball
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Where to find your dog

After you read up on the dog that's right for you, it's time to start looking for him! There are several ways to go about finding the dog of your dreams, and we recommend visiting your local shelter, rescue, or humane society.

Shelter

A shelter is an organization, with a physical location, that rescues animals within the community. Your city probably has one or more city-sponsored shelters. Most shelters are at least partially government-funded.

Rescue group

A rescue group does not necessarily have a physical location (although they sometimes do). They are usually entirely volunteer-run and usually funded by donations and/ or grants. Animals taken in by a rescue group will likely be fostered by a volunteer.

Humane societies

A humane society is an organization with the broader mission of reducing animal suffering. When people reference "the humane society," they're probably referring to the Humane Society of the United States. A humane society may facilitate dog adoptions, but that's far from their only goal, whereas adoption is the primary goal of both shelters and rescue groups.

Adoption fairs

Adoption fairs are also another great way to find your dream dog because these events usually showcase lots of adoptable pets, and they often offer discounted adoption fees.

Adoption apps

If distance, geography, or busy lifestyles prevent you from visiting a shelter, there are several fantastic dog adoption apps to help you find your dream pooch.

Apps like AllPaws let you search 200,000 dogs available for adoption nationwide. The platform features an online dating style interface with over 30 different search filters to help you find your perfect pup. You can send and receive messages, save searches, and set up your personal favorites list of possible dogs to adopt.

Dog stealing woman's toast
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Learn about their personality

Knowing the general characteristics of your dog's breed is a great first step, up next is learning as much about your specific dog's personality as you can. Ask a ton of questions. The adoption worker will be able to tell you a good amount about the dog's temperament. But also observe for yourself. Dogs can absolutely be trained and certain "bad behaviors" can fade. But more often than not, a barker will always want to bark, a high energy dog will always want to play, a shy dog will always need a little coaxing, and a feisty dog will likely always get himself into a bit of trouble.

Cute pet
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Know their medical history

Lastly, all dogs are prone to certain medical conditions. Of course, it's impossible to know your pups exact fate, you can know what to prepare for. For example, flat-faced dogs may be prone to breathing problems and big dogs are known to suffer from hip dysplasia. It's nothing to be alarmed about, it just helps to know as much as you can going in.

Now that you've narrowed down the pup that's right for you, all that's left to do is choose the perfect name for your dream pup!