How to Choose the Right Dog Breed for Your Family

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Even the most casual observer of the Peanuts comic strip knows that Snoopy was the perfect dog for Charlie Brown. Then again, Charlie Brown didn’t have to pick the perfect dog or dog breed. It was written for him.

Not being fictional characters, pairing your family with the perfect dog breed will be quite a bit more challenging. It is a big decision that should be taken seriously. After all, you will be with that dog for a lifetime: the dog’s lifetime, not yours. But if done right, a significant portion of your lifetime will also be involved.

Choose DIRECTV and similar full-service offerings to get most of your research done from the comfort of your couch. Networks like Animal Planet have back catalogs of shows like Breed All About It to help get the full story on all the various dog breeds. Specialty programs like dog shows from around the world should also be on your Must See TV list.

Part of your research should be asking certain questions based on your family. Answer the following questions, and you will quickly narrow the shortlist for your family’s perfect dog:


Does any member of your family have allergies. It only takes one. Your two-legged family members should always take precedence over your four-legged friends.

If pet hair allergy is a factor, your list of breeds has been greatly truncated. There are hypoallergenic breeds that have human-style hair rather than pet fur. Among these breeds is the poodle: one of the most popular dogs in the world precisely for this reason.


Do you have kids with more get up and go than the Energizer Bunny? Then you need an energetic dog that can match, and maybe even exceed those energy levels.

It is important to realize that not all dogs are high-energy bundles of antimatter. Some give out quite easily, preferring the slow lazy life of the dog over whom’s back, the quick brown fox is always jumping.

Don’t make the mistake of confusing size for energy. Some of the biggest dogs, such as the Saint Bernard, have relatively low levels of energy. They will enjoy short bursts of activity. But are quite content to spend most of their time lounging. Too much activity can also be tough on their joints.

Many people get small dogs because they look like cute little lap dogs. But don’t be surprised or disappointed if that cute little lap dog would rather run laps than sit in one. Both your family and your dog will be unhappy if you do not match the energy level correctly.


Do you have girls in the house who love to spend hours at a time combing and brushing each other’s long, luxurious hair. Boys seldom have the patience for this sort of thing. But some girls will spend that kind of time and energy on a doll’s hair.

If this form of zen describes members of your household, you might try for the more high-maintenance breeds. Most of that maintenance revolves around lots and lots of hair. If you are going to have a long-hair breed, you need to be prepared to spend lots of time bathing and grooming. Hours of brushing is essential.

These dogs are high-maintenance divas that love being pampered. They are born spoiled, and require more spoiling still. But what they absolutely need is a time commitment from their family. If you love devoting that kind of time to that sort of thing, the rewards are worth it.


Some breeds are harder to train than others. You will need the right crate for puppy training. You may even need to invest in classes for obedience training. Without the right training from the beginning, certain breeds should not be considered. Only choose more spirited dogs if you are willing to put in the time and expense to thoroughly train them.

There is no such thing as the one perfect breed for your family. But you can narrow down the list to the top three or four most suited to your needs. The key to choosing the perfect breed is asking the right questions.