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Choosing A Dog Tips From A Meyerland, TX Veterinarian
February 1, 2024

Are you preparing to adopt a pup soon? Choosing the right dog can be a daunting task, with so many adorable pups out there in need of homes. How do you pick the right pup? A local Meyerland, TX vet offers some advice on this below.

Deciding Which Dog To Get

We’d probably suggest starting with the AKC. Even if you aren’t looking for a purebred, you may find the AKC site a great reference. We would recommend looking over the groups. Every breed was initially developed for a specific job or purpose. Knowing what group a pooch is listed in can actually tell you quite a bit about their temperaments. 

Herding Group

The dogs in the herding group had one focus: helping their humans herd and protect cattle. This required a lot of thinking and calculation, so it’s no surprise that this group contains some of our most intelligent and active canine pals. Pups in this group include the German Shepherd, Collies, and Sheepdogs. 

Sporting Group

Sporting Dogs were initially charged with helping humans with hunting. Retrievers excelled at bringing game back to their humans. Those origins are still very prevalent. For instance, the Labrador Retrievers’ love for swimming and fetching ties back to his first job: retrieving waterfowl. This group includes not only the Retrievers, but also setters and spaniels.

Hound Group

Hounds could almost be called hunting dogs, though of course pups in other groups can also make great hunters. There are different categories of hounds. Scenthounds, like the Bloodhound, use their noses to track, while Greyhounds go by sight. This group also includes the adorable Beagle. It’s worth noting that many hounds are a bit on the vocal side: several of the pups in this group make a specific sound, known as baying.  

Working Group

As the name suggests, the dogs in the working group were developed to perform specific tasks. These range from guarding livestock to pulling carts to protection. These pooches tend to be extremely smart, and are often very sturdy and strong. This group includes renowned watchdogs, such as the Doberman Pinscher and Rottweiler; livestock guardian dogs, like the Great Pyrenees; and sled dogs, like the husky. Many of these pooches are quite high-energy, but also need a lot of mental stimulation.

Terrier Group

The pooches in the Terrier Group share a determination to go after prey. Smaller terriers were often made for chasing rodents, sometimes through underground burrows. That line of work calls for stubbornness and a bit of bravado: you can expect Fido to be playful, high energy, and a bit of bravado, as well as loving and affectionate. While all of the pups in this group are of course terriers, they vary widely in size, coat, and appearance.  

Toy Group

Pups in the toy group have only a few things in common. One: they’re quite small. Two: their only job is being cute. These tend to be cuddly companion dogs, whose main duties are to charm and comfort their humans. The Chihuahua, Maltese, Pekinese, Pug, Pomeranian, and Yorkie all fall into this category. Because of their small size, toy breeds are a good match for people who live in apartments.

Non-Sporting Group

Last but certainly not least, we have the non-sporting group, which is basically a catch-all for pups that don’t fit into any of the other categories. That doesn’t mean that these pooches don’t have specialties. The Dalmatian, for instance, is in this group, despite his long record of being an excellent friend to horses and a great fire dog. Then there’s the Poodle, who was once a renowned circus dog, and the French Bulldog, whose unique face and bat ears have melted enough hearts to make him America’s most popular dog. In fact, the Frenchie recently knocked the beloved Labrador Retriever out of that top spot. No small feat for a little pup!

How Do You Know A Dog Is Right For You?

The AKC is also a great reference here. Once you have narrowed things down a bit, start looking more closely at the remaining contenders. Every official breed has their own profile. These break down the characteristics people really need to consider when getting a pup.

These include the following:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Lifespan
  • Affectionate With Family
  • Good With Young Children
  • Good With Other Dogs
  • Shedding Level
  • Coat Grooming Frequency
  • Drooling Level
  • Coat Type
  • Coat Length
  • Openness To Strangers
  • Playfulness Level
  • Watchdog/Protective Nature
  • Adaptability Level
  • Trainability Level
  • Energy Level
  • Barking Level
  • Mental Stimulation Needs

All of these are important things to consider. If you’re in an apartment, or have nearby neighbors, a pup that barks at everything may cause friction with neighbors. If you like going to events and socializing, a nervous homebody pooch may not be a good fit.

The site also has a dog breed selector tool. However, this is just a rough guess: you’ll of course need to do additional research.

Don’t Overlook Mutts

We can’t forget mixed breeds, which offer the best of both—or several—worlds. In fact, the vast majority of pups in shelters are mixes.

Consider Your Deal Breakers

It’s also important to look at what you don’t want in a dog. For example, if you’re interested in getting backyard chickens, then a pup with a strong prey drive isn’t going to be a good match. If you’re planning on having kids soon, you’ll of course want a pup that will make a good family pet, and one that’s sturdy enough to hold up to accidental toddler roughhousing.

If you or your close family members have allergies, then you may want to look for a pup with fur that won’t cause strong reactions. Poodles, for instance, tend to be a good fit for people with allergies. (It’s worth noting that it’s the dander, not the fur, that people tend to react to. However, that’s another story.)

Do you want to eventually be able to trust Fido off leash? You’ll want a pooch that is obedient and won’t get distracted by every squirrel they see.

Consider Age

We know, puppies are ridiculously cute. Many people prefer to raise their pets themselves. This is understandable. There is a lot to be said for getting Fido when he is still very young. That said, young dogs need a lot of work and training. They’re messier than adults, especially during the housebreaking phase, and need plenty of toys and playtime. There’s also the terrible twos, or, as we sometimes call it, the terrible chews.

Age also comes into play as far as lifestyle compatibility. If you’re an active type, who wants a pet to go on adventures and hikes with, a younger dog may be a great fit. However, if you’re more laid back, and prefer staying indoors with books, crafts, or movies, then a senior may actually be a better match. In fact, there’s a lot to be said for seniors: they tend to be quite calm and friendly, they have usually outgrown destructive behavior, such as chewing, and don’t need as much activity or stimulation.

Don’t Overlook Rescues

No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a lot to be said for rescue dogs. That doesn’t mean you can’t research Fido. If your potential pup has been fostered, the fosters may have learned quite a bit about him. Some shelters even offer foster-to-adopt, which is a way to test things out a bit.

What To Do When Choosing A Dog?

Once you think you have a candidate, or a list of candidates, then the next step is to spend some time with Fido. It’s important to make that personal connection as well! We would recommend doing your shopping and petproofing before you bring the pup home.

Consult Your Meyerland, TX Veterinarian

No matter what kind of dog you decide on, one of the first things you’ll want to do is reach out to your veterinarian for specific care tips and advice. We can offer tips on everything from food to helping Fido get adjusted to keeping him fit and healthy. For more insights on pet nutrition, such as the benefits and considerations of raw pet food, see The Corner Vet’s Dr. Morrow Interviewed For Houston Chronicle Article About Raw Pet Food.

How Do You Know What Dog Is Good For You?

No matter how carefully you research and make lists, it’s also important to leave room to just follow your heart. You don’t want to impulsively get a pup that is a complete mismatch logically. For instance, if you’re renting and your landlord only allows small dogs, then a Great Dane would of course not be the right pet. That said, it’s Fido’s personality that matters most.

Spend time with your potential pet. Also, make sure you are ready, willing, and able to commit. Adoption is forever.

Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns about your dog’s care. For professional guidance on managing your dog’s diet and weight, consider exploring our Vet Nutrition & Weight Management services. As your Meyerland, TX pet hospital, we’re here to help!