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How To Choose The Right Dog Breed For Your Family

You want a dog, your husband wants a lab, you daughter wants a King Charles, your son wants a Great Dane, you just want one that can fit into your already crazy life!  Different dogs have different needs, it is important people consider what their life is like so they can pick an appropriate dog to join the family. With over 72 dog breeds, and countless mixed breeds it helps to know what a dog was originally bred for.

For example, Jack Russell’s were bred to chase small rodents.  That was their job, keeping down the rodent population on the homestead. The Jack Russell is genetically designed be small to fit into small place rodents live, to have the energy to keep up with the rodents and pointed noise to fit in the rodent’s home and catch them.  Therefore, this means even though Jack Russell Terriers are small dogs, they have a lot of energy and are tenacious.

How To Choose The Right Dog Breed For Your Family: Jack Russell Terrier Puppy Running In The Grass


The best thing an owner can do for their dog is to make sure the get enough mental and physical stimulation.  All dogs were bred to do something, even if it was the job of sitting on a lap for companionship.  What the dogs are bred is the best predictor of how much exercise your dog will need.  Jack Russell Terriers are going to need 60 minutes or aerobic exercise twice a day.  Letting them out into the yard or leaving them in the yard all day is not exercise because there is no aerobic increase. English bulldogs are sensitive to heat and overheating themselves with too much exercise.  Therefore, is they need about 15 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 or 4 times a day and maybe not even outside if the heat is too high.  Interaction games with people inside are a better choice for this breed. Be realistic about how much time, energy and your location when choosing a breed.  A tired dog is a good dog!!

Jack Russell Terrier Sleeping on White Bed


Many people believe smalls dog need less exercise than large dogs, this is quite the opposite of the trust.  Great Danes need much less exercise than a Yorkie. Again, this for genetic reasons.  This doesn’t mean all large dogs are couch potatoes, it means size is not a good measure of need to exercise.

Look at your lifestyle and then choose a dog breed you think will fit into the routine and living arrangements you have.  If you are active, like to hike and spend time outside then an active dog is your speed like a lab golden retriever.  Perhaps you prefer books and snuggles over long walks in the park, be realistic and choose a breed that likes to snuggle and doesn’t require as much physical stimulation like an English bulldog.

Maybe you travel frequently and should think about whether or not you’d like to take your dog with you.  If you fly a small dog that is ready for an adventure would fit in well.

How To Choose The Right Dog Breed For Your Family: Shih Tzu in dog carrier

If you like road trips to new places a gregarious breed with energy would be a great fit.


Family has a different definition for everyone.  If your family includes an older adult be careful of having little dogs around people who are unsteady on their feet or prone to accidents this can be a safety issue for both the you and the dog. Young children can me stressful to some breeds of dogs, if you have a toddler or young children with a very active household choose dogs that are good with young kids.  Some dogs can be timid with sudden movements and loud noises.

Dog with little boy

How To Choose The Right Dog Breed For Your Family

Activities the family partakes in most often should be taken into account when choosing the right breed.  Active on-the-go households need a dog that can keep up with them and be easy to train, as well as good around kids of all ages.






Alexa Diaz
Alexa Diaz

Alexa graduated from University of California, Davis with a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior in 2002. She also has a background at a veterinary technician. She is currently the head behaviorist at the K9 Training Institute. Her passion is helping pet owners understand the body language of their pet to strengthen the human-animal bond. Alexa enjoys spending time in nature with her husband and playing with her kitties. She says her proudest moment was graduating the first group of service dogs she trained for children with disabilities.


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