Questions To Ask Before Adopting A Dog


To have a happy home and a happy dog, it’s critical to choose a pet that fits your needs and also the realities of what your household can accommodate. Here are 8 questions to consider as you decide what kind of dog you want:

1. What is your main requirement from a dog?
If it’s important for your dog to help protect the household, make that a priority. Consider sticking with one of the bigger or more aggressive breeds that are known to make good guard dogs. If you are looking for a companion to sit in your lap, select a small breed of dog like a Chihuahua or Pomeranian.

2. What kind of family environment do you have?
If you have small children, for example, make sure to choose a dog that is less likely to react negatively if startled by noise or poked by little kids. Consider choosing a breed that has a calm nature and socializes well with children such as golden retrievers, collies, pugs and boxers. Other breeds like the Dalmatian and Kerry blue terrier are less tolerant to the excitement that comes with kids running around. If you have other pets, you want to select a dog that gets along with other animals. If you live alone, and have no other pets in your home, these questions may not be as important.

3. How much attention can you offer a dog?
Certain breeds of dogs, such as Portuguese water dogs, Shetland sheepdogs and border collies, are high energy breeds that require a lot of attention and exercise. Mastiff and Maltese breeds are calmer and require fewer walks to the park. All dogs do need a serious amount of attention and exercise and if you are rarely home, a dog might not be your best pet.

4. How much patience do you have for dog training?
Some dogs learn quickly and others seem as if they will never master the basics, so make sure to match the breed with the amount of time you can devote to training. Labradors and English springer spaniels for example, are easier to train than Boston terriers, which may test your patience.

5. What kind of living environment do you have to offer?
If you live in an apartment, a less active breed such as bulldog might be a better fit for you. If you have a large yard, you could consider a bigger dog as they require lots of space to run, play and yes, wreak havoc. Certain breeds, such as border collies, will demand constant exercise and stimulation, necessitating open spaces to run and play.

6. What do you know about the dog’s breed?
According to, “Each breed has his own history and reason for being that has become part of his genetic code. The basset hound was bred to diligently track rabbits, deer and other game; the Great Pyrenees to protect livestock from foxes and other predators; the Labrador retriever as a hunter’s helper; and the Old English sheepdog to drive sheep and cattle to market.” Understanding why a breed was bred — and how that will drive some of its daily behaviors — will help you to find a dog with the correct temperament and agility that you desire.

7. Do you want a puppy or older dog?
Although puppies are unbearably cute, there are many benefits to adopting an older pet. They are often already house-trained and tend to be more tame and calm than a puppy. Of course one of the down sides is each breed has its own average life expectancy and if you want the maximum amount of time with your dog, a puppy is probably a better bet.

8. Do you have the financial resources to devote to your dog?
Pet expenses can add up and you need to anticipate what you can truly afford to spend. Account for food, boarding, grooming, walking and of course vet visits and medicines. Larger dogs eat more than smaller dogs, Chows require more grooming then pit bulls, and all dogs will need to have vet visits which can get quite expensive. Research the breeds in which you’re interested to learn which conditions are more likely to afflict your dog, like the deafness that is commonly found in Dalmatians, or the hip dysplasia that often strikes older German shepherds and St. Bernards.



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. zack
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:27:51

    You never buy from a pet store unless you absolutely know for sure that the pet comes from a shelter/rescue and not a Puppy Mill which is where most dogs come from that are sold in a pet store.


  2. franki
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:28:17

    i adopted a yellow lab 5 years ago from a shelter and was just told tonight that he has lymphoma and will not make it. I am heart sick. He was the best pet ever. Please sit and brush your pet and spoil it with love and attention, our time together was cut short and I only regret that I wish I could have spoiled him more.


  3. bob
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:28:39

    Karen, I feel for you. God bless you and your Lab.


  4. cool_me
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:29:01

    I have never BOUGHT a pet in my life. ADOPT ONLY!!!!


  5. jane
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:29:28

    I feel for you. God bless you and your dog.


  6. Steve
    Feb 21, 2010 @ 14:30:22

    NEVER buy a dog from a pet store they are puppy mill puppies go to the pound or a puppy breeder(that lets you meet the parent(s))Peace


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