How to choose the best puppy for family

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Learn how to choose the right puppy for your family, including breed selection and how to pick the right pup from the litter.

Puppies are a common choice as a family pet, and rightly so. They are loyal companions that can be quite entertaining. But you must do a lot of research before choosing the right puppy for your family. There are many different breeds to consider, and even choices that need to be made concerning which puppy is chosen from any given litter. Here are some things to keep in mind.

best puppy for family

Best Puppy Breed for Family:

There are several different factors to consider when choosing which breed of dog to bring into your family.

Puppy Size:

Dogs can range in size from tiny to humongous. You need to consider the space you have available to utilize, and also whether or not the dog will be able to spend a large amount of time outdoors. A small house without a yard probably doesn’t have the room for a Newfoundland, while a large house with plenty of space to run outside can entertain more options.

Features in Puppy:

Many dogs, especially newer breeds, are known for the differences in how they look. Some dogs are wrinkly, have pushed in faces, or can be smaller than a cat or big as a pony. Be careful - while these dogs are fun to look at, they often have more health problems than a dog of average size and features. Very large and very small dogs often have much shorter life spans than dogs of average size. Dogs with wrinkly folded skin often have skin problems, and dogs whose faces appear to be pushed in can develop nose/breathing issues.

Purebred or Mixed Breed:

While purebreds may be born from regal bloodlines, it is commonly known there are certain breeds that often have specific health problems. Some have issues with eyes, others with hips, and others with lungs and heart. Buying a purebred is not a guarantee that the dog will have these health problems, but some dog owners choose to go with a mixed breed, feeling their chances of having these health issues are much smaller. Mixed breed pups are generally also much cheaper and easier to find than a purebred puppy.  Unfortunately, just as much attention needs to be paid to the parents of a mixed breed puppy as that of a purebred— either can inherit the health problems of past generations, and both need to come from a breeder who is responsible about only breeding dogs free of genetic defects.

Grooming:

Before choosing a type of dog to look for, educate yourself on what their adult coat will be like and what kind of commitment you will need to make to grooming. Also, take into consideration the area you live in, and if it will be a problem for the pup you are looking to purchase. (Example, a long-coated dog living at a house in the woods may end up with many burrs that are difficult to remove. Also, dogs with long coats may not be appropriate for hot climates, unless their owner is willing to clip/shave them often.)

The breed most often chosen as the family pet is a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever. These dogs have great personalities and are generally easy to train. Veterinarians often recommend that less appropriate choices as family dogs are small toy breeds that can be more hyper and aggressive.

CHOOSING A PUPPY FROM THE LITTER:

When you have narrowed down the type of dog you want, you now have the task of selecting the right individual puppy from a litter. There are several traits you want to take notice of which will help give you an idea of how the puppy will act like an adult dog. These include:

Confidence - A pup should show they are confident with both you and other pups, but should never exhibit extreme dominance over either. A puppy should be comfortable with you asserting your position over him without any issues.

Interest in people – You want to choose a puppy that is interested in following you, but not a pup that won’t leave you alone. You also do not want the puppy that sits in the corner and looks scared. Puppies who behave in this manner often grow up to have issues with biting and other inappropriate behaviors.

Although it is tempting, resist the urge to bring your child with to pick out a puppy. Choosing a puppy means you are choosing a companion for your family that could be with you the next 8-10 years. This decision is best left to the parents and should be made in a level-headed manner.

Puppies are a great addition to any family and can provide many years of companionship to its members. Just remember to do the proper research regarding your choice of puppy to ensure you’ll make the best decision!