By Janis Huskey

Before investing in a puppy, it is wise to consider several factors and do your homework.  Here are some helpful insights to guide your decision making process.  Remember, choosing a puppy is equivalent to adding a family member that will hopefully be with you for a very long time.

What Breed?  You may already have a particular breed in mind that you know will be a good fit for your family.  If not, do some research and see if any of the most popular breeds of today would be a good choice for you.  Talk to other dog owners and ask why they love their breed and why it’s a good fit for their family.

Look at average size; does this size dog do well in your living situation?  Does it need more room than you have available?  Is it so large that it will knock family members down?  Is it so small that it will have hypoglycemic issues (low sugar) or be easily hurt if stepped on or dropped by the three year old?

Time for the dog; if you are gone all day is this a breed that does well being alone for several hours while you are at work?

Exercise needs; is this dog okay with daily play in the back yard or a walk in the neighborhood?

Hair Care, does this breed require regular grooming at a groomers? Are you going to have to brush his fur daily?

Food needs, is this breed large and eats a lot?

Temperament, Is this a yappy dog?  Are your apartment neighbors going to appreciate all this barking?  Is this breed temperamental or not good with children?

Messy, is this breed prone to drooling and slobbering?  Is your family going to be okay with that?

Shedding, how much does this breed shed?  Is anyone allergic to the hair/dander? Will you enjoy watching those hair balls collect under and around the furniture?

Traveling, if you travel often can this type of dog go easily with you? Can it fit in an airline crate under the seat in front of you? Does it travel well in the car or RV?  Would it be good to take camping, hiking, etc.?

Training, are you willing to take your puppy/dog to some basic training?  You will be glad that you did!  A well trained dog is a pleasure and a blessing to the family.

Now before you decide against a dog after thinking about all of these things, let me reassure you of two things.  First of all, there are no perfect dogs but there are probably several breeds that would be perfect for you.

By the way, my personal opinion is that a Boston terrier is perfect for just about any family!!  For the next step in choosing your puppy, see the article Finding Your Puppy or Dog.