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Did you know there are 197 breeds of dogs? That number doesn’t even include designer mixes, such as Doodles and Puggles. With so many dogs to choose from, it’s easy to understand why some people have a hard time deciding on the right breed for their family.

Research Is Key

Before settling on a breed, it’s important that you carefully research its attributes and consider if that type of canine will fit into your family’s lifestyle. To help narrow your choices, here are some questions that you should ask before choosing a particular breed for your family:

What Is Your Family’s Activity Level?

Some breeds require more exercise than others. Dalmatians, for example, were originally bred to run behind a carriage for miles. In addition, some working breeds, such as Border Collies, are used to having jobs that are physically and mentally challenging.

Unfortunately, if these dogs aren’t given enough exercise and mental stimulation, they can become destructive, neurotic or develop other issues. So, if your family prefers a slow-paced lifestyle, it is best to avoid breeds known for high energy or that require a lot of mentally stimulating activities.

Is the Breed Good With Children?

When raised around children, most dogs do well with kids. However, some breeds have certain traits that may not work for every family. For example, as the name implies, the Queensland Heeler was bred to herd cattle by nipping at their heels. So, this dog may instinctively nip at the ankles of your children while playing with them. Even though it’s not done maliciously, this behavior could frighten some children.

What Are Your Living Arrangements?

Do you live in a small apartment with thin walls? Then you will probably want to avoid some hound breeds, such as the Bluetick Coonhound, as they were bred to have a very loud bark. You will want to have a breed appropriate for city apartment living.

You should also check with your homeowner’s association, apartment or your county’s ordinances before deciding on a dog breed. It’s not uncommon to find restrictions on certain breeds. Many apartments, for instance, have bans on Staffordshire Terriers or Rottweilers.

What Are the Maintenance Requirements of this Breed?

Some breeds take more time and money to maintain. For example, the coats of Poodles and some terrier breeds need to be brushed on a regular basis, or they can become tangled or matted. These dogs also need to be clipped approximately every four to six weeks by a groomer, and these appointments can be pricey.

Three Breeds That Make Great Family Dogs

The following are three breeds that have characteristics that make them popular family dogs:

1. Golden Retrievers

These medium-sized dogs are known for being gentle, intelligent, and beautiful. Ranked fourth on a list of most popular dogs in 2020, Golden Retrievers also have a reputation for being people-oriented dogs that are eager to please their owners, as well as being patient with children. Goldens are sometimes referred to as “light-switch” dogs. This means that you can turn them on to go for a long hike or a run, but they can also be easily “turned off” when you just want to hang out on the couch together.

2. King Charles Cavalier Spaniels

If you’re searching for a dog on the smaller side, you might want to look at Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. According to their breed standards, the Cavalier should weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. These beautiful dogs were originally bred to be lapdogs for European royalty, so they enjoy being around people. Cavaliers are a medium-energy dog and a good size for apartment dwellers.

3. Labrador Retrievers

In 2020, the Labrador Retriever was once again named America’s most popular breed. This is a distinction that the breed has taken for a record 30 years. So, what makes Labradors so popular? They’re easy-going, smart, and people oriented. They are also known for being good with children.

A Furry Family Member, Not Just a Pet

When you add a dog to your family, it should be a lifelong commitment. That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself about the different breeds available today and consider how easy they are to train. The more you know, the better your chances of choosing the right fit for you family.

photo cred:

AUTHOR BIO: Jamel Hamka is the owner/CEO of Recherche Kennels – Golden Retrievers, a professional breeding and training facility. Hamka has over 10 years of experience breeding with top parent bloodlines and training puppies to be the perfect family pet.

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