While there are many things to consider when you have decided to bring home a new dog, the first thing you have to pick is which breed is right for you. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when selecting which breed is best for you and your home.

Size

The size of the dog you choose can depend on a number of factors. How big is your home? Do you have a yard? How big is your yard if you do have one? What size dog do you have an interest in taking home? Keep in mind that while that Golden Retriever is cute and sweet, he requires a lot more space to live than the Boston Terrier you’re also considering.

Hair

When considering a dog, look around your home and consider if you would like your carpets and furniture covered in the fur of your dog. While many breeds of dogs, both long haired and short haired, don’t shed overly much, just about every dog is going to shed a little bit. Keep that in mind and pick accordingly, as it could be the difference between you choosing a Saint Bernard and a Chihuahua.

Temperament

How do you want your dog to interact not only with you, but with strangers and other dogs? While there is no such thing as a bad dog, some breeds are more aggressive than others with a larger prey drive to hunt. If you have small children, or are around small children, keep in mind how the dog you select will interact with them. Again, there’s no such thing as a “bad” dog, but some breeds are better suited to being around small children because of increased patience.

Overall Health

Keep in mind that dogs, just like people, do get sick. Some breeds, just like some people, are more prone to genetic defects and will require medical care as they get older. While you should always expect to keep your dog for its entire life, do some research and make sure you know what some of the common health issues are for the breed of dog you select. It helps to know if they’ll just need bully sticks to help with their teeth and gums or hip replacement surgery.

Intelligence/Trainability

Some dogs are more easily trained then others. With some, a few dog treats along with some basic commands and they’re ready to sit, lie down, and play dead. Others are going to require a bit more work to not only teach tricks, but to housebreak. While patience will be required to train any breed of dog, some breeds are just naturally more intelligent than others and will have a smaller learning curve than others. Keep in mind how much time you’re willing to spend training your new dog to perform the way you want when selecting a breed.

Amount of Exercise Needed

Every dog needs to be walked, but different breeds will require more exercise than others. Keep in mind how often your dog will need to be walked just to use the bathroom versus how much they need to exercise for reasons of health. Having a backyard is great, but it’s no substitute for a brisk walk and being played with. Figure in how much time your schedule will allow you to walk and play with your new dog when considering the perfect breed for you.

Purebred or Mixed Breed

The decision to give a home to a dog that is purebred or mixed breed is one of personal taste. While a purebred ensures you get the dog you’re looking for with traits you’re expecting, mixed breed dogs are often healthier than purebred dogs as they tend to receive the best traits of their different breeds.

While some mixed breeds are now being intentionally bred (like Labradoodles and Puggles), most mixed breeds aren’t planned and often result in interesting mixes. If there isn’t a specific breed you prefer, considering a mixed breed dog is a good way to find the traits from different breeds that you like all in one dog.

Give the Gift of a Home

No matter what dog you choose, there’s nothing better than giving a home to a puppy or dog in need. Remember to stock up on dog treats, chews, food, and, of course, bully sticks to make your new dog feel right at home. Keep in mind that there are a number of different sites like PetFinder that can help you find the dog you’re looking for. Always consider your local animal shelter before turning to a breeder, but above all, make sure you get the pet you want.