Choosing Your Dog

choosingadogIt's exciting to acquire a new dog, especially if there are children in the family. You might be thinking of buying a puppy or obtaining a dog from a rescue centre. However, before you start looking for your  dog, carry out a serious assessment of what is the best dog for your situation. By doing this you will reduce the risk of ending up with a pet that is more of a burden than a pleasure.

Family Environment

  • Do you have young children in your home?
  • Is a member of your family disabled or rather frail?
  • Do you have a reasonable sized yard or garden?
  • Your dog will need toilet facilities? How will you handle this?
  • Will your family be prepared to spend time exercising your dog?
  • Can you afford premium quality dog food, veterinary bills and public liability insurance ?
  • Do you already own other animals?
  • Will you be able to make arrangements if the family is away from home?


The size of your dog is important. Big dogs in smaller apartments are not a good idea also a big dog takes some handling. One of the largest dogs is a St Bernard weighing in at up to 90 Kg.

Remember, a puppy it will grow to be much larger - take this into consideration.

Handling includes dog walking, grooming, administering medication, weight checks, bathing and playing. Older and frail people may not cope with a large boisterous dog.


You must give adequate exercise to maintain your dog's health. A small Chihuahua  will not need as much daily exercise as a working breed such as a Border Collie.

Decide how much time can be given to the task. The less time available the more important it is to acquire a smaller dog. When you are busy or feeling tired exercising the dog is not one of your priorities but a healthy dog will cost much less in vet's fees.

Home Environment

If your house is very warm some dogs may find it distressing such as a Shih Tzu or a dog with a thick coat.  If you have an immaculate Huntington Beach real estate home furnished with quality objects, you need to think carefully about the sort of dog you intend to buy especially if you want a puppy.


You need to groom your dog regularly this is part of the "health thing". The size of dog comes into it but so does the type of coat. A short coated  dog is going to pick up less dirt, and mud. and be easier to clean and groom. A muddy dog may require washing. This could require a facility such as an old fashioned tin bath for Mission Viejo dog care. You must not be tempted to turn the hose pipe onto a dog. This will destroy the dog's trust in you and make training much harder.


Temperament is assessed by breed and by the breed line You'll find that working breeds,  are often more stubborn and tough-minded. Terriers can be a  aggressive. Hounds are easy going and friendly, but harder to train.

Individual breed lines will give a clue but if you are buying from a breeder they are not going to tell their breed line is a bit aggressive. You can carry out some research into different breed characteristics. Do this on line/library and ask your veterinary practice for their opinion.

Characteristics you need to consider

  • Compatibility with people andanimals
  • Intelligence level
  • How easy to train
  • Affection and Loyalty.
  • Energy level.
  • Playfulness.
  • Aggressive tendencies  (towards people, dogs and other animals).
  • The heat or cold tolerance necessary for your environment.

Different Breeds

This is difficult, different people tell you different things but the following should give you an idea of some of the main breeds.

Cross-Bred Dogs

Come in all shapes and sizes and are often described as mongrels. This derogatory term is misleading. Some wonderful and loyal dogs are cross breeds. Usually they not suffer from in-bred temperament or physical faults. They are always worth considering.


A tolerant and gentle dog. It is normally good with children. They need some challenging play such as finding hidden toys.

German Shepherd

Highly intelligent and loyal. Being a big dog it needs adequate exercise and challenging play.

A German Shepherd must be properly trained.

It is a good family dog and guard dog.  However, do not buy a German Shepherd to double as an aggressive guard dog. It rarely works out.


Good with children and quite intelligent.

They need adequate exercise otherwise they can become hyperactive. This is because they are a working dog.

Golden Retriever

Similar in temperament to the Labrador. Although they are not so hyperactive they still need adequate exercise


Intelligent and calm It has a good temperament.


Friendly temperament and intelligent but need need firm handling.  Being a small dog makes them  an ideal family pet. However, they are very energetic if you did not exercise them.

Cairn Terrier

An active small dog with good temperament. It responds well to children.

Required Learning

Take the time to read about Basic dog training,  House training. (toilet duties), Grooming and feeding. This will help you to protect chair legs, cushions and carpets when the new dog arrives


Owning a dog is great fun and provides some character building aspects for children. However, you need to apply proper training and care disciplines to dog ownership and teach your children to always do the same. Get it right and you are in for a lot of satisfaction and fun in the future.

Alisos Animal Hospital
22902 Los Alisos Blvd # D
Mission Viejo, CA 92691