Finding the Perfect Pooch

New Pet Owners  •   Pam Karkow  •   Feb 21, 2017

Having lost our sweet Golden Retriever in August of last year, we are definitely aching for a four legged friend to complete us. So, when this topic came up, I was eager to research it to find the answer to the question that burns inside of my family’s hearts: How do you know which breed is right for you?

There are many factors that go into deciding on the right type of dog for your family.  I have listed them below…

  • Size: This goes for your house and for what you can handle.  If you are living in an apartment or small house, you may wish to choose a small breed.  According to PetMD’s article, Choosing the Right Size Dog for Your Home, the Dachshund, Pug, Chihuahua, Chow Chow, Cockapoo, Poodle, Shi Tzu, Beagle and Jack Russell are considered good apartment dogs.  It is important to consider what size dog you are capable of handling as well.  You will need to be able to comfortably walk your dog, and transport him to the vet, without the risk of being pulled down.
  • Temperament: Temperament is your dog’s personality.  It is particularly important to pay attention to the temperament of a dog if you are adopting.  According to Holly Putnam, DVM, “You will want to observe how [the dog] responds to all members of your family.  Some dogs are very social with everyone, while others prefer only adults or one gender.”  The PetMD article, The 10 Best Dogs for Kids and Families, lists the Vizsla, Irish Setter, Poodle, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever as the top five family dogs, especially when it comes to temperament. 
  • Energy Level: It is important to consider the amount of time and attention you can give to your dog during your current stage of life.  Even if you adore the loyal, family friendly sweetness of a Golden, if you cannot give him the exercise and playtime he requires, a Golden may not be the best dog for you.  Not giving your dog enough exercise can lead to behavior problems later.
  • Family Dynamics: Consider your children’s ages and your work schedule.  If you have young children, Dr. Putnam warns, “a large, rambunctious dog may inadvertently knock the children down.”  In the feature, The Vets Will See You Now in the September 2016 issue of Real Simple, veterinarian Mary Gardner recommends a cockapoo for families with small children.  A poodle-cocker spaniel mix, the cockapoo stays calm around little ones and enjoys cuddling.  If you work long hours, an energetic Jack Russell may not be your best bet, but a leisurely Basset Hound may be more your speed.  On the other hand, if you enjoy running with your dog, you may be better off with a Labrador Retriever, a playful dog who needs plenty of exercise. 


No matter what you decide, make sure you stick to the promises you make to your new furry family member.  All breeds need love, attention and regular exercise.  And if you do decide to adopt, Dr. Putnam, who is a board member for the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, has some good advice on choosing the right dog.  See her five questions to ask yourself before adopting in the article, The 10 Best Dogs for Kids and Families.  Also, make sure to check out PetPartner’s Certificate Program.  They partner with shelters and rescue organizations across the country by offering 30 days of pet insurance for newly adopted dogs. Please visit the Shelter and Rescue tab on their webpage to find out more.

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Pam Karkow

About the Author
Pam Karkow

Hi, I'm Pam. List maker, note taker, and avid reader. I'm married to my college sweetheart and we have three amazing kids, all of them boys. We also have one furry child, a golden retriever rescue dog. I have been blogging for PetPartners since 2015, and I love researching and writing tips about how to be a better pet parent. I spend most of my time sharing my adventures at, where I share the ways I am learning to be a better wife and mom--to my two and four-legged children.