How to Select a Puppy That Is Right for You

How to pick a puppy that is compatible with your home and family.

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Without a good match, family and dog lose out. In some cases, dogs are abandoned or taken to a shelter because owners cannot manage them. For example, a buyer looking for a quiet companion should not select a Jack Russell Terrier, Geiss said. They are active and curious. Ignorance of the breed's traits has led many owners to abandon their dogs before they even reach adulthood, according to the JRT Club of America website.

"Jack Russell Terriers are first and foremost hunting dogs," according to the club's Web site. "The traits and skills that make them excellent hunting dogs (i.e., digging, barking, aggressive nature, ability to follow scent) are often interpreted as bad habits that cause people to give them up."

Another example: An owner looking for a dog that likes to romp around with the kids should be careful of Shelties, Geiss said. "Typically, Shelties are not meant to roughhouse with children. They may get nippy when little kids are running around them."

And if you have a dog allergy, consider a breed recommended by the AKC: Poodle, Bichon Frise, Bedlington Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Kerry Blue Terrier, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Maltese, Portuguese Water Dog, Italian Greyhound, Basenji and the Chinese Crested.

Ask questions. You need facts to make an informed decision, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

Before Koehler made up her mind, she attended several Bulldog shows in her area. "I could check out what they're supposed to look like, so I'd know if I was getting one that was up to breed standards," she said.

Koehler talked with owners and trainers at the shows. "Most are happy to talk to you about their breed, unless, of course, they're getting ready to step into the ring," she said. "And they are usually good about telling you the positive and negative things."

If you haven't decided on a specific breed, Geiss recommends going to an all-breed show. "Then, you can see healthy, well-cared-for dogs. And you can talk to the owners and trainers about the breed's traits."

In addition to breeders, owners and trainers, you can ask questions of veterinarians, breed clubs and the AKC.

Find a breeder and a puppy that click with your family. All dogs within a breed are not created equal. Some may not make a perfect match, even though the breed's characteristics are most appealing. "People need to understand that each dog in a breed is not a cookie-cutter replica of the other," Barber said.

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Give us your opinion Give us your opinion on How to Select a Puppy That Is Right for You

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Janet   Bethlehem, PA

6/21/2010 7:48:18 AM

very helpful information, thank you

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janet   bethlehem, PA

9/17/2009 4:40:06 AM

good article Thank you

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