How to Decide on the Perfect Breed or Mix to Adopt

There are so many dog breeds to choose from and even more when you think about mixed breeds. Each breed and mix has different general characteristics and temperaments. So, before you hop in the car to adopt a dog, here are a few things to consider when choosing the best breed/mix to fit your lifestyle.


Living Situation

When deciding which type of breed you want to adopt, first take a look at where you live. Larger dogs such as Labradors, German Shepherds, and St. Bernards will normally do better in a bigger home with a large yard area for them to play and exercise. Smaller breeds such as Corgis or Beagles will do better in an apartment setting where there is less space than a house and where the dog will be more tolerant of being indoors a lot of the time. Not only should you consider how much space you have for your dog, don’t forget about temperature. Research which breeds do well in warmer weather and which breeds do well in colder weather, depending on where you live. This is important to take into consideration because some breeds like pugs and bulldogs can have respiratory problems in hot weather. The last thing to think about in regards to your living situation is allergies. If someone in your household is allergic to dogs, look at getting a dog that is hypoallergenic. Look into getting a Maltese, Portuguese Water Dog, or a Poodle mix.

dog couch


Just because you like a certain breed of dog or how they look, doesn’t mean that is the right dog for you. A certain breed does not dictate the personality of a dog, but can characterize the traits of a dog. Purebred dogs from the same breed will show many of the same characteristics. But keep in mind, mixed breeds will show traits of both sides. When it comes to temperament of the breed, look at your own temperament and relate it with the dog. If you are more outgoing, look for a dog that shows the same friendliness. If you are more reserved, look for the same characteristic in a dog.

Maritime Yoda


It is very important to analyze the energy of a dog before adopting it and very important that the dog’s level of energy is equal to or lower than your own energy level. Consider your age versus the dog’s age. A younger puppy will have more energy and require more exercise than an older dog will have. When you go to a shelter to look at dogs, ask to have the dog let out of his cage and maybe even take him on a walk. You will see how much it takes to drain his excess energy and frustration from being in his cage and then you will be able to see his underlying temperament and natural energy.

dog catch


Some dog breeds require more grooming than others. Keep this in mind when adopting because grooming takes time and money. Long or curly hair breeds or mixes, such as Labradoodles, require more brushing  and more frequent trips to the groomer’s than shorter hair dogs, such as Labradors. Breeds with shorter coats are less maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they won’t shed. You should ask yourself how many times a week you are willing to brush your dog and how many times you are willing to bring him to the groomer’s. If you are willing to brush him everyday and don’t mind frequent trips to the groomer’s, a long haired dog shouldn’t be a problem. If you want nothing to do with brushing and don’t want to spend money all the time for a hair cut at the groomer’s, maybe a short haired dog is the way to go.



All breeds and mixes of dogs will take a financial commitment, but some may be less of a commitment than others. Purebred breeds may cost more upfront and can be more susceptible to genetic problems in the long run. Mixed breeds can cost the same upfront, but are less susceptible to the long-term genetic problems. Remember when we talked about the size of dog regarding your living space? Size also relates to affordability. Larger dogs tend to cost more as they eat more food, will cost more at the groomers, and tend to have higher healthcare costs. Although having a dog of any size or breed does cost money, size and purebred or mix can matter.

dog food


One of the most important things to remember when adopting a dog is to think practically, not emotionally. An animal shelter can be a sad place to visit, but pitying a homeless dog won’t benefit anyone in the long run. Set your emotions aside for a moment, choose the breed or mix that best fits your lifestyle, and don’t forget to keep an open mind. The breed you want may not always be the best fit for you.

small dog growling

There are a lot of things to think about when deciding which type of dog to adopt. Use these guidelines to help narrow down your search and find your best fit. The best thing you can do when choosing which breed or mix of dog to adopt, is research!

Still wondering which breed is right for you?  Click here for a handy quiz!

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