Where to Find the Perfect Dog

greyhound, dog

Juliet's rescue Greyhound, Greta

Well, it sounds like the Obama family has finally made a decision about the First Dog. They will opt for a rescue Portuguese Water Dog.

Today we have a guest post from pet owner and writer Juliet Farmer. She'll provide some overall tips on where to find the perfect dog.


Where to Find the Perfect Pooch from Juliet Farmer

Because there are so many different types of dogs (in almost every size, shape, and color), choosing the right canine for your lifestyle can be overwhelming. And once you do, there’s another big decision to make—where to get the pooch.

Definitely the least expensive option is heading to your local shelter, where there are many dogs in need of good homes (you may even find a purebred, if that’s what you’re looking for). If you adopt a dog from a shelter, there’s no doubt that you’re saving a life.

Three out of every four shelter dogs are mixed-breed, so this option also is best for those who are flexible in the breed of dog they want. On the plus side, more and more shelters are doing background “screenings” to ensure you leave with the perfect furry match for you or your family. Dogs adopted from shelters are always altered (neutered or spayed) and have also been vaccinated against major diseases. However, unless you adopt a dog that’s been surrendered by a responsible party, you probably won’t know much about the dog’s health history beyond what’s been done to it since it’s been at the shelter.

For those who know exactly what breed they want, a purebred is the way to go. Most of the time, you’ll know what to expect regarding shedding, size, temperament, etc. (but remember, there are no guarantees). You’ll also have a good idea of their health history, as well as future breed-specific illnesses that may arise. On the downside, purebreds are much more expensive, and there are many irresponsible breeders out there who care more about making money than about the welfare of the dogs.

If you have your heart set on a specific breed, there are two ways to go about it. Find a responsible breeder or rescue from a breed-specific group. For those who desire a purebred canine with a smaller price tag, there are many breed-specific rescue groups that can help you find your dream dog. The American Kennel Club has a great list of organizations to use as a starting point. This is the best way to get a purebred dog and still save a life. (This is also what I did when I adopted Greta, our “retired” racing Greyhound two and a half years ago.)

As with almost anything else in life, be sure to do your homework before you get a dog. Talk to several adoption groups, and in the end, be sure to make the decision that’s right for you, your family, and your lifestyle.

Juliet Farmer is a freelance writer in Northern California. She blogs at thatdogblog.com and dogsonlinemagazine.com.

+++ Do you have a family dog? Where did you find your pooch?

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