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Choosing what breed of dog you want can be a challenge. Taking into consideration your own lifestyle, members of your family, living conditions, as well as the breed’s temperament, needs and habits, there’s so much that goes into a pretty big decision.
There are a ton of great resources online that can make that choice a little easier. From quizzes to sites packed with information, from YouTube videos and photos of the breed, there’s a wealth of information that can ensure that once you’re ready to take the plunge and adopt a dog, you’re choosing one that’s best suited to you and, just importantly, that you are best suited to as well.
Quizzes – What Breed of Dog Do I Want
The first place to start with selecting what breed of dog you want is to take a few quizzes to set you off in the right direction. It can be pretty overwhelming scrolling through profiles, descriptions and photos about countless dog breeds. By taking dog quizzes that ask questions about the kind of dog you want (temperament, energy, needs), about your own personal lifestyle (children, other pets, time for grooming), and what you want to get out of having a dog (companionship, protection) – it can narrow down the choice significantly. It’s also a great place to start if this is the first time you’re going to be a dog owner because it might bring your attention to certain facts about owning a dog that you might not have thought of.
Animal Planet has a great quiz that will only take you a few minutes to complete. It starts out by asking you the size of the dog you’re looking for (tiny to extra large), then takes you through a variety of questions about energy, exercise, playtime, affection, weather and more. Once you’ve completed the quiz, you’ll be presented with one breed that’s the best match, and at least four runners-up. You can also find out more about the breed directly on the website.
There are a lot of quizzes of this kind online, so you can try a few different ones and see what kinds of results they yield.
Petfinder is a great resource when it comes to selecting a dog, or any pet for that matter. While it makes it easy to actually find the pet that you plan to adopt, you can also use the site before you reach that point, by reading up on different dog breeds. With over 150 breeds listed on the site, you’ll probably want to start out with the quiz first to give you a place to start.
The information Petfinder provides on each breed includes the dog’s history, average size (male and female), energy, exercise, playfulness, affection, friendliness towards other dogs, other pets and strangers, ease of training, watchdog ability, protection ability, grooming, and cold and heat tolerance. All these characteristics can be viewed at a glance, using a simple rating system.
Petfinder goes one step further by providing more in-depth details on the dog’s temperament, the kind of care it requires, and any health issues its breed characteristically faces.
If you’re interested, you can even read the history of how the breed came to be.
The site also allows Facebook users to leave comments on each breed’s page so you can even find a few personal stories from pet owners to get a sense of what you might expect if you go with a specific breed.
As is the case with any subject, you can find a ton of information on Wikipedia. Its list of dog breeds will let you know the dog’s classification at a glance – is the dog a toy, a sporting dog, a working dog, a herding dog etc.
Clicking on any given breed will give you more information on the dog’s appearance and temperament, its grooming needs (coat and teeth), its health, and miscellaneous facts about the breed, including how it is portrayed in popular culture and the arts. With some breeds you can also find more information on clubs and associations, rescue shelters and more.
Wikipedia’s external links are also a great way to find links to sites that are relevant specifically to the breed that you’re interested in to find out more detailed information.
NextDayPets has an easy to browse database of dog breeds that you can narrow down with the breeding group the dog comes from and traits specific to the breed. Once you open up any given dog breed, you can find out more about its appearance (weight, height, colors), its character, temperament, care training and more. Best of all, the site has a Q&A section so if you have a question about the breed that hasn’t been addressed in any of the sites you’ve looked at, you can always get advice from a fellow owner.
Just Dog Breeds makes it easy to browse various breeds using a very specific categorization. There are 21 categories on the home page related to size, temperament, activity and more. You can view a list of dogs that are child-friendly, or a list of dogs that are easy to train, and so forth. Because you can see all the dogs that fit a certain category that applies to your needs, you can really get a sense of how many dogs fit your personal lifestyle, and then you can start narrowing it down by getting into specifics.
Each dog is also rated based on criteria including ease of training, shedding, intelligence, watchdog ability, popularity, agility and more.
As is to be expected, you can find just about any kind of information on Reddit, so why would dog info be any difference. A subreddit for dogs is a great place to go to ask questions about a breed. After all, who better to give you advice about a breed you are considering than fellow owners? Other useful subreddits include Dog Training and Rescue Dogs.
The last place to look once you’ve settled on a breed is YouTube so you can see videos of the breed in action. A really informative channel on YouTube is the Animal Planet’s Dogs 101. A word of warning though – it would appear that not all of the videos on breeds have been posted to this channel, but are posted instead on the main Animal Planet channel. To find the video you’re looking for, simply search YouTube with the breed name and ‘Dogs 101’ and chances are you’ll find a video about the breed of your choice.
The videos include commentary from dog experts, go into detail on the dogs history, its physical traits and characteristics. Of course the videos are full of great shots of the dogs in action. Dogs 101 is a very easy way to get a ton of information about a breed in a few short minutes, and the information included is often left out from other sites.
You can also search YouTube for videos in general taken by other owners, and also take to sites like Flickr or even just Google Images to see what the breed looks like in the different stages of its life.
Once you’ve selected the breed that’s right for you, the next step is to figure out where to get the dog and how to care for it. We put together a handy list of 10 puppy finding services that will help you find your next best friend, and we also have an interesting list of the best online resources for new and experienced dog owners.
Do you have any tips on how to select what breed of dog you want? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Alfie Harrison