Tips & Advice

How to Decide on a Breed

What dog breed is best for my lifestyle?

Deciding what dog breed to get is as important as deciding whether to get a dog in the first place. Every breed has different traits and care needs. We recommend researching various breeds before contacting a breeder and committing to buying a puppy The AKC’s New Complete Dog Book can help you start your search, with its photos and descriptions of every breed recognized by the AKC. Breed research is necessary because you may find that while you think a puppy is absolutely adorable, that breed’s personality may not align with your lifestyle. AKC Marketplace breed pages also provide facts and specific information about each breed that will help make your puppy decision easier.

What about the size of your home?

Is there enough room in your apartment for your Labrador Retriever? What about your backyard, if you even have one. Is there a good amount of space for your Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to run and burn off all of her energy? These are all things to take into consideration when deciding on a breed.

What should I consider when bringing a puppy home to children?

Research whether the breed you are interested in does well with children. Some breeds want the spotlight and are needier and will not be happy if attention is given to a child or something other than them. Like children, puppies require a lot of attention, love, and energy. It can be exhausting! Think about a puppy as another child when making this decision. Can you integrate the commitment to a puppy into your current parental responsibilities?

Do I want to buy a puppy or an adult dog?

The advantage of getting a puppy—aside from its irresistible cuteness—is that you can raise it by yourself from the beginning and participate in its training and socialization, every step of the way. The disadvantage is that training a puppy requires a great deal of time and patience. Busy families should keep in mind that puppies cannot be left alone for more than a few hours at a time. They need plenty of trips outside, frequent meals, and lots of interaction with people, not to mention love. Adult dogs, whether purchased directly from a breeder or adopted from an AKC Rescue Network group, can be ideal for people who want a dog with fewer needs. Mature dogs tend to be calmer; some are already house-trained and know basic obedience.

Ten Questions to Ask a Breeder

Getting a puppy is a big decision. When you're looking for a dog, you want to make sure you get the right one for you — and that starts by talking to a responsible breeder. When you contact an AKC Marketplace breeder they will be interviewing you as much as you interview them, so you should have a list of questions handy too. This will enable you to get to know your breeder, your breed, and your potential puppy better. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Can you tell me about the breed?
  2. How long have you been breeding?
  3. What requirements do you have for potential owners of your puppies, and how do you match puppies with their new owners?
  4. Can I meet the dam or sire to get a sense of the temperament?
  5. Have health tests been performed on the parents?
  6. How do you socialize your puppies?
  7. Are the puppies up-to-date on vaccinations/shots?
  8. When can I take the puppy home?
  9. Do you provide a health guarantee and a contract?
  10. How can we contact you after picking up the puppy?

When you go to meet your puppy, you’ll also want to take a look at the condition of the home or kennel. Are the premises clean? Do the puppies look well socialized? If you notice anything that seems unsettling, please contact AKC customer service at 919-233-9767 or info@akc.org.