Did you know that there are over 200 dog breeds recognized by the AKC? At Thousand Hills Pet Resort, we see a variety of these breeds within our guests. With so many options when choosing a dog, it's easy to get stuck in the "paradox of choice." In this week's blog, we will be going over some of the best ways to help guide you through a choice overload.
Key Breed Traits
While deciding what dog breed to get, here are a few traits to consider:
Size (height and weight)
Big dogs, naturally, require bigger everything. For example, they require a bigger crate and larger quantities of food. Big dogs are more likely to suffer from hip and joint problems. Big dogs are also more likely to be calm and loyal. Small dogs are better for homes with smaller living spaces.
If you lead a more sedentary lifestyle, an energetic dog, like a border collie, may not be the best choice for you. Many dog breeds need a job or a purpose. Other dogs are content by simply cuddling on the couch with you all day. Keep your lifestyle in mind when you think of adopting a dog. You want your dog to seamlessly blend with your current lifestyle. Additionally, similar to size, deciding on an energy level will be dependent on your home type (apartments, house, vs. ranch).
Intelligence and Trainability
If you are not an experienced pet owner, a more obedient dog, like a Golden Retriever, may be the best starting point for you. More stubborn dogs need extra patience and training.
Some dogs require daily brushing and monthly grooming. This coat type means a lot of time and money spent on upkeep. If you do not have the time to regularly maintain your dog's coat, a short and tight coat (like a Greyhound) will save you lots of time from brushing.
Other important traits
Friendliness (towards people and other animals)
Common health issues
It's unlikely to find the perfect breed that fits all your above requirements. The next step is to decide which trait is most important to you, and going from there!
There are tons of "which dog breed should I get" quizzes on the internet. These quizzes are entertaining to answer, but I'm not sure how helpful the quizzes actually are.
To figure out which breed selector quiz is the best, I took five of the most popular online dog breed quizzes so you don't have to. I will grade the quiz on a scale of 1-5 for accuracy (if I actually match with that dog breed), relevance (how important the questions were), details (if the quiz includes important information about the breeds), and creativity (how fun it was to take the quiz).
Accuracy: 4, I was matched with an Australian Terrier. This is definitely not a dog I would have considered myself.
Relevance: 2, In the AKC's dog breed selector quiz, their questions focus on how a dog would fit into your world, not how to change your world for a dog. I think this is a smart mindset to have when trying to decide what breed of dog to get. By focusing on the lifestyle questions, I think this quiz missed out on certain preferences (like me preferring larger dogs) that would have guided the results differently.
Details: 5, The results page gave a top 10 list of dogs based on your response that compared each breed to each other.
Creativity: 4, Playing around with the graphics was fun.
Take the quiz here and see what breed you get!
Accuracy: 4, American Foxhound. This is not necessarily a breed a would gravitate towards, but does have the traits I indicated.
Relevance: 5, The quiz had 14 questions that nicely summarized a variety of traits to think about when deciding on a dog breed. There were a variety of questions and helpful tips along the way. Their questions encouraged critical thinking of requirements that even I had not thought of when thinking of breed selection (ie: ability to be alone for long periods of time). It also allowed you to order all of the traits from what's most important to what's least important about a dog breed. I love this tool because everyone has different priorities for which traits are the most important.
Details: 4, The results page gave important information about your #1 breed and listed a few other dog breeds that were similar.
Creativity: 5, The page was easy to follow with lots of pictures.
Accuracy: 3, My first match was a Belgian Sheepdog... but the next match was a Chinese Crested. The overall breed choices were a little more up my alley, but the variety of breed options within that made me reevaluate the quiz. If the breed options are so varied, how accurate can this quiz actually be?
Relevance: 5, This quiz had 17 questions that easily guided the user through dog traits. I liked how the responses felt more like genuine answers a prospective dog owner might have, so the responses were easier for me to follow.
Details: 2, There weren't any details for why I was matched with the dogs I was matched with. Although it gave a top list, I had to be redirected to a new page to learn about the dog with no explanation why that breed matched with my preferences.
Creativity: 3, This is a personal preference, but the jokes attached to every question threw me off.
Accuracy: 5, I was matched with a Gordon Setter. I think the five dogs I was assigned with would easily be dog breeds I would consider.
Relevance: 5, Even though there were only 10 questions, they covered all of the most important traits.
Details: 2, The results page gave a little description of the first place dog, but no further information.
Creativity: 2, Nothing very creative was held in this quiz, but the contents made up for it.
Accuracy: 2, I got "no results match." :( I think this is because some of the questions contradict each other. I tried it again, being vaguer in my answers, and got a Portuguese Water Dog. At least this was one I would consider!
Relevance: 3, Some of the questions were a bit misleading and confusing. The quiz was also loading very slowly (ugh).
Details: 2, The results page (once I actually had a result) only included information about the one dog I matched with. It had no further breed suggestions.
Creativity: 3, This selector was set up like a normal quiz.
What I've learned from these quizzes is that you definitely shouldn't take them at face value. Every quiz resulted in a variety of different dog breeds even though I answered each quiz similarly. I think the best thing about these quizzes that they encourage you to think critically about the traits you are looking for in a dog. They may be helpful tools to give a sense of a dog breed, but should ultimately be considered entertainment.
Before adopting any pet, it's important to do the necessary research. I hope that in selecting your next dog breed, you can use some of these tips to get the best match!
All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.