There are dozens of things you need to consider when choosing the perfect puppy for your family, including a dog’s temperament, possible allergies, and energy levels. One of the first things you should consider to narrow down your search is the size of the dog. If the dog’s build isn’t a good fit for your family, none of the other qualities you’ll look for will mean much.
Don’t Just Look at the Puppy
All puppies are tiny, cute, and fluffy in their first few months, but not all stay that way. While it’s easy to look at a Great Dane puppy and think the little pup with the enormous paws is adorable, those paws are something a Great Dane will grow into. He may grow to be as large as a small pony. When selecting a puppy, be sure to do your homework on the breed so you have an idea what to expect in terms of size. You may also want to ask the breeder about the size and weight of the parents of any puppy you’re considering; while not an absolute determiner, it will give you a reasonable idea of what to expect of any puppy you’re considering purchasing.
Small Breed Dogs
If you’re looking for a lap dog or an apartment dog, canines under 22 pounds are wonderful choices. They can easily curl up in your lap, you can carry them wherever you go, and they will be comfortable in a small home. However, small dogs, particularly those weighing less than ten pounds, are also delicate. If you have toddlers, a small dog may not be the perfect puppy for your family, as they can be injured unintentionally by rough handling. If you have children over the age of five or six, small dogs can be easily cared for and walked (with your help) by kids. Many small breed dogs bond closely with a favorite person, becoming their shadow and sharing lots of affection. Small breed dogs tend to live the longest, often living 10-15 years or more.
Medium Breed Dogs
There is an incredible range of dog breeds considered medium-sized, encompassing dogs weighing 22-60 pounds. Medium dogs such as cocker spaniels and beagles (which can also be a small breed, depending on stature) often make lovely family pets because they’re sturdy enough to handle children’s sometimes exuberant play habits without being so large they run the risk of accidentally hurting your child. There are medium-sized dogs that can adapt to apartment living, but some medium breeds are incredibly high energy. Be sure you do some research to learn about the temperament of the various breeds.
Large Breed Dogs
Larger dogs (above 60 pounds) tend to be fiercely loyal, protective, and gentle toward their family members. One large breed dog, the Goldendoodle, is quickly becoming a favorite of families everywhere. Although larger breeds need more exercise and food than smaller dogs, they also tend to be easier to train and are often quite athletic. Many large breed dogs were initially bred to be working dogs, so they are intelligent and full of energy that needs to be channeled somehow. Keep in mind that larger dogs, if rambunctious, can knock over a child or even an adult, so proper training is crucial. Generally, the larger a dog breed, the shorter its lifespan. A Bernese Mountain Dog may only live 6-8 years, something to keep in mind.
There is no specific rule that says what size dog will work for your family, but you can use the information we’ve given you to help decide what size might be the best choice for you, your family, and your home.