One of our friends is perplexingly single and always looking for a way to win over the ladies. A couple weeks ago the three of us were discussing his relationship status and I mentioned how Wally was a total people magnet. Everywhere we go people want to say hi, especially girls. Isaac and I looked at each other and exclaimed, “Dude, you should get a French Bulldog! No woman can resist a Frenchie!” Then our friend said something silly about wanting a dog to go running with, totally disregarding the awesomeness of our suggestion. In disbelief I said, “Why would you do that?! You don’t even run! There’s no way an XYZ will get you as many babes as a Frenchie!”
As you know I once was a dog breed fiend, addicted to the many beautiful breeds out there. It was easy to downplay the drawbacks of a breed by saying I would change my lifestyle to accommodate it. Sure I can get a Scottie! I’ll learn how to groom and we’ll build a fence so he can’t see the neighbors crazy dogs. Weimaraners need a lot of exercise? I’ll take up running! As anyone who has made a New Years Resolution knows, change is hard.
In order to prevent the heartbreaking scenario of owning a breed that’s simply a bad fit, you have to make the decision to buy a breed that fits your lifestyle right now. If you hate dog hair don’t buy a breed that blows coat twice a year. Not a runner/hiker/biker and you live on a postage stamp sized lot? Steer clear of most high energy breeds in the Sporting and Herding groups. Are you a stickler for obedience? Terriers are not for you. An Irish Wolfhound would be a bad idea in a penthouse, no matter how many people say they can make good apartment dogs. Do you really want a dog the size of a Welsh Cob having accidents because you had to take an elevator on the way to the grass patch around the block?
Before we learned about Border Terriers, Isaac and I were determined to get a German Shorthaired Pointer. We met several before falling in love with their fabulous temperaments and elegant lines. The problem was that we live in a small 1940s home on .10 acres. I’m not a runner (Isaac a runner? HA!), so getting a GSP enough exercise would be extremely challenging. Eventually we had to make a decision: move or pick a different breed. Since moving isn’t in the cards right now we went with option two. We also figured that if the GSP was a second dog it could play with the first dog, making it feasible to meet their exercise requirements. Luckily we fell in love with a second breed that fit our current lifestyle, and now I can’t imagine life without a Border Terrier.
Whatever your lifestyle is assume it’s going to remain unchanged. If you don’t run now you never will or if you live in an apartment you always will. There is one area where you should plan for change: if you don’t have kids but want to, get a breed that likes kids. Most breeds live at least 10 years; this is a long-term commitment! A lot of people end up dumping a dog at the pound because they a) didn’t do their research and/or b) fell in love with a breed that didn’t fit their lifestyle. It’s not always easy (I want a GSP sooner than later), but being smart from the beginning makes life so much easier.
P.S. If you’re active duty military don’t even think about getting a dog. As a resident in a military town I’ve seen way too many dogs get dumped due to the nomadic lifestyle of a soldier. Even if you’re married consider the possibility of foreign posts or divorce, both very common in the military.