The first consideration when picking a pet is space constraints, if you live in an apartment and want a Great Dane, you will need a park close by and time to exercise this pet. Most apartments do not allow dogs over 35 pounds, check to make sure your lease allows the dog you have selected. Puppies need to be taken out to exercise and relieve themselves often. Will you and your family have time for this? Is there space to exercise the dog you are considering adding to your household?
Does the physical characteristics of this dog work with your household? Does the dog you have selected shed for example? Does the breed tend to be aggressive? For example terriers, even the small breeds are sometimes overly aggressive and may start fights with a German shepherd, are you psychologically and physically capable of stopping a dog fight? Some of the herding breeds need much more stimulation and exercise then other larger breeds, does your lifestyle enable this pet to have activities that meet their needs?
Do you want a rescue dog or purchase a purebred or designer dog? There is a misconception that selling dogs for money ensures that people will take care of the dog or provide a good home. This could not be further from the truth. Take a trip to any animal shelter and you will see your fair share of f purebred dogs that have been abandoned by their owner. The largest group of abandoned dogs seems to be large breeds. People do not realize the space and exercise needed for these breeds. When purchasing a purebred or even acquiring a dog from a shelter or craigslist, you somewhat know the breed characteristics. Labradors shed, poodles need grooming, beagles howl etc, and however it is sometimes hard to tell how large a mixed breed puppy will be as an adult. My Dad used to say look at their feet, however for some breeds, basset hounds for example, this is not always a way to determine the space needed.
The fourth thing to consider is health care. Veterinary cost are expensive these days, do you understand the cost for shots, spaying or neutering, accidental injury or grooming and maintenance. There is nothing sadder than seeing a matted dog with skin problems, infested with fleas because the owners don’t understand the maintenance needs or can’t afford to hire an expert.
The last thing to consider is your family structure and future restrictions. Are you planning to add a baby to the family? Is the breed you chose well with children? Will there be time for children and dogs? Does your family move periodically, is there space and time in the new home for a dog? If you look at getting a dog as part of your family, it will help you understand the long term considerations needed to add this animal to your family dynamic.
When you take the time to research the type of pet that will work in your environment, work through the time and budgetary constraints and deal with long term family integration; you will make better decisions on pets that will enhance your family dynamic and not end up in an animal shelter.