Skip to content

Step One: Find The Right Breed


Unconditional, tail-wagging love – there’s a special dog out there for everyone. As the average lifespan of a dog is 12-15 years, it’s important to consider several facts before bringing a dog into your home. Finding the breed that matches your lifestyle is the first step to a lasting relationship.

Fortunately, purebred dogs are known for their predictable traits such as size, grooming needs, activity levels and personalities. This helps to ensure that you are bringing home a dog that will fit in with other family members and your home environment. Here are some considerations when researching dog breeds:

Size Of The Adult Dog

  • Do you have enough space at home for this dog?
  • Will your car be large enough to transport the animal?

Activity Level 

  • Are you an active person or are you more of a stroll in the park type?
  • Do you have time to manage the mental needs of the breed?

Exercise Needs 

  • Do you have the time, energy and/or space to make sure the dog is properly exercised?

Grooming Needs 

  • Will the breed need weekly or monthly grooming?
  • Will it need to be groomed by a professional or can you do it yourself?
  • Do you have allergies? What about hypoallergenic breeds?

Temperaments and Traits 

What was this breed originally bred to do? All breeds were developed to perform a specific function.

  • Do you like dogs that are your shadow and always want to be together?
  • Do you like dogs that are more independent and don’t need you directing them?
  • Do you like dogs that are easy to travel with?
  • Do you like dogs that are laid back, feisty or constant observers?
  • Do you like dogs that are exercise companions?
  • Do you like dogs that are great with kids?

Rare Breeds

Are you aware that there are many rare breeds with only a few hundred still in existence? Here are some rare breeds:

Additional Resources to Learn More 

  • Use the WKC Breed Finder to browse descriptions of each of the breeds and varieties currently recognized by the American Kennel Club, and links to all the parent club websites (e.g., Golden Retriever Club of America).
  • Tune in and watch the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on TV and streaming platforms.
  • Visit the American Kennel Club website where you can:
    • Read more about the breeds and varieties of dogs
    • Find a local dog club that offers breeder referrals
    • Find a local dog show to attend where you can meet breeders and owners