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If you’re thinking about buying a new dog, there are a few things to remember before you make that decision. Currently, millions of dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, due in part to making the wrong decision on the type of dog to buy. Before you rush out to buy that new puppy, there are a few things to remember.

1. How much time can you devote to your new puppy? There are specific breeds, such as border collies, that require a great deal of attention and do not do well in a situation where they will be confined alone for hours at a time. Be realistic with your expectations and select a breed that is known for their patience and ability to spend a few hours apart from you.

2. Size matters. Although your new puppy may be a small bundle of joy right now, in six months you may be dealing with a monster. If you don’t have a lot of space, or if you live in an apartment, a large breed may not be the best choice. In addition to space constraints, it is also a good idea to remember that large dogs do eat quite a bit more than the average teacup poodle and if you’re on a tight budget, a smaller dog will be more economical.

3. Research breed traits. Buying a puppy should not be based on which dog is the cutest, or which breed you always thought looked nice. Take the time to thoroughly research these traits so that you can make an informed decision. Some breeds shed more than others, while some breeds have known behavioral issues. For example, Great Pyrenees dogs are very beautiful and popular, but they are bred for livestock guarding and not apartment living.

4. Research breed health issues. This is becoming a bigger problem due to improper breeding. Every breed may have congenital health issues, but some may be more severe than others. For example, German Shepherds are known to have issues with hip dysplasia, while some smaller dog breeds may have problems with their eyes.

5. Pick the right breeder. Many future health and behavioral issues can be avoided simply by choosing the right breeder. Once you have decided on the breed of dog that you would like, contact that breed’s registry for an approved list of breeders. This will save you time, heartache and money.

6. Consider a shelter pet. While shelter pets are not for everyone, they may be a good option if you do not have small children or if you do not mind getting an older dog. You can save a life by adopting a shelter pet and still end up with a wonderful and loyal companion.

Selecting a puppy is an emotional decision, but it pays to keep these points in mind before you make your final decision. Once you’re armed with the right knowledge, you’ll be able to pick that perfect puppy that the whole family will enjoy and love.

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