Once you determine that you’re definitely ready for a dog and capable of caring for one, then it’s time to narrow down your choices. While some people know exactly what kind of dog they want and where to find him, others have no clue. Either way, I’ll walk you through the most important issues to consider.

Puppy or Adult Dog?

It’s a no-brainer why a lot of people want a puppy—they’re one of the cutest creatures on earth, Funny dog videos and there are advantages to getting your dog at this stage of his life. For starters, you’re in a position to teach your pet from day one. You can prevent habits you don’t like from emerging in the first place, and you can take measures to prevent your dog from having socialization issues later on in life. Of course, there’s also something magical about caring for another living being from a very young age.

Mixed Breed or Purebred?

People often fixate on a particular breed, but I’ve got to say that many of the friendliest, smartest, most capable dogs I’ve ever worked with were mixed breeds. These dogs, often found in shelters, are typically results of random or unintentional breeding, and they tend to cost much less than purebred dogs. (We’re not talking about “designer dogs” here. I’ll get to that in a second.)

Many experts argue that mixed breeds are healthier because of what’s known as hybrid vigor: by combining two different breeds, you are pooling from a larger range of traits, so the dog will less likely carry one of the genetic conditions common in certain breeds. However, a large study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that the prevalence of certain genetic disorders among purebreds versus mixed breeds greatly depends on the specific health condition

Bottom line

I can’t recommend one type of dog over another—for every great mixed breed there’s an equally amazing purebred. And more research needs to be done on this topic before we definitively know whether one is healthier than the other. Just rest assured that with so many choices, you are sure to find a loving, well-behaved companion.

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