Big or small, short- or long-haired, eager hunting companion or laid-back house pet – if you start looking, chances are you’ll find a breed that fits the bill. My advice is to take your time, do your research, and be willing to wait if what you want isn’t available right now. After all, the search itself can be part of the fun, Search the Internet (although be forewarned that lovely websites can be fronts for some deplorable breeding operations), go to the library, attend a dog show or canine performance event, such as an agility trial. Talk to both breeders and pet owners. Find out about warts, not just beauty spots.
Always remember that it’s important to look beyond outward appearances. You may know you want a medium-sized, long-haired dog, but if your idea of a good time is snoozing on the couch all evening in front of the TV, then the medium-sized, long-haired, but also rather high-octane Australian Shepherd will probably drive you crazy – if you don’t drive him crazy first.
I am a wash-and-wear sort of person myself, and I am attracted mostly to wash-and-wear sorts of dogs, thank goodness. Any breed requires at least a minimal amount of coat care, but some need a good deal more than others. If you’re not willing to either spend the time and do the work yourself or pay for regular clipping or grooming, then maybe a Standard Poodle or Old English Sheepdog isn’t the dog for you.
Get the idea? Whatever breed you choose, it has to be a good fit, or you and your dog will both be sorry.