1. Are there any size or weight restrictions on dogs within your condiminium or community? Many won't allow dogs over 30-pounds.
2. Do you keep your home very warm? Some dogs are bothered by warm room temperatures. A Chihuahua would be a better choice than Shih Tzu in that case.
3. How much dog can you lift? A Pug is a happy-go-lucky companion but may weigh 18-pounds while a Yorkshire Terrier usually doesn't exceed 7-pounds.
4. How much grooming can you do? If arthritis is a problem, avoid longhaired breeds such as Pekingese or Maltese and look at short, smooth-haired dogs such as Toy Manchester Terrier. Beautiful coats are beautiful because they're groomed daily.
5. How much exercise does the dog need? Any Terrier is a high-energy dog requiring outdoor exercise. On the other hand, an English Toy Spaniel or Japanese Chin can get all the exercise they need inside an apartment.
6. Is the breed's temperament a good match with you? Some people find Toy Poodles too challenging and would do better with the sweet-tempered Papillon.
7. Are you prepared for the costs of dog ownership? The bare minimum estimate for dog ownership is $1 a day.
8. Can you acquire pet insurance? Many companies offer group rates to their employees and retirees.
9. Would being a "foster" owner satisfy your need for canine companionship? Even if you don't want to take a dog into your home, shelters always need people who can walk and play with the dogs or provide temporary housing.
10. Finally, have you considered what happens to your dog if you can't care for him? Toy breeds often live 15-years or longer. Be sure to include instructions in your will on how your pet should be placed.
With a little forethought and planning, you can select the right breed of dog for your lifestyle and enjoy many happy years together.
10 Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog
by Louise Louis
Former dog breed and all-round dog person, Louise Louis now operates a website, toybreeds.com dedicated to helping people select the best small dog breed for their lifestyle.