(BPT) – If you’re thinking of adding a four-legged member to your family, you’ll be rewarded with the special kind of loyalty and unconditional love only dogs can bring. But not every dog is the ideal match for every family. It’s important to choose a new best friend that fits with your lifestyle. A high-energy dog in a home with people who have sedentary lifestyles is likely to become bored and get into mischief. A more laid-back dog isn’t going to make a good hunting partner or running buddy.
A few key things to consider: Do you have a home with a yard or do you live in an apartment? How active is your lifestyle? Do you have young children? Is your house empty all day during the week or is somebody home at least part of the day?
Doing your homework beforehand into the characteristics of the breeds you’re considering is a great way to make sure you find the perfect match for your family.
You can see all of the AKC-recognized breeds as they compete at the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, the largest dog show in North America. Tune in to Animal Planet at 6 p.m. ET/PT on Jan. 1, 2019, to see who will be named Best in Show.
Part of finding the right dog for your family includes determining the perfect diet for your best friend. Just as not every breed is right for every family, not every food is ideal for every breed. An individualized product line like Royal Canin, founded by a veterinarian in 1968, is science-based nutrition, and offers a range of diets based on size, age, breed, lifestyle and therapeutic requirements. The right diet is an important part of keeping your dog in tip-top shape.
Dog breeds have been developed all over the world. American breeds, as you might expect, tend to be drawn to the great outdoors. Here are some all-American dog breeds to consider.
Australian Shepherd: Yes, you read that right! The Aussie was developed in the wild, wild west on ranches in the 1800s. These are focused, highly intelligent dogs that do very well with a job – guide dogs, therapy dogs or drug detection. Keep your Aussie entertained with agility sports, obedience, herding and other activities. These dogs need a great deal of exercise mentally and physically, so people with sedentary lifestyles may not be a good fit for this breed. They are highly trainable and make great watchdogs, too.
Alaskan Malamute: The largest and oldest of the sled dog breeds, these dogs were bred to pull. Because of that, it’s important to always use a harness, not a leash attached to their collar. They love people, even strangers, so don’t try to use them as guard dogs despite their size. They make wonderful, loving and loyal family pets. Unlike their Husky cousins, Mals are not bred for speed and do well with long walks and slow jogs. These dogs need lots of exercise and plenty of outside time (they love to dig snow dens in the winter), but at their heart they are pack animals and love nothing more than to be with their people.
Catahoula Leopard Dog: The state dog of Louisiana, this breed originated near Catahoula Lake, hence the name, and are thought to be descendants of the Native American dogs that the first settlers encountered in the area. These versatile dogs are herders and hunters, and they do best when they have a job, whether it’s accompanying their people on a hunting trip or herding cattle. Catahoulas are excellent watchdogs and protective of their family’s children. They are a high-energy breed that needs exercise and outside time – not very well suited to apartment dwellers.
Black and Tan Coonhound: These dogs are famous for being able to follow an “old trail,” meaning a trail with barely any scent left on it. Hunters love Black and Tans because of this ability, and Black and Tans love to trail anything – animal or human. For this reason, they’re often used in search and rescue missions. When they’re not following their noses, Black and Tans are affectionate, friendly and make great family pets, but they do need daily moderate exercise. Hound lovers know these breeds have a rather musky scent, so frequent baths are a must.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever: The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is thought to have originated from two puppies that were rescued from a shipwreck in Chesapeake Bay in 1807. This retriever has a dense coat that allows it to easily handle extreme weather conditions, and their strength and intensity make them excellent hunting companions. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are polite, but not overly friendly, to strangers and make great watchdogs.
American Eskimo: These adorable, white, fluffy dogs might not look like great watchdogs, but they’re alert, intelligent and protective of their people. American Eskimos are very sociable and love nothing better than being with their families. These dogs are very kid-friendly, eager to please and highly trainable. Their white coat needs frequent brushing and care.
If you want to know more about choosing the ideal diet for your new best friend, visit Royal Canin at https://www.royalcanin.com.