Considerations for Choosing the Right Size of Dog

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When it comes to choosing the right size dog for you and your family, there are quite a few things to consider. Dog size matters and shouldn't be taken lightly, for the comfort of your new dog, you the pet parent, and the rest of the family. Because there are so many concerns, consider these issues before you bring your new four-legged friend home.

House and Yard Size

As a general rule, the larger the dog, the more space you're going to need to comfortably house him, which makes sense. Imagine being cramped in an area you can barely move in. While some giant breeds aren't very active and don't need acres of yard space, they still need enough room to get around without knocking over furniture or bumping into walls. As an example, a mastiff is huge but his exercise needs are low, according to Vetstreet. That said, a small dog that is very active would benefit from a fenced yard even if he requires minimal space inside your home. City dwellers with smaller spaces may want to consider smaller dogs, and should look up their local dog parks to help their new buddy expend energy, too.


The size of the dog you decide to add to your family will greatly depend on your children. A dog that's too big can accidentally hurt young children by knocking them over or even stepping on them. On the flip side, small breeds can be unintentionally hurt by children as they are more fragile. Many small breeds are generally not a good choice for homes with children due to their temperaments. Vetstreet notes that Chihuahuas are not always tolerant of children, for instance. Large dogs are hardier and typically more social with kids. Regardless of size, all interactions between dogs and children should be supervised by an adult.

Other Considerations

Home size and children are the biggest considerations when choosing the right size dog to bring home, but there are other things to think about. Generally speaking, the larger the dog, the more expensive your dog food budget will be. It may not be a deal-breaker, but cost can be a factor for pet parents on tighter budgets. Veterinary bills are also usually more expensive with larger dogs because they need higher doses of medications for treatments.

Another thing to consider is play time. More often than not, smaller dogs are capable of being active much longer than their larger counterparts. Although there are very active small breeds, such as small herding dogs and terriers, your larger dog is going to be the one joining you on hikes, runs, and bike rides. Toys, bedding, and crates will all be different sizes but comparable in price. However, they can take up more of your space in your apartment or home, which should also factor in your decision to adopt a certain dog size or breed.

Believe it or not, vehicle size is an important factor to consider when thinking about the size of dog you choose to adopt. If you're trying to fit a Great Dane into a Mini Cooper, you may quickly realize that it's not possible. You want to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable if you ever go on trips, even if it is just to the vet.

If you're looking for a dog to snuggle with at night in your bed you should also consider how much of the bed you're willing to give up. While smaller dogs definitely have a way of taking up more of the bed than they should for their size, it is nothing compared to a larger dog breed. In this case you may find yourself not needing blankets to keep you warm because your furry companion will provide all the warmth you need.

Whatever you decide, knowing that you're bringing home the right size dog is important to ensure that everyone will be comfortable with the new environment. Knowing ahead of time what size dog you're getting, whether you're adopting a puppy or an adult dog, will allow you to be prepared with all the right accessories. Size is one of the many characteristics you should consider before adopting your forever friend. In the end, of course, you want to promote a happy, healthy life for you and your pooch.

Contributor Bio

Katie Finlay

Katie Finlay

Katie Finlay is a Los Angeles, CA based dog trainer and writer. She has been working with dogs and their owners both in person and through her articles for over six years.

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