Let’s follow the fictional Pickadog family — parents Richard and Mary, son Tom, 5, and daughter Becky, 1 ½ — as they decide which dog to bring home. Based on their personal preferences, they have narrowed the list to six options: miniature poodle, Great Dane, black lab, basset hound, Weimaraner and Pembroke Welsh corgi. Here are the issues they consider as they settle on one of them:
How much space do you have?
The family lives in a condominium that already is getting a little crowded with all the kid paraphernalia. This leads them to eliminate the Great Dane. Although it wouldn’t need oodles of exercise, the oversized dog would require a significant amount of room to move around.
Are you willing to exercise your dog?
ARichard and Mary work full-time, and neither is interested in devoting large blocks of leisure time to exercising a dog. Tom isn’t old enough to take on the duty. So they eliminate the black lab, which loves being outdoors, and the Weimaraner, an athletic dog that thrives on exercise.
Is it safe around children?
Basset hounds are lovable creatures, but they’ve been known to clear off an entire coffee table with an inadvertent wag of the tail. With Becky still mastering her walking techniques, they decide to avoid this extra challenge to her balance.
Does it shed?
Richard and Mary already have their hands full taking care of Tom and Becky. The Pembroke Welsh corgi has two coats of fur — an outer coat and a shorter inner coat — that require regular brushing. It’s also considered a high-shedding dog. They pass.
The miniature poodle. Typically about a foot in height and weighing around 15 pounds, it’s well-suited to condominium living. It doesn’t require extensive amounts of exercise. It’s not so large that it would knock Becky over or so fragile that it would be scared of her falling. And it has hair, not fur, so it doesn’t shed.