What to consider when adopting a dog

Every dog is unique so take the time to think about the factors that would make or break a successful relationship with your new pup.

by Good Dog

Before you get started in the adoption process, it’s important to take a realistic look at your needs. Think about the type of dog that would fit into your lifestyle. Consider your preferences around size, energy level, and behavior.

Are you looking for a pup that’s good around other dogs or children? Live a low-key lifestyle and want a lower energy companion? Take some time to think about the factors that would make or break a successful relationship with your new pal. Poor match between pup and person is what most often leads to dogs being in the shelter in the first place, so you want to make sure you don’t repeat the cycle.


When you think about your home and environment, a certain size of dog should come to mind. A dog’s size is important to consider when either adopting or buying a dog from a breeder.

Rescue organizations and shelters won’t always be able to anticipate a dog’s final size, as they likely don’t know the dog’s parents and lineage, but they can give you their best information. If you adopt through a breed-specific rescue, the staff there should be able to provide you with their best guess of the dog’s final size.

Energy level

It’s only natural that some dogs will require more exercise and activity than others. You should seriously consider what you’re able to provide a dog based on your lifestyle. Do you frequently go for runs or are you more of a laid-back person? Are you ready to otherwise provide exercise for a dog that needs it regularly, such as a dog-walker or dog daycare/camp?

A dog’s energy should match what you are able to give it. Otherwise, it might make your life together tough and could result in the dog needing to be rehomed.


Just like with humans, not all dogs act the same. If you had a dog growing up and expect all dogs to be just like them, get ready to have your expectations shifted.

Some dogs are playful, while others can be more relaxed, protective, or aloof. This doesn’t mean your dog can’t have multiple facets to their personality, but you should be aware of its temperament before you bring them home.

An important note: behaviors can be improved with the right training and socialization. However, make sure to understand what you’re signing up for and whether you can give your dog the care and attention he or she needs.

If you think through these basic categories, you’re well on your way to figuring out what kind of dog is right for you. Shelters and rescues have all sorts of breeds, sizes, and personalities. Be honest with what you’re looking for, and they’ll be more than happy to help match you with the right pup.