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Published: Aug 03, 2012

If you're considering bringing a canine companion into your home, one of the first decisions you have to make is what type of dog to get. There are hundreds of breeds, and on top of that, an endless variety of mix-breed dogs to choose from. Here are some questions to consider before you make your final decision.

Where do you live?

A big part of this dog-decision depends on what kind of an environment you call home. Individuals who live in the city will most likely want a smaller dog that will fit in well with their smaller living space. Big dogs, like labradors or other retrievers, may be frustrated without ample room to stretch their legs.

On the flip side, those who live in rural areas may want to find a canine companion that enjoys the outdoors. Just remember, if you have a pet who spends a lot of time outside, you'll need to make sure you use pet parasite protection to keep them safe and healthy.

Are you or your loved ones allergic?

If you or a family member is allergic to dander, your options of what kind of dog are slightly limited, but you can still love and care for a canine. You may think that you will need to pay an arm and a leg for a dog that is hypoallergenic, but there are actually a number of mix-breed and purebred dogs that seem to cause minimal allergy flare-ups. These breeds are typically smaller, and will have minimally shedding hair, which means dog grooming will definitely be a part of your routine.

How old are you?

Your age can also help you decide on a type of dog to get. Young families with children often decide on bringing a puppy into the family, so that their child and the canine can grow together. Dogs and children can be great companions, but you'll need to make sure you take the time to educate your youngsters on how to best care for and respect the pets in your home.

Older adults may want to consider adopting an older dog. Dogs who are five years or older are typically more mellow, and don't have the boundless energy of younger canines. Additionally, senior dogs often have a harder time finding adoptive homes. Bringing an older dog into the family doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up paying more in vet bills either, because senior canines usually have their dog vaccinations and spaying or neutering taken care of. However, it may still be a good idea to invest in pet insurance to help treat any health issues the dog may have later on down the line.

Are you financially stable?

Bringing a dog into your home is a great way to liven up your living space and find a new friend, but you'll need to make sure you have the finances to help pay for everything the dog needs. Many dogs in the U.S. are returned to shelters because their owners were not prepared to take on the expense of caring for a pet. Before you adopt, sit down and plan out your budget to make sure you'll be able to pay for food, vet bills, toys and anything else your dog will need to live a happy life.