The trick is knowing what kind of companion is right for you, because different breeds have different energy levels, requirements, health issues, and other important factors that can make or break your relationship.
Fortunately, as long as you know what you're looking for, you can give yourself a much better chance for discovering the right kind of dog for your taste and your lifestyle.
This takes several steps, but they're well worth your effort when you consider that the results will have an impact the next ten to fifteen years of your life - and your dog's life.
To begin, you need to look at yourself.
This is important because finding the right dog isn't as much about finding a good dog as it is about finding the right individual in a breed of dogs that can suit your lifestyle, tastes, and desires.
For example, you're want a completely different dog if you're living on a farm from the dog you'd want if you're living in a bachelor apartment downtown in a large city.
Furthermore, you'll want a different dogs depending on if you live alone, or if you have a family with young children.
Remember that there are very different requirements for a dog depending on its: Size Energy/exercise needs Aggression level Compatibility with kids Ease of training Tendency to bark/dig/howl, etc.
Once you've recognized the qualities that you're looking for in a dog in order to suit your lifestyle, you'll want to become familiar with the different breeds and breed mixes out there, and then become very familiar with those that have the features you're looking for.
You can learn about breeds by buying books, visiting good quality, informative websites, contacting your country's kennel club (for example, the Canadian Kennel Club, the UK Kennel Club, and the American Kennel Club), by calling a local veterinarian, or by visiting your local animal shelter and speaking to one of their adoption counselors.
Remember that every dog is able to provide you with all the companionship that you want, but some dogs are better designed than others for giving you the kind of companionship that you want and need in your life.
Keep in mind that this is a long-term decision, and it should not be made on a whim because you just couldn't resist those sparkling sad eyes.
By choosing the right dog for you, you're selecting the perfect friend for years to come.