Choosing the Perfect Rescue Pet

guy walking different dog breeds

How to Choose the Perfect Rescue Pet: A Guide by Unconditional Rescue

Adopting a dog is a huge decision, and there are so many factors that go into picking out the “pawfect” pup for you! Read on to learn about everything you should consider while on the hunt for your new four-legged companion! 


a big dog and small dogA dog’s size can significantly impact its suitability for your current living situation, your budget, and your physical ability. For example, larger dogs tend to require more space to move around comfortably, making them less suitable for small apartments. They also often need more exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. Having a backyard for them to play in will come in handy if you adopt a big dog. 

Smaller dogs generally adapt better to smaller living spaces and often require less physical exercise. This makes them an ideal choice for apartment living or a more sedentary lifestyle. Keep in mind, though, that small size doesn’t necessarily equate to lower energy. Some small breeds are very active and need to be walked/exercised every day!


hyper dog rolling around

Some dogs are much more active and energetic than others, so they require more physical exercise and mental stimulation. This means several hours of activity every single day (running, playing, etc). If you are very active, then a high-energy dog may be perfect for you! 

Low-energy dogs are more content with short walks, laid-back activities, and lots of time on the couch. They make a better fit for the less active individuals out there, or those with a busy lifestyle that don’t have the time or capacity for long exercise sessions. 

Remember, regardless of the breed, each dog will require some level of exercise for their physical health and happiness. That’s why aligning their energy needs with your lifestyle will make for a harmonious pet/owner relationship.


shy dog covering its face

The temperament of a dog can significantly impact whether they are a good fit for you and your family. Some dogs are naturally more sociable towards people and other animals, while others may be more reserved and prefer being left alone. Breeds known for their friendliness might be the better choice for families, while the more independent breeds may be more suitable for those seeking a companion for themselves only. 

However, while certain temperament traits are more common in specific breeds, there’s always a degree of individual variation. Sometimes it takes a while for a dog to truly relax and open up around their new owners, so don’t let a seemingly shy dog deter you from adopting it! They might just need a little extra time, patience, and TLC before they let their true personalities shine! 


a dog getting groomed

Every breed has its own specific grooming needs. Some dogs have coats that require regular professional grooming. This can be expensive and time consuming. Other dogs have short coats that require minimal grooming – just the occasional bath and a good brushing once a week. Dogs can also be somewhere in the middle. 

You need to think about how much time, effort, and money you’re willing and able to spend on hygiene maintenance when deciding what kind of dog to adopt. 


a dog at the vet

When choosing the perfect rescue pet, you should consider their health as well. Certain dog breeds are prone to specific health issues. For instance, large breeds often struggle with joint issues like hip dysplasia, while small breeds may be prone to dental problems and heart conditions. And let’s not forget about the brachycephalic breeds out there (those with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs), who can have respiratory issues due to their physical structure.

All of these health issues can require significant financial resources to manage, and can also be emotionally straining for you! Researching the common health issues for the dog you are considering adopting will help you understand what kind of care they might need, and whether or not you can provide it for them! 

A common health issue that often gets overlooked is Intervertebral Disk Disease. Check out this blog to learn more about IVDD.


a police dog

If you’re getting a dog for a specific purpose (hunting, guarding, providing emotional support, etc.), you’ll want to get a dog who naturally has the right tendencies for the job.

For example, hunting dogs should have a high prey drive, while guard dogs need to be more independent and less trusting. German Shepherds were bred to protect, while Border Collies were bred to run and herd sheep, so you can’t expect them to be lazy cuddle bugs. 

Go Mixed

a mutt

Choosing a mixed breed has a lot of advantages. Mixed breeds are often healthier because they come from a wider gene pool, which reduces their chance of having any breed-specific diseases. They are also more unique in looks, skills, and personality, which gives them more of a charm compared to purebreds. 

The best part about adopting a mixed breed is that there are plenty of them at the shelter who are waiting for a loving home! When you choose a mixed breed, you’re not only getting a potentially healthier pet – you are also giving a shelter dog a home. 

Don’t Overthink It

different dog breeds playing together

Remember that choosing the perfect rescue pet is a process, and every dog is an individual and can vary greatly from the breed standard. Spending time with a dog before adoption can help ensure that they are a good fit for you! You might find that the perfect dog for you isn’t a specific breed, but the one who wags their tail the hardest when you walk by their kennel.

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