Plan Carefully when Choosing a Lifetime Pet

The Best Individual means More than Breed. Watch the You Tube Video


We are looking to purchase a puppy.  We have two children ages 12 and 13.  We enjoy our back yard along with our vegetable garden.  Our choices of puppies that we are looking toward are Samoyed, St. Bernard and Siberian Husky.  If you could please help us decide which dog would best suit us and the life style we have we would be very grateful.


Dr. Nichol:

The right breed of dog, and the best individual fit for your family, has a lot to do with the basic canine needs that will come hard-wired into your shiny new puppy. Great big dogs have enormous needs for sustained, strenuous exercise-every day. Hours of hard running, ideally away from home with other dogs, makes a huge difference. Leash walks and playing ball in the yard are valuable but they will hardly put a dent in a giant breed dog’s exercise requirements.


Unless you folks have a serious love for hiking, running, obedience or agility training I would urge you to consider a smaller breed. As I get older, and I hope wiser, I own smaller dogs. As a much younger man I had a 60 pound Airedale. Now the Nichol family has Miss America, a svelte 35 pound Border collie. If I live long enough I will advance to a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian, which, I have observed, make delightful companions.


Dogs are not like identical appliances rolling off an assembly line; they are individuals. The right breed is important but success is more about picking the right puppy. To widen the pool of applicants I also encourage you to consider one of mixed ethnicity. With the support of Animal Humane New Mexico (an excellent place to find great pets) I have produced a fun video called How to Select the Right Puppy for You. You’ll find it at