Choosing a dog is pretty much a matter of what you want in one. Do you want companionship? Something for the kids to play with? Do you want a working dog, or one for hunting or ranching? Maybe you just want the comfortable feeling of companionship and unconditional love. Whatever your reason, the right dog is somewhere out there for you. First, decide whether you want a puppy or an older dog. Puppies require lots of time and attention to train. They chew things up and have frequent accidents. You can't be sure what they'll be like until they've grown. On the other hand, they sure are cute! An older dog has already finished the more annoying phases of puppyhood and will generally bond quickly with its new owner. Next, consider the breed you want. Certain breeds will come with the genetic traits needed for certain activities, such as hunting or herding. If you plan to show your dog, you have to choose one according to the specific requirements of the breed. If you just want companionship, there are plenty of lovable mutts around that'll fit the bill. There are still many more things to take into consideration. A long-haired dog will require more time for grooming; a big dog is definitely better for home protection. And then there's the matter of male or female. Unless you plan on breeding the dog, you'll want to get it fixed anyway, but females tend to be gentler. Once you've figured out what kind of dog you're looking for, you're ready to go out and find the right one.