Choosing the Best Dog for Your Family

Choosing the best dog for your familyChoosing a dog for your family can be pretty overwhelming. Which dogs should you steer clear of, and which are truly man's best friend? Animal Planet's Karen "Doc" Halligan joins Easy Does It host Ereka Vetrini to help you decide which dog is right for you.

Related: How to pick the perfect dog

According to Halligan, before getting a dog, consider three things. "First, you want to consider why you're getting a dog. Second, the space and time commitment you have. And third, finances."

Which breeds should you avoid if you have little ones in the family? "Believe it or not," says Halligan, "a lot of the toy breeds aren't good with kids under five." She adds, "The high-energy breeds can be very destructive with children. They'll just knock them down, and they can hurt the kids."

Related: 6 best big-dog breeds for families

On the other hand, Halligan recommends several breeds that are really good with children. Among her suggestions are Pugs, King Charles Cavaliers, Lhasa Apsos, and Shih Tzus.

If you live in a small apartment, Halligan recommends avoiding large breeds such as Saint Bernards. She also says to avoid herding breeds "because they have to get their energy out somehow, so if you did live an apartment, they'd have to be walked constantly." On the other hand, she says that Great Danes "are couch potatoes" and could be an acceptable choice for a decent-sized apartment. She also recommends breeds such as Poodles and Basset Hounds for apartment dwellers.

While all dogs cost money for their care and feeding, Halligan notes that there are breeds that may come with higher expenses, including dogs that have a continuous growing coat, which must be trimmed every six weeks. She also notes that breeds with "pushed in faces," like bulldogs, often have breathing problems. And finally, Halligan says that dogs from pet stores, which are likely inbred, are "guaranteed to have more health problems."

Halligan recommends that even if you are looking for a specific breed of dog for your family, check animal shelters first. "We get almost every purebred in the shelter," she says. Her ideal low-maintenance pooch? "Go to a shelter, look for a smaller dog that's a mutt with short hair, doesn't need a lot of grooming, doesn't seem kind of crazy, low energy, there you go."

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