What Kind of Dog is Right For You?
Some friends of mine have been thinking about getting a dog lately, which got me to thinking about the whole “what type of dog should I get?” process. There are several things to think about when it comes to choosing dogs; many of these are on the checklist below that trainer Victoria Stillwell wrote for her book It’s Me or the Dog:Size How big will the dog grow? And how much will he eat? Noise Some breeds are naturally more inclined to bark and yap than others. Some breeds are more sensitive to noise. Read Urban Dog’s post on barking. Activity Level How much exercise does the dog require? Working breeds, bred to herd sheep, need serious workouts. Read Urban Dog’s post about exercise. Temperament Terriers are naturally bossy and tenacious. Spaniels, Setters, and Retreivers generally have friendly, affectionate natures. Coat How much time and money will you need to devote to grooming? Weaknesses Because of inbreeding, some breeds suffer from congenital problems. Dalmatians, for example, can have hearing problems. British Bulldogs can suffer from breathing problems. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can have heart ailments.
For people living in apartments in New York City, I think size, noise, and activity level are probably the most significant things to evaluate when choosing dogs.
Even if a building is pet friendly, co-op boards, condo boards, and landlords will often have restrictions on what types of dogs are allowed, especially when it comes to size or breed. As a courtesy to your neighbors, you don’t want a dog that constantly barks. And as Stillwell wrote, some types of dogs need lots of exercise. Apartment dwellers need to consider how much time they will be able to spend with their dogs and whether hiring a walker or sending their pets to doggy day-care will be needed.
Here’s a sample list, it’s our building’s rules.
• Aggressive breeds are NOT allowed. Aggressive breeds include: Pit Bull, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, or any breed the Management determines, in its sole discretion, to be aggressive. Any dog that is a mixed breed which includes an aggressive breed is not allowed.
• There is a weight limit of 50 pounds for each dog, unless there are two dogs. If there are two dogs in the apartment, their combined adult weight may not exceed 50 pounds. This restriction will be strictly enforced. Only two dogs shall be allowed in any one apartment, subject to the weight restriction.
• Dogs should be walked in designated areas…
• Keep your dog on a leash when it is in the public/common areas of any building or anywhere on the Property. Leash may not be more than six-feet long (Section 161.05 NYC Health Code)
• Walk your dog on sidewalks and walkways. Dogs are not permitted on the grass, in the flowerbeds or on the playgrounds.
• Clean up after your pet (161.03 NYC Health Code)
• Register your pet with Resident Services (212-420-5000).
• Train your dog so that it is accustomed to sharing tight spaces, encountering crowds, loud noise and other city distraction
• Pick up after your dog by always carrying a “baggy” or two when you walk your dog to pick up your dog’s waste. Cleaning up after your dog is NYC law
• Exercise your dog by taking your dog for a walk or to one of the local city dog runs. Follow all property pet regulations when walking your dog on the property
• Prevent nuisance barking by making sure your dog gets adequate exercise and is trained so that it can be left alone in your apartment
• Keep your dog’s NYC license and Rabies Vaccination records up to date
• Keep your dog on a leash when it is in the public/common areas of any building or anywhere on the Property. Leash may not be more than six-foot long. It’s NYC law
• Make sure that an ID tag with your name, address and phone number is affixed to your dog’s collar and is worn at all times
We also have to sign a rider to our lease and pay a small annual fee. Also, I want to remind you that’s just our building’s policy list; these policies vary wildly from building to building.
When choosing dogs, keep in mind that pet policies are definitely not etched in stone. Boards and landlords make exceptions all the time. For example, in the list above it says there’s a 50-pound weight limit and Dobermans are not allowed. I know of a giant Doberman who lives here whose owners presented management with a well thought out presentation laying out the case for their dog. Clearly it worked!