5 things to consider before getting a puppy for Christmas

Over the years, there has been a lot of debate on whether or not getting a pet for Christmas is a good idea. After all, there is no gift more likely to bring a tear to your loved one’s eye than a little bundle of fluff. But recent reports have found that the initial enthusiasm soon wears off and many of these bundles of joy are being sent to the local shelter.

Here are some things to consider before bringing that sweet critter home.

Do you have the time and the money to care for the pet?

It may seem like the initial cost is a big commitment, but that is just the beginning. Not only do you need to buy a crate, food and toys, you also have to factor in doctor’s appointments, grooming appointments and pet sitters. 

More importantly, dogs require walks, love, and lot of attention. According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs are taken to animal shelters in the U.S. every year -- 20 percent because their families don’t have enough time to care for their animals. Don't be a part of this statistic. 

Does the person you gifting to really want a pet?

This seems like an obvious question, but many people don’t really want the full time commitment that a dog requires. A commitment that will last 10-15 years. So, make sure that the expressed interest is genuine and the person is ready to step up to the challenge. This is particularly important when buying for children who's short attention spans may be better suited for a stuffed animal.

RELATED: Breeds for kids

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Best dog breeds for kids
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Best dog breeds for kids

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

"The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a wonderful family pet; a gentle, calm dog, who is happy to be combed and brushed," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed is, however, less enthusiastic about games, such as tug of war, and rough-and-tumble play. King Charles Spaniels are a good match for a more urban lifestyle and a sensitive child." What does that wagging tail mean?

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Golden Retriever

"The Golden Retriever is one of the most well-known dogs because of their gentle, caring temperaments. They are able to lounge around the house for an afternoon or take a hike through the woods," says Pete Lands, DVM, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. Goldens are very bright and easy to train. They're also stoic when it comes to kids. "While they may not like it, Golden Retrievers tend to be apathetic to young kids pulling on their ears or tugging at their tails. This makes them one of the best family dogs you can find," he adds.

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Labrador Retriever 

They look large-and-in-charge, but Labs are famously child-friendly. "The Labrador Retriever is a reliable family pet," says Dr. Emmett. "This breed has an insatiable appetite for games and play and is well suited for an active outdoor lifestyle and a child who likes to run, throw balls, and play Frisbee." These are the most popular breed dogs in every state.

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Beagle

Cute as a button, sweet, and gentle, these pack animals thrive on companionship. According to the American Kennel Club, these charmers make excellent family dogs because they are loving by nature, love to play, and have goofy personalities. If you want a dog who wants to be with people, this is a great breed for your family. Pass Beagles up, however, if your house is always empty during the day.

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Irish Setter

Does your family love a good group jog or a game of beach Frisbee? If so, an Irish Setter will be the perfect fit for you. Regal to look at and energetic beyond words, this breed grows to be large, around 50 to 70 pounds and has a long lifespan, so they can grow up with your kids. Irish Setters make great companions, are wonderful with children, and have lively dispositions. They also love to play with toys and balls. Don't miss these secrets dog trainers won't tell you.

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French Bulldog

Frenchies, as they are affectionately known, are diminutive in size, but big in personality. Known for their affectionate natures and silly "bat" ears, French Bulldogs were bred to be companion dogs. The perfect family dog for apartment dwellers, Frenchies do well in small spaces, and love being around kids. French bulldogs also love getting dressed up for Halloween.

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Boxer

Make a Boxer part of your family, and you will never feel unprotected again. Fiercely loyal and protective of those who love them, these energetic, medium-sized dogs have calm dispositions, but love to play. They need lots of exercise, but beware of driving them too hard in hot weather. Like all squish-faced (Brachycephalic) dogs, they tend to overheat. Keep your pooch safe all summer long with these 28 warm-weather health tips for dogs.

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Cocker Spaniel

There's a definite possibility that Cocker Spaniels think they are people. They're gentle, loving, very smart, love being around children, and tend to always put themselves in the middle of the action. They also make great therapy dogs and may be a good fit for an anxious or special needs child. Their beautiful, floppy ears make them prone to ear infections, so keeping them clean and groomed is essential.

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Bichon Frise

These little bundles of low-shedding fur are some of the friendliest dogs on the planet. Sweet, affectionate, and playful, the Bichon Frise is a fantastic playmate for energetic children. Their small size makes them a great city dog, provided you give them lots of walks. According to Animal Planet, they're loyal to a fault and do best with consistent training and moderate amounts of activity. These are the dog breeds most compatible with your (or your child's) Zodiac sign.

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Collie

Rough Collies are known for their majestic, flowing coats, while smooth Collies have shorter coats. Rough or smooth, Collies make great family pets. (However, rough collies require more grooming.) This breed is incredibly intelligent and likes nothing better than to engage in activity with the children who love them. They're fast learners, loyal to their families, and protective. Just ask Lassie.

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Poodle

Have an allergic child? According to Health, Poodles might just be the ticket for you. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Poodles seem to come close, because they appear to produce fewer allergens. They also come in three sizes—standard, miniature, and toy—and an abundance of colors. These adorable goofballs are super-smart, easy to train, adapt well to new situations, and love kids. Here's your official guide to picking the best dog breed for you.

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Labradoodle

An intentional mix of Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles are as adorable as their name. A medium-shedder, Labradoodles were originally bred to be even-keeled and empathetic, so they could be trained as guide dogs for visually-impaired people. This breed couldn't be more affectionate, or more adorable. Note that they need lots of exercise and tend to get along great with other dogs.

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Pug

This Instagram-darling brings with it major cuddle-factor. Their cutie-patooty smiling faces and cozying-up tendencies make Pugs a popular favorite for children who prefer gentle play to roughhousing. These playful pups were bred to be lap dogsand adore being around people. They're clever, quiet, and make great family pets.

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Chihuahua

Long-haired or short, Chihuahuas are the tiniest of all dog breeds. They tend to adore children and are very loyal to their families. Chihuahuas love the indoors and are not fond of very cold weather, perhaps because they're thought to have originated in Mexico. They're easy to train and love the lap of the person who loves them best. Watch out for these secret signs that your dog is mad at you.

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Chug

Chugs are a specific breed comprised of Pug and Chihuahua ancestry. Many have the best characteristics of both popular breeds, making them great pets for children. According to Pet Guide, Chugs are a designer dog with characteristics that vary from liter to liter. Like their forebears, most will make good family dogs. They're loyal, affectionate, intelligent, and love to play.

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Havanese

This tiny charmer is the national dog of Cuba. They have exuberant personalities and adore people of all ages. Havanese dogs are very social and outgoing. A loving breed, they also enjoy playing games. They're a toy breed, so not a great fit for rough-and-tumble play, but they're perfect for families who are looking for a silly, outgoing friend for their child. Read on for the 50 secrets your pup won't tell you.

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Bull Terrier

Bull Terriers and Miniature Bull Terriers make fantastic pets for older kids. They are sweet beyond belief, very protective, and very trainable. The American Kennel Club calls them mischievous, playful, and charming. Known for their silly, comical antics, and crowd-pleasing behavior, Bull Terriers need lots of exercise and lots of love.

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Did you do your research?

If you decide to take the leap, you should really think about what kind of animal will fit your lifestyle. Some people are more suited for small dogs or hypoallergenic dogs. Certain dogs bark more or need more room to run around. There are also plenty of dogs looking for good homes, so adopting could be a good option. If you decide to buy from a breeder, consider what experts are saying about these popular brands.

Are you ready for the unexpected?

Even if you plan everything out perfectly, chances are adding an animal into your life is going to mean some unexpected twists and turns. Though certain dogs are more susceptible to certain illnesses, there is no accounting for what may happen as your pup grows up.

It may seem like a lot to take in, but if you have decided you are truly ready to take on the challenge, a puppy is sure to make your loved one's squeal with delight. 

RELATED: Breeds in the AKC

11 PHOTOS
New breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club
See Gallery
New breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett (L) and Escher (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC), stand during a meet-the-breeds event at the AKC offices in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dog Rhett, a new breed recognized by American Kennel Club, plays with its owner during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Lykoi breed of cat, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Lykoi breed of cat, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen breed named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed Escher (L) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Escher (L) and Rhett (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett (L) and Escher (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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