Picking by Breed
Too many people buy the type of dog that was originally created to have a purpose such as the Golden Retriever to hunt, or the Border Collie to herd. These breeds were developed to use their minds and their bodies as well as to be very active. Families buy them because the dogs are athletic, beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, loyal and attentive. They then take them home for their child's pet, stick them in the back yard, rarely interact with them on a regular basis and give them absolutely nothing to do. These dogs in such an unhappy position will create something to do, and it will be loud, destructive and difficult to live with. These dog could make great family pets however they must belong to fair owners who will meet their demand for an active lifestyle that stimulates both their mental and physical needs. They need on-going interaction with the family and regular training. Once these needs are meet then and only then are they the wonderful pet you've earned that is both welcome in the home and in society.
Picking for Sex
Females tend to be smaller than males. Females can damage the grass, males can damage your trees. Males say "I love you, I love you, I love you". Females tend to say " Love me, Love me, Love me". Other then that males and females can be both either submissive or dominate, active or quiet. It is the individual dogs temperament and proper training that will determine whether he or she will make a suitable pet for your home. Sex is just a personal preference usually based on looks. Consider what do you want your dog to look like 2 years down the road, a strong masculine look or soft feminine features? In the past have you always had a certain sex? Do you feel comfortable with that or do you want a change?
If your family companion recently pass away do you want a puppy who when grows to be an adult dog is similar or completely different?
Spaying in females tends to be a bit more expensive as it is a major operation however it nullifies the chances of the dog suffering mammary or uterine cancer or pyometra, an infection of the uterus.
Neutering cost less as it is a simple procedure that eliminates the chances of testicular cancer. Both of these will not change the dogs temperament however if done early enough it will prevent unwanted behaviours associated with mating.
Picking for Temperament
Decide if a quiet submissive puppy, or a more dominant one is more to your family situation ie do you have children, what expectations do you have ie agility dog, tracking dog, what is your activity level, what is your own personal experience ie previous dog owner. Even though temperament, size, activity level is fairly predicable within a breed, there is a range in degrees in their individual differences.
Dominance and aggression are not the same thing. When referring to being dominate or submissive we are referring to the confidence level and ability to take over as pack leader if one is not provided. Dominant puppies can be a handful for inexperienced owners but can be perfect for active homes and for on-the-go owners who want their pet to accompany them through life or for large families who are consistent in their expectations and training. Submissive puppies are shy and likely to need special handling, not the perfect choice for families with young rambunctious children who may overwhelm the puppy but perfect for families who use positive training methods and like to take their pet with them on personal errands and family vacations to ensure proper socialization. An all round, middle of the line, bomb-proof puppy is the preferred temperament for families with very young children or who have members of the family with a disability but this puppy may not have the extra spark needed of that agility or obedience prospect. All types of temperament can have positive and negative associations. Training, socialization and complete family interaction is what will make any dog an animal that is a welcome member both in your home and in today's society.
Picking for Colour
This should be your very last criteria and should be a flexible preference. Picking a puppy by colour is the biggest gamble ever. Although we are given clues to what colour the puppy might eventually grow to be quite often surprises are in store for us. We all have in our minds eye what our perfect dog looks like but our main priority should always be that our perfect dog matches our family needs and lifestyle.