Deciding to take home any kind of pet is a huge responsibility. This animal will depend on you for food, shelter, affection, and, depending on the pet, a varying degree of attention and socialization. Each type of pet has its own merits, and like most other things, the pet that is right for one person may not be right for another. That being said, dogs are an extremely popular pet all across the world, and may have been domesticated as early as 32,000 years ago. There's a reason dogs are characterized as "Man's Best Friend," but if you decide to become a dog owner, there are a number of things you should take into consideration.
If you are looking for a family dog, specifically a breed that is known to get along well with children and other pets, you will want dog that has high energy, is easy to train, and is not very aggressive. It is ignorant to assume that every individual dog of a certain breed has the same characteristics across the board, but there are a number of breeds that tend to carry these desirable traits. A Bull Terrier, for example, has high energy and doesn't mind being rough-housed by little ones a bit. The Newfoundland is a very sweet a nurturing breed, and will keep a close watch over children.
The biggest mistake irresponsible dog owners make is selecting a breed that they do not have the space to accommodate. A high energy dog needs to be walked frequently and get plenty of exercise outdoors, so if you live in an apartment and do not have the time to take the dog out a few times a day, you are simply doing this animal a disservice by keeping it in your house. Border Collies, Vizslas and Greyhounds, for example, might have a great temperament, but will act up if they do not get the chance to expend some energy and run around outdoors.
This is not usually a huge issue, but certain breeds tend to shed much more than others, or require frequent bathing and brushing. If you are concerned about hair getting all over your house or do not have the patience or time to take proper care of grooming needs, dogs like retrievers and sheepdogs have very minimal shedding and don't require a ton of maintenance.
As previously stated, it is unwise to assume an entire breed carries the same traits. Some breeds, like the Rottweiler, the Pitbull, and the German Shepherd have gotten a bad reputation because of sensationalized stories or isolated incidents that were more often than not brought on by poor ownership and training. Blue Pitbulls have many of the traits that dog owners look for: they are easy to groom, protective and playful with children, and often adapt well to city environments or smaller living spaces if they are walked enough. Because of their toughness and reputations, breeds like these are associated with violence and disobedience, which often leads to dogs winding up in shelters where it is difficult for them to find homes. For this reason and many others, adopting or raising one of these breeds is often a very rewarding experience.