Once you have done your homework on how to be prepared before you adopt a pet, then it may be time to weigh the positive and negative aspects of adopting a puppy, adolescent, adult or senior dog. Whether you are game for spit-fire of energy in the form of a 9 week old Lab, or you are hoping for a dependable old Basset Hound, here are some quick pros & cons about each age to help you narrow down your search.

Pro & Cons for Dogs of Every Age


Pros: Puppies are a fresh start. You get to enjoy life with that little whipper-snapper from his earliest moments, and you have the opportunity to both oversee and witness him grow. This is also a great opportunity to form his character and begin life with good habits rather than un-learning bad ones with an adult dog.

Cons: You will have your work cut out for you. Puppies not only have a lot of energy, but house breaking and obedience training takes a lot of time an effort (or money if you are paying a professional). You will also have to work through the teething faze with your puppy, who may want to chomp on any idea that holds still. While there are some ways to guess what kind of dog your pup will turn into, his personality is still a bit of a wild card as this stage. Fortunately, many negative behaviors can be corrected with training.

Adolescent Dogs

Pros: You will get to skip some of the teething stage, and the dog of this size will be less in danger of getting stuck in small places, or being hurt by larger animals and people. Adolescent dogs also have enough energy to keep up with fun activities without burning out and losing steam, like puppies and senior dogs. This is also a prime age to establish your leadership as the master, while the dog is still impressionable and may not be strictly set in his habits.

Cons: Adolescent dogs can be very tricky to work with. Teen dogs have abundance of energy, and oftentimes a shorter attention span, meaning that practicing and retaining commands will be that much more difficult. They are no longer in the cutest “puppy stage” but still tend to be awkward and gangly, sometimes tripping or running into things. If the dog is not fixed, he or she will become sexually mature and may experience frustrating moodiness or a tendency to look for an escape. Because of these challenges, most canines are abandoned between the ages of 8-18 months; adolescent-age dogs are frequently found in shelters.

Adult Dogs

Pros: Goodbye teething, potty-training, and personality surprises! When adopting an adult dog, there is far less uncertainty about his defects or bad habits, because he is already going to be set in his ways. Adult dogs tend to be more laid back, without being at that age where kidneys fail and eye sight grows dim. They also will have less of a rebellious streak that might be found in adolescents who are too distracted to listen.

Cons: This pup has had years to accumulate positive or negative experiences. If he has been abused or poorly trained, you may have to work hard at making your dog comfortable and trusting. Though the pup will likely already have some good training under his/her belt, there may be residual nervousness resulting in wet puddles on the floor, fear of new places, or sensitivity to certain places or objects.   Adopting an adult dogs means you may not know much about his past, or if something might distress or frighten him.

Senior Dogs

Pros: There are several positive aspects of adopting a senior dog. They adapt easily to change, and tend to have much more mild-mannered temperaments than younger pups. Their personality is established, and they are less likely to challenge their master or throw a fit if a child accidently pulls on their tail. They usually require far less training than other dogs, and will be less likely to run away than their younger counterparts. Choosing a senior dog is also a compassionate thing to do, since many people skip over these dogs in favor of a younger pooch.

Cons: Aging dogs are more likely to develop illnesses and may require more frequent trips to the vet. However, some dogs struggle with ailments early in life, while other older pups rarely have any health glitches. Owning a senior dog also means that you will have fewer years with him than you would a dog of 1-2 years old. But puppy love comes in all shapes, sizes and ages, and if it is a gray old hound who has captured your heart, then that might be the very best match for you!