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There's probably no such thing as an ugly puppy. But their irresistible cuteness may also be their downfall when people eagerly take them home, not knowing anything about that particular breed or much about dog ownership in general.

First, read books and talk to dog breeders about which breed would be most suited to your personality and lifestyle. A lot of people buy dogs for their looks. But maybe that cute dog you like won't be suited to you after you get it home. If you have three or four rambunctious boys, don't get a tiny little dog like a Papillon. The kids will just mangle it and make it mean.

But if you like to stay home and read a lot, then don't get an Irish setter which is more suited for an outdoor life. Being compatible has probably led to the joke that dog owners come to resemble their pets. And that's not a fallacy.

Women who spend a lot of time on their hair and make-up tend to have a little poofy thing for a dog while men more often prefer a dog that's easy to groom and that likes rough-and-tumble play.

Along with temperament, the dog's size and coat are important factors to consider. Large dogs need more room and exercise while long-haired dogs often require frequent grooming and may shed more. If you're a fastidious housekeeper, you may not want a dog who'll shed a lot. Some people buy breeds that require a lot of grooming when they're not even into combing their own hair.

With a little thought, a suitable dog can be easily found.