Choosing the right breed for you and your family is as important as making the decision to have a Dog. There are lots of decisions to be made apart from the obvious ones. It is not just a case of “do I buy a pure breed?” or “do I rescue one from a shelter?”. You also need to know if YOU are ready to own a Dog. Below is lots of information on how to choose the right dog breed for you.
Questions You Will Need to Ask Yourself
- Have you made a choice of pet that will fit in with your lifestyle?- When you become a Dog owner there are many adjustments you may need to make in your life. For instance do you have children? Do you have other pets? Does anyone in the family suffer from allergies? How much time have you to walk your Dog? All the questions need to be answered before making the decision.
- Do I have the finances required to look after a Dog?-There are many financial decisions to make. For example if you buy a pure breed from a Reputable Breeder it can cost between £500 – £2000 for your pet. Never buy from a back street breeder. A cheaper option is to buy from a Shelter or Resue Centre. There, you will pay a low fee which usually includes vaccinations and having him chipped. You are also likely to receive a Dog that is mixed with many breeds. This is very advantageous for health reasons. On a personal front we had a beautiful Miniature Schnauzer called Nessa that was a pure breed. She suffered from skin conditions most of her adult life bless her. Both the Dogs we have now were rescued from a shelter and they are healthy and fantastic Dogs.
- Other expenses – Medications, Microchipping, Vaccinations, Grooming, Teeth Cleaning, Flea Treatment, Leads and Collars and a massive expense is food bowls and FOOD.
One Size Does Not Fit All
You may have a good idea of the kind of Dog you want. However, will that size of Dog fit into your lifestyle? Will it fit into your home?
If you live in a Flat it’s probably not the best idea to bring home a huge Dog. Large Dogs need more space to move around. If they are happy then they wag their tails like mad. Not so good if it’s in a small area as furniture, belongings, and even children can get damaged in the excitement. One advantage of a larger Dog is that they don’t normally need as much exercise as small hyper Dogs, that need to be worn out. However, they do need more attention and the food bill will be considerably greater than a small one.
Small Dogs are more vulnerable and delicate. They can be stepped on or mishandled. Be Always careful around small children as they can think your Dog is a toy. I have seen it with my own eyes, small Dogs getting very stressed due to manhandling by children. Smaller Dogs can be much more sensitive than larger ones. They get cold quicker in colder climates, so be ready to wrap them up or have your room temperature set to warm. Training is an important factor as the smaller ones can get a “Tough Dog” attitude to compensate for their small size. I must say my Nelly, the Miniature Poodle, believes she is a Great Dane ha-ha.
If you live in the countryside think about where your Dog will be spending most of its time. A small Pomeranian covered in dirt, bugs, bits of tree and shrubs is going to be a nightmare to groom.
Activities and Training
It is quite obvious that different breeds require different amounts of exercise. It does not matter which breed you have, ALL Dogs require routine exercise. You must be able to commit to this. If this is difficult then choose a Dog with a lower exercise threshold like a French Bulldog. If you are looking for a running companion with lots of agility, then you will be more suited to a Border Collie. Our Hudson is a cross between all sorts of breeds and I have never known him to tire.
You must be able to adjust the amount of exercise your Dog is getting. It is far too easy, to fall into the trap of having lots of enthusiasm for exercise throughout long summer days. However, when the winter comes, do not start to neglect the amount of exercise your Dog is getting. If for instance, your Dog starts to bark constantly and starts destroying you home or garden, then there is a high possibility he or she needs more exercise.
You will need to take into account whether your new best friend will require Training. This can be a great benefit yo yourself, your neighbours and the local Dog Community. You can take your Dog to obedience classes and socialisation training. We used to take our Nessa to agility classes which was so much fun for us and for her.
The way your Dog looks has a lot to do with his Grooming needs. All Dogs need basic grooming, but some a lot more than others. If you have a long haired Dog then this will require more daily maintenance and a trip to the Groomer’s more often. Short haired smooth coated Dogs tend to be shredders which will mean you will have to clean up more often. Remember, if they are shredders then they will not be accepted very well by those people with allergies. It is always a good idea to buy some basic grooming tools to help reduce shredding, and for keeping your loved one looking great.
Something else to think about, Dogs with long ears tend to get infections easier. They require frequent cleaning so it’s a good idea to choose a Groomer that does this every time they groom your Dog. In addition, some types of Dogs constantly drool. If you own a Bloodhound, Mastiff or similar Dog, then it’s a good idea to carry a “slobber cloth” around with you.
If you decide on a Puppy then for the first six months you will need to dedicate a lot of time to training. There will be accidents in the house and there is a possibility items will get chewed. Patience is a must, and given time the problems will become ironed out and your Pup should become house-trained.
An Adult Dog can be an excellent choice. Once you meet him you will be able to judge his temperament and possibly his energy levels. You know he will not grow anymore, so that get’s rid of some uncertainty. Just because he is an adult it doesn’t mean he is properly trained. He maybe partly trained, so will just need a little bit of further training on getting home. Our Hudson was three when we got him. Although shy at first, it didn’t take him very long to settle into our home life. He was fully house-trained so that was a blessing.
Older Dogs should not be forgotten. These can make amazing friends and companions. They are less likely to need lots of exercise but may need attention in other ways. You must remember they might not last many years and are more likely to develop health problems. However, they still need a home like every other Dog. If you can accept this, then adopting an older Dog is a wonderful compassionate thing to do.
As you can tell there are lots of things to take into consideration when getting a Dog. Making the right choice is crucial. There are far too many Dog Shelters with thousands of Dogs needing a good home. You must make sure that you and your family are ready for the commitment and that it is not just a stage you are going through because your young son or daughter wants a puppy.
Reading up on different characteristics of different breeds is a must when understanding what you are likely to go through when choosing that breed. Please see below my top five books available on Amazon.co.uk
If you have any questions or tips you would like to share, please do not hesitate in dropping me a line.