The decision to have a dog as a pet has long term consequences and should not be taken lightly. A dog lives more than ten years on average and therefore you should aim to choose a dog whose specific requirements and needs (e.g. exercise, training, grooming etc), you will be able to meet, but you must also be willing to learn to live with them!
Which breed to choose?
The German Shepherd Dog appears to be obedient, the Labrador affectionate with children, the Greyhound independent… However, no dog can be classified quite that simply. When making a choice the breed should be chosen according to the role you want your dog to have particularly considering their weight and size. So, choosing a Yorkshire Terrier as a guard dog on a property seems just as inappropriate as keeping a Mastiff or a Great Dane in an apartment. As a general rule, a small-sized dog, though more sprightly, will require less space than a medium-sized dog; as for the large breed dog, they always require a larger area to live in.
Many breeds will have their own specific characteristics and unique needs and this may also include sensitivities and health concerns. The cost of owning and caring for a dog should always be taken into consideration, the day to day cost of feeding will vary greatly between a mini breed or a large breed but there are also the other costs to consider. From the one off cost of neutering to the regular cost of flea and worm treatment these will be affected by the size of the dog you choose just as the breed of dog you choose is likely to impact on the cost of pet insurance.
Whatever the breed chosen, you should always keep in mind that every dog, no matter what size, needs to receive attention from you, their owner, at least several times in the day, whether that’s walking, grooming, training or simply spending time in their company. Breed clubs and breeders are a great source of information to help you make up your mind and dog shows are ideal places to discover the full diversity of canine breeds and talk with breed professionals.
Male or female?
Female dogs, or bitches, are generally smaller than males in all dog breeds, and this may be a factor for consideration in your choice. Whether male or female it is always advisable to have your dog neutered to reduce the risk not only of unwanted puppies, but also of unwanted behaviour.
Where to get a dog
It’s best to purchase your puppy from a breeder who specialises in the breed. The litter is from dogs he knows well, he has selected and he can tell you all about. He should be able to guarantee that your puppy will have the physical attributes required to meet the standard for that breed. The same goes for their nature and temperament. So a visit to the breeding kennels is recommended.
This will allow you to see puppies’ mother, to see the living conditions of the puppy since it was born and to have the opportunity to talk with the breeder. It is very important to see your puppy with their mother as this will give you an indication of how they are being raised and if this is not possible it should be a cause for concern. As a professional, the breeder will certainly want to make sure that your choice of his puppy is compatible with your lifestyle. A list of breeding kennels may be supplied by the Kennel Club and other canine associations, veterinarians and breed clubs.
Visit our Dog Encyclopaedia to help you choose your most suitable breed!