Choosing a dog is a very exciting time but much like dating it’s important to look beyond superficial attraction to make the right choice.
Before you rush in, here are some key factors to consider when deciding which dog breed is right for you:
Do you live in an apartment or a house? Do you have a garden? How tolerant are your neighbours? These are all key considerations when choosing the right dog breed for you. Even some small dogs, such as Jack Russell terriers, need lots of space as they are so active. Think about noise too – a very vocal dog breed such as the Chihuahua or the Pomeranian is not going to be a popular choice with your neighbours if you live in an apartment!
Children need careful supervision with any dog, but some dog breeds are more comfortable around children than others. Golden Retrievers, Cavalier King Charles and Labrador dog breeds are all great choices for families. Also consider whether your family dynamics might change in the future – is a baby on the cards? If so, you need to factor that into your dog breed decision-making, it’s a relationship that will last 10-15 years after all. At the other end of the age scale, Cavalier King Charles and Dachshund are wonderful companion dog breeds for the elderly. Also, don’t forget your furry babies – do you have another dog? If so, you need to make sure the dog breed you choose is good with other dogs, the Golden Retriever ticks this category. Think carefully about the best fit for your household.
A dog’s temperament is another important factor to consider when choosing a dog breed. Do you want a very independent and self-sufficient dog, perhaps if they’re at home while you’re at work? Chow Chows and Schnauzers fit this bill. Or would you prefer a very affectionate and loving companion dog? Labradors, Golden Retriever and Spaniels fit this category. Do you want a dog that will be protective and alert you when people enter your property? German Shepherds and Dobermans tick this box. Or do you have a busy household with lots of comings and goings so a quieter dog that doesn’t make much fuss when visitors arrive would be a better fit? In this case perhaps consider a Pug or Bulldog.
The activity level of your dog’s breed is an important factor to keep in mind when choosing a puppy. It is not a good idea to buy an active dog breed unless you already lead an active lifestyle. However, all dog breeds need exercise and daily interaction with their owners, and most do not like being left alone for long periods of time. A dog that is bored, stressed or frustrated can become very destructive and many behaviour problems are the result of excess energy. Working dog breeds, including Golden Retriever, need plenty of exercise, and even toy dog breeds need daily walks. Think about how much daily exercise you enjoy, what are you going to be happy to commit to in all weathers; 30 mins, 1 hour, more than 2 hours per day? Whilst you should check with your vet your individual dogs exercise requirements, as a general rule smaller dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier and Lhasa Apso need between 30 and 60 minutes per day, medium dogs like the Collie and the Poodle need around 1-2 hours and larger dog breeds such as the Golden Retriever and the Dalmatian need over 2 hours.
You need to be realistic about how much time you’re going to have to dedicate to dog training. Certain dog breeds are thought to be more eager to learn new things, and they are usually intelligent and high energy dogs such as the Golden Retriever which means you’ll want to come up with new tricks and tasks on a regular basis to keep them stimulated and entertained. Trainable dog breeds won’t usually settle for snoozing on the couch all day so if training and being really active isn’t your thing, you may like to choose a different dog breed that’s more relaxed.
How much shedding can you tolerate? Do you have time for daily grooming and the money for regular trips to the dog groomers? If not, you may want to consider more low maintenance dog breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, the Beagle, the Dachshund or the Miniature Pinscher. And don’t presume short hair dog breeds are low maintenance as most short-haired, smooth-coated dogs are major shedders so be prepared for the extra cleaning up!
Dogs are very sociable and love your company. It’s really important they aren’t left alone for long periods of time as all dog breeds can become lonely, anxious and distressed – Bichon Frise in particular do not deal well with being left alone. However, if you work long hours or travel frequently it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get a dog, but you will need to carefully consider which dog breed you opt for and enlist the help of a dog walker, dog sitter, dog day care or dog boarding so your furry friend is entertained in your absence. Dogs shouldn’t be left for more than 4 hours on their own.
Another consideration is the expense. It’s not just the initial cost of getting a dog which you need to consider. Food, equipment, toys, flea and worm treatments, dog day care or dog walker, pet insurance, dog sitter or dog boarding, dog training, replacing a chewed-up bed or unexpected vets bills – it all adds up significantly over the lifetime of your dog, especially as they get older or if they develop health problems. Plus the larger the dog, the more expensive things like dog food and supplies become. Smaller dogs generally live for longer than larger dog breeds and can live up to 15 years old.
Once you’ve weighed up all of these factors it’ll help you to make an informed choice about which dog breed is right for you. However, if you’re still not sure, please don’t hesitate to contact the Dogstroll dog day care team for further advice, we work with a variety of dog breeds every day so we are well placed to offer recommendations based on your individual circumstances.