Deciding to bring a new dog into your life is a much bigger decision than you may have originally thought. There are so many puppies (and older dogs!) out there just waiting for their new owner to turn up and take them home... but how do you decide which dog is right for you and your family? Let us help you out a little by giving you some things to think about before you settle on what breed of dog you'd like to own.
Things to consider:
It is really important not to overlook this. Different breeds of dogs have different energy levels - some are hyper and energetic all day long whilst others are, in a word, lazy. For example, you shouldn't get a working dog like Huntaway or Vizsla if you cannot provide adequate simulation and heaps of exercise for them. A calmer dog may suit some people better, one that doesn't require as much exercise.
Ask yourself how much time you're going to have to train, walk and play with your new companion. If a dog doesn't get the attention and simulation it needs, it will start to show destructive behaviours such as digging up the garden, barking constantly or destroying the home in some way.
Certain breeds require a lot of physical maintenance, and it mainly comes down to the type of hair coat they have. Regular grooming will be necessary for those with longer hair, to reduce matting and shedding, will you able to take them to a groomer when they need it? On the other hand, some dogs need little to no grooming.
So, look into long haired and short haired breeds to decide what you would prefer and ensure you're prepared for the kind of maintenance they will need.
Another factor to take into consideration is the size of the dog when it is fully grown. Are you looking for a little toy dog, a happy medium, or a big, stocky dog? This is important to have a long think about because your lifestyle, the size of your home, and your family members will affect the dog's life.
If you're leaning towards getting a big dog, you'll need to ensure they have enough space to wander around and consider that the expenses (food, supplies and treatments) could be higher. If you're attracted to a smaller dog, think of the possibility of them being mishandled or stepped on, as they may like to follow certain people around or unintentionally get under foot sometimes. The little ones also tend to be more stubborn and harder to train. If you're not sure, maybe looking into medium sized dogs would be a good choice.
This seems like something people don't initially consider, only to find out their dog may develop a health issue after they've taken their new companion home, or even, years later. Many breeds come with their own health problems, it's not guaranteed that your dog will develop certain diseases or illnesses of course, but they are at a higher risk if their breed is associated with a particular health issues. For example, popular breeds that are loved for their cute appearance and big personalities such as pugs and french bulldogs, come with a risk of developing breathing, eyes and dental problems that can lead to more serious diseases and illnesses.
Looking up health issues associated with the breed you're considering is a good idea, and even asking yourself if you are going to be able to afford future vet bills.
When thinking about bringing a dog into the family, some people may assume the only option is to get a puppy, but it is important to consider dogs of other ages too. An older dog might be better suited to your needs.
A puppy will need a lot of attention and training, and your house may be in a bit of a state for the first 6 months whilst they're playful, learning and taking everything in. On the other hand, an adult dog will most likely already have basic training and will just need the time for the initial settling in, their personality will also already be established and you will know what type of dog you're taking home.
If you don't know where to start, ask friends and family who already have canine companions what breed they think might suit you, research breeds to see if you find one that catches your eye or start chatting on forums that are there for people in the same situation. And if you're really stuck, or just curious, Pedigree have created a quiz specifically for this reason, click here to be taken to the Pedigree Breed Selector Quiz and find out what breed they recommend for you and your lifestyle.