The decision to welcome a new dog into your home is an exciting one – but it can raise lots of questions. If you haven’t owned a dog before, there are several issues you will need to consider carefully before you welcome a pooch into your home. Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect dog breed.
Always fancied a St Bernard or Great Dane as a canine companion? Or is a Chihuahua or poodle more up your street? Choosing the right size of dog isn’t just about what you find cute – your dog’s size will potentially have a big impact on your lifestyle. Larger dogs will almost certainly cost more to feed, for example, but there are other implications that are not immediately obvious. A higher risk of spinal problems in large-breed dogs is one issue to consider carefully when choosing the perfect dog breed for you.
Ultimately, it’s important not to take anything for granted. If you’re worried about having enough room or a big enough garden to accommodate your chosen pet, check with the breeder to find out what are the basic requirements for that breed. Contrary to popular belief, it could be that a smaller dog might need even more space than a larger one, if it is a highly energetic and excitable type in need of lots of exercise.
How will your new pet fit in with your family’s lifestyle? Different dog breeds can have very different temperaments, and so just like a new lodger, you’ll need to ensure that they will slot into your day-to-day household life. Things you’ll need to consider include how much exercise they need, whether they will be unhappy if left alone during the day, the type of coat they have, and if your ideal dog breed is docile and good-natured enough to live happily with young children. Although finances might not be the main consideration when choosing a family pet, you’ll also need to think about how expensive your dog will be to keep. Factor in the cost of food, accessories, vet’s bills, insurance and anything else that they are likely to require.
Some dogs are more susceptible to health issues than others, and this is definitely something to think about carefully when choosing the perfect dog breed for you and your family. For example, pedigree dogs can be more prone to genetic defects than mixed breeds, due to the “purity” of their genetic line, while certain dog breeds also have higher risks of particular health problems. Life expectancy is also something that varies from breed to breed. While it might not be a pleasant thing to contemplate, it’s an important factor to take into account.
Falling in love
Making room for a pet needs to be a decision made partly by your logical side, but also something you do with your heart. After all, your dog will grow to be a much loved part of the family! Once you’ve factored in all the practical considerations above, it’s time to go and meet some prospective pets. Visit a local dog shelter or breeder to meet the dogs, and see if you fall in love. You might have guessed it – choosing the perfect dog breed is a difficult decision!