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How to find the best dog breed for you

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choosing dog breed

Deciding to get a dog is a big decision, however it is not the only one you must make. You need to decide if there are particular breeds that suit you and your lifestyle. Although you may not have a preference, each breed of dog has its own personality and behaviour traits that you will need to take into account before choosing your dog. Here we share 10 questions to ask yourself to help you find the best dog breed for you.

What size dog would you prefer?

Whilst some people love a massive dog, others specifically want a small one. This can either be because they simply prefer smaller dog breeds or because they do not feel like they have sufficient space at home for a larger dog.

Is anyone allergic to dogs in your home?

Having a member of your family that is allergic to dogs doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Depending on the type of allergies there are some breeds of dogs that do not trigger symptoms. Try and avoid breeds that shed a lot as this can aggrevate allergy sufferers. It will involve a bit of extra research to find the perfect breed but it’s worth it if it means you can have your own dog. West Highland White Terriers, some Poodles and Maltese Terriers are some breeds known for minimal shedding.

How much exercise will you be able to provide your dog?

It is important that you are honest with yourself on this one. How active are you on a daily basis? If you are extremely active and have the time to take your dog with you on plenty of walks then you have a lot of dog breeds out there to choose from that have huge amounts of excess energy. Do you know you will struggle to have time to exercise your dog regularly? You will need to research dog breeds that are not as energetic or perhaps opt for a more senior dog. Are you adamant you want a particular breed of dog? Then ensure they will receive the exercise they require each day. Even if this involves changing your lifestyle or hiring a dog walker.

Do you have any other pets in the house?

Some dogs get on brilliantly with other pets whilst others won’t tolerate them and may be frightened. A lot of this is down to the dog itself. However, if you have other pets you may want to research which breeds are known to be more sociable with other animals. For example, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Beagles and Pugs are all known for getting along well with cats.

Do you have any children living at home with you?

Having children can be an important factor when choosing a dog. Some breeds are known to get on well with children such as Golden retrievers, Poodles, Border Collies or Bull Terriers. However, some may struggle to be around children. If your children are young, they may not behave correctly around the dog which can aggravate the dog or scare them. No matter what age your children are, it is important they know how to behave around the dog to avoid any issues. Whilst some people with young children love a puppy to grow up with their children, you may also want to consider an older dog who has had experience with children.

How much space do you have at home?

Again, the answer to this question doesn’t have to be a deal breaker but it can be an important factor. For example, if you live in a flat that has no garden and you work full time, is it feasible to go for a large dog that needs plenty of space to move around and loads of exercise?

Do you want to get your dog from a breeder or rescue centre?

People may have specific opinions on this or may not care where the dog comes from but it is an important thing to consider. The great thing about getting your dog from a rescue centre is that you are providing a dog who has lost their previous owner or has had a sad past a happy and loving home. If you have a specific breed in mind, it can often make you want to opt for a breeder instead. However, it is worth getting in contact with rescue centres as well to see what dogs they currently have available for rehoming. There are pros and cons to each option and it will come down to personal choice.

Do you want your dog to be cuddly and affectionate?

Some dogs are known for being on the cuddly side. Pugs, Golden Retrievers, Daschunds and Jack Russell Terriers all make the list for being affectionate as a breed.

Each dog is different and whilst getting a dog from a breed that is known to be affectionate is not a guarantee, it may be something you want to consider.

Do you want a puppy or older dog?

Some people prefer a puppy as they want to see it grow up. Others prefer an older dog as they are more likely to be house trained. Getting a dog, no matter what age, is a big commitment, however if you are getting a puppy you will need to dedicate additional time to ensure they get sufficiently socialised and have the training they require. If you have a young family, a young dog or puppy can be a great idea. Alternatively, if your house is quiet, it can be the perfect place for a more senior dog.

What level of grooming are you prepared to do?

Whilst all dogs will need some level of grooming, there are some breeds that are notoriously more high maintenance and will need regular trips to the groomer. Not only will this involve a significant amount of time, you must also consider the additional cost associated with this.
Each dog is individual and has their own personality, so it is important you try and meet your dog before choosing them. It can help to see which one will fit into your family the best. However, asking yourself these questions can help steer you in the right direction and help find the best dog breed for you.

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists
Dr Shahad Mohammed