Are you buying the right dog for your lifestyle?

pets, dogs to fit lifestyle, dogs, how to choose the right dog
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The saying goes that you can’t choose your family. But at least you can choose your dog! But how do you go about choosing the right one? With so many dogs out there from large to small, purebred to crossbred, puppies to rescue dogs, it’s hard to know where to start. And like many things in life, it is not a case of one size fits all. Rather, things such as your lifestyle, living arrangements, whether or not you have children and your budget should all be considered when choosing the right dog.


If you are an active person that wants your dog to run with you then sporting dog breeds such as Retrievers, Staffys and Vizslas or the working breeds such as Kelpies and Border Collies are a good choice. If running isn’t your thing then think about Pekingese, Lhaso Apsos and even Bulldogs.  For the rest that are somewhere in the middle, then most mixed breeds or other pure breeds should suit.  Do remember however that no matter what breed, all dogs need exercise for their health and mental stimulation.

Living arrangements

This is a very important consideration. Obviously, if you are in an apartment a smaller dog is often a better choice. However, it is also important to consider energy levels. For example, a Jack Russell Terrier has buckets of energy and despite its small size is much better suited to larger house with a backyard.

Dogs and children

If you have children already or are planning on having them, then picking a child friendly dog is extremely important. For both the safety of your child and also the wellbeing of your dog. Dogs that are robust, relaxed and most importantly tolerant are the type of dogs you should be looking for. Golden Retrievers, Labs, Poodles, Labradoodles and Pugs are all good examples of dogs that are good with kids.  I would recommend exercising caution when choosing some of the smaller terrier breeds along with some of the working breeds. They can have a propensity to be a little less tolerant and a little bit snappy. This is of course a very sweeping statement and by no means holds true for every dog. What is true however, is that educating your child about proper interaction with their new furry friend and also supervising them, especially when they are very young, is imperative in ensuring their safety.


Everybody knows dogs are expensive and there is one simple thing to remember…. size does matter! Because the bigger the dog, the larger the ongoing costs. Major areas of spending include food, grooming and the dreaded veterinary bills. In terms of food, I would recommend downsizing the size of the dog instead of the quality of the food. Because just like us, dogs are what they eat and poor nutrition can have serious and expensive consequences to their health.

Veterinary bills are one of the biggest costs in owning a dog and planning for these can seriously reduce financial stress during a time when emotional stress is usually high. Medicines in the veterinary world are unfortunately not subsidised by the government. As such they can be very expensive especially if you have a large dog because most medicines are dosed by weight. Buying a smaller dog will definitely reduce the costs. However, now an even better option is available and that is pet insurance. I recommend all owners work pet insurance into their budget when deciding on getting a new family member.

So remember… careful consideration before you buy a dog will help you to pick the right breed and lifetime of happiness.




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Dr Josie Gollan
If anyone can make veterinary science look good, it’s Dr Josie Gollan. Since graduating from Sydney University with Bachelor of Veterinary Science (with First Class Honours), Josie has practiced as both an equine and small animal vet. Currently, Josie is a dedicated vet at Sydney’s Animal Doctors clinic, treating creatures both big and small. She is an avid horse-rider and her love for, as well as extensive knowledge of the equine industry has facilitated Josie securing her title as the ‘Official Race Day Veterinarian’ for Racing NSW. Adding to this, Josie has written numerous articles for Trackside Magazine. Josie was a Guest Reporter on the broadcast of Channel 9’s Magic Millions in 2014. Josie also regularly appears on the Nine Network’s Today show as a Guest Vet to educate viewers on pet-related stories. Away from the camera, Josie is a sought-after keynote for many leading events in the vet and pet industry including the Dog Lovers Show held recently in Sydney where she performed two talks per day on the main stage. There isn’t much this beauty can’t do! Josie has a passion for travel and is a sporting enthusiast - tennis, hockey, touch-football and athletics are among her hobbies. She is even a certified ski instructor!