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.
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.
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.