You might have fallen in love with a St Bernard puppy, for example, but remember that that cute little bundle of fluff will soon be almost a metre tall, weighing in at up to 120kg, and wolfing down copious amounts of food – not ideal if you’re pushed for space at home, if you have a tiny garden, or if you’re on a budget.
Of course, size isn’t the only consideration. You’ll also need to consider different breeds’ temperaments, exercise needs and grooming requirements, as well as how well they typically get on with children and other pets, if you have them.
make sure you choose the right breed to suit your circumstances.
Exercise your options
Don’t assume that if you get a small dog, for example, it will need less exercise, as often the reverse is true. Jack Russells and other terriers, for example, often need a huge amount of exercise, so you’ll need to be prepared for lots of walks.
Breeds which tend to have a lower energy level and therefore won’t need as much exercise include Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, English Toy Spaniels and the Bichon Frises. Be realistic however, and remember that most dogs won’t thrive unless they have access to a decent-sized outside space. That means if you live in a flat with no garden, you’re going to have to be prepared to take them out regularly to your nearest green space.
Choosing a breed that will adapt well to children and other pets can be tricky, although Labradors are often a good bet and usually have a very gentle nature. Greyhounds and whippets also often make lovely family pets. Other dogs which have a reputation for being good with children include Airedale Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Pugs.
If you are buying a rescue dog, check it has a confirmed case history and whether this has involved it being with children or other pets.
If you are buying a puppy, it’s a good idea to check where it is currently being raised. If, for example, it belongs to a litter that is being reared in a family home, this will mean the puppy will already be used to children, and therefore is more likely to behave well with them.
Certain breeds require much more maintenance than others, so unless you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, going for a dog with a long coat, such as an English Sheepdog, could prove a mistake. They will need a lot of grooming, and a lot of washing following muddy walks.
If you want a lower maintenance dog, opt for a breed with a short coat, or a coat that only needs occasional brushing to keep on top of shedding. Breeds which fall into this category include the French Bulldog, the Boston Terrier and the Beagle.
Whichever breed of dog you go for, remember that if you are getting it as a puppy, you’re going to have to put in the hours if you want it to be well-trained. There are never any guarantees that you will end up with the perfect dog for your individual situation, but doing plenty of research into the particular breeds you are interested in can certainly help ensure you don’t end up making a mistake. When you get your new cute companion, make sure you get the best dog insurance policy for you and your dog so that you have peace of mind should anything untoward happen.