Which breed of dog is right for you?

Find the right dog for you and insure your pet

By Peter Carr Tuesday 20 February 2018
 

A dog can be one of the most rewarding pets you can have, but make sure you choose the right breed to suit your circumstances.

Dog on owner

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Choosing the right dog breed

Little or large, fluffy or fearless, introducing a new pup into your home is a big commitment. To help you make sure everything goes smoothly, MoneySuperMarket has compiled an in-depth guide on everything you need to know about the UK’s top breeds.

UK's top 10 dog breeds

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of November 2017

Things to consider before you buy

Before you get your heart set on a particular type of dog, it’s important to take some time to think about which breed your lifestyle is best suited to. Some of the most important considerations include:

  • Adult vs. puppy. Raising a puppy has its own set of unique challenges that some dog owners, novices especially, aren’t prepared to undertake. Instead, consider an adult dog that may come house-trained and well-socialised, meaning they can quickly fit into your family’s way of life.
  • Space. Typically, large breeds won’t be happy to be cooped up in a small flat or city apartment and certain high-energy breeds may need access to open spaces rather than just a back garden.
  • Temperament. While some dog breeds make great pets because they’re people-orientated and sociable, others are better suited as working dogs.
  • Grooming. A dog with a thick coat will require more frequent grooming than a breed with a thin coat.
  • Allergies. If someone in your family is allergic to dog hair, you should consider a breed with a non-shedding coat that will reduce allergy symptoms.  
  • Schedule. Dogs are social animals, and many can suffer from separation anxiety if they’re away from their owner for too long. If you’re away from home for most of the day, it’s wise to pick a breed that doesn’t mind being alone – or see if you need to hire a dog walker during the day.  
  • Energy. Some dogs require hours of exercise every day, while others only need a short walk.

Which breeds are most expensive?

Cost is also a serious factor. When it comes to the UK’s most popular breeds, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are by far the most expensive. This is primarily because the breeding process requires a lot of human intervention and the birth usually involves costly surgery.    

Most expensive dog breeds

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of November 2017

 

At the other end of the spectrum, Border Collies and Jack Russells are the UK’s most inexpensive breeds. That’s because they are some of the most intelligent and energetic dog breeds, and therefore aren’t suitable for every household. 

Most affordable dog breeds

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of November 2017

What’s the most affordable breed in my location?

The cost of each breed varies from region to region. Border Collies are the least expensive to buy in eight different areas of the country, making them the UK’s most affordable type of dog, while Beagles and Jack Russells are also economical choices for many areas.

UK's most affordable dog breeds by region

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of November 2017

Ongoing costs

With so many different breeds to choose from, prospective owners should also consider the ongoing costs related to dog ownership. Some of these costs include:

  • Food
  • Toys
  • Bedding
  • Grooming
  • Kennel fees (for holidays)
  • Insurance
  • Veterinary fees (for services not covered by your pet insurance)
  • Microchipping
  • Spaying and neutering

Of course, costs will vary from breed to breed, so it’s vital that when you choose your new dog, you consider the ‘lifetime cost’, not just the price tag.

How much will I have to pay in pet insurance?

As part of your dog’s ongoing costs, you’ll need to pay for pet insurance. In general, pedigree dogs cost much more to insure than crossbreeds:

No.

Breed

Annual Insurance Premium

1

Bulldog

£560

2

Boxer

£520

3

French Bulldog

£510

4

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

£365

5

Golden Retriever

£350

 

While some of the least expensive dog breeds to insure include: 

No.

Breed

Annual Insurance Premium

1

Cockerpoo

£167

2

Jack Russell

£193

3

Shih Tzu

£195

4

Yorkshire Terrier

£196

5

Labradoodle

£210

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of November 2017

You should also remember that because of variations in the cost of vet treatments, annual premiums for the same breed of dog can vary from place to place. The cost of insuring a Labrador Retriever in London is around £427 per year, whereas in Wales you’ll only need to pay around £258.

Which breeds are most mischievous?

From chewing slippers to gnawing on furniture, some dogs are more than willing to cause trouble. If you’re thinking about getting a new dog, it’s worth asking yourself whether you’re willing to deal with the issues that some of the more challenging breeds can pose. Some of the most mischievous breeds can include Dachshunds, Bull Terriers and Jack Russells.

Most mischievous dog breeds

Dogster data, correct as of October 2012

 

The amount of training that dogs need depends upon the innate temperament and intelligence of the breed, although it’s important to remember that above all else, dogs are individuals: finding hard to train dogs amongst breeds which are known for being easy to train is relatively common, and vice versa.

If you don’t have the skills or the time to invest in lots of training, getting a breed which is known for its obedience and eagerness to please is probably the best idea.

Should I get a crossbreed?

Crossbreeds – dogs whose parents come from different breeds – are some of the UK’s most popular types of dog. Out of all the dogs which people request insurance quotes for, three of the top five are crossbreeds, with small and medium sized crossbreeds the top two choices. 

Number of insurance quotes requested for crossbreeds

MoneySuperMarket data, correct as of 2017

 

Crossbreeds boast traits from both their parents, and benefit from a much wider gene pool than purebred dogs, which tends to make them healthier than pedigree breeds. However, anyone thinking about getting a crossbreed should be aware that this can also mean that it’s difficult to predict their temperaments and sizes.

That being said, there’s a reason they’re so popular. With Labradoodles (Labradors crossed with Poodles), Dorkies (Dachshunds crossed with Yorkshire Terriers), Puggles (Pugs crossed with Beagles) and many more to choose from, there’s a perfect crossbreed out there for everyone.

Characteristics of the UK’s top pedigree dog breeds

Cost is just one aspect of choosing your new breed of dog. We’ll explore some of the most important things you need to know about the UK’s most popular pedigree breeds.

Labrador Retriever

Average cost

£479

Average annual premiums

 

£309

Grooming

The two-layer coat of a Labrador needs to be brushed once a week with a nylon or natural brush.

Diet

Labrador Retrievers aren’t particularly fussy. As long as they eat a balanced meal twice a day, they’ll be happy.

 

Sociable, friendly and warm-hearted, Labrador Retrievers are excellent family dogs. They’re especially good for households with young children, but since they’re a working dog, they need lots of activity and exercise (around 2 hours every day) to keep them fit and healthy.

Although they’re a healthy breed, they can be afflicted by a number of health problems, including:

  • Hereditary Cataracts
  • Total Retinal Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia or Elbow Dysplasia
  • Centronuclear Myopathy
  • Exercise Induced Collapse

Labrador Retriever

French Bulldog

Average cost

£1149

Average annual premiums

 

£510

Grooming

With a relatively short coat, French Bulldogs don’t require too much maintenance. However, their skin folds and flaps should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Diet

French Bulldogs thrive with a balanced, nutritious diet.

 

Fun and affectionate, French Bulldogs are a low-maintenance breed that makes friends with everyone they meet. They’re great with children, and because they’re so easy to train, they make for an excellent first-time pet. Their exercise needs are modest – just a couple of short daily walks are required to keep them fit and healthy. 

French Bulldogs tend to suffer from a number of health issues, some of which are hereditary:

  • Cleft palate and hare lips
  • Hemivertebrae
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Spondylitis
  • Corneal ulcers

Bulldog

Cocker Spaniel

Average cost

£533

Average annual premiums

 

£258

Grooming

Cocker Spaniels have a glossy, medium-length coat that needs to be brushed daily to stop it getting matted.

Diet

Cocker Spaniels have a big appetite, which can mean make them prone to overeating. A diet of dry food – with portion sizes dependent upon the size of the dog – should be enough to keep a Cocker Spaniel well-fed.

 

Cocker Spaniels are energetic, cheerful and love going for long walks outside – but you need to keep an eye on them when they are let off the lead. Because of their sociable nature and desire to get involved, they make wonderful family pets.

This breed can be particularly prone to Dry Eye Syndrome. Other potential health problems include:

  • Otitis externa
  • Cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelial Dystrophy
  • Distichiasis
  • Entropion or Ectropion

Cocker Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

Average cost

£394

Average annual premiums

 

£307

Grooming

Because they have longer coats, plenty of attention needs to be paid to grooming. Ideally, they should be brushed once a day.

Diet

English Springer Spaniels need plenty of protein

 

An ancient, attentive and obedient breed, English Springer Spaniels can be a wonderful addition to an active home. They need plenty of exercise and can sometimes suffer from separation anxiety (meaning that they need plenty of love and attention), but because they’re so friendly and eager to please, they make excellent family dogs.

Because of their large, overhanging ears, English Springer Spaniels can suffer from a range of ear problems, which is why it’s important to clean their ears after they go out for a run. They’re also susceptible to:

  • Hereditary Eye Disease
  • Goniodysgenesis/Primary Glaucoma
  • Fucosidosis
  • Epilepsy

English Springer Spaniel

Shih Tzu

Average cost

£454

Average annual premiums

 

£195

Grooming

With long, silky coats, Shih Tzus require daily grooming in order to stay tangle-free.

Diet

The Shih Tzu is not an especially fussy breed, and needs to be fed a couple of times a day to get all the nutrients they need.

 

The Shih Tzu is a small, playful dog that’s known for its friendly personality and strong sense of loyalty. They form strong attachments – which can mean that they’ll want to sleep in your bed – and make for the perfect house dog. They’re suited to city apartments or country farms and love to play with children (although their small size can put them at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to rough and tumble).

Health wise, Shih Tzus can suffer from a number of ailments, including:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Breathing issues
  • Hernias
  • Dental problems
  • Bladder stones
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

Shih Tzu

Border Collie

Average cost

£277

Average annual premiums

 

£223

Grooming

Border Collies require minimal grooming. They shed lightly throughout the year, and weekly grooming sessions can help to keep their coats sleek and shiny.

Diet

Because they’re so energetic, Border Collies need a nutrient-rich diet. Meat should be the main ingredient, but it’s worth remembering that some dogs can become hyperactive after too much red meat.

 

In the right home, a Border Collie can be a magical companion. Since they were originally bred as pastoral dogs to herd sheep, Border Collies need plenty of exercise to stay in shape, at least 2 hours every day! They’re not the type of dog to laze around all day, and need to have some sort of outlet for their energy to really thrive. And if you want them to live with children, they need to be well trained to avoid any accidents.

Collies can be susceptible to a few health problems, including:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
  • Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome
  • Multi Drug Resistance gene
  • Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy

Border Collie

 

Average breed cost and premium data from MoneySuperMarket, November 2017.

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