The first question to ask is not ‘which dog is right for me?’, but ‘is a dog right for me?’.
The decision to get a dog is not to be taken lightly. It will have a huge impact on your lifestyle, your home and your finances. There are thousands of puppies and dogs abandoned or given up each year after the cuteness and novelty factors wear off.
There’s no doubt that having a dog changes your life and usually, it’s overwhelmingly for the better. You can look forward to years of fun, love and companionship.
What role will it play?
Will the new addition to the family be active and playful friend for children, or a stoic companion in a quiet household? Does he need to be able to keep up with a physical lifestyle or be beefy enough to provide security for the home?
Take into consideration the size of your home as well as the size of your dog. Broadly speaking a larger dog needs more space! Every breed has characteristics, but more important to remember is that every dog has its own personality.
Breed clubs and breeders can give you lots of information about particular breeds and their temperaments. It’s always best to be fully informed before you even think about choosing a dog.
Most important is that you are able to give your dog the time, care and attention it deserves. They need walking, grooming, training and lots of time with you. If you don’t think you can live up to the demands, think about a different pet. They deserve better than short-term commitment.
Male or female?
It is generally considered that males are larger and more self-confident, whereas females are smaller and more affectionate. However, as before, every dog is different and it’s hugely important you understand the temperament of your dog before you take them home.
Where to get your dog?
Up and down the country, there are thousands of beautiful, loving dogs looking for a home to call their own. Adopting from a shelter can be immensely rewarding, with many owners forming a special bond with their dog and finding them to be very loyal and affectionate. It also allows the shelter the room to accommodate another dog in need.
Most dogs in shelters are adult dogs, so if you prefer a puppy, it’s best to purchase from a specialist breeder. They will know the dogs well and will be able to guarantee the physical nature and characteristics of the puppy. You will be able to see the mother and the living conditions of the puppy and professional breeders will be concerned with ensuring the puppy is compatible with your lifestyle.
Only ever use reputable breeders to ensure the welfare and physical conditions of your puppy. A list of Assured Breeders can be found from the Kennel Club, your vet and individual breed clubs.