We all have different personalities, and dogs also have character traits that make them special. To ensure that you are happy with your new furry friend and that you will be compatible, find a breed that will suit your lifestyle and family. There are so many different breeds to choose from – picking a dog just because you like his looks is not a good idea. But where do you start?
Once you have decided that you want a dog, and the reasons why you want a dog, take these facts into consideration. Take your time and research the breeds that you are interested in.
Do you want a dog who will quietly lie by your side while you watch television, who is just happy to be around you, and who has minimal exercise requirements? Are you working all day long and don’t have much time for long walks in the evenings? Or are you an active person and prefer a dog who will go on long runs with you?
While you have to consider his energy levels, you also have to take the rest of the family, or planned family, into consideration. Are there or will there be small children? Does your family have any allergies that you are aware of? If so, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a dog, just that you should consider a breed with a coat that is hypoallergenic, such as a Poodle or Yorkshire Terrier. These dogs shed less, have less dander and don’t trigger itchy, watery eyes and a pouring nose.
Do you have the time or patience to groom your dog yourself, or do you have the financial means to pay for a professional groomer?
What to consider
Consider the various dog groups to get an idea of what the breeds were originally bred to do. These traits may still be very much a part of the specific breed today, and difficult to get away from. For example, Herding dogs may try to round up your children or other pets, and some breeds are more spirited than others. Some need very high levels of exercise and others have high grooming requirements. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a no-maintenance breed. All dogs require some grooming and care, but there are those who require plenty of grooming to keep their coats from matting and tangling.
Early socialisation, habituation and training are important for any breed, so that you can raise the dog you want. Some breeds are easier to train than others, so if your breed isn’t top of the class, are you willing to put in extra effort? On the other side of the coin, some breeds are highly intelligent, such as the Border Collie. Will you have time to mentally stimulate this dog to ensure that he doesn’t get bored?
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the breeds’ health issues. Purebred dogs can have significant health issues that prospective owners need to be aware of. Even the dog’s anatomy can have an effect on his health. Short-nosed breeds can develop breathing problems and dogs with floppy ears need extra ear care as they can develop infections. Find out from the breeders what the health issues are and keep them in mind as well.
Choosing a dog or bitch is a personal matter and will also depend on the sex of your current dogs. While two dogs of the opposite sex are usually less prone to fighting, keep in mind that spayed or neutered dogs make better pets – unless you are a knowledgeable, responsible breeder.
Source: Southern Africa’s Dog Directory 2019