With the UK Kennel Club currently recognising 215 breeds of show dog, and the vast numbers of dogs that are classed as ‘crosses’, choosing the best dog for you can be extremely difficult!
Currently, Labradors are the most popular dog breed in England, Ireland and Wales, according to a survey commissioned by Frontline Spot on. Only those in Wales had a different opinion on the best dog breed, voting for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Would a Labrador be the top dog for you? Don’t go barking up the wrong tree, and find out the best ways to choose below:
Choosing The Perfect Breed
Small, Medium or Large?
The best place to start is by choosing the size of the dog you want to adopt. There are many things to take into consideration, like the size of your home. If you live in a small studio flat, a Great Dane will take up most of your living area! Unless you want to live in cramped conditions, a smaller dog would be a better fit.
Do you battle a daily war against dust and mess in your house? Or do you take a more relaxed approach to cleaning? If you are of the former category, you may want to stay away from adopting a Japanese Akita! As they originate from mountain regions, their coat is doubly thick to keep them warm, and this double layer sheds constantly.
Location, Location, Location
Are you a city slicker, or a fan of the fresh air and wide open spaces? You may be surprised to hear that dogs can also have a preference as to whereabouts they live. Some dogs, such as Greyhounds, require a lot more exercise than others. They are happiest when running around large fields, and some people have trouble letting them off the lead when in a city location. If you only have a small yard, and there are no large parks or fields nearby, the less space the dog has to run around and burn off some of that excess energy.
While you may be considering what effect a dog would have on your family life, you also need to consider the effect that your family life would have on a dog. Some dog breeds, such as Boxers’, are used to living in packs, and therefore get on well with the little people in your home. You may think that it would be a good idea to get a small dog to get along with your kids, however one of the tiniest breeds of dog are actually thought to be one of the worst for a family home. Chihuahua’s are extremely strong-willed, and have a tendency to become aggressive and jealous if not trained properly.
Living up to expectations
Everyone has a different opinion of what the perfect dog should be. Whether you want a dog to increase your activity levels, a companion for those times you get lonely or a guard dog for your home, the breed you choose should reflect the dog you want. There would be no point adopting a Bichon Frise and expecting it to guard your home effectively, nor would there be any chance of a Rottweiler snuggling up on your lap to watch the soaps!
Some me time?
With our busy modern schedules, nowadays it is normal for a house to be completely empty for 8 hours a day. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, those hours stretch out endlessly to a dog who has been left home alone. Some dogs, such as poodles, cannot handle being on their own, and can even suffer from a condition known as Separation Anxiety. This affects the behaviour of the dog, and can cause destructive behaviour, incessant barking and frenzied behaviour. If you are out of the house a lot during the day, it is best to choose a low-energy breed such as a Basset Hound, who are happy to spend most of the day sleeping when alone.
Money, money, money
Having a pet is an expensive business. Not only do you have to take into account the initial cost of the dog which can vary widely, some people spending thousands of pounds to get their favourite breed. However, you must consider the day to day costs of owning a dog, accounting for things such as food, toys, kennels and pet insurance. In 2014, a study by the People’s Dispensary of Sick Animals revealed that people spend between £16,000 and £31,000 on their pampered pooches throughout their short lives!
Adopting your dog
Once you have selected your breed of dog, you will be keen to find and adopt them as soon as possible. However, this is where many people run into problems, as some breeds are in high demand. While looking on websites such as Pets4Homes is a great way to find out about average prices, often the dogs are snapped up as soon as they are listed.
Instead, it is a good idea to follow your local dog rescue centres on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Often, they post photographs and information about dogs as soon as they arrive at the centre, and if you are quick enough you can snap them up before they are posted on other adoption websites. If you are active enough on the pages of the adoption centres, they may get to know what type of dog you are after and could be kind enough to message you as soon as what you’re looking for comes in!
Everyone loves the thought of cuddling a tiny puppy, personally I spend more time than I care to admit just watching videos of them, and thanks to this puppies are often expensive and adopted quickly. If you change your search to a slightly older dog, you will probably have more luck – plus you won’t have to suffer through the trials of house-training!
The final thing on your check-list before adopting a dog is to actually meet it! You will never be able to definitively work out whether a dog is the perfect match for you just from an online post. All dogs have their own personality, and whilst you can train them, they will all have underlying traits they will have acquired from their previous homes. If this is something you are not prepared to live with, you should consider choosing a different dog to adopt.
If you are interested in learning how to best care for your dogs fur, why not take a look at our brand new Dog Grooming Diploma?