How choosing your new dog
With so many breeds suited to different lifestyles, your homework will pay off when it comes to housing a new dog.
Dogs really are the best friends you could ever have. They have amazing individual personalities, they will quickly become part of your family and love you unconditionally.
The presence of a dog makes us happier, calmer and even healthier. But before you take your first dog, you should think about why you want a dog, as this will help you decide which breed suits you best.
Do you want a furry friend purely for cuddles and companionship, or do you want to be able to work and play sports with a dog? Do you want to rehome a dog, or do you have the time to raise a puppy? You should also look at your own lifestyle: how much free time do you have to spend with your dog? Are you out and about all day? Are you able to afford the cost of food and other necessities? How big is your house, and do you have outdoor space?
All of these questions can lead you to the perfect breed. For example, if you are gone a lot, you need a breed that doesn't mind being left alone, like a Labrador. If you have lots of space and want a dog you can exercise with, you may want a larger, energetic dog, like a husky, a weimaraner or a border collie. Many larger breeds such as Bernese Mountain Dogs or Irish Wolfhounds have a lot of energy, but they also love to lounge around and cuddle, provided there is room for it. These dogs are more suited to families with lots of space.
There is a wealth of information available to help you choose your perfect breed, and for a guide on how to adopt rather than buy a dog, check out page 20 for some top tips.
"Dogs have amazing individual personalities, they will quickly become a part of your family and love you unconditionally"
This classic, stocky breed is one of the oldest in the UK. Thanks to their loving nature, they make great pets.
- Confident and relaxed.
- Average amount of exercise is required.
- Can snore very loudly!
- This breed can suffer from health problems and also has a short life span
This cheerful, reliable dog is a loyal companion. He needs lots of exercise, but can stand to be left alone occasionally.
- Intelligent and easy to train.
- Loyal and loving family member.
- Sheds a lot of fur, yellow Labradors shed more than their black cousins.
- Can be boisterous and mischievous as a puppy
Cute, scruffy and quite feisty, this small, rough-haired breed - originally bred to hunt vermin - is as at home in a fiat as it is in a house.
- Little coat maintenance.
- Lots of energy - they need lots of stimulation and daily exercise.
- May suffer from separation anxiety if left too long.
- Needs a lot of socialization as a puppy.
An excellent pet or working dog, this large, intelligent breed is intensely loyal and easy to train.
- Great for active owners - they need lots of mental stimulation and exercise.
- Require a determined but gentle owner and must know their place in the pack.
- Should not be left alone for too long.
The smartest dog there is. Collies suit dedicated owners who have plenty of time for exercise and training.
- Loyal and loving to their family.
- Can be obsessive and need a high level of mental stimulation.
- Good with respectful children, but may chase them at times.
- Excellent as a working dog or for other dog activities, but they must be trained early.
Jack Russell Terrier
Feisty and charming, these little terriers have lots of energy and make a good first dog for owners with the time to train them.
They love to have a task.
- Can shed quite a bit.
- Need lots of exercise and games to tire them out.
- Small, affectionate and loyal.
- Good with children if they are well socialized first.
Originally bred as a hunting dog, these dogs are loving and loyal companions. They are also very adaptable animals.
- Love human company and are great with children.
- Gentle and affectionate.
- Can suffer from separation anxiety if left too long.
- Like to bark unless trained from an early age.
Small and cute, these sassy dogs make up in personality what they lack in size. The smallest breed in the world, they were once known as "Arizona" dogs.
- Low maintenance for grooming and exercise.
- Loyal and affectionate.
- Can be quite stubborn and rambunctious dogs.
- Can develop separation anxiety.