(Photo credit: http://fosterdogsnyc.com/one-incredible-photo-eleven-incredible-dogs/)
So, you’re thinking about getting a dog. Congratulations. But which one? You love the Labrador puppies in the toilet paper adverts, but Jack Russell terriers have always been your kind of dog. Before you head to your local shelter or responsible breeder, spend some time researching which breed will best match your needs, your personality and your lifestyle.
With any breed, it is important that you spend time training your dog. Even if your particular chosen breed is highly intelligent, all dogs need to be well socialised and trained to gain the maximum mutual benefit out of your relationship.
You want a family dog:
These dogs are generally sturdy, have high-energy and display an even temperament, ideal for young children. As it is with children, it’s a good idea to have some space around the house to allow for playing and getting rid of energy. Avoid dogs that you can hold in one hand, such as the ‘toy’ breeds. Not only can they be dropped and stood on, they also tend to be very skittish and nervous, and could react badly to a well-intentioned (but misguided) cuddle.
You want a dog to run with:
Some breeds and most working dogs are naturally suited to running. But while they might love to run, it’s important they follow your command at all times, so training is imperative. In general, flat-nosed dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, don’t make good running partners, because they’re prone to overheating.
You want a guard dog:
Often burglars are simply put off by the appearance of these dogs! If there is a potential threat, these dogs are quick to alert you by barking and if necessary, can cover distance quickly and give a mean nip (or worse). While these dogs often also make great family pets and are incredibly loyal, they do require strict training and socialisation. Guard dogs are not to be confused with watch dogs which tend to bark at anything and everything. Guard dogs know the difference between a potential threat and the neighbour’s kids playing ball.
You want a dog for company
Are you elderly or lonely and simply looking for a companion? These dogs are fiercely loyal and just want some love and cuddles in return. Generally, these dogs don’t require a lot of space or loads of exercise, hence making great companions for the elderly, but do your research first. Dalmations, for example are fantastic companions but do require daily lengthy walks.
Another option which doesn’t fall into any particular category is a rescue dog. If you’re prepared to put in the time to train them, a rescue of mixed breeds can be a great addition to your household. They have a little bit of everything – making them great all-rounders! Just get as much history from the shelter as possible and spend the time getting to know and train your pooch, and you will be rewarded ten-fold.