Are you thinking about adding a new “furry” kid to your household? There are so many different types of dogs to consider … size, breed, temperament, hypo-allergenic, health history, etc. It can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve listed out some things to consider when selecting the type of puppy that will work will with your family.
Breeders have the responsibility to choose which dogs to breed with which – resulting in so-called ‘designer’ dogs. Although this might seem ojectionable for some, it makes sense to choose a dog by their genetic makeup to suit your lifestyle. This is an option that may improve the likelihood that your new pup will live happily with you, as there are too many unwanted dogs in the world and local animal shelters are often overcrowded. .
It is important to research the personality of a dog and to find out what they were originally bred to do. What traits might enrich your life and what traits would be problematic? Will the dog be safe around children? Will the new puppy need to be exercised more than average? Will it be happy with city living? Will a country lifestyle work for this new dog?
Dogs can be trained to behave in a certain way, but it helps if you aren’t battling against nature … then, both you and your new puppy will be happier!
If you are not sure which breed to choose, it may help to begin by choosing a group, and then try to narrow it down from there.
Toy dogs are bred to be companions. They are usually small and willing to please, but not as quick to learn as working dogs.
They often like lots of fuss and attention and close contact with their owner. Even though they are small, they still eat a lot to keep up their energy.
They are generally a good choice for novice dog owners. Don’t be deceived by a small dog not needing such demanding care – toy dogs such as Pomeranians or Yorkshire Terriers need lots of grooming and bathing once a month to keep their fluffy coats comfortable.
Gundogs such as the English Springer Spaniel were originally bred to help hunters by locating and pointing to game birds that had been shot and then retrieving the animal to give it to the hunter. The popular Labrador Retriever is also in the group.
This type of puppy is often fun, easy to train and quick to learn. Their natural ability to hold game in their mouths without causing harm means that they have an instinct to enjoy and play with toys which can be great fun in a household with children.
However, these dogs need a large amount of exercise to release their boundless energy, otherwise they can become too boisterous in the home. If you are having problems in the home with your gun dog, the perfect vent is organised gun dog training. Gun dogs make the ideal pet for an active family.
Hounds like the Beagle were bred to hunt and bring prey down. Hounds often have a loud deep voice to alert the hunter to the prey, although they don’t tend to bark unnecessarily. They were not bred to work closely with man, so training is vital to guard against any natural instinct for independence (or disobedience!). They are easily distracted while training if they see something else that interests them. Hound dog puppies are less tactile than other dogs but they are usually sociable and friendly, and like to relax in the home.
Pastoral herding breeds
Some pastoral dogs were bred to herd domesticated animals and are easily trained. They need lots of exercise and have brilliant hearing. They can be nervous – especially of loud noises – if they aren’t socialized properly when they are puppies. They like to form a close bond with their owner with lots of physical contact. Examples are Border Collies and Australian Shepherds.
The larger breeds within the pastoral group were bred to protect livestock. They can have strong guarding instincts so need intensive socialization as a puppy.
Terriers like the Jack Russell or the Bull Terrier were bred to catch vermin, or for sport.
Usually small in height, they have predatory instincts so are not suitable around smaller pets – watch out for those pet hamsters! Many will chase cats unless raised with them. Terriers can be rough with a strong bite and an excitable nature. They can make good guard dogs as they often bark a lot.
They can often be difficult to train, and aggressive to other dogs, but if you persist you will be rewarded with affection and a fun character around your house!
Finally, don’t forget about or mixed-breed dogs! These dogs are often said to be more intelligent, more friendly and healthier. Choosing a mixed-breed dog needs the same care and consideration when thinking about what will best suit your situation. Check with your local animal shelter for assistance.
Researching your chosen breed
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few breeds, you need to do as much research as you can. Start by using the internet and reading up. If you see a person out walking a dog that is on your shortlist, stop them to ask them about their dog – most owners are happy to talk about their dogs an impart valuable information.
Attend some dog shows to really take a look at all the different breeds and their temperaments.
Don’t be afraid to ask owners for any downsides to a particular breed. You might have fallen in love with the look and style of a dog breed, but it essential that you are realistic.