There are many ways to become a responsible dog owner. Puppies are available from breeders, pet shops and private families or very occasionally from welfare organisations, whilst adult dogs can also come from breeders, but more often from welfare.
Deciding on the right breed for you and your family is a very important decision, as they will be your companion for up to 15 years. Factors to consider are:
Smaller dogs may be better for small spaces like apartments, but some small dogs(such as jack Russell Terriers) can be very active. There are large lounge lizards like Irish Wolfhounds (and Greyhounds), that can settle very well in a small area and only require short walks.
When living close to other people it is good to have a dog that is less likely to bark or cry. As large dogs get older they can have mobility issues and may find it difficult if you have a lot of stairs to your property. If you have problems with mobility yourself, you might also need to reconsider having a very large dog.
Coat type is really important. The current trend to Poodles, Cavoodles, Spoodles and Moodles is mainly because they shed less hair, but they do need to be regularly groomed. Well-groomed “oodles” will be on a program of top-up grooming every 6 weeks. For a less well-groomed dog a full clip 4 times a year will usually keep them in good condition.
Short haired dogs are not necessarily easier maintenance, as although they may not need regular clips they will often shed more and more every year. Impressive shedders are Labradors, Pugs and Beagles, but this can vary between dogs. Some Foxies and Jack Russells shed a huge amount of hair. Shedding can be lessened in short haired dogs by clipping their coats very short twice a year.
Dogs vary from individual to individual in their temperaments. Dogs who are easy company are confident but settled and calm. Puppies may arrive nervous or anxious, as they have just had a major change of environment. However, if it lasts more than a few days then this may be their underlying temperament, which can be modified to some degree by careful management. Getting advice early on as to how to best manage your new pet’s temperament can be incredibly helpful and our vets and puppy trainers can be a great help to the new puppy owner.
Working dogs and terriers can have really high activity levels, which makes them lots of fun, but if you don’t give them a job they will often invent their own, like tearing up the backyard!!
It is best to think carefully about how much time you have to tire out and stimulate a working dog, before they become a member of your family.
Quiet lap dogs are fabulous for elderly people but also for quieter families. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Schnauzers can be great quiet lap dog, and generally have a gentle temperament.
Dogs do however vary between individuals, so watch out you might just get the wild one!!