Which Breed

Choosing a breed of dog that’s right for you – so many breeds, so little time.

The best idea when considering which breed of dog will suit you and your lifestyle is to examine what the breed was actually bred to do.  For example many people think a Lhasa Apso is a lap dog when in fact it is a sentinel breed and is designed to bark. Other people might believe a Standard Poodle is a prancing show dog, when in fact the breed is a water retriever and the “fancy” haircut has a specific hunting based purpose. A Jack Russell was designed to flush out foxes and has high energy levels and tendency to dig. A Pomeranian is a lap dog but was first bred from crossing the German Spitz and sled dogs of Lapland. In other words get to know the breed you intend bringing into your home. A cross breed will have traits of both parent breeds, so you need to know about both breeds.

Points to Consider:

  • Do you have any children? Although no one breed is better with children than another, there are factors such as size to consider.
  • How much exercise can you give them? If you are a person with limited time then perhaps a Kelpie is not for you.
  • How much training are you willing to do? Most people would put intelligence on their list of ideal traits for their dog. However, having an extremely smart dog is not always the blessing you imagine it to be. Dog intelligence is measured by a number of factors inclusive of ease of training, willingness to please (aka desire to be praised), adaptability but most importantly ability to problem solve. A dog will not solve a problem the same way a human will and it is here that many humans find issues. So “smart” dogs need specific instructions. Breeds commonly listed as “intelligent” are: Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, Poodle, Doberman, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador, Golden Retriever, Papillion, Husky, German Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Foxhound, English Cocker Spaniel, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Fox Terrier.
  • How much grooming can you manage? Many breeds have coats that can become completely unmanageable if you don’t regularly groom them yourself, or pay for the services of a professional groomer. Short haired breeds are easier, think Labradors or Boxers. Longer haired breeds will need a regular brush but can be managed, such as border collies. Dogs with curly or very long hair will need a lot of grooming to keep them looking good and avoid mats, ranging from the tiny Malteses to the larger Afghan Hounds. The Poodle cross puppies that are so popular at the moment will also often matt without the occasional trim and brush.
  • How much space do you have? Although having a large dog can sound appealing, they take up a lot more room. Their tails can knock things off coffee tables, they can easily reach food on kitchen counters and their walks will usually need to be longer. Besides space, everything also costs a lot more with a large dog. From the sheer volume of food that they need to eat, to vet bills and vaccinations, to the size of their bed.
  • How much are you willing to spend on vet bills? Many breeds have inherited health problems. Although you can minimise the risks by thoroughly researching and finding a reputable breeder, the fact still remains that some breeds are more prone to different diseases. If you love the wrinkles of the shar pei, keep in mind that they can need expensive eye lifts to get the skin out of their face and avoid infections. Pugs can need their palates adjusted to compensate for their short snouts and allow them to breathe properly. Labradors are given to weight issues. Chihuahuas are given to teeth and “knee” issues. Great Danes and Bernese Mountain Dogs can have stomach issues and require a special lower protein diet or can develop what is commonly referred to as “bloat” (aka Gastric Dilation and Volvulus, GDV). Make sure to look into your breed’s potential health problems before you decide.