They say dogs are a man’s best friend. They can also provide a good reason for taking daily exercise. When choosing a dog, there is a lot to think about, however. It’s tragic when dogs are mistreated or end up in rescue centres. This article is designed to help you choose the most suitable breed. 

 

Age

Puppies are cute, but they present the biggest challenge for new dog owners. They are little bundles of energy and mischief that will need to learn to socialise with other humans and pets. They’ll also need to learn a daily routine which includes going to the toilet. The first six months will be the most work, and no one should have a puppy unless they are prepared for this. 

 

When taking on an older dog, there is more chance it has already become sociable. It may already have experience of other dogs or cats, and be fully trained.  Some people gain senior dogs which may have less energy but be very loving and faithful. One has to be realistic, however. The dog will not be around as long as a puppy would. It’s also highly likely that medical care and treatment will soon be increasingly required. 

 

Grooming and allergies

Dogs with short hair and a smooth coat will need a lot of grooming, and anyone who doesn’t like this or untidiness in the home will not appreciate a dog with a thick coat. English Springer Spaniels have to be groomed daily while Labradors need this on a weekly basis.

 

It is essential to consider all the family members when choosing a dog. Some people are sadly allergic to them, developing red skin rashes, coughs or shortness of breath. People who suffer with asthma need to be very careful. They could risk having severe asthma attacks if exposed to the wrong breed of dog. 

 

If someone shows signs of being allergic after a dog has been chosen, there are things that can be done. Air purifiers can assist, as well as regular vacuuming in the home. Items like curtains and rugs will need to be washed frequently. It will be more important than ever to ensure the dog is always well groomed and having regular baths. 

 

With mixed dogs, one can never be 100% sure they won’t be an issue to someone with an allergy. According to Luke Stevens with PuppyJoy.net, Goldendoodles are a great dog for those with allergies because, despite being half Golden Retriever, this breed has a poodle's hypoallergenic coat. Whilst never totally hypoallergenic, one could consider other breeds too, be they  a Poodle, Basenji, Maltese, Bedlington Terrier, Shih Tzu or Irish Water Spaniel. 

 

Children

Temperament wise, some dogs are homely and affectionate. Other breeds are less so and tend to be described as working dogs. When there are children in the house, particularly young ones, their safety has to be paramount. Some good options to think about are Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels and French Bulldogs. In addition, take a look at Bernese Mountain Dogs and Cocker Spaniels. 

 

A little dog like a Shih Tzu would be a good choice, but all such-sized dogs could be at risk from over playful children. Someone could choose a Border Collie, but it would only be viable if it was fully house trained. 

 

The home

Anyone living in a small apartment or one-bed flat will need to be very careful when deciding on a dog. If it barks because it’s bored or lacking attention, it could upset the neighbours. Sociable dogs love to bark, and this would not be welcomed either. 

 

House proud people may not cope with the chaos and destruction that bouncing puppies can bring. 

 

Large dogs that are full of energy will misbehave if they are cooped up in a small place. A Shih Tzu would be about the right sized dog for a small home. Little pets like these are more sensitive to the cold, so the rooms would need to be well heated. 

 

The work-life balance

Most people are unable to take their dogs to work with them. Some dogs experience separation anxiety when their owner goes out, such as English Springer Spaniels. This can be a cause of the whining and barking that the neighbours complain about. 

 

These days, it’s not always hard to find a professional dog walker, or even a dog sitter for night workers. These options may well have to be researched. 

 

Dogs and walks

Pet owners must be realistic about how much walking they are prepared to commit to on a daily basis. They also need to ascertain whether there are sufficient places to take their new pet, and consider the size of their own garden.  

 

Energetic people and keep-fit fanatics will love Cocker Spaniels and Border Collies. The latter need a daily walk of at least two hours’ duration. Owners with less time or energy could choose a French Bulldog, which won’t be so demanding. It would also make an ideal first dog. For more sedentary owners or those with mobility issues, one low energy dog is a Basset Hound. 

 

Finance

It may be possible to obtain a dog for free, either from friends or a rescue centre. When it comes to buying them, the prices can vary between species. Sometimes pedigree dogs and special breeds can fetch a fair price. In addition to the initial cost, potential dog owners also need to be able to afford the ongoing costs. 

 

There’s a host of bills that can result from dog ownership, ranging from bedding and toys to food and grooming. If a dog can’t come on holiday with you, it may be possible for a friend to have it. Having said that, it’s always best to budget for kennel fees when thinking of holidays. 

 

Medical aspects are essential considerations, including whether the dog needs to be spayed or neutered. It’s always advisable for a dog to be microchipped as well. Veterinary bills will be incurred whenever the dog needs care or medication. It’s also true that the bigger the dog, the greater the bills will be.

 

Choosing the most suitable dog is not just a matter of looking at one’s home and occupants, but also the dog’s needs as well. If the right one is chosen, there should be many happy years ahead as the bonding process develops.   

 

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