What you ought to know before owning a dog!

Now the time has come for you to choose a dog, your ideal dog. However, what is the perfect breed for you with so many breeds to choose from? You should never buy a puppy on impulse and really think it all through. You ought to find out if the breed is suitable for you and your family before making a final decision. A dog is likely to live for 12 to 15 years and he will rely on you for his every need so finding your ideal dog is a must.

Before you make the final decision you must ask yourself the following:

Who will be the prime carer?
Who in your family will be responsible for looking after the dog, e.g. who will feed, walk, groom and teach him the basic obedience exercises. Of course everyone in the family should be involved with the puppy care but someone will have to be the prime carer. The puppy will need to be taken to training classes, to the vet and taken out on a regular basis, and you must not expect the children to be responsible for these very important tasks.

Is your home suitable?
Are you living in an apartment? in a house? have a small yard? a large yard? is the yard safely secured? Is your home in the countryside or in town? Each breed has different needs, characteristics and energy levels. Some breeds will grow up into a very large canine whilst others will require a large area in order to use up excess energy. So before your decide on a specific breed it is important that you consider if your home is a suitable environment for the animal.

How much time do you have to dedicate to the puppy/dog?
The first year of owing a puppy is very time consuming and you must be prepared to socialise him, to take him to training classes and to walk him on a regular basis. Some breeds will need to be taken out for long walks, do you have enough time for that type of canine, whereas certain dogs, like the toy breed, will require less exercise, so this type of breed might be your ideal dog if time is an issue.

Do you have any children? Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies?
Some breeds are more suitable for families with children, retrievers are well known to be a gentle breed; also a small dog might be more suitable. Herding breeds like the Border Collie could be troublesome for a family with young children as his instincts to round up live stock is very strong and he could well try to round up your children instead. Is your child allergic to dog hair? You could still own a canine and a breed that does not shed any hair, such as a Poodle could be your ideal breed.

Border Collie

Border Collie

Do your research; check all the pro and cons of each breed. Narrow your choices down to three or four breeds which are suited to your circumstances, get as much information as possible then choose your ideal dog.

In the following weeks I will update you with the characteristics of the most popular pedigree breeds, as one of the advantages of a pure bred canine is that the characteristics i.e. size, coat, temperament are predictable, as they are passed down from generation to generation.

Please bear in mind that crossbreeds can also make wonderful pets but you will never truly know what the dog will look like until he is fully grown. It is quite possible that one of the parents is small. However the puppy could turn out to be a very large canine once fully grown which might not be the ideal dog for your family.

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Claudie on November 8th 2009 in Dog Ownership

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