Owning a dog or any pet is not something you jump into feet first if you want to get the most out of your relationship. The choice of dog is critical if you want to avoid being unable to give a dog a good home and if you want your new pet to do everything you expect from a companion. Different breeds have different qualities and they require different care, because certain breeds feel better when they are outdoors for large parts of their lives whereas others prefer the living room to the field. Understanding what will make your chosen breed happy will help you bond with your dog and both you and your dog will enjoy each other’s company.
Many people buy terriers because they are cute and manageable, but they forget or never realised that terriers are hunting dogs that love to work land. From larger breeds like Airedale Terriers through to your handbag sized Jack Russell, terriers love to work rough ground inspecting every hole for signs of life. Some breeders think it is cruel to keep these dogs inside because it is against their instincts and dogs have a strong calling to do what we have bred in to them for centuries.
Spaniels are also very energetic dogs because they are bred to work with the gun and flush ground nesting birds into the open for hunters to shoot, after which they retrieve the game. It should be obvious to anyone that gun dogs such as Setters and Pointers or even retrievers need regular exercise, which is great if you like to get out and about too, but not so good if you don’t have somewhere you can walk them off the lead. Any kind of shepherd is also going to want to run free wherever possible so think thoroughly before deciding to go for any of these demanding breeds.
Family Friendly Breeds
As someone who used to own a Dog De Bordeaux or a French Mastiff, I can tell you that big dogs do not always require lots of walking. Newfoundlands, Mastiffs and similarly big dogs are frightening to look at, but have great temperaments, but they need handling by an experienced dog owner who leaves the dog in little doubt about their place in the family pack. If you have little experience of handling dogs, these are not the breeds for you.
Beagles are originally hunting dogs, but have adapted well to home life as have Staffordshire Bull Terriers, but if you want something that has no desire to work land, hunt and will not eat you out of house and home, think about breeds like Pugs, King Charles Spaniels Papillons or other toy breeds. You can go for a Labrador or Golden Retriever if you want something with a little more meat, but they have a tendency to gain weight rapidly if you don’t give them enough exercise.
Think About Adopting
Rarely a day goes by without an advert for an ‘adopt a dog’ appearing on the television. If you are thinking about buying a dog, check out the local kennels first. The idea that dogs in kennels are trouble is an urban myth. It is actions of an irresponsible owner that sentences the dog to a life of wonder and anxiety in more cases than not.
Take home a dog from a rescue centre and provide a loving home for them and they will repay you tenfold. You will have the dog for free in some cases and you may even get his favourite toy and bowl to take home too. Some rescue centres ask for a contribution to cover the cost of any injections the dog has had, but they don’t expect someone to pay a great deal.