What type of breed to choose?
If you’re on dogsandpuppies.co.uk then it is highly likely that you are searching for a new 4 legged friend. Choosing a dog can be a difficult process though. There are many breeds out there that all vary in requirements.
The biggest question however you should ask when getting a dog is what you are going to be doing in the next 10 to 15 years of your life as this is how long a dog lives on average and you will need to be there for them the whole time. If you are pretty sure that you have the time and financial freedom then carry on reading. Different breeds depend on different lifestyles; some dogs for example require more exercise some less. Others will require grooming more time grooming.
What size of dog do you want?
The normal rule of thumb is that larger breeds like Labradors require more exercise and smaller dogs like pugs require less. If you live in the city then a small dog would be perfect and if you live in the countryside and have lots of garden and country walks available then you will want to maybe think about getting a larger breed. Larger dogs eat more, so will need to burn more energy thus resulting in more exercise.
How energetic do you want your dog to be?
Similar to the first question however different breeds require very different levels of exercise. On the high end you have dogs who need to be exercised daily for over an hour. These dogs are fit, energetic and even can do skills such as swimming. You have smaller dogs like the pug who do not require quite so much exercise. They will actually struggle with too much due to their breathing difficulties. The more energetic the dog, the more time you should devote to giving it exercise.
How often are you able to play with your dog?
Some breeds of dog are happy to get on with their lives and do not require much attention at all. Others will require constant attention and if not given, especially as a puppy, then you are going to face a difficult time in looking after it. You may find yourself coming home to a lot of mess on the floor or chewed shoes simply because the dog is bored and requires company.
How affectionate would you like your dog to be?
Certain dogs stick to humans better than others and this is important when choosing. If you want your dog to be by your side the whole day and never leave then a good choice could be the Terrier. Other dogs such as the standard poodle will greet you when you come home at night but leave you to your own devices when it is your own time.
You next need to ask will my dog be in contact with other animals.
Certain breeds are better with animals than others. If for example you have cats in the home then you are going to want a peaceful breed that is not known to be violent. On the other end of the scale you may be getting a dog for hunting purposes. You may not care therefore what its attitude is towards other animals.
How easy it will it be to train my dog?
Dogs are no exception; some breeds are just easier to train than others. Other dogs are too intelligent for certain types of training. For example some breeds cannot be trained to be guide dogs as the functions are too basic for them to follow. Discovery provides a useful list of breeds that are easier to train but remember that these are just generalisations and not the standard rules. How a dog behaves is almost always down to its own environment.
You want to ask how much protection you want your dog to provide.
Certain dogs are natural protectors and certain breeds just don’t care and would rather lie on the couch all day! The Bullmastiff is usually the number one choice for protection due to its heavy size and physical strength. The Doberman Pinscher is also a good choice for protecting large gardens or properties due to the speeds they can reach in order to neutralise a criminal. They are also very intelligent and can strictly follow commands. Of course, if you want a dog to be a guard dog then you must be aware of your ethical responsibility to train it properly so it would not attack innocent members of the public. They must also be properly integrated and be socialised.
How much maintenance and grooming do I want to give my dog?
Breeds differ in requirements as to how much time you need to spend grooming them. Some dogs should have daily times set to looking after them such as the Afghan hound and others require looking after a few times a week. Some breeds for example need no extra maintenance at all and will be able to look after themselves. The beagle for example is one breed that do not require too much maintenance.
The final question you should ask is how the climate is where you are living.
Some dogs fair better in certain climates. Being in the UK we mostly have rain and cloud and although you may find it surprising, certain dogs love this sort of weather. Different breeds fair better in different weather conditions. If you plan on taking your dog to the south of Spain every summer then you will want to choose a breed that can handle the blistering sun of the Spanish summers together with the cold and winds of an English winter. The Chihuahua is a dog that can handle hot weather whereas unsurprisingly a Siberian husky will prefer the cold weather.
For more information on specific types of breed then please take a look at our breed guide where we list specific breeds and go into more details.