It is important to carefully consider which dog you want before bringing one home. It can be very easy to be influenced by big brown doggie eyes or a fluffy ball of energy. Remember, however, that a dog is a long-term relationship. Hence, it is best for you and your pet to be compatible. Your dog will be a part of your life for a long time. Hence, it is important to do your research ahead of time to know what to expect.
Getting a Dog: Important Considerations
A dog should not only suit your lifestyle but also your surroundings. For example, if you live in a smaller house with limited outdoor space, a small dog might suit you better.
With over 200 dog breeds, you’re bound to find the perfect match. Use our Dog Types Tool for more information on what to expect from different breeds so you can choose the perfect puppy for you and your family.
Aside from breed, age is another important consideration to consider when sourcing a dog. Since puppies take a lot of work to train, you might want to ask yourself, “Would it be better if I adopt an adult dog?” when you don’t have enough time to keep a naughty pup at bay!
Once you’re sure a puppy is best for you, the fun part comes next – finding your new furry buddy!
Choosing a dog: top questions
Pedigree, Crossbreed, or Mixed Breed?
Did you know that there are more than 200 dog breeds recognized in the UK alone? When you add all of those adorable hybrids and hybrids, there are hundreds of more species to choose from. As a first-time dog owner, the first thing you should consider is whether you want a pedigree, crossbreed, or mixed-breed dog.
The advantage of choosing a pedigree dog (also known as a pure breed) is that you have some predictability. You can be pretty sure that your four-legged friend is a certain size with coat length and texture, character, and energy level, and you will also be warned of some possible health conditions that can affect certain breeds.
There is also a certain degree of predictability at intersections. Crossbreeds have parents of two different pure breeds, but it can be more difficult to be sure which breed will determine your dog’s appearance and personality. For example, a Border Collie Labrador Cross might or might not lie relaxed and full of energy!
The fun really starts with mixed-race (also known as mixed-race). They are largely non-pedigree, and while glimpses of recognizable breeds can sometimes be seen in them, it often comes down to guesswork. One of the many good things about mixed breeds is that they are often healthier because they usually have a larger gene pool, which means that hereditary problems are less of a problem.
For more information on which breed of dog suits you best, see our Race selection tool.
They don’t call them “doggie eyes” for nothing – puppies have something that makes them absolutely irresistible!
Puppy or adult?
They don’t call them “doggie eyes” for nothing – puppies have something that makes them absolutely irresistible! They may be cute as a button, but that doesn’t automatically mean a puppy is a right choice for you and your home.
When you are thinking of having a puppy, you will find that he is naturally curious and eager to learn. Hence, having time to train it is an absolute must. With your love, care, and training, you can turn your enthusiastic blank canvas into a masterpiece! They are great fun, but hard work – you have to teach them everything from toilet training to walking on a leash. If you have the time and patience, you will find your transformation extremely rewarding and all of the effort you put in will help create a good bond between you and your pup.
Another option is to include a “juvenile” or adult dog. If you are a first-time dog owner, you may find an older dog that is better suited to your lifestyle.
Most adult dogs will come to you with some training and socialization. However, that doesn’t mean the job is done – there is still a lot to be done, and there is no reason why you cannot bond as strong as any puppy. The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true as any dog can continue to learn and adapt for life.
Unfortunately, some adult dogs ready for rehabilitation have not always been gifted with an earlier loving home, so they may come to you with a bit of “emotional baggage”. These dogs need extra love, time, and patience, but what you give them will be tremendous rewards for both you and your dog, and will lead to a lifelong friendship. Working together on training will really help build your special bond and build trust between the two of you. Staff and volunteers at renowned rehab centers can advise you on choosing the right dog to find your perfect partner.
Dog or bitch?
Another thing to think about when getting a dog is whether you want a man or a woman. Opinions are very different and in the end, the decision really depends on personal preference.
Some owners say bitches are easier to train and more loving, while others argue that women are more independent and detached. Males are often referred to as more confident, but spaying and neutering can be a little easier to handle if they start off a little too boldly and too confident (although this varies with the age of the neuter and from dog to dog).
There is no easy answer and you need to remember that a large part of your dog’s character and behavior can be attributed simply to the individual personality and time you spend training and interacting with him.
Uncastrated dogs of either sex can sometimes be a handful. Men can migrate in search of women, and unpaid bitches can be difficult to manage during their season and sometimes suffer from phantom pregnancies. If you want to breed, these are manageable hurdles to overcome. Unplanned pregnancies, on the other hand, can cause unnecessary problems for you and your dog, such as: B. Complications during childbirth and finding a home for the puppies. The cost of neutering a woman is usually higher than that of neutering a man, and even higher if she is already pregnant.
For more information on the effects of castration on men and women, see our Frequently Asked Questions about Castration.
What to look for when choosing a puppy
By six weeks, your puppy should be interested in you and his surroundings and should be interested in sniffing your hands and exploring the world around him. They should be playful and almost certainly wreak havoc! Here are some things to look out for
- Keep in mind that the smallest puppies in the litter may have health issues and that nervous, withdrawn, or overly excitable puppies may need more training and socialization.
- Your puppy should be plump but not fat and free from lumps or bumps.
- The perfect puppy should also have clean and light eyes, clean ears, and a clean floor.
- The coats should be soft and clean, with no bald or sore spots, and the puppy shouldn’t scratch.
- Put your potential puppy on the floor. They should be interested in their surroundings immediately. Clap your hands or make a high-pitched squeak and notice how they react.
- Deafness can be a problem in some breeds, such as Dalmatians and other white breeds. So, make sure your puppy reacts when exposed to obvious sudden noises.
When should the new puppy be picked up?
As a general rule of thumb, plan to pick up your puppy around eight weeks of age (or a little later for certain breeds). Returning home earlier is not recommended and can be a sign that the breeder is not maintaining high breeding standards. It’s worth noting that some insurance policies don’t cover dogs that leave the breeder before eight weeks of age.
Sometimes a breeder will ask you to wait up to 12 weeks to pick up your puppy. If so, check to see if it is a busy household where your new pup can be well socialized during these important weeks.
The time you take your puppy home will also affect what vaccinations he has received. Therefore, contact the breeder, who should document the vaccinations (along with worms and other treatments).
If, after choosing a puppy, you are asked to collect it much later than the usual 8 to 12-week time span, there may be a reason the breeder withheld it – so ask why.
Finally, make sure you are familiar with your puppy’s food and the breeder’s feeding regime. It will help your pup settle in if you can continue doing this at home, at least initially.
Breeder or homecoming organizations?
If your heart is centered on a pedigree or a crossbred puppy, your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breeding club secretary who may have a list of litters available or should put you in touch with breeders in your area. Try to select a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s insured breeder program.
It can be incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from a shelter and give him a second chance in life. There are many dogs that are waiting for a loving home forever. Every dog has its own story and many lost their first homes through no fault of their own and would love to become a part of you.
Reputable centers will be very careful when it comes to matching the right people with the right dogs. They sure don’t want them rejected again, nor do they want you to pick up a dog that isn’t right for you. Staff carefully evaluate the dogs they enroll in and spend time getting to know you, your family, and your lifestyle before they get you on with any of their dogs. They are also happy to advise you and answer your questions.
Unsurprisingly, more adult dogs are looking for new homes than puppies, and when puppies look for adoption they are often caught pretty quickly. If you are determined to rescue a puppy, you may need to take the time to contact several animal shelters and rescue centers, or you may need to travel further to find one that is right for you. Some of the larger organizations you can contact are: Dogs trust, The blue cross, Battersea Dogs Home, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, or Dublin SPCA.
Whether you are buying from a breeder or adopting a rescue dog, you can look forward to a fulfilling future full of adventure with your new friend!