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What Type of Dog Is Best For Me?

Are you ready for the big question? Is it time to get a dog? Maybe the kids have been begging for a puppy for ages, or you’re longing for a fur baby, or perhaps you live alone and would like a bit of companionship.

Make no mistake, inviting a four-legged friend into your house may well be the best thing you’ve ever done. Dogs can make loving, loyal, and energetic friends, and they are absolutely part of the family from day one.

However, any responsible dog owner – or would-be dog owner – will know that lots of preparation should go into owning a dog. That includes so much more than buying dog beds and toys and food and looking at puppies. You need to consider what type of dog is best for you and your family.

Making the wrong decision could lead to a lot of misery and frustration and might even lead to you realizing that your dog and your family aren’t as compatible as you thought.

How can you avoid this heartache? Simply put, you need to figure out what type of dog is best for you – before you bring it home.

What To Consider When Getting A Dog

There are a few factors you should consider before you bring home a puppy or visit an animal shelter. There are three main things you should think about.

Most importantly of all, does your lifestyle allow you to properly care for a dog? What dog breed should you get? Should you buy a puppy or adopt a dog?

Here’s why you need to think about each of these factors.

Does Your Lifestyle Allow For A Dog?

Figuring out whether your lifestyle allows for a dog is the very first thing you should do, certainly before you start thinking about what dog breed you want.

For example, a person who works full time might have the money to care for a dog, but not the time. Dogs require a lot of time and energy, and certain breeds require more time. Your dog needs to be walked, fed, and played with. Our dogs are just one part of our lives, but for our dogs, we are their whole lives.

If you’re going to be out a lot, consider what your dog will do while you’re out. What if they get destructive, whine and howl and upset your neighbours, or just suffer from depression?

Yes, dogs can get depressed!

On the other hand, if money is tight for you at the moment, you will need to consider whether you can afford a dog. If you buy a puppy, that can be expensive – possibly even several hundred pounds. A fee is usually charged when you buy a dog from a shelter, too.

Also, you’ll need to pay for food, toys, dog walking if you’ll be out all day, kennels if you go away and don’t take your dog, as well as vet trips and pet insurance. All of this can rack up quite a bill.

So, before you go any further, sit down with your family and decide whether you have the time, money, and energy to spend on a dog.

Dog Breeds

Next, you’ll need to consider what sort of dog to get. Large dogs obviously require more food and exercise than smaller dogs and can be harder to deal with, too. Some dog breeds can be difficult to train, and larger dogs that are poorly trained can even be dangerous.

Some pedigree dogs also have common health conditions. For example, West Highland Terriers are prone to skin conditions, German Shepherds have joint and back problems, King Charles Spaniels are prone to heart conditions, and more.

If you don’t want to rack up a large vet bill, or even lose your precious pup too soon, check out your pup’s pedigree if possible. It’s difficult to find pedigree dogs that aren’t prone to some sort of health issue, so you might want to choose a mixed breed or mongrel dog, as they tend to be healthier.

There are lots of new “designer crossbreed” dogs, like labradoodles, cockapoos, and much more. These dogs tend to have the best of both their pedigree parents.

Adopt or Shop?

Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to decide whether to adopt a dog or buy a puppy. Everybody loves puppies, but the sad fact is that far too many older dogs are abandoned and left in adoption shelters. Choosing to bring one of these gorgeous dogs into your life can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve ever had. Also, it’s usually cheaper to get a dog from an adoption shelter, as these dogs are always neutered before you get them and they have all of their vaccines.

However, the downside to adopting dogs is that you may end up with a dog with unique requirements or serious health issues. Some dog shelters offer help with medical issues or specialist training.

Puppies, on the other hand, can be trained from scratch, and some dogs from adoption shelters may have behavioural problems or bad habits and may require a more experienced dog owner. If you do choose to buy a puppy, be sure to do your due diligence and make sure that you aren’t buying from a puppy farm. If possible, do research into the puppy’s parents to make sure your pup won’t have inbred health problems.

The Bottom Line

Everybody loves dogs, but not everybody has the time, energy, or money to properly care for one.

As well as the factors we’ve already considered, you’ll need to ask yourself whether you and your family really want a dog. Dogs take a lot of time and effort and they can be a 10-15 year commitment, so make sure you really do want a dog.

If you have pets already, take this into account when buying a dog, especially if you’re adopting. Some dogs can’t be with other dogs or with small animals like hamsters, rabbits, or guinea pigs. Some dogs also aren’t recommended for first-time owners.

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