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Secrets to Picking the Right Dog Breed for Your Family and Lifestyle

Posted by Reedy Creek Vet on 17 August 2023
Secrets to Picking the Right Dog Breed for Your Family and Lifestyle

When it comes to finding your perfect canine companion, it shouldn’t just be about love at first sight!

Whilst it makes sense to select a dog that you feel an emotional connection with, it’s also important to consider whether the breed you’ve always wanted or the adorable dog you’ve just spotted at the rescue centre is right for you. 

Here are the secrets to picking the right dog breed for your family and lifestyle.

Consider what you can offer your prospective pet

Unfortunately, picking your childhood dream dog is not always the right choice for you or the potential pet.

To select the dog that will be best for you and your family, you should first consider:

How much time can you dedicate to the pet’s exercise, socialisation and training?

Consider the time you are willing to put into your pet’s care each day. Whilst some breeds are content with a half hour daily walk, more active breeds (such as border collies or kelpies) can require one to two hours or more of focused mental and physical activity per day to prevent boredom and potentially destructive behaviours.

Are you looking for an exercise buddy or would you prefer a more sedate pet?

Are you going to jog with your pet and/or take them for off-leash ball play every day, or are you more of a “gentle walk around the block” kind of person? If you are the latter, a more sedate dog (such as a cuddly toy breed) or a middle-aged to elderly rescue pet is likely to be a better fit for your family.

Do you have young children?

Whilst no pet should ever be left unsupervised with a young child (for the safety of both child and pet), certain dog breeds such as labradors, retrievers and cavalier king charles spaniels have the reputation of being particularly family-friendly and more relaxed in the presence of suitably gentle children.

What environment can you offer the pet?

Whilst many breeds can do well in an apartment (provided they have regular walks and access to toileting facilities), more active breeds may prove difficult in a confined space. Whilst breeds like whippets generally grow into couch potatoes, without daily free running opportunities you may find your apartment becomes a parkour ground for a very lively whippet pup!

Are you willing to groom the pet regularly and/or pay for regular professional grooming?

Before committing to a breed with regular grooming requirements such as a poodle or shih tzu, consider whether you’re willing to brush your pet every couple of days and learn how to use pet clippers for necessary trims, or whether you’ll pay for professional grooming every 6-8 weeks.

What are the special care requirements for your chosen breed?

As well as regular grooming, some breeds may have particular care requirements. For instance, flat-faced breeds such as pugs or french bulldogs generally require daily cleaning to prevent painful infections in the skin folds around their faces and tails.

Is your chosen breed prone to certain health problems?

Whilst any pet can potentially develop health problems, particular breeds tend to have certain issues that they are more prone to developing. For instance, even if you have always loved dachshunds, think carefully about their predisposition towards serious spinal problems.

We recommend that all pet owners consider pet health insurance to help cover their pet for health problems or injuries during their lifetime.

Choosing the right dog breed

Picking your best friend

Once you have determined what kind of environment and care you can offer to your prospective pet, you can then research individual breeds to see what kind of care they are likely to require. If you’re feeling very unsure, feel free to reach out to our helpful team for recommendations on potential breeds to consider.

Alternatively, if you are looking to obtain your pet from a rescue centre, you should be able to talk with the rescue centre staff about the kind of dog you are looking for, so they can make recommendations on potentially suitable candidates for you to meet.

If you will be purchasing your new canine companion from a breeder, we would recommend only considering those who allow you to inspect the breeding premises and meet their breeding dogs to ensure they are friendly, healthy, and receiving regular handling and positive socialisation. This will reduce the chances of your pup developing behavioural issues in the future.

With some careful consideration and selection of the best pup for your family, you’re helping to ensure many future years of loving canine companionship and cuddles!

For further advice on dog breed temperament and health predispositions, consult our breed-brainy team in person or over the phone on (07) 5593 8395.

Author:Reedy Creek Vet