Choosing The Right Dog Breed

Choose wisely or live with the consequences

We are spoiled for choice with regard to dog breeds, small dogs, big dogs, hairless dog, hairy dogs, non-shedding dogs, and this is just with respect to how a dog looks. Personality characteristics also vary, from extremely outgoing to cat-like reserved. Then there are all of the mixes of breeds, combining looks and temperament to create a kind of hybrid of two dog breeds. Given the amount of responsibility owning a dog is these days, making the correct breed choice is vital.

If you are familiar with the breed of dog you wish to adopt you will be able to measure your expectations much better. The reason people find themselves in trouble with their dog is because they have underestimated the work involved in keeping a dog, or they have chosen the wrong breed. The following questions should help you think about where your expectations are in relation to dog ownership and/or breed choice.

How much experience do you have with dogs?

Experience equals confidence, and with confidence you can work with dogs much more effectively. Some breeds of dog require a large amount of dog savvy, not only for training but for socialisation. Working dogs tend to be very sensitive and need experienced handling to turn them in to confident happy adults. Other dogs such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers tend to recover quickly from mistakes made during socialisation. All dogs need formal training so enrol your dog in to a dog club (not just puppy school) so you can receive professional help with training and socialisation during the first three years of your dogs life.

How much time can you devote to walking?

This is not about the size of your garden, owning a dog is about getting out of the home and walking them. When you get out and walk your dog you will be training and socialising them, staying at home and throwing the ball around instead does them no favours. All dogs, no matter how small, must be walked every day. The more active breeds require at least one hour off lead each day. If you work full time you might find that you need to walk your dog twice each day, a short walk in the morning and a longer one at night.

How ‘precious’ are you about the state of your home?

Dogs dig, bark, sometimes smell and regularly bring dirt in to the home. Your dog should be inside with you so be prepared for extra wear and tear around the home, inside and outside. When I do not have a dog with me I really do notice the house stays cleaner for longer. If you love your furniture, have beautiful carpet or rugs you may find the more active breeds more frustrating to own. At least with small dogs you can minimise the wear and tear.

How much time are you willing to devote to training?

All dogs, particularly the more active breeds, must be trained and socialised for the first three years of their lives. This means devoting time each day for years to the development of your dogs’ social skills. If you cannot do this then please do not expect a dog that is capable in all situations. Find a good dog trainer/club and attend sessions as much as possible for at least the first three years of having your dog. After all, we would not expect our children to have all their social graces after Kinder so why do we expect it of our dogs?

What sort of shape are you in physically?

If you are elderly or have a chronic injury this is going to limit the kind of dog you should have. Take a good look at your physical capabilities and decide honestly if you can handle a young dog or a more active breed. The risk of being pulled over or knocked is much higher if you have a dog that is stronger than you. If you have your heart set on a young dog or more active breed you will need to enlist the help of family, friends, dog walkers and invest a huge amount of time in training. The alternative is adopting an older dog, in particular an ex racing Greyhound through GAP.

Socialising, training and living with a dog is a lot of work, make it easier by choosing the right breed.


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21 Responses to Choosing The Right Dog Breed

  1. PIYUSH N SHUKLA says:

    we need a dog in our flat, a small dog which can match our home ,so please guide us.

    • katarina says:

      Thanks for your question. Toy breeds can do well in flats but will still need daily walks and stimulation at home. How much time will the dog spend home alone? Does your flat have a courtyard? Perhaps an older dog (5+ years) would be more suitable depending on your situation. It is difficult for me to recommend a breed for you with such limited information.

    • Tony Mc says:

      We have two Shih-tzu’s They are small so dont need much exercise, very affectionate, clever and cute to look at. They dont shed hardly at all and if accidents happen they are easy to clean up after. Keep on top of their coat which is hypo-alergenic and you would be fine. 10/10 for Shih-Tsu’s

    • georgia says:

      Italian greyhounds are great and don’t need grooming to often but they o have lots of energy

  2. Lani knowles says:

    We want a small cute and trainable dog. Any answers because my kids want a soft and fluffy dog and all of the fluffy dogs I know shed a lot

    • katarina says:

      Poodles are soft, fluffy and do not shed. They are very smart dogs so require a good amount of stimulation (minimum of daily walking and training) to be happy. Remember that adopting a dog is a HUGE 10-15 year commitment and please only buy your puppy from a registered breeder. Good luck!

  3. Alissa says:

    My boyfriend and I want to get a puppy that will stay small. We live in a one bedroom apartment downtown. I would love taking my dog on a walk every day. We absolutey love how the pomeranian looks, but I’m not sure if their character is compatable with us. We want a cuddley loving affectionate puppy that isn’t extremely hyper. Also, growing up my parents had a couple male puppies which they never were able to potty train so they ended up finding better homes for them. Are female dogs easier to potty train?

    • katarina says:

      Hi Alissa,
      Your puppy’s character is going to be determined by his gentics and environment. Only adopt a puppy if you have met and can see that the mother is confident, friendly and calm (visit on numerous occasions) and the puppies are the same. Please see my posts….
      If you choose a reputable breeder then the rest is up to you and your boyfriend to continue the breeders good work by appropriately socialising your puppy. Download my free ‘Understanding Your Puppy’ ebook by subscribing to my blog and it will give you lots of info on this process.

      As far a toilet training goes, it just takes vigilance, your job will be a littler harder than average being in an apartment though so it may require an even bigger effort. My ebook has a chapter on toilet training too.

      Best of luck.

  4. Shelby says:

    me and my boyfriend have just moved into a new apartment and would love to have a dog. We only have 2 small gardens but its in a good area for dog walking etc..
    we would love to get a puppy but both have full time job so the puppy would be at home by itself for maybe 7 hours a day 5 days a week.
    we both like bigger dogs, me especially as ive only ever had english bull terriers. i wouldnt mind having something smaller as is probably more suitable for the apartment but dont really no where to start when it comes to other breeds. I dont really like small yappy dogs. do you have any sugguestions?

    • katarina says:

      Lots of environment enrichment will be important, download a copy of my free ebook ‘Understanding Your Puppy’ and this will give you some more information. Perhaps a dog walker/minder could come and walk or spend some time with your puppy for the first few weeks to settle it in and feed it.

      Smaller dogs are sometimes even more active than the larger ones, for example Jack Russell’s have way more energy than say a Greyhound. Greyhounds do really well in apartments, an English Bulldog may be a good compromise, they are not overly active (still require at least a daily walk) and are part of the bully breed family which may appeal to you.

      Many dogs do just fine in an apartment of course the more active the breed of dog the more time and money will need to be invested to keep it happy and your home intact.

      Part of the fun of finding a dog is researching all the different breeds and finding one that will suit your living arrangements and personality the best.

      All the best and let me know how you go.

  5. Daanishya says:

    We are keen on having a pet dog. We live in a small apartment. We’re looking for a breed which is rather small, sheds less and is compatible with Indian climate.. Please help us out.. Thank you

    • katarina says:

      Hi, Poodles and Bichon Frise are low shedding and small dogs, but be aware that these dogs are also very intelligent and will need daily walks and lots of human company. Good luck

  6. Charlotte says:

    I’m looking for a small dog breed that is well trained.

  7. alisha says:

    i ‘m looking for a cute ,small,pluffy dog ,actually i want to gift it to my sis .plz ,tell me which breed i should prefer?

    • katarina says:

      Hi Alisha,
      Dogs/puppies as gifts are never a good idea, the decision to adopt a dog needs to be made and followed through by your sister and no one else. Get some cute toys for your sisters dog as a gift instead.

  8. pups are like our babies. Their pain must be our pain. i have a Labrador puppy of 4 months. i love him very much.

  9. hi,
    Please love pets, they are your best friends always
    Capt. Mahesh Kaushal

  10. Glad to be one of the visitants on this awesome site :D.

  11. love spell says:

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