So you’ve decided to adopt a four-legged friend. Don’t be in a hurry to take this new family member home; take your time to get to know the breed of dog you’re considering and ensure you know everything you may have to know.
To avoid stress, heartache and trauma for your family and dog down the line, ask yourself these 10 questions before falling in love.
- What level of activity can I handle comfortably and consistently?
- What size dog can my family, home and garden comfortably accommodate?
- Are there any potential family allergies or other health issues that could be a problem?
- Do we want a lap dog or a guard dog?
- What is the dog’s grooming needs and can I provide for all of the needs?
- Who will care for the dog if I am away from home for longer than expected or on holidays?
- Can my health level or level of fitness accommodate the dog’s level of activity?
- Is shredding a problem?
- Is barking a problem?
The choice will ultimately vary from individual to individual, and each family will have different needs or requirements, but arguably three of the biggest reasons dogs are later rehomed is that they are too big for the home and garden, allergies or other health issues, and that they are not living well with children. Again, if you know these could be issues avoid it by making the right choice from the get-go.
Small breed dogs
The advantages of getting a small dog is that they are great lap dogs and can comfortably live in smaller environments so could be ideal for city living.
Some popular small breed dogs and their defining characteristics and personality traits:
Chihuahua – They can become very protective and tend to be reserved with strangers. They are not recommended for a family with small children.
Pug – They are a very playful breed of dog. They can be teasing and fun loving dogs that are anxious to please their owners. They will make wonderful and loyal companions for the elderly and families with small children as well.
Maltese – They are grooming intensive. Delighting in spending time with their owners, they will follow you wherever you go. They have low exercise needs so they make fine pets for the elderly.
These dogs will allow those of you that suffer from allergies, to keep your allergies at a comfortable level, allowing you to enjoy owning and raising a dog. These are some of the dogs that will work best for a family that may have allergy issues:
Fox terrier – They are affectionate, highly energetic dogs that are happiest spending time with the family. They are very good watchdogs and are super easy to train. They make perfect pets for children.
Miniature poodles – They are one of the brightest and attentive of all dogs. They make fine pets for the elderly as well as families with respectful older children. They are sensitive to stress and loud voices and will require early socialisation to avoid timid or skittish dog behaviour.
Best child friendly dogs
These dogs typically make great companions for children, they are fun loving dogs, that will cope well with affectionate, boisterous children.
Beagle – They are happy-go-lucky pets and make great family companions. They are good watchdogs and get along with other family pets easily.
Havanese – They are very affectionate lap dogs. They have endearing personalities that make them fine pets.
Jack Russell – They are energised little dogs, they love to play and chase. They don’t do well with cats and other household pets if not socialised and brought up with them. Children still need to be respectful with them they will not put up with being teased and abused.
Best dogs for the elderly
There are so many proven and recorded benefits of seniors having dogs – health benefits and companionship being just two. Here are a few examples of dogs that are perfect for older, retired individuals.
Pomeranian – The Pomeranian is a spirited, loving and loyal dog. They are highly intelligent and are very eager to learn obedience. They are perfect lap dogs.
Dachshund – These are low-set, spirited small dogs. They are very loyal companions making them an excellent choice as a pet.
This is not a decision to make lightly, adopting a dog is a commitment for the rest of that animal’s life, only do it if you can ensure that it will be a happy one.
Words: Natassha Burrell