Guide to Pet Dog Breeds
A guide to choosing the best pet dog or puppy for you and your family.
Choosing the right pet dog breed for families with children

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A guide to choosing the best pet dog or puppy for you and your family.
If you are already a dog owner or have owned a dog before, your choice will be made easier. If you are thinking of buying your first pet dog or a breed new to you there are many factors to take into consideration before choosing

Choosing the right dog --- all you need to know :-

Choosing your pet - which dog type would suit your lifestyle best?

Probably the first decision to make, is whether you want a Pedigree or Cross Breed dog.

  • Pedigree dogs
    Choosing a pedigree dog will make some of your other decisions easier, especially if you intend buying a puppy.
    Pedigree dogs will have a "history" this helps ascertain many of the basics :- what they will look like, what their temperamant might be like, how active the breed is and if you buy the dog from a breeder you will most likely be able to see the parents, a good indication of what to expect.
  • Cross Breed dogs.
    If you choose to buy a cross breed or mongrel it usually means that many of the characteristics and temperament are less certain and if buying a puppy what you can expect becomes even more difficult to judge, even the size of the adult dog will be a guess, although knowing its parentage can help.

General points to consider when buying any dog or puppy: -
Dogs can take up a lot of your time and commitment, they impact upon the lifestyle of you and your family, coming with both a financial and emotional cost. Having decided you want a pet dog there are some general areas about you and your new pet you will need to consider.

Cost of keeping a pet dog
: - (some unavoidable costs you must consider )

  • Food: - What your dog eats affects many areas of its life and can effect its behaviour and general wellbeing, the quality of its coat, even its life-span. The amount and cost of food will vary according to what stage of development your dog has reached, his appetite, his size and the type of food used ( dry dog food or tinned meat and biscuits) but it is not unreasonable to expect a cost of around £20 per month.
  • Equipment: - Some of these items may be necessary rquirements (leads, muzzles etc.) and some will be your preference as an owner. Some example will be: -collar and lead, identification, bed and or bedding, feeding equipment, toys, clothes, gifts
  • Grooming: - There will usually be a small outlay for grooming equipment but some dog breeds have coats that need specialised grooming. (Check our Dog Types and Dog Grooming pages)
  • Veterinary costs: - These can vary enormously there is not usually a fixed set of charges applied by all vets. Dicuss this with friends and other dog owners to find a vet that has a good reputation and charges that fit your budget.
    All young puppies wiil need a range of vaccinations which can cost around £100-£150 initially and then annual boosters will be required at a cost of £40-£60.

    Some other vet fees your dog might incur are spaying or neutering, idetification microchipping.
    There will also be the unforseen costs of illness and accidents.
  • Insurance: - Some form of insurance policy will be necessary, vets fees alone can be costly. It may be useful to dicuss this with your vet, but a likely cost may be in the region of £5 - £20 per month.
  • Other possible costs you may need to consider: - Boarding fees, regular worming treament (usually quarterly), training aids or specialist training requirements, travelling crate and there might well be other costs that are specific to certain breeds.

Time and energy commitments you will need: -

  • Puppies, like small children, may initially require a lot of your time for house training and behaviour traning, they will eventually grow out of this and learn to play by themselves. Lots of exercise will help burn up much of this excess energy and encourage quiet times and naps.
  • Older dogs will also require exercise, how much will depend on the breed type you choose. Many dogs will require two exercise sessions per day when they can run free, others may require to be on a lead when exercising (Greyhounds, Afghans) so a lot of walking will be required it all comes back to choosing the cottect breed for your lifestyle.You must expect to spend some time grooming, bathing and feeding your dog and even taking him to the vet.

Creating the right environment for a new dog or puppy: -

  • Getting your new dog home may be your first consideration, you may need a travel box or special equipment for carrying a dog home in your car.If you are buying a puppy a box or travel container will be needed for older dogs a travel container, dog guard or car harness might be necessary. It is often a good idea to bring some toys for your new dog to distract him in the journey and maybe a blanket or old garment to familiarise him with the new smells he is going to encounter.
  • It will be necessary to make sure your home is ready for your new pet. Basics such as a collar and lead, feed bowl, water bowl, dog food, a dog bed or blankets and a few suitable dog toys will all be required.
  • Try to make sure the new environment is suitable and safe for the new dog (especially if it is a puppy).
    Check for obvious dangers, steep and accessible stairs (you may require a stair gate), trailing electrical cables and any exposed fixtures (remember dogs like to chew and sniff), dangerous kitchen/bathroom equipment (especially cleaning materials and chemicals).Food cupboards if at a low level should be secure, a dogs sense of smell is acute and before they are properly trained they imagine everything in your house is theirs also.
  • If your dog will have access to an outside area this must also be safe and suitable.
    Fences should be checked, many dogs like to run away or at least wander off..
    If you have a garden pond make sure puppies cannot accidently fall in.
    Any neighbours should be aware of your new pet and the possible noise level increase.
    Any other pets or livestock must be made safe from your dog and vice versa.
  • If your dog is allowed to use your garden you mast be prepared for a certain amount of damage, dogs like to dig and will often bury bones or toys. Dogs using your garden as a toilet may not be to your liking and this can often cause yellow patches on your lawn

When your dog or puppy arrives home.

  • Arrival at his new home will be a big event for your new dog, more esprecially for a puppy. If you have a garden he can use try taking him out there on arrival, he will probably want to relieve himself, if he does give him lots of praise, this will be the first step in his toilet training.
  • If possible try and let your dog or puppy investigate his new home at his own pace, do not over-fuss or over-crowd him he will need time to investigate and familiarise himself with his new surroundings and all the new smells and sounds.
  • Introduce him slowly to any new toys and where he is going to sleep, if he shows reluctance to engage with any family members try using "treats" but patience will be required at this stage.
  • If there are any other pets in the household you will need to supervise their first attempts at socialising, what to one animal is playfulness may appear threatening to another.
  • Small puppies cannot always be exposed to other animals until they have received their first injections. This is especially true for outside areas which may be soiled by other pets and therefore an infection risk. If you pet has not received any injections yet an early visit to the vet is reccomended, where you can seek advice about when they will be safe to socialise with other animals.
    • The Only Online Guide which specifically deals with choosing dogs for people with dog allergies and successfully adopting from rescue centres.

    • The Answer To All Your Problems, All Your Worries And A Total Solution To Choosing Your Dog – Even If You Have A Dog Allergy! Help For You If You Thought You Could Never Have A Dog At All!

  • Selecting the right dog or puppy: -
    Having decided a dog is the right pet for you and your lifestyle you will probably also have some idea of the type or breed of dog you would like..
    (As mentioned above much of this is made easier if you are choosing a pedigree dog breed.)
    The type and dog breed you choose is very important, it must be a good match for your family, your lifestyle and the environment the dog will be entering. Our Dog Breed Guide gives more information about breeds characteristics and what they can offer you..This used in conjunction with the checklist below is a good starting point for choosing the best pet dog for you.
  • Adult dog or puppy
    Puppies will require more training and attention, especially over the first six months. They will need to be housebroken, have to get used to a collar and lead. Pups often chew furniture and other belongings, this will require time and training to overcome, you must be prepared for acidents through clumsiness, excitement and lack of housebreaking. These problems will gradually disappear with suitable dedicated training, however you will require patience.
    Another factor you should keep in mind when buying a puppy is that it could grow up to be different to your expectations, especially if you acquire a cross-breed dog.

    Acquiring an adult dog may save you some of these problems, lead behaviour, destructive chewing, housebreaking may not be a problem anymore, your new dog may be more settled and have received some training. This can of course be a disadvantage, your dog may have acquired bad habits from his previous owner(s), had training you may not find suitable, all this needs to be considered.
  • Right size of dog to suit you, your family and his new environment

    The size of dog can also impact on other considerations, big dogs do not necessarily require more exercise, small terriers are by nature lively and can need a lot of exercise and outdoor activity, but bigger breeds like St. Bernards or Great Danes may be quite happy relaxing at home.
  • What activity level will your dog have and what will he expect of you.
    Some of these decisisions may seem obvious but it is important you consider them to end up with the best match possible.
    If you, as the owner, spend much of your time at home then it is unlikely you will want an active breed that requires lots of exercise and long walks. Many toy dogs were bred to be house dogs, enjoying human company, cuddles and performing little tricks.
    More active owners would probably benefit from a similarly active breed of dog Most dogs love outdoor exercice so if you like walking or have access to open spaces there are many breeds you can choose from.
    Consideration should be given when choosing a breed to how they will affect any small children or elderly people living in their new environment.Large boisterous and even noisy dogs may not always be the best choice.
    Even the seemingly most inactive dogs will benefit from regular exercise (remember dogs develope extremely accurate body clocks, they will know when it is time for a walk). Exercise does not have to been seen as a chore, it can be part of a game (dogs love to chase things) and they are not often put off by the weather conditions (extreme cold or heat being possible exceptions)

  • Space required
    Will your dog have garden space.
    Are you near parks or suitable open land.
    All dog breeds will need some outside space at various times, how much and how often will depend on the the type of dog you are thinking of buying (see Dog Types for more help).


  • Which dogs are good with children.
    It is safe to say that not all dogs are right for children and not every child is right for a dog. Choosing the right dog that you can introduce to children or will be prepared to accept new children being introduced into his enviroment needs much consideration. Size, signs of aggressive traits and biting, how boisterous they are, do they bark a lot are just some of the points to establish. (more detailed information on our Dogs and Children page)
  • Maintenance
    Grooming: - All dogs need a certain amount of grooming (even the hairless breeds). Many dog owners can achieve this themselves with the minimum of equipment but some dogs need specialist grooming to keep their coats in control. Bathing presents the same problems and it often easier to make use of the many Dog Parlours and Grooming Services available.
    Shedding hair: - Dogs shedding hair can cause problems for many owners, so care should be taken to select a dog breed that have coats that shed very little hair.
  • Some other relevant points to be considered
    There are dog breeds who love water and this may need to be taken into consideration. Coming home regularly from a walk with a wet and often smelly dog may not be appreciated by everyone.

    Many dogs like to dig and bury things, if you are a proud gardner be aware of this
    It is not all the dogs fault it just might be that you are allergic to dogs it would be useful to check this out before you acquire a new pet.

  • Which Dog Breed should I choose?
    We have detailed the attributes, requirements, what you expect from and what you can give to many different dog breeds on our Popular Dog Breeds pages. These pages are packed full of detailed information about various dog breeds, essential for anyone choosing a pet dog or puppy, but remember these are just guides, no two dogs will be exactly the same. Try to observe dogs when you are out for walks, talk to other owners and read books and remember just as similar dogs have different rquirements so do owners. A good relationship between dog and owner(s) will require a lot of patience and to some extent compromise.

    Decided which dog type you would like to buy? Where is the best place to buy your Dog Or Puppy

    When selecting a dog or puppy as a pet there are three main sources to use
  • .Dog Breeders
    You can find Dog Breeders in you local press, listed in Yellow pages, via dog clubs and shows. Vets may often recommend breeders, friends or family may have useful experience and advice and you can always try the internet.
    Many breeders breed to show and will usually have first pick of the litter and sell any remaining.
    When you buy a puppy from a breeder always try to see the dog first then you will some idea of the environment and the parents helping you get some idea of what your dog will look like.
    Breeders sometimes have cross bred dogs available, again you can get some background information and advice on their suitability as pets (as an added bonus they are usually less expensive)
  • Rescue centres
    Rescue homes generally have older dogs and cross breeds available.However some do specialise in pedigree dogs and even specific dog breeds.
    It is probable that most rescue homes will have no history of the dog you may be buying which
    leaves an element of guesswork involved if you buy a puppy. Some elements of the dog will have been assessed however which will make your decision to adopt easier.
    Some rescue centres may ask for details of your family set up, what the dogs new
    environment will be like and even make a home visit to assess your suitability
  • Pet Shops
    Often you can buy dogs (usually puppies) from pet shops. They may look cute in the pet shop but again you will be buying blind, what they grow up to be nay not be what you expected.
    These puppies have quite likely come from a private owner trying to dispose of a larege litter bur often they come from what are now called "puppy farms".
    It is up to you to find out as much information as possible about any dog you buy.

    More Information To Help You Choose Which Is The Right Dog Breed For You

    20 of the more Popular Pedigree Dog
    chosen by people in the UK

    Other Popular Dog Breed Types.
    Advice and tips to help you choose from some other dog breeds that will suit your lifestyle best

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Dogs For Your Lifestyle.
Dog Breeds that will best suit your needs (little or lots of exercise, little grooming, elderly owners, easily trained, suitable in flats etc.)