What type of dog are you looking for? Family pet, or quiet, easygoing, easy to care for dog for a single or working couple? Just as everybody is an individual, with a different and unique personality, so too are dogs different. Not only do dogs have their own personalities but each breed of dog has specific traits which are often very different from other breeds of dogs.
Before getting into details on the different types of dogs it’s important that you understand one point. Buying a dog is a commitment. They’re not like guppies, you can’t forget to feed them and then flush them down the toilet when they die from lack of care. They’re not independent. They need regular grooming and must have training if they’re going to be pleasant to be around. They get insecure and develop behavioral problems if they’re not properly trained and cared for. They need shots and have medical needs from time to time. They poo in the yard and chew on things they shouldn’t. Puppies need a lot of care and training and they chew things up a lot–they chew shoes, table legs, sponges, kids’ stuffed animals, loose piping, laptop cables, extension cords, hair brushes and pens.
Are you ready for that type of commitment. If you’re not, then don’t get a puppy. Get a guppie, or a turtle, or a bird, or even a cat. But don’t get a dog. Please.
Having said all of that I want to remind you that dogs are man’s best friend. They are always happy to see you when you get home and they never complain about what a tough day they’ve had. They are loyal, trainable and will defend you to the death (well, some breeds will.) They take you as you are, never tell you you’re putting on weight or chide you for smoking or having that extra martini. They can be the most devoted, loyal, sacrificial pet you will ever have. They try to comfort you when you’re sad, and they get excited with you when you’re happy. Those are some of the reasons they’ve earned the title “Man’s Best Friend”.
Tip #1: All puppies are cute. All puppies look pretty similar when they’re first born on into their first month or so. Their tails wag, their ears are cute, they roll around and jump and lick and pretend to be ferocious. There’s not much difference as far as looks go between the Rotweiller and the Beagle. But you know what? When they mature they are vastly different dogs in size and temperament and traits. Don’t base your decision on what type of pup to get on how cute they look as puppies. They ALL look cute!
Tip #2: Size is important. All puppies are pretty small when they’re born and they don’t grow that much in the first month or so. Know how big the dog you’re looking at will grow. How tall? How many kilos will a full grown dog weigh. How much food will that size dog eat. What size yard will you need for that size dog? Important questions.
Tip #3: Indoor dog our outdoor dog? All dogs can be indoor dogs, yes even the Great Dane (though be sure to put all your valuable vases away.) But small ‘toy’ dogs do better inside. You know the ones I’m talking about, they a bit bigger than a cat and they love wearing doggie clothes. That’s not to say you can’t have your Golden Retriever inside, she’ll probably love to lay at your feet when you’re curled up reading your book (they are devoted!) But she won’t be happy living inside all the time. She’ll be happy with a big yard and lots of exercise. If she gets bored she’ll tear your apartment to pieces. Believe me. (Yes, I have a Golden Retriever. I know what I’m talking about. You don’t want a bored, restrained Retriever. Trust me.)
Tip #4: Family dogs like to be around kids. Some breeds can be a bit more testy or snappy. You can’t make a blanket statement about what type of dog does well with kids. My sister had a Doberman and her little girl used to lay down and drink her bottle with her head resting on the doberman’. But generally speaking the happier, more social type of dogs do better with little kids. Retrievers, for example, are real people dogs–they hate to be left alone. The more kids the better as far as they’re concerned. Labradors and Cocker Spaniels are good with kids too.
Tip #5: Noisy dogs don’t make good city dweller’s pets: Beagles are usually great with kids but…and that’s a big but…they howl. It’s not a bark, its a howl and they love howling at the moon, or at other dogs barking. They are noisy and that can be pretty aggravating for your neighbors. More excitable breeds usually bark or yap a lot more. If it’s a small dog with a small yap, and it stays inside it’s not going to bother the neighbors. If its a testy German Shepherd that barks at every bike, kid, car, cat, dog and person that walks by your front gate and he’s outside most of the day and night you may not be too popular in your neighborhood.
Bottom line is, before you decide on a breed have a look on line, research all you can about the dog breed traits, talk to people who have that type of dog and make sure it will fit in your situation. Many dogs end up abandoned on the street or sent to a dog shelter because someone didn’t make sure they were the right dog for their situation. Don’t make that mistake. Research, learn all you can and make an educated and informed decision.