Have you considered a rescue dog? Dogs in shelters can be available at various ages, including pups. Most pure-bred clubs also have rescue organisations that re-home their breed if owners’ circumstances change.
The time factor
How much time can you spend with your dog? Are you a busy person who is not at home much, or do you have lots of spare time? Will your dog often be alone, or is there someone at home during the day? Greyhounds, Italian greyhounds and whippets need daily exercise, but are very happy to just lounge around the rest of the time.
How big is your property, and how close are your neighbours? Small dogs such as pomeranians, Maltese, shih tzus and their crosses do well in apartments. Will your dog sleep inside or outside? On your bed or in their own bed?
Do you have other animals, and are they compatible with dogs? Some dogs have a strong hunting instinct and may try to eat Peter Rabbit. Many terriers, such as Jack Russells and fox terriers, will not get along with cats and bunnies. If they are brought up together from puppyhood, though, most dogs can become friends with other species.
Sports and shows
Are you interested in dog sports such as agility or flyball? Training? Showing? Border collies, kelpies, labradors, German shepherds and Shetland sheepdogs (Shelties) are among the many breeds that excel at sports.
At the end of the day, you have a big decision. If you talk to breeders, they will be passionate about their breeds, and possibly biased. It’s a good idea to talk to the professionals at your vet clinic who work with animals day-in and day-out. All dogs are individuals, but vets and nurses get to know the traits of particular breeds, which ones make good family pets, which ones might be aggressive, and which ones are easy to train.
Veterinarian Dr Kerry Bail works out of Emerald Veterinary Clinic and owns Great & Small Veterinary Services in Upper Beaconsfield.