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Choosing The Right Dog

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A question that we see a lot on the forums and various other places online is which dog breed is right for you? With hundreds of different dog breeds available, choosing the right breed can often be a daunting task. Choosing the right breed of dog is very important to ensure that both you and your dog know what to expect from the relationship but more importantly the characteristics you can expect from your dog throughout it’s life with you. One of the most common mistakes that dog owners make when purchasing a dog is picking a dog purely based on the appearance. Although the appearance of the dog may well be important to you it certainly isn’t one of the most important factors to consider. A couple of the main considerations are: Can you provide for the behavioural needs of your dog breed? Was the dog born in the environment that you are going to raise it in? (although it isn’t critical it can certainly help in shaping the dogs character.) The Kennel Club uses 7 different groups to divide dogs into. We are going to broadly look at the characteristics of each of these groups to help determine if this group would be a good fit for you.

Terrier

A natural job of a terrier is to hunt. They have been bred to hunt and kill vermin - this is the natural instinct of the dog. With that in mind, you can fully expect to have a highly intelligent dog that is going to want to be active. High levels or activity and play should be expected with a terrier. Examples include: Jack Russell, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Scottish Terrier

Hound

Hounds will not show affection as much as other dogs and can often be described as being uninvolved. That can often be a misconception as they can still be loving albeit less than others dogs. As they are used to working away from people they are more independent and can sometimes find it hard to bond with people. Examples include: Beagle, Greyhound, Dachshund

Working

These are dogs which have been bred for a specific dog (an example being a snow dog). This category of dogs are highly intelligent and are often larger in size. These dogs will require a high level of activity in order to keep them satisfied and can often still have a guard type trait. That being said, this category has many breeds which are friendly giants and will make a perfect pet for your family - just remember to give them enough exercise. Examples include: Great Dane, Boxer, Siberian Husky

Toy

This is very much a eclectic mix of dogs however they all have one thing in common - they are generally all small. Some of the breeds within this category have been bred to hunt small vermin while others have been bred to give companionship. Many dogs within this group can be high maintenance whether it be through high levels of grooming needed or the high levels of exercise. Just because they are small, they will still need to be very active in order to keep them happy. Examples include: Bichon frise, Maltese, Pug

Utility

Utility dogs come in all shapes and sizes. As described by crufts, “The name 'Utility' essentially means fitness for a purpose and this group consists of an extremely mixed and varied bunch, most breeds having been selectively bred to perform a specific function not included in the sporting and working categories” It is very difficult to characterise these dogs broadly, in which case you should look at individual dogs characteristics if it should fall into this group. Examples include: Dalmatian, Chow Chow, Bulldog

Pastoral

These dogs are very alert to their surroundings, mainly as they have been bred to work with livestock. These dogs are on the whole know for being healthy due to the activity levels they need to be physically and mentally stimulated - they are also extremely intelligent. Giving these dogs a job to do through training or play will be key to keeping your dog happy and stopping them from making their own fun, such as trashing the house or chasing other dogs in the park. Examples include: Border Collie, German Shepherd, Old English Sheepdog

Gundogs

These dogs were bred for a find and retrieve type activity. They make extremely good family pets as it is well known the tent to have great temperaments. Having worked with people for a very long time makes them very sociable. Highly active and intelligent which will need to be entertained to keep them busy. Examples include: Irish Setter, German Short haired Pointer, Golden Retriever

Crossbreeds

These dogs don’t fit into other groups because they are cross bred. These dogs can make great pets due to the fact that they lack the exaggerated behavioural traits of part of the breed they belong to. You should however always be aware that some crossbreeding can lead to behavioural and health issues, so be sure to check that the cross breed you are looking at does not suffer from this. If we can help you with any advice regarding which dog may be right for you please contact a member of our team and we can help. We have a team of dog loving owners who will be more than happy to offer some friendly advice.

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