|What kind of dog will best suit you and your family? |
There are lots of different breeds to choose from, and each breed has different needs and characteristics.
Before you make a decision about the type of dog you want it helps if you do some research. Go to a library, look on the Internet and talk to your vet, dog trainers, kennel club and people who own the type of dog you are thinking about getting.
Dog shows are good places to view the various breeds.
A puppy or an adult dog?
You may find that re-homing an adult dog will suit you best. You won’t have the training and other demands of a small puppy but on the other hand you may not know the dog’s background and previous experiences. Talk to your local council animal officer or a welfare organisation like the SPCA to see if they have a dog that would suit you.
A pure bred dog or a cross bred ‘bitser’?
A vet, kennel club or a reputable breeder will have experience and knowledge of your chosen breed. They can provide information on its likely temperament, size, looks and particular care needs. Breeders will often let you meet the dam (mother) and sire (father) of the puppies, and you should get papers showing the dog’s pedigree.
A cross bred dog can give just as much pleasure as a pure bred dog but you might not know how big it will grow or what its temperament and needs might be.
Are you experienced with dogs?
Some breeds need an experienced dog owner, they can be stubborn, headstrong or naturally very dominant.
Large, medium or small dog?
Many of the very large breeds are relatively small as puppies, but could quickly grow much larger than your house or apartment can manage. If you have a large fenced yard and a bigger living area either a large, medium or small dog would be fine. If you live in an apartment or smaller house perhaps a medium to small dog is best. For those that live in very small spaces a toy or miniature breed may be a better choice.
Breeds and their exercise needs
Each breed has its own general exercise level that is not necessarily based on size. There are some small to medium breeds such as terriers that require a lot of activity and exercise. Some of the larger or giant breeds are sedate and calm dogs requiring little exercise.
Child friendly dogs
If you have children or are planning on having children it is very important to ensure the breed you are selecting is a "child-friendly" breed. Some dogs just naturally love being around children. Others might not be such a good combination. Even if you don’t have children, consider the safety of visiting adults and children.
Other factors to consider
- What type of temperament do you want your dog to have?
- Do you want a dog with short or long hair - how much grooming will it need?
- How noisy is the breed – are they yappers or do they have a deep bark – will this be a negative factor where you live?
- How much food will it need?
- How easy is the breed to train?
- Does the breed have a reputation for being good with other dogs and animals?
The New Zealand Kennel Club can give you information about breeders and kennel clubs around New Zealand.