Deciding to welcome a dog to your family is a life-changing decision and finding the pawfect match should be just as well-considered. There’s a lot more to choosing a breed than just ticking the “cute” box; your companionship should be based on matched energy and lifestyle needs. If you’re considering providing a life-long home for a loving pup, we’ve put together some of our top tips to help narrow down your search.
Though every dog has its own unique personality, it’s true that each breed has inherent characteristics. Purebred pups can be categorised into seven groups based on their origin and traits - Gun, Hound, Toy, Utility, Pastoral, Working and Terrier. Getting to know these is a good place to start as part of your research into breeds. If you decide a small lap-dog suits your energy levels and space, look into the breeds that fall under Toy Dog – like a Bichon Frise or Yorkshire Terrier. If you’re blessed with both outdoor and indoor space and boundless energy to burn, you’ll maybe be more prepared to take on working or gun dogs. Make sure you’re fully aware of the health background of a breed and any ongoing care before committing.
Whether you want to welcome a senior dog or a brand-new pup, it’s important to find out all that you can about a pet’s history. Rescue dogs usually have a story to tell and may have been through tough times that could affect their personality, ability to be left alone or suitability for families with children. Usually shelters will know their dogs well and should take the lead in matching you. If you’re going to a breeder, do your research. Get recommendations from reliable trustworthy sources and visit the breeder and meet the puppy’s mother if you can.
It’s important to consider the energy levels of both yourself and your prospective breed. If you spend your weekends hillwalking or are looking for a weekday running companion, you’re likely not going to be the right match for a low-energy breed. Similarly, if you have low mobility and are looking for a relaxing couch companion, you’ll be run ragged by a working dog with boundless energy. Consider your local area when choosing a breed too. If you’re close to a local dog park there’s plenty of opportunity to give your new furry friend the opportunity to run off their energy, whereas those in the city will have to consider how easy it would be to get long bursts of exercise.
If you’re not sure if you’re ready to plan for your perfect pet just yet, borrowing a doggy is a great way to preview how a dog might fit into your daily life. Although every dog has its own unique personality and quirks, doggy-sitting is an ideal way to get to know different breeds and assess how well you connect. That’s why we connect dog owners with local dog borrowers for walks, weekends and holidays. Find out more.
There are also lots of fun tools that can help to match you up with your ideal doggy. Load in your age, home environment, energy levels and “drool tolerance” to this Pawfect Match tool to get tips on your ideal breed matches.
When the time comes, remember to take your time choosing a breed that’s right for you, find a reputable breeder and explore your prospective pup’s history. There’s no doubt that you’ll be making a friend for life!