Choosing a dog: what to consider and tips for choosing a dog
A cute, curly brown dog is peering over the picnic table with pleading eyes and one paw on the table, eagerly awaiting to get their paws on something tasty!

Choosing a dog: what to consider and tips for choosing a dog

5 May 2023

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 25 May 2023

So the time has come...you’re thinking about pet ownership and need some help choosing the right dog. With loads of information online about different breeds and temperaments, it can be hard to know how to choose the perfect dog you.

This guide will help you ask yourself the important questions. Whether you’re considering getting a puppy or rehoming an adult dog it should help you make informed decisions about the next big step.

Apollo the Samoyed

Should I get a puppy or a rescue?

Rescue organisations, breeders and experienced dog owners will usually be happy to share their experiences with you and discuss what might be the best choice for your particular circumstances. Similarly, whether to get a male or female dog is worth thinking about and discussing - particularly if you already have a dog in your home.

If you’ve never owned a dog before, weigh up the pros and cons of getting a puppy or a rescue - dog rescue organisations have a wealth of information that help them to ensure dogs are rehomed appropriately and although some rescue dogs have additional requirements, don’t be misled by the idea that all rescues have behavioural problems. Whether you go for a puppy or a rescue, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, just slightly different considerations, for example:

  • Getting a puppy - consider the size and breed, check out the breeder and discuss your needs and experience with them, remember that a puppy will need training from scratch.
  • Rehoming or rescuing a dog - consider the needs of the dog, consider the dog’s age (puppy, adolescent or mature?) and be aware you may not get the dog’s full history.
Penfold, the Border Terrier

How to choose a dog breed: should I get a pedigree or a crossbreed?

Getting a pedigree dog can give you an idea of the inherited traits your dog might have and any health problems in the breed. But not all dogs are going to follow these rules when it comes to personality and some traits in a dog can come from how they are socialised and trained as pups.

Crossbreeds, on the other hand, can sometimes benefit from inheriting the pawsitive traits of both breeds and some research suggests that they are less likely to inherit the health defects found in the purebreeds they are crosses of.

Temperament and size are two important factors when finding the best dog for you, so whether it’s a crossbreed or a pedigree, find out as much as possible about the typical traits and the particular dog/puppy’s parents before falling in love!

Arlo and Sully the Dachshunds

Who doesn't love a fun quiz - especially if it's dog themed?! Well, do we have a treat for you. Take a few minutes and have a go at our pawsome quiz. Just choose a few things you love and enjoy, and we will tell you your pawfect dog breed match!

Well? What breed did you get?!

Other useful puppy guides

Everything you should know before getting a puppy

Caring for your new puppy

When can I walk my puppy

Where and how to buy a dog responsibly

Cute puppies and funny dogs

Tips for choosing a dog

Best puppy food UK

Best puppy toys UK

Useful rehoming advice

Local dog rescue centres

Alternative to rehoming your dog

Rescue dog tips

The cost of dog ownership

How to socialise your rescue dog

Could a mixed breed or rescue dog be for you?


Tips for choosing a dog

Hey there!

Want to hear about a different kind of dog care that both you and your dog will love?

Or perhaps you’re a dog lover who can’t have one of your own right now?

We have the pawfect solution, BorrowMyDoggy!

How it works
Dog speaking