Finding Your 5-Star Fido!

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Forget ‘what car to buy’. Forget ‘whether or not to get married’… (although don’t tell them you’ve forgotten it, for your own safety)…. THIS is the most important decision of your life!


And after much deliberation, you’re going for it – you’re getting a dog! But with so many pups to choose from and so many dogs needing homes, choosing the right dog for you can be a tall order. And it’s a decision that can really shape your lives together.



According to the Dogs’ Trust, demand for puppies soared during lockdown, with Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increasing by 166% and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home receiving 40,392 applications to rehome dogs in the three months April–June 2020 - an increase of 53% compared to the previous three months. It seems that recently more than ever, more homes are welcoming or have welcomed a dog into their midst. Whilst this is brilliant news for both UK families and the dogs they’ve taken on, a large percentage of new dog owners admit that their choice of dog was rather more emotion-driven (“aww but Daddy he’s so cute!!!”) and may not have been 100% suited to their situation and circumstance or what they had originally had in mind – more so in the past year’s lockdowns when dog demand so vastly overwhelmed ‘supply’ in such a short space of time.


This may not be a deal-breaker per se, but choosing a dog that’s not quite right for your lifestyle can lead to challenges down the line. Put simply, dogs tend to dictate certain aspects of their owners’ lives – the next house they buy (it must have a secure garden), the car they drive (I remember my husband and I selecting our current car based not on what it looked like but solely whether or not the boot could accommodate a pram and two 30kg Basset Hounds…), and even the clothes they wear (which is why you’ll never see me in white. Have you ever tried to get Basset slobber out in the wash?) So, conversely, deciding on what type of dog best suits you and your lifestyle really is the first, most important and most valuable step in getting a dog as it can make some aspects of your life together so much easier. So what should you be keeping in mind when deciding on who will be your new best friend and family member? Here’s a quick guide on how to pinpoint the perfect pup for you.



Size

One of the first things your family should consider when choosing a dog is its size. Does your home have enough space for the type of dog you’re thinking of? Is your car big enough to safely accommodate it on family trips out? Similarly, are there aspects of your home that might be unsuitable for a smaller dog? If you’re going for a puppy, do you have a good idea how big they will be when they are fully grown? So many dogs are rehomed each year because their owners were not prepared for how big they would grow to be in adulthood. As a family unit, have a good discussion about the size of dog you might want, try to consider all aspects of the day to day (for example, lifting/helping it into or out of the bath or car) and decide between you how what is right for your home and everyone in it.



Breed

A Labrador may be the best family pet… but you might find yourself bathing him after each walk after he spends most of his time throwing himself into whatever water source he can find. A Pomeranian may be a great dog for stroking and fussing but may not be the best companion for family days spent off-roading on your mountain bikes. And do you have the spare time in your working day to walk a Husky, who over centuries has been bred for running for miles and miles of icy Tundra without stopping? Whatever your lifestyle as a family, it’s best to spend a bit of time researching different dog breeds before you decide which best suits YOUR lifestyle. Surprisingly, it’s actually easier to find a dog to fit your lifestyle and not change your lifestyle to suit your dog. Getting a dog that’s not compatible with your lifestyle can lead to the dog exhibiting behaviour that, while it may be quite natural to their breed, does not suit your family!


Age

Everyone wants a cute puppy to cuddle and show off down at the school gates, at work or down the local pub. However, depending on your situation, you may find that a slightly older dog, a rescue dog, may suit your family a little better. Perhaps, for example, you have slightly more grown-up kids, who can take more responsibility for the dog’s training and care? Perhaps you yourself are a little older and cannot guarantee you’ll be feeling quite so enthusiastic about taking your dog for the long walks he’ll still be needing in 10 years’ time? Depending on breed, dogs can live anything from 5 to near 20 years, so have a careful think not only about everyone’s lives now but also what their lives are likely to be in 5-20 years’ time, how your dog will feature in that and how you’ll still be caring for them in that time.


This is by no means an exhaustive list… Before bringing your pooch home you should try to consider as many eventualities and aspects of your lifestyle as you can and do as much research as possible into what dog you think might best suit those. Ask questions, talk to friends and breed experts if you can, or get in touch here with any queries you may have. Read up and plan for your dog’s care – check out our guide to puppy care here, or perhaps consider booking one of our pre-puppy packages.

Whatever you decide, there will be a dog out there for you just waiting for a new home and all the wonderful times you’ll have together… I’m so excited for you!


 

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