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Dog breeds: choosing the right pet for you, your family and your lifestyle

There are so many dog breeds that it can feel like an overwhelming task to choose your perfect pet, whether as a puppy or at a rescue centre. You need to feel confident that you will meet your new friend’s needs and that you can enjoy spending time together in a way that suits your lifestyle. All dogs need care, exercise and training but there are definite breed differences so here are some top tips to consider.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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1. Best family dogs

Some breeds are known to be patient, tolerant and loving towards the younger members of the family. Famously, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and Flat Coat Retrievers are an excellent choice. Some Terriers mix well with children too such as the Border Terrier, and Boxers are traditionally a loving companion for the whole family.

2. A breed to match your activity levels

If you are looking for a sleepy Sunday then the Greyhound or Whippet is your breed of choice. They are known for their laid back nature and love nothing more than a ‘duvet day’. On the opposite end of the spectrum are some of our working dog breeds. Border Collies and Springer Spaniels are full of energy so, if you love the great outdoors, then you will find they are a willing companion.

3. Hypoallergenic breeds

Human pet allergies can be really difficult to manage and may prevent dog ownership. In this situation, Poodles and Poodle crosses (Labradoodle, Cavapoo etc.) may be just what you are looking for. They don’t shed much hair, are good family pets, and come in all shapes and sizes, including miniature breeds.

4. After high intelligence?

For those looking to train their dogs to do a special job, intelligence is key. Mountain rescue dogs, drug sniffer dogs, agility champions and working farm dogs are some examples of the jobs that man’s best friend can undertake alongside us. Border Collies are very clever and also really enjoy working with their owners, however, Spaniels, German Shepherd Dogs and Pointers are also top of the class.

5. Worried about health risks?

Some breeds are predisposed to certain diseases and, unfortunately, have a shortened life expectancy because of this. Brachycephalic breeds (those with short noses), such as Bulldogs and Pugs, suffer with breathing difficulties and a variety of other conditions. Giant breeds are more likely to encounter joint and bone problems, and many purebred dogs have inherent risk of certain disease because of their genetics. The winner of the healthiest dog category must then go to cross-breeds. Our adorable mongrels are often the fittest and longest lived of all dogs.

6. Keen to stand out from the crowd?

If you are undecided, why not support a rare breed? Red Setters, Otterhounds and Lancashire Heelers have all fallen out of fashion in recent years and these breeds, amongst others, are under threat. A real individualists choice.


Please follow the links for more guidance from the Kennel Club about buying a puppy or getting a dog.


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