Things to think about when considering a dog. A dog is a dog is a dog right? If you want a dog, jut get any dog, they are more or less the same? No. Getting a dog as a pet is a long term commitment, depending on the breed a dog can live for 15 years or in some case much longer. With that sort of time commitment to an animal pretty much totally dependant on you, best to get the one that suits you and your family the best. Some things to consider.
- How much room have you got? A big back yard or rural home? Or a small apartment? You must take the exercise needs of your potential pooch before getting a dog. I stress exercise needs, not animal size. There are plenty of small/medium size breeds that need more yard space to run around in, than some of the larger, less active breeds.
- How much time have you got? Some breeds are true companion animals, and will fret and cry if left alone at all, let alone for long periods. Others require hours of attention each day. Fine if you work from home, and Fido can sit under your desk, or fine if snookums is a little dog that can come with you in a handbag al la Paris Hilton, but not fine if you are commuting 90 minutes each way per day to get to work, and you neighbors have to listen to your howling dog all day. You will come home to angry neighbors, a distressed dog, who will likely have destroyed your back yard.
- Why are you buying a dog?
- For companionship?
- For showing?
- As a guard dog?In all cases, seek out a reputable breeder. Buy a pet shop puppy or puppy mill puppy, and you will get an animal sold for profit, with less attention to breeding out undesirable traits, which could result in you receiving a dog that has genetic health issues, or is overly aggressive or timid. When buying an animal for show, do seek out the relevant show standards for your breed, in your areas(they differ from country to country) and check how well the animals parents conformed to the standard. If buying as a pet, or companion, the personal characteristics are far more important. Spend a bit of time with your potential pooch. Is he/she inquisitive, playful but not overly aggressive, healthy looking? If buying as a guard dog, seek out a breeder that specializes in breeding dogs with protective natures NOT aggressive natures. There is a difference. Dont seek out the biggest baddest dog you can find, that is an attack or fighting dog, not a guard dog, and will not end well.
- How long will the dog live?
Different breeds have very different life spans. Some average as little as 7-8 years such as newfoundlands, others such as Pariah dogs, may live longer than 20 years. If buying a dog for you 12 year old, understand if buying a breed that lives on average to be 15, you could end up looking after your childs animal for many years after they have left home.
- How much do you want to spend?
On the price of the dog, subsequent care/feed bills, and vet bills. Some breeds cost more than others, others cost more to feed(A great dane eats more for breakfast than a Chihuahua!) others require constant trimming of fair as they do not shed, other breeds are prone to health issues that will result in them needing constant medical attention as they age. Dont skimp on the price of your animal when buying it, this will likely cost you more in the long run with an unhealthy animal.
- Allergies and Cleaning.
Whilst no dog is truly non allergenic, there is little doubt the dogs that dontshed are less allergenic. Also, they make far less mess, which if they are an inside dog, is a bonus.
- Other pets?
Some breeds of dog are purpose bred for certain tasks, and this breeding can not really be removed with training or conditioning. A breed that for 200 hundred years has been bred to herd sheep, will likely herd your cat, your ducks and your children. A rat terrier, is not going to play happily with your youngest childs pet hamster, whereas some other breeds are likely to virtually ignore it. If you already have a large dominant male, getting another large dominant male of the same of other breed, is not going to work out well.
There are a number of breeds now considered dangerous in many countries, and this prevents them either being kept at all, or may prevent them engaging in certain activities, or being bred. They may need to be muzzled.
- Consider a dog rescue.
There are plenty of wonderful dogs that are placed in dog homes, for no other reason than their owners could no longer keep them, they moved away, they realized they were not dog people etc, A dog that failed to please or stick with one family, is not broken, and could well be the dog for you.
- Do you have young children?
- Young children dont understand that a puppy is not a toy, and they are not ponies. They will be overly rough with them, pull there hair, smack them, even try and ride on them.
- Especially boisterous breeds will have no concept of a child being in their way as they run from the lounge to the front door to answer a knock on the door. Young children will be knocked aside.
- Puppies, have very sharp puppy teeth, and even when playing will hurt a young child.
- Older dogs, may see young children as both a nuisance, and a less dominant member of their pack that needs to be put in their place. Any family dog can bight a child if its tail is stepped on, or if the baby wanders over to take a handful out of its food bowl.
- Must I get a pure breed?
No, you need not, though there are some big advantages to getting a pure bred.
- The heath and temperament of the animals ancestors is generally known.
- You can buy a breed based on its usual characteristics that may suit your lifestyle, you can not really do this with a mixed breed dog.
- Usually, you can not show a mixed breed dog, and their puppies if they have them will be harder to find homes for. I’ve had both ends of the mixed breeds experience, coincidentally with two very similar mixed breed dogs.The first, found its way into my yard as a very young puppy. She was jet black, playful and gorgeous. I thought she was likely labrador X puppy. At about 3 months of age, she would not leave my side which I thought was so cute. At 5 months of age, she was no longer looking anything like a labrador, her head was now very much that of a pit bull, and her desire for companionship with me, had turned into aggression. She would growl at my flat mates for coming near me, let alone strangers. She would eat her food with every bit of her hair standing up on end, and NO-ONE dared go near her for any reason when she was eating. At about 7 months, weighing in at around 25 kilograms, she scaled the back fence(1.8metres/6 foot) to attack the neighbors 40 Kilogram female Thai ridgeback. The damage done to both dogs was so severe, both had to be put down. It was such a tragedy. With me, she was so sweet, loyal and playful, but she was wired up wrong and did not know the difference between protective behavior and super aggressive behavior.The second, was a bitch about 2 years old I found dumped by a creek. She was clearly in distress, and when I approached her realized she was partially paralyzed by ticks. She was a medium size dog, brindle, with a bull terrier head. Not a dog to be trifled with. If I was going to rescue her, she was going to need let me pick her up, carry her up the creek bank some 10 meters high, and put her in my car and take her home. I whispered to her what I intended to do, then picked her up. Her head was nuzzled into my neck as I carried her. At the time, I was rather poor and living on a farm, so I could not afford to treat her for the tick poisoning which where I live, is over $750. I drove her home, checked her over to see if she had any ticks still on her(she didnt, though I found 5 tick bite marks on her). Then I put her in a card board box on the porch and left her to see if she would recover. 3 days later, she was out of the box, looking quite chipper and more than a little hungry. I put some meet in a bowl and offered it to her. She looked at me expectantly, but would not eat. I was very confused. This was a seriously tough looking dog, starving, who would not eat. On chance, I said “EAT!” and she fell on the food devouring it in seconds. Clearly, shed been trained to obey her masters commands. I experimented with a number of other commands. Sit, heal, lie down, stay, speak etc, She knew them all. Even more incredible, she had been trained to heal on the left of a woman, and the right of a man, so when my husband walked her, she would heel on his right, whilst healing to my left. We had a very old but friendly cat, 12 years old. Talkie(the cat) quickly befriended our new family member, and within days they were eating out of the same bowl. No problems with the chickens either. What concerned me was she was very quick to run up our driveway when strangers approached, though she never at any stage appeared to be going to bite anyone. The true test was to come 18 months later with the birth of my first child. Where I live, there had been some savage attacks on babies by mixed breed bull terriers and I was very frightened Floppy(named after her paralyzed condition when we first found her) would not accept this new addition. COuld not have been further from the truth. She was interested, but not threatened by her, though I was careful, Ayesha soon managed to find ways to get the “guppie!” and would site on her, poke her, and pat her, rather viciously, Floppie was generous in her understanding of this rough little thing, would gently move around her so as not to knock her down, never growled, snapped or even complained with the roughest behavior. It was quite remarkable. We found the former owners by shear coincidence a few months later, when Floppie ran up to this couple in a cafe and proceeded to jump on them and lick them, whilst they look embarrassed and tried to shoo her away. I asked them if she had been their dog, and after a short time they admitted she had been, that they had bought her as a guard dog(to guard and illegal crop of pot apparently) and had spent hours training her, but in the end they gave up. She was supposed to have vicious bloodlines, but no matter how she was treated, she would simply not be vicious.
So! Go figure. By all means get a mixed breed, but its a lottery