How to Choose the Best Dog for Your Family
The addition of a dog can bring unbridled joy to any family, but how can you decide which breed of four-legged friend is best for you?
If you live a more laid-back life, then the British Bulldog could be the one for you. Not only are they known for being friendly, they’re also low-maintenance. They actually can’t spend a lot of time outdoors if it’s too hot or too cold, so they’re great indoor pets, and contrary to popular belief they don’t need lots of exercise. Enjoying the company of their owner, the Bulldog will display a loving nature at every available opportunity.
These intelligent, active, fun-loving and sociable dogs are eager to please. They love spending time with their family, making them the perfect addition to any size of family. They are also tolerant which means they tend to be good around small children. However, Labradors require regular exercise and entertainment, meaning they are best suited for active families who love the outdoors.
Poodles are playful, affectionate, intelligent and infamously goofy with their families, and they are capable of outsmarting your entire family if you don’t pay close enough attention. As a non-shedding breed they are especially great for families who suffer from allergies, whilst with a range of sizes from standard, to miniature, to toy, you can choose which fits your life best.
When you have children in your family, which breed you choose is especially important – remember dogs are still animals. Golden Retrievers however are great with children. They’re loveable and easily trained, whilst being patient and gentle. Being a large dog with a playful nature and full of energy, a garden with space will be enjoyed by both the retriever and your little ones.
Clever working dogs, this breed is very responsive to training and make keen, alert, loyal, sensitive and loving family pets. Ideal for a family with a large garden or countryside nearby, Border Collies get along well with other dogs, however just be aware of their in-built herding instinct if your other dog is small or you have small children!
STAFFORDSHIRE BULL TERRIER
Despite what many people think and an unwarranted reputation, Staffies make some of the best family pets. Renowned for their loyalty, bravery and intelligence, but also their calm, easy-going and trustworthy nature, they are much lauded as one of the most loving dogs. As with all breeds, it is important they are trained correctly in order to become a great addition to your pack.
Although first and foremost a sporting dog, a Dachshund is equally adaptable as a house pet. Perfect for city living, their long body and short legs (hence the nickname sausage dog) means they’re the ideal size for an apartment. They don’t need a lot of exercise, however as they’re also big eaters it is important not to overfeed them. They are super-smart, love digging but are generally very affectionate and easy to care for, and great with kids.
As your grandparents get older they have more spare time yet may leave the house less, so in this case what breed is best for them? We think the Maltese. Weighing in at just three to four kilograms, they are the quintessential lap dog. Bright, gentle, and playful they are extremely responsive to their owners’ moods, and they don’t need a lot of outdoor exercise.
• Dogs are for life – the average lifespan of a dog is around 13 years so you have to be ready for real commitment to look after your new pup.
• Where to get your pet – are you going to a reputable breeder, or can you consider adopting a rescue dog from a shelter who needs a home?
• How much space do you have? There is no point getting a massive dog if you live in a tiny one-bedroom city apartment.
• It’s time consuming – dogs need to be taken care of. Do you genuinely have the time needed to train, feed, bath and walk them?
• Costs – there is the initial cost (which can be even more pricey since lockdown), but don’t forget there is also food and vet bills to think about.
• Your lifestyle will change – your life choices will need to change somewhat, for example going on holiday. Are you prepared to stay in the country? Kennels are an option and some dogs enjoy them – a lot don’t.
• Train your dog – stay calm, training your dog when they’re young will make life much easier. No-one likes a badly behaved dog.
As you can probably now tell, owning a dog is a complicated process that takes a lot of time, energy – and money. Owning a dog is much more than just feeding them and going for walks.
You will need to sacrifice some of your time to play with them and take care of them, but in the end, what you get in return in terms of love and companionship, is well worth it.