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Dog breeds: How to choose the right one


13th Mar 2020 Animals & Pets

Dog breeds: How to choose the right one

Deciding to get a dog is an exciting time. But how do you know that you're choosing the best puppy for your lifestyle? Dr Eve Hanks, Veterinary Surgeon at video vet service, FirstVet offers her expert advice. 

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 you and your family’s lifestyle.

All dogs need care, exercise and training but there are definite breed differences so here are some top tips to consider:


1. Best family dogs

golden retrievers are one of the best choices for a family

Some breeds are known to be patient, tolerant and loving towards the younger members of the family.

Famously, labrador retrievers, golden retrievers (above) 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

a whippet enjoying a lazy day

If you are looking for a sleepy Sunday, then the greyhound or whippet (above) 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

a cockapoo puppy being held

Pet allergies can be really difficult to manage and may prevent dog ownership. In this situation, poodles and poodle crosses (labradoodle, cockapoo 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?

A border collie looking happy in the garden

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?

a pug sitting outside

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 from breathing difficulties and a variety of other conditions.

Giant breeds are more likely to encounter joint and bone problems, and many purebred dogs have an 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?

A red setter with tongue hanging out

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 individualist’s choice.