Choosing a dog

Every year in the UK over 100,000 dogs are placed in animal shelters. In more than 70% of the cases, dogs are placed there because the welfare of the animal no longer suits the owner’s lifestyle or they simply can’t cope with the dog’s disobedient behaviour.

Choosing the right dog to suit your personality is as important as choosing a life partner.

All too often dog owners choose their new pet because of its physical appearance, regardless of whether that dog’s personality will harmonise with their own.

Serious time and thought must be put into choosing the right dog for you.
Canine welfare organisations and rescue societies always have dogs and puppies available that need good homes, but with a rescue dog or puppy be prepared for even more commitment because in some cases you may be inheriting someone else’s problems.

A pedigree dog can be more predictable to its future character and size, but make sure to always purchase your pedigree puppy from an accredited reputable breeder.

Can I afford to buy the dog I want?
Can I make a lifelong commitment to a dog – a dog’s average life span is 12 years?
Can I afford between £4.50 and £8.00 per week to feed a dog?
Can I afford Veterinary fees?
Can I afford to insure my dog?
Is my home big enough to house a dog?
Do I really want to exercise a dog every day?
Will there be someone at home for a dog – dogs get lonely just like humans?
Will I find time to train, groom and generally care for a dog?
Will I be able to answer YES to these questions every day of the year?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, you should think very carefully before buying a dog.

Do you want:
An energetic and lively dog or a couch potato.
A strong-willed and ambitious
or easy-going and indulgent dog.
A dog who is friendly with humans or reserved with strangers.
A dog with a short or long coat.
A male or female dog.

Rescue Dog
A cross breed dog is not expensive to buy but try to find out as much as you can about the parents so that you can gauge its future character.

Canine welfare organisations and rescue societies always have dogs and puppies available that need good homes. Both pedigree and crossbreed dogs can be obtained in this way from organisations such as Dogs Trust, USPCA, RSPCA and the different breed rescue societies.

If buying from a breed welfare or rescue organisation, be prepared to be questioned and possibly expect a home inspection. Dogs in welfare or rescue organisations have often suffered neglect and ill treatment in their early lives. It is therefore the first priority of these organisations to ensure that the dogs in their care will spend the remainder of their lives in good, caring and suitable homes.

Pedigree Dog
A pedigree dog is more predictable as to its future character and size than a crossbreed.

It is important to obtain information on breed characteristics, health and welfare needs prior to purchase by contacting the relevant breed clubs. The Kennel Club website provides information about the different breeds of pedigree dog, together with lists of breed club secretaries and links to welfare and rescue organisations.