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Choosing a dog breed

When choosing a dog breed, it is important to think about what the breed characteristics and temperament of the dog are like and how they fit into your own daily life and hobbies.

What kind of pet are you looking for?

No matter how cute a puppy that you see is, bear in mind that you should never get any animal based on appearance alone. The appearance of a dog often gives a completely wrong impression to people who are uninformed. For example, a dog from a small-sized breed does not automatically mean a house dog that is calm and easy to train; the small Jack Russell Terrier, for instance, was originally intended to be used as a hunting dog, and it needs a lot of exercise as well as consistent basic training.

The more suited the dog’s need for care is to your life situation, the more successful your choice of dog is likely to be. When you choose a breed that you are able and also have the patience to take care of, your journey together will be much nicer and easier.

Intended use and temperament of a breed

The intended use of a breed is the most important thing that you should pay attention to when choosing a breed. Many breeds have been bred for various hunting purposes, or to guard and keep watch. These things may cause problems in blocks of flats, for example.

Even if the breed is not necessarily used today for the purpose that it was originally bred for anymore, a few decades as a pet dog may not have changed the disposition of the breed very much. The more independent work the breed is intended for, the more independent its temperament will also be. An independent dog usually means hard work on the part of owner in order to make the dog interested in doing things together with training.

Before choosing a breed, find out also how the breed has been bred as well as what things the breeding has affected and how.

Take your living conditions and environment into account

You should take your living conditions and environment into account when choosing a dog breed. A very different breed is often suitable for a small studio flat than, say, for a family house outside population centres; in a block of flats, a dog that barks easily can cause friction between neighbours, for example.

If you live in the city and you intend to travel with your dog using public transport, you should choose a dog breed that has an open personality and does not shy away from new people.

What other family members do you have?

Usually, a dog will be better suited to a family if it can be controlled by everyone who takes care of it. The training of the dog affects its manageability greatly, but so do also the dog’s breed as well as its characteristics and personality.

If you have small children, consider whether you have enough time to walk, train and pursue hobbies with a challenging and energetic dog. Some dog breeds are better suited for families with children than others, so it is very important to explore the different breeds and to think about what kind of breed is right for your family, in particular.

How much time are you ready to spend outside with your dog every day?

Different dog breeds require very different amounts of exercise on a daily basis. If you want an active dog, for example, you must be prepared to spend a fair amount of time with it outside every day, also in the hardest rain and freezing temperatures.

If outdoor activities are not your cup of tea at all, you should consider whether to get a dog in the first place because all dog breeds need at least a few proper walks a day.

How many hours would your dog have to be alone on a daily basis?

The problem of many dog owners is long working hours when the dog has to spend hours alone at home, indoors. What are your life situation and job like? Can you work from home sometimes, or do you have children who can let the dog out and play with it? A dog is a social animal that does not like to be left alone for long periods of time, so take this into account when you consider getting a dog, as well as the breed.

If your current life situation requires that the dog will be alone for more than nine hours on a daily basis, getting a dog should be considered carefully. Paid day care services for dogs are also available nowadays. They may be helpful in reconciling long working hours and taking care of a dog.

Do you want a long-haired or a short-haired dog?

How interested are you in grooming your dog’s hair – brushing and trimming? The coats of some long-haired dogs must be washed and combed through on a weekly basis. With a big dog, coat maintenance may take up to several hours at a time.

Small, medium or large?

The size of the dog should also be taken into account when choosing a breed. The smallest dog breeds may weigh less than one kilo and the largest close to 100 kilos as adults. Regardless of the size of the dog, you must be able to control it at all times and in all situations.

Are you looking for a family and companion dog or do you want to pursue hobbies with it?

In addition to normal outings, many breeds also yearn for other activities and things to do. Depending on the breed, you can have many kinds of hobbies with your dog, such as agility, obedience training, fetching, tracking or protection sports. When choosing a breed, however, take into account that certain breeds are better suited to certain activities due to their characteristics than others, and some not at all.