Choosing a Dog

Which dog is best for me?

When thinking about choosing a puppy or an older rescue dog it is important to look at what the dog was originally bred for, this will give you an idea of whether it will fit into your lifestyle.  Some breeds need more exercise than others, some can be noisier and some are more likely to snap and bite when faced with a tricky situation. Genetic hardwiring can have a big effect on behaviour.

Here are some general pointers that may help you make the right decision.

The first thing to do if you are purchasing a puppy is find a good breeder.  This will be someone who has done all the relevant pre-breeding health checks for both the dog and bitch.  This will be someone who will want to know a lot about your living arrangements.  Please don’t think they are being nosy they are making sure you are the right person to take one of their puppies.  And this will be someone who will be happy for you to see the mum and tell you all about the father if it is not possible to see him.

Ideally get a puppy from a home environment rather than one born in a kennel.  These pups will be used to all sorts of domestic noises, smells and should be used to a variety of people popping in and out, this makes for a more self-assured dog.

There are hundreds of breeds to choose from, listed below are some of the more popular ones.

Breed What dog was originally bred for Excercise Grooming Characteristics
Akita Hunting large game such as bears often working in pairs Large dog will require good walks every day  ** Powerful dog will require careful training, can be very independent
Basset Griffon Vandeen (Petit) Coursing hares Can cope with moderate daily exercise, but able to go for longer walks  ** Good natured family member, can be independent at times
Beagle Hunting rabbits and hares Moderate – high daily exercise  * Affectionate, happy dog, can be independent especially when following scent, can be noisy when aroused
Bearded Collie Herding sheep Requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation  **** Friendly, active, will get into bad habits if allowed to become bored
Bedlington Terrier Hunting badgers and rats Moderate daily exercise  ** Alert, affectionate, despite it’s lamb like appearance it is a tough little dog


Belgian Shepherd Herding stock Requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation  **** Obedient, loyal can be nervous of strangers and loud noises, sensitive
Bichon Frise Companion dog Happy to be involved in your activities – doesn’t need lots of long walks  **** Fun, active, affectionate and not keen to be left on its own
Border Collie Herding sheep Requires a lot of exercise and mental stimulation  *** Highly intelligent, requires training and a job to do or can develop obsessive behaviours
Border Terrier Hunting rats Moderate daily exercise, can cope with longer walks  *** Alert, affectionate, playful
Boxer Baiting bulls, guarding Requires a lot of daily exercise  * Playful, fun and lively, they never grow up. Can be independent. May not like being left
English Bull Terrier Baiting bulls Requires a lot of exercise and play  * Lively and fun, good with people, requires good basic training and boundaries
Cairn Terrier Hunting rats and foxes Moderate daily exercise  ** Bold, confident and lively enjoys the company of his family
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Companion Moderate daily exercise  ** Friendly easily trained happy to be involved in family life


Companion Happy with a trot round the block, but can cope with longer walks  * Full of character don’t be fooled into thinking little dogs have no brains!
Cockerpoo Originally cross between Cocker Spaniel and Poodle – minimal hair shedding Moderate to high daily exercise  ** Outgoing, happy, intelligent, loves people involved family member
Cocker Spaniel Retrieving game Despite its size requires a lot of exercise  **** Responsive, affectionate, lively family dog, can bark if bored
Dachshund Flushing Badgers Moderate excercise Low to moderate depending on smooth, wire or long haired Affectionate, fun can be independent. Wire hairs are bold and mischievous, smooth are in the middle and long hairs tend to be more reserved
Dalmation Carriage dog High exercise and mental stimulation  * Intelligent, lively, not keen on being left alone, wary of strangers


English Springer Spaniel Flushing out game High exercise and mental stimulation  *** Affectionate, loyal, lively requires experienced training
Flat Coated Retriever Retrieving Fowl High exercise  *** Attentive, friendly, happy requires good basic training
Fox Terrier Hunting foxes Moderate exercise can manage longer walks  ** Alert, strong willed determined, will require experienced training
German Shepherd Herding Sheep High exercise and mental stimulation  *** Intelligent, responsive, sensitive, loyal family dog often wary of strangers, requires experienced training and early socialisation
Goldendoodle Original cross between a Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle Moderate to high exercise and mental stimulation  *** Happy, intelligent and willing to please. Can be stubborn at times
Golden Retriever Retrieving Birds Moderate to high exercise ***  Happy, affectionate happy in the company of people and other dogs, likes to dig the garden
Jack Russell Terrier Going to ground and ratting Moderate to high exercise  * Alert, lively requires experienced training, not keen on being left alone
Labrador Retriever Helping fishermen, now used as a gundog High exercise  * Happy, lively, friendly can be destructive if allowed to become bored
Leonberger Symbolic Mascot Moderate exercise  *** Intelligent, friendly, good natured, loves to swim
Lurcher Coursing hares Moderate to high exercise depending on the cross  ** Responsive, quiet, loves to run carful introduction to other family pets required as loves to hunt
Pug Companion Low exercise  * Playful, loyal, affectionate, good family dog
Rottweiler Driving cattle and guarding Moderate to high exercise  * Protective, fearless requires training and socialisation
Scottish Terrier Going to ground Moderate exercise  **** Independent, assertive, can be stubborn, a spirited character
Shih Tzu Chinese court dog Moderate exercise  **** Sociable, loyal can have an independent streak
Siberian Husky Sled dog High  ** Energetic, love cold snowy weather, prefer to live in multi dog packs, likes to hunt, heelwork training essential.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Dog fighting and ratting High exercise  * Affectionate, plucky family member, requires experienced training and early socialisation with other dogs


Weimaraner Tracking large game High exercise and mental stimulation  * Responsive, loves walks can hold allegiance to one family member
West Highland White Terrier Hunting rats Moderate exercise and mental stimulation  **** Active, can be assertive will dig the garden if bored
Yorkshire Terrier Hunting rats Moderate exercise and mental stimulation  **** Pluckey, intelligent, can be stubborn, full of personality, likes a lap to sit on


  *     Not very much grooming required

**      Weekly attention

***    Regular Grooming required, may need professional attention

****  High maintenance coat, will require specialist attention

© Lesley Collinson 2011 and 2013










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