Choosing the Right Dog Breed

Choosing a new puppy or adopting a dog is always a very exciting time but it’s also important to remember to research which breed is going to match your lifestyle. When it comes to choosing a new pet for your household, each breed has their own unique personality traits and needs. Some things to consider when choosing your next pooch may include activity and stimulation level, size of the breed, coat type and maintenance, the size of your yard and being aware of any medical conditions they may be predisposed to. Another important part of owning a pet is to be aware of the financial costs involved, not only as puppies but for ongoing maintenance in their adult years through to their senior years. This can include things like food, medical bills, vaccinations, intestinal and heartworm treatment, emergency bills, medications and any ongoing training.

Things to consider may include your work schedule and how much time you are able to spend at home or out with your pet, your lifestyle activity level and whether you can provide the necessary training and enrichment needs for that specific breed. For example, our working breeds such as border collies, Australian shepherds, kelpies and heelers were originally bred for herding stock and are highly intelligent, generally having high energy levels. Naturally, they need a lot of mental stimulation and will need daily exercise or the equivalent of a large yard for them to run and use that energy. It is important that when adopting or purchasing these breeds that we are able to put the time into ongoing training, exercise and mental stimulation. 


Smaller breeds don't necessarily mean they will need less exercise or training. Our terrier breeds such as Jack Russells, Fox Terriers, Airedale Terriers, Tenterfield Terriers and West Highland Terriers were originally bred to hunt vermin, having a strong hunting scent and great stamina. These breeds also benefit from daily exercise and ongoing training and mental stimulation. Smaller breeds including Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Shih Tzus and Maltese were originally bred as companion or lap dogs and may be more suited to people or families with smaller apartments or have less time for training and daily exercise. 

Grooming and maintenance is another consideration when choosing your next family pet. Our snow breeds such as Huskies and Malamutes were bred for sledding and surviving in freezing temperatures, therefore have a thick double coat. They require daily to weekly grooming and will have a full undercoat shed twice a year, normally before a season change. Groomers are able to use high power professional blowers to blow out the undercoat and if you cannot brush all the undercoat out at home, it may be worth booking in for a professional groomer a few times a year. Even our short-haired dogs such as Labradors will still have undercoats that will need to be brushed out. Poodles or Poodle crosses such as Cavoodles, Spoodles and Labradoodles have fur that doesn't tend to shed but continues to grow. If they are not able to be clipped at home, it is recommended that they are professionally groomed every 6-8 weeks for maintenance. Dogs with a longer coat will also need ongoing brushing as they are more prone to matting.

These are just a few points to take into consideration when finding the right dog breed for your home. It is important to make sure that we are able to provide them with as much love and attention and time as we can along with adequate training and exercise. Some families might find choosing a new puppy as the best option and others may decide to adopt a more middle age or senior dog. Researching the breed and the specific needs is really important in making sure we are able to provide the perfect home for our new companion!

Written by Alanah White, Veterinary Nurse.

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