EXCLUSIVE FEATURESFinding the right dog for you

Finding the right dog for you

Crufts showcases the many benefits of dog ownership and for those considering welcoming a canine companion into their life, do remember this is a BIG DECISION that should involve lots of time and research.

And it’s a two-way decision, you need to make sure you are choosing the right dog for you, and that you also are a good match for them, and can provide the right home for your chosen four-legged friend.

The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, introduced a Discover Dogs area to Crufts in 1994 so potential owners could meet and greet the vast variety of 222 different dog breeds there are and showcase all their unique and lovable traits. This now hugely popular area has grown every year and each ‘booth’ has breed experts on hand to help visitors understand what owning each dog really entails. For those thinking about getting a dog, The Kennel Club has shared expert advice on how prospective owners can start to decide if they are ready and if so, which breed might be their ‘pawfect’ match.

dogs sleeping

A BREED OF YOUR OWN
There are well over 200 breeds of dog in the UK, and plenty more crossbreeds and rescue dogs of all shapes and sizes, and each one is going to be different. Be very honest with yourself when it comes to considering what you can give a dog in terms of time, exercise, training and grooming. Some dogs will need a good two to three hours a day of exercise, plus training, to keep them healthy and happy. Others will be fine with just a couple of short walks a day, although they will still need the same amount of your company. Some breeds will require more training and mental stimulation than others.

Think about how dog-friendly your home is, including whether you have space in your house for the size of dog you’re considering, and a secure garden. If you have children, you will need to ensure you dedicate time to educating them about the responsibilities of dog ownership, and about dog behaviour and body language.

MEET THE…

Dog breadsCity dweller – Yorkshire Terrier:
If you live in a city or town in a smaller flat perhaps with limited garden space, a Yorkshire Terrier might be a good fit. This small breed requires moderate exercise (about 30 minutes per day) perhaps around a local park. They are intelligent, alert and enjoy companionship. Their silky coat requires daily grooming.

Active countryside companion – Springer Spaniel:
If you live in a larger home with garden space and are keen to get lots of fresh air, a Springer Spaniel could be the breed for you. They are active dogs requiring more than 2 hours of exercise a day. Springer Spaniels are known for their friendly and happy personality and can make a wonderful loyal companion.

Family fur-end – Staffordshire Bull Terrier:
For a family with children looking for a dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier could suit your home well. They are highly intelligent and tend to be patient enough to handle a child’s energy and curiosity, strong enough to handle the way they play, yet gentle with affectionate personalities. They require up to an hour of exercise a day, great for family walks or playing in the garden.

Learn as much as you can about breeds you’re interested in – both their good traits and possible downsides. To find out more about the Discover Dogs area at Crufts, visit: crufts.org.uk/whats-on/discover-dogs-at-crufts/. If you can’t come along to Crufts, The Kennel Club has a breed A to Z with information on all breeds, available at thekennelclub.org.uk/breeds-a-to-z.

Are you ready informationBEING PUPPYWISE
As you move along your journey and you’ve considered the responsibilities of dog ownership and found the right breed for you and your lifestyle, choosing the right breeder is absolutely vital. A great place to start is asking friends, family, breed clubs, training clubs or your local vet to see if they have any recommendations.

All good breeders will be able to answer your questions thoroughly and informatively, and you should expect to be asked lots of questions too – it shows they care that their puppy is going to a good home. Responsible breeders will also perform relevant health testing and screening before breeding to increase the chances of producing healthy, happy puppies. A good dog breeder is worth the wait, so be prepared to be put on a waiting list.

Puppy farmers are clever and via the guise of the internet, can disguise horrific breeding conditions, often selling poorly puppies to unsuspecting new owners, who don’t know the true background of the pups and go on to pay the price in vet bills and heartache.

Research carried out by The Kennel Club as part of its Be Puppywise campaign found despite the worrying consequences of making hasty and uninformed decisions based on what has been seen online, social media has an increasingly powerful influence; more than one in two puppy buying decisions (54%) are influenced by social media and nearly three in 10 (27%) say that when buying their puppy, their main information source was either social media, influencers or celebrities – over vets, dog welfare organisations and breed experts.

Some red flags of irresponsible breeders to look out for include:

  • Breeders who won’t let you see or meet the puppy, and it’s mum and littermates
  • Sellers won’t show you where the puppy has been bred and raised, or ask you to pick up the puppy from a neutral location
  • Adverts on multiple sites or signs that the breeder is trying to make a quick sale
  • The breeder not being interested in you or asking any questions about your own knowledge or situation Many people can be tempted to get a puppy impulsively, making a decision solely based on looks or the popularity of a certain breed, without thinking about the responsibility that comes with owning a dog or where they are getting their dog from. To ensure your new four-legged friend is happy, healthy and comfortable in your home, make sure to carry out thorough research, meet dogs and their breeders, and follow our guide here.

For further advice on responsible puppy ownership, visit thekennelclub.org.uk/bepuppywise

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