You’re ready to take the plunge and expand your family – and – you’ve decided you’re going to get a puppy!
There isn’t much that is cuter or that will steal your heart faster than a puppy – no matter which breed it is, and here is where you need to pause for a minute and do a little bit of planning and research and make an informed decision about your new family member.
The big decision now, is which one should you get? That will depend on a few criteria, all of which are important to consider with the aim of avoiding disaster and heartbreak further down the line.
It can be a bit daunting, so we have outlined a few guidelines below which we hope will help you choose the best fit for you, and for your new family member
- Do some research into your favourite breeds
- This will help you to understand that the Beagle you thought was the best dog EVER when you were 5, may actually not be the best suited now that you have just had your garden landscaped
- Have an open, honest, good look at your lifestyle
- You may always have wanted a Border Collie, but realistically, you are currently living in a townhouse with a really small garden
- Decide where you would like to get your puppy from
- Consider Rescue Organisations and Shelters as opposed to Breeders. Pure breed and Pedigree pups land up there for rehoming too
Then ask yourself the following:
- Have I thought past the “cute puppy” stage, to adulthood, and do I know how big my new family member will be in adulthood
- Am I at all allergic to animal fur? While few people with allergies have a reaction to puppies, it could become a problem as your puppy grows up. If this is the case, research breeds with hypo-allergenic fur that won’t trigger allergies
- How attached are you to your garden? Some breeds are notorious for digging and burrowing, and your garden could well bear the brunt of this for an extended period with some of the breeds
- Will this breed likely need a lot of grooming, or even professional grooming? Professional grooming is essential for some breeds, and can become quite costly
- Does this breed require a lot of exercise? While going for a walk after work in the evenings and on weekends is fun for everyone, some of the high energy breeds like Jack Russell terriers require a lot of exercise. Are you able to commit the time to do this, or would it be better to consider a breed that is happy with just a quick daily walk
- Can you commit to attending a Puppy School for Training? This is more than just a fun outing. Puppy School teaches valuable socialisation and discipline, and especially with larger breeds, it makes ownership much easier if the dog and owner have been through some Training Classes together
- Do you have, or are you planning to have children – some breeds can be intolerant of small children, especially as they get older
- If you live in a Complex, are you allowed pets? Some Complexes have a strict “no pets allowed” Policy
- Spend some time researching inherited diseases that many of the pure-bred dogs are prone to. Will you be in a position to carry the cost of what could turn out to be quite hefty vet bills, and/or alternatively, perhaps look at including pet Medical Aid into your budget (check the fine print carefully to make sure exactly what is covered and what is excluded – they are not all the same)
- Do you have other animals – how will they react to the newcomer?
These are only a few ideas of what to think about before you commit to that puppy. A little bit of planning and research beforehand will benefit you and your new bundle of joy!