Choosing a dog

Dogs are not designer accessories:  choose your new dog to suit you, your lifestyle and your family, not on what is fashionable.

What size and age of dog should I get?

  • Decide which breed and type of dog will suit you and your lifestyle
  • Consider the size of your house and garden. How many people and pets share this space already?
  • An older dog rather than a young puppy may be more suitable for less active people.

Where can I get a dog from?

  • A licensed breeder
  • A rescue centre
  • Ask your veterinary surgeon/dog warden for advice.

Specific Breeds

  • Information about different breed characteristics for example: size, exercise requirements and temperament can be found in books or from breeders or breed advisors.
  • Visit a dog show and speak to owners of different breeds before buying.
  • Once you have decided which breed of dog you would like, there are two important questions to ask the breed advisor:
    - Are there any particular health problems associated with the breed?
    - Do breeders screen their stock for potential problems, and how do you, as a potential buyer, check that they do this?

Rescue Dogs

  • Find out why the dog had to be re-homed - the rescue centre may have details of the dog's previous history.
  • Has the rescue centre assessed the dog's behaviour?
  • How does the dog react to children and other dogs or cats?
  • Does it prefer male or female handlers?
  • Is it house-trained or is it an outside kennel dog? Is it destructive?
  • If it is a puppy, do they know to what size it will grow?
  • Return policy - will they take the dog or puppy back if it is unsuitable?