What dog breed should I decide to get?
The most important choice for you and your dog.
There are around 400 dog breeds worldwide, in addition to an unknown number of mixed breeds.
It's easy to get lost in such a jungle of options.
However, if you have decided you're getting a dog, it is essential to choose the right breed. Not only for your sake but also for the dog's sake. For you, the dog becomes a part of your life, while in many ways, you can say that you become the dog's whole life.
A choice you must feel confident in
Getting a dog is a big decision. Depending on the breed and the individual dog's health, you need to prepare for the four-legged creature to be a part of your life for many years.
During these years, you are responsible for the dog's quality of life. You need to give it enough food, exercise, care, experiences, and love.
In other words: acquiring a dog cannot be a choice based on an impulsive decision. You must base your decision on research and, not least, a genuine desire to be a dog owner.
Characteristics, not appearance
Unfortunately, many people choose a dog based on aesthetics only. A cute dog can certainly be an excellent dog, but appearance should not be what settles your decision when selecting a breed.
The most important thing is that the dog's characteristics match your lifestyle and living situation.
One of the most common reasons a dog owner ends up having a "difficult dog" is that they chose a dog unfit for their lifestyle. Or that the owners do not understand what kind of dog they have actually gotten.
All dogs have instincts and their own unique characteristics. The animals need and must be allowed to use their abilities.
A purebred hunting dog who's never allowed to hunt quickly becomes unhappy. A draft dog who's never allowed to pull will be understimulated. A Border Collie who never gets to use its intelligence will develop destructive behavior.
Is there a dog for everyone?
Among the many hundreds of breeds, there is a wide range of characteristics and uses. So whether you want a pure companion dog/family dog, hunting dog, shepherd dog, show dog, or agility dog, you will find it in our breed selector.
What lifestyle do you have?
Some dogs require long walks every day, dogs that have to run free, play, and work hard to thrive. But some dogs thrive as sofa dogs and are content with a couple of short walks every day as long as it is allowed to be with you. And many are somewhere in between these types.
When choosing a breed, you should, first of all, consider your lifestyle, including health and activity levels.
Do you live a hectic life where you work long days and come home late? Then you should not choose a dog that copes poorly with being alone.
Do you live a life where the schedule leaves you with little time after a workday? Then you should not choose a dog that requires hard training sessions every night.
How to find your dream dog
In our breed selector, you can choose which traits you want in a dog. By doing this, we can present you with the breeds that match your lifestyle the best.
However, there are not only huge differences between the breeds but also within the breeds. Therefore, you also need to do thorough research with a potential breeder to determine what traits have been emphasizedt for the particular dog you are considering.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for your dream dog:
Puppy or rescue dog?
Working dog or companion dog?
Purebred or mixed breed?
Male or female?
Once you have found your dog of choice, you must begin the painstaking process of finding the right dog. You may want to ask yourself first if you wish to get a puppy or a rescue dog.
The puppy stage is cozy and rewarding, partly because strong ties get established between dog and owner during this period. However, the puppy stage can be challenging, and some breeds are wilder than others as puppies.
A rescue dog may also be worth considering.
There are many dogs in need of a new home for several different reasons. Often changes in the first owner's living situation become the triggering factor. For example, there may be an owner who became ill and therefore does not have the opportunity to take care of a dog anymore.
It may be that the owner has gotten a job that is not compatible with dog keeping. Or it could be family members who have become allergic to dogs.
And unfortunately, there are also many cases where the owner chose the wrong kind of dog in the first place. In such cases, the owners may have realized that they do not have the time, resources, or motivation to take care of a dog.
Whatever the reason, getting a rescue dog can help increase the dog's quality of life. In some cases, you can also get a dog that has already learned basic skills, so you already have a good starting point when the four-legged companion moves in.
It can be risky to get a rescue dog. For example, maybe the past owners got rid of the dog because it had severe behavioral challenges or because the dog has poor health. In such cases, one should be very careful when adopting a dog.
Maybe you end up overtaking the "problem" coming from the previous owners. So what exactly is the right thing to do? The most important thing is to get to know the people who chose to relocate the dog. Not least, you should spend some time with the potential dog to get to know it. Get the contact information of the dog breeder and talk to him or her. Ask about the dog's pedigree, characteristics, health, and so on.
If you have enough time, motivation, desire, and care, and the dog is healthy both physically and mentally; you may be able to give it a better life. Adopting a dog can be a real life-enricher for both parts if it's done correctly.
Working dog or companion dog?
All dogs can initially be working dogs, but some breeds are bred specifically for this purpose.
Working dogs can perform tasks that are considered useful to humans. Examples of such tasks can be herding, hunting, tracking, and searching.
There are also therapy dogs, service dogs for people with disabilities, sniffer dogs, rescue dogs, and police dogs. Some dogs can also be trained to detect diseases, such as cancer and Covid-19.
Which working dog you should choose depends on what you are going to use it for. If you just want a hiking buddy and a family member, you can advantageously choose a companion dog. In any case, make sure that you do not fall into the trap and get a working dog that doesn't get to work. It will ruin your and the dog's life.
Breed dog or mixed-breed dog?
In addition to the 400 breeds worldwide, there are countless mixed breeds.
Examples of mixed-breeds are:
- Labradoodle (mix of Labrador retriever and Poodle)
- Medium doodle (mix of medium-sized Poodle and other breeds)
- Goldendoodle: (mix of Golden retriever and Poodle)
There has been an ongoing debate among dog fanatics in recent years, which is the better, purebred or mixed-breed dog?'
There's a myth in the dog lover community saying that mixed breed dogs are healthier because they have more gene adversity. But this statement is based on beliefs rather than science.
On the contrary, it may be less predictable to choose a mixed breed dog because its physical and psychological health is more uncertain. In addition, it is impossible to say in advance if the puppy will inherit the genes of its mum or dad.
However, purebred breeds also have their problems. Some breeders focus more on profit than on health, contributing to hereditary diseases and other health problems in certain breeds.
In conclusion, we can say that neither purebred nor mixed breed dogs are a better option; it depends mainly on the individual dog.
Male dog or bitch?
Once you have decided on a breed, you must next decide on which gender you want. Although there will always be differences between individuals, there are some general differences between males and females.
Male dogs are often bigger and stronger than the bitches.
Some male dogs may have problems working with other male dogs, while bitches usually get along with both sexes (there are exceptions).
Male dogs mark more often.
Bitches can be easier to train than males.
Other aspects to consider
In addition to addressing the questions described earlier in this article, you should also think carefully about what you can offer your dog. How much time do you have to go for walks? How patient are you? Do you have enough room for the dog in your house or apartment? Do you have a patio that it can frolic on?
Are you willing to spend time maintaining its coat on a regular? Do you have children or plan to have children in the future? If so: is the breed you are considering child-friendly?
Do you have the finances to buy food, equipment and possibly pay for visits to the vet? Are you or someone in the family allergic?