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Breed Choice

Peeping Puppy

There are major considerations to factor into any decision to bring a dog into the family, or any home. If a prospective owner is to offer a fulfilled life to a dog, the chosen breed, or type, is of paramount importance. The choice of breed should be researched in order to fit well within the lifestyle and personalities of the family unit, or if the owner lives on his or her own, as a pair. Lifestyle should include where the dog is likely to be exercised, frequency and type of exercise including play and how likely the dog will be trained either by the owner or professionally. Is the owner likely to cope with, perhaps, a strong willed or physically powerful dog, do they have previous experience and specific ability. All types of dog require differing fulfilment; a Border Collie for example is unlikely to be happy ‘walking around the block’ everyday and a Greyhound would certainly enjoy an area where he can stretch his legs every now and then. The breed should fit within the personality of the handler. The family unit should be considered; such as other family members including pets and children, who is at home at what times and how long will the dog be left alone on a daily basis and the general energy level within the home. A quiet breed may not be accustomed to a boisterous, loud and active home; equally a highly active dog will not enjoy living within a quiet household not willing to provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation. The size of living areas will be of consideration, does the premises have a large garden, and is this pet proof. Many breeds require a great deal of space and an outside area may be essential. The financial commitment of providing in every way for a dog will have to be factored in; including feeding, healthcare, training and equipment. Of course some breeds are likely to cost more than others over a lifetime.  

The location, frequency and method of how a dog is exercised to keep a dog fulfilled, both physically and mentally on a daily basis is an important consideration and dependent upon breed or type of dog. Dogs find themselves all across the country within large and varied landscapes. It is not unusual to see a Border Collie or Husky being walked in a city or built-up area, or a large hunting breed off leash within the countryside; but this is often not the best environment for the breed in question. The availability of a suitable, naturally fulfilling, or perhaps enclosed area is often overlooked when a prospective owner chooses a breed of dog; rather the choice being made for other reasons such as aesthetics or historical preference. For example; sporting breeds such as Pointers, Retrievers, Spaniels and the Setter require around two hours of moderate to high activity such as a long, brisk walk perhaps on a forest trail where they may practice fetching, swimming and other ‘hunting’ pursuits. Equally, the pastoral breeds such as Collies require vigorous, high energy, demanding exercise with job related tasks for both physical and mental fulfilment. Beaches, fields and other areas with a large expanse are ideal for such dogs. Working breeds such as the Husky, Mountain dog and Rottweiler also require a good deal of exercise and mental stimulation, preferring exercise of moderate activity such as a long hike through varying terrain perhaps with a job to perform. These are breeds with a sense of adventure and a simple walk around the block without stimulation will not be satisfactory and could easily be a catalyst for behavioural issues. Other considerations may be prevalent. Terriers such as the Staffordshire, Border and Jack Russel perhaps do not require as much outside stimulus in the same way as the previously mentioned breeds, but do appreciate daily intense play for example with a tennis ball or flirt pole, but always in a controlled manor. Scent hounds including the Beagle or Blood Hound clearly will enjoy areas, again such as woods or other natural environments, but considerations (such as a long line or enclosed area) should be prevalent as these dogs may struggle with recall and other obedience while ‘working’. Sight Hounds, perhaps the most famous being the Greyhound, may not require a great deal of exercise, perhaps around an hour of moderate walking, but fulfilment will require a short occasional burst of running. This should be performed in an enclosed area, as these are dogs with a high prey drive and may easily chase an animal and become out of control of the handler. Historical fighting breeds including the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Akita may not be suitable off leash in a dog park due to their possible predisposed aggression toward other dogs. Finally brachycephalic breeds such as the Pug, Shih Tzu and French Bulldog require special consideration due to their medical disadvantages; these dogs are not physically capable of high energy exercise and are prone to overheating and other health issues.  

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