Choosing a dog is a big decision, and whatever breed you choose should fit around your existing lifestyle. Every dog is different but there are some breed dispositions which may help you pick the best companion for you.
By Fulham Vet Nurse Rosie Martin
Busy city living
A fast-paced, active city lifestyle would suit smaller breeds better, as they are more easily transported around town. Choose a breed which has a laid-back, inquisitive nature which won’t be intimidated by the hustle-and-bustle of city living. Miniature Dachshunds and Coton de Tulears are both small, confident breeds which require very little grooming (don’t be put off by the Coton’s long coat, it can be kept short!). Pugs are outgoing and feisty and can adapt to new situations easily. A relatively unknown breed, the Alaskan Klee Kai, are small-medium sized companion dogs but be warned; they can be aloof if not trained properly when young.
Athletic and outdoorsy
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring country walks and trekking up beautiful peaks? You may want to consider a gun dog such as a Weimaraner; short-coated, energetic and enjoys long walks with lots of new sights and sounds. Another gun dog suitable to a highly-active lifestyle is the Cocker Spaniel; they constantly have their nose to the ground and love nothing more than getting wet and muddy on a country excursion. Siberian Huskys and Malamutes love to work; they want to run and even better, they want to pull. If you want to take on one of these beautiful dogs you should look into The Siberian Husky Racing Championships for some serious outdoor fun!
If you’re after a dog which will fit into your family life and, most importantly, be safe and gentle around children, you should consider a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Do not let this dog’s reputation put you off; they used to be known as the ‘nanny dog’ due to their kind and placid disposition around children. Cockapoos (Miniature Poodle crossed with a Cocker Spaniel) are high-energy, loving and spirited little dogs which, with proper training, can make excellent family dogs. If you’re after a larger breed, the Labrador is a family favourite; friendly, eager to please and loyal, they will return your love tenfold.
Social and outgoing
Those with a lot of social engagements need a dog which can keep up with their diary, as well as being comfortable around new people. Norfolk Terriers are extroverted, happy little dogs who love to meet new people. Miniature Schnauzers are generally confident, inquisitive and easy to manage, although they can be stubborn if left to their own devices. As for large breeds, Red Setters and Pointers are graceful, elegant and composed; good for hectic social situations, although they can be hard work in their first few years of life and need consistent training.
Looking for a quiet life?
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a gentle, caring and dependable breed which loves to spend time cuddling on laps or lazing by the fire with their favourite people. They are suitable for those looking for a quieter life, the elderly or those unable to spend a lot of time outdoors. Be advised though that every dog needs exercise, but the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel will generally stick close by, content in your company. The Shih Tzu can be a loyal and loving companion as they love attention, but they do require a fair amount of grooming if you prefer their coats long. Greyhounds, despite their size, are elegant, poised and dignified. There are many retired racing greyhounds looking for a quiet life with a loving family. Contrary to popular belief they do not need more exercise than any other breed, they simply need space to stretch their legs, so living near a large open space is essential.
Whatever breed you choose, make sure you spend some time getting to know the puppy (or dog if you are taking on an adult pet) before making the decision to take on ownership. Each breed has their own characteristic trademarks but every dog is different with their own individual personalities. Speak to other dog owners and get their advice and experience before committing to a particular breed and you can be sure to find the perfect companion to suit your lifestyle.