If you’re thinking of getting a dog and it is the first time you’ve considered a canine companion, then invariably you will want to know more about specific dog breeds (unless you are off to the nearest adoption shelter – in which case well done you!)
When people think about specific dog breeds that would fit well with their family; the most common thought turns to hypoallergenic dogs for people with allergies and asthma. However, this is not the only reason to consider which type of breed you get; factors such as your age, lifestyle, mobility and location can all have an impact on the type of dog you should choose.
In this article we will give some guidance on the more popular dog breeds and the type of homes that they are best suited to.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of cross breeding just for the sake of our human egos having a few extra cute, hypoallergenic dogs to choose from, however I also understand that when allergies and/or asthma plagues you or someone in your family, dog hair can be a major cause for concern and a factor in not having pets. Most people forget that hypoallergenic dogs also make good dog breeds for elderly or immobilised owners as well due to the lack of dog hair on the carpets and furniture. When our Border Collies shed their lovely winter coats, we have to hoover at least twice a day, which is no easy feat when you are older or unable to get about as easily.
The Bichon is one of the most common breeds for those wanting a hypoallergenic dog and due to their small, toy size they are also great companion dogs for the elderly. They have a wonderful temperament and are sensitive, good natured, gentle and affectionate – they are also great with other dogs and children. They are quite easy to house train and will not shed any hair. They can be prone to dusty skin if not brushed often, so make sure you keep their puffy, marshmallow coats prim and proper.
The Schnauzer is simply adorable and loves its owners so much that they will never leave your side, ensuring you have a companion and friend for life. They come in 3 sizes, Giant, Standard and Miniature but will require a firm hand when it comes to training (a bit like a Taurus, they have a slightly stubborn streak). The Schnauzer is a very intelligent dog and makes an excellent guard dog due to the over-protectiveness, however this can lead to excessive barking as they are always on high alert.
One of the best known hypoallergenic breeds, the Poodle also comes on 3 sizes, Standard, Miniature and Toy, but their thick, curly locks do require a lot of grooming and maintenance. This breed is highly intelligent, active (especially the Standard size) and alert, but can be trained quite easily. The Poodle is very instinctive and early training is a must as they can get easily bored leading to a certain amount of mischief in order to amuse themselves.
Breeds That Need Little Exercise
A dog can and will make an excellent best friend and for the elderly the can often be life-saving in the companionship they provide. However, it is not always easy for elderly people to get out and about or walk as much as they would like to, and likewise for those with illnesses or restricted mobility. It is obviously wise to consider the needs of the dogs as well as your own and remember that all dogs, regardless of size do need exercise. However, certain breeds needs much less than others and an ample garden can be just what is needed.
No I haven’t lost my marbles. Though greyhounds are a racing breed and can run at speeds of 45 mph, they can’t do it for very long and actually don’t need as much exercise as you would think. They are bred to sprint, not for endurance; however it is worth noting that this applies to adult dogs. Puppies can be highly energetic as they have not been taught how to use their energy in racing and so needs the proper exercise outlet and confident owner to train them. They are gentle, quiet and loyal dogs and make wonderful pets but can experience separation anxiety when re-homed or when left alone, so think carefully before taking home a Greyhound.
The Pug is a toy breed whose temperament is charming, clever, playful and attentive. They make excellent family dogs and get on well with children. Due to their smaller size, they do not need much exercise and they often feed off the emotions and feelings of their owners, being quiet and easy going if the mood suits it.
Another small breed, in fact the Chihuahua is the smallest of all dogs, but this doesn’t stop them from being lively, alert, quick and courageous. They are a very devoted breed who will give their owners unconditional love and affection. This devotion can sometimes manifest as over protectiveness, causing some aggression if the dog feels the owners is at risk in anyway. It is important to bare this in mind if there are children in the house as the dog may end up vying for the attention of its owner over the children.
Dogs Who Love Children
As a child, having a dog can be a rewarding and life changing experience and at some point, many parents will look to get a family pet when the time is right. But it is very important to ensure that the breed you chose suits not only the house, but the family as well. Children can be loud, playful and boisterous and it is very easy for dogs to interpret this behaviour in the wrong way, often getting over playful themselves and being prone to nipping or jumping up. It is worth noting however that nearly all dog breeds are good with children, especially if they have grown up with them from a puppy, so we have just listed those that are extra safe when around the little ones.
Although these 2 breeds are different to each other, their traits and temperament are similar enough to list them together. The Retriever has a beautiful and gentle nature and is one of the most common household pets in the world. Their reputation as having such an even-tempered nature makes them an excellent choice as a family dog. They are also playful and never tire of a good game of chase to tire the kids out.
King Charles Spaniel
One of many Spaniel breeds, the King Charles is a small to medium sized dog whose nature and temperament make them wonderful with children. They are extremely friendly (to the point of not being very good guard dogs!) and bond well with adults and children alike. Due to their smaller size, they can be a little adverse to rough handling, so waiting until children are past the infant stage is worth a thought.
Although this breed is a large dog, they are also known as ‘The Gentle Giants” or “Nanny Dogs”, and make excellent playmates for children of all ages. They are renowned for being both calm and docile and are quite easy to train as long as you start when they are puppies. They are extremely loyal companion dogs and this breed remembered by people as portraying ‘Nana’ the dog in the Peter Pan books and films.
Dogs For The Active Life
Not all dogs are bought as stay at home companions, some travel the Country with their owners on walking holidays and enter agility competitions; others are working dogs who help their owners to do the chores.
The Border Collie is a herding dog breed and can be seen across the UK and other Countries helping farmers in their daily duties and herding sheep. These dogs have a high intelligence and bundles of energy (which I can attest to given that we have 2, on English Border Collie and a Welsh one). If their energy is not used up with work, agility classes or other forms of physical and mental exercise, they can become mischievous as an outlet for their energy.
The Border Collie is one of the most abandoned dogs breeds in the UK due to their high energy levels and sometimes destructive nature. However, if cared for and exercised properly they are an absolute joy to live with and give so much love and happiness to a family.
This breed is known for being very active and having high energy levels and would make an excellent walking companion for active people or couples. They require very little grooming due to their short coat and they are also very sociable and easy to train. They were initially bed for hunting foxes and some of that latent instinct could be aroused if out in the countryside, so unless very well trained, best to keep them on a lead.