There's a lot to consider when finding a breed that best suits you, including your lifestyle, your work life, and everyone in the family. But there's no need to feel overwhelmed: you're absolutely spoiled for choice these days, so finding the perfect dog breed for you can be super exciting!
We've put together a little guide to help you make a well-informed decision.
1. How often will you exercise your dog?
This is a big one. If you're an avid runner, hiker, or just live a generally active lifestyle, you won't have an issue with high-energy breeds that love to run and play. If you can only give your dog around 30 minutes of exercise a day or less, you'll want to look at less active dogs that don't mind lounging about on the couch with you.
2. How much training are you willing to give?
Some dogs, such as German Shepherds, pick up commands a lot quicker than others and thrive on the mental stimulation that training provides them - take this away from them, and they may start behaving erratically. Meanwhile, some other breeds such as Pugs can be difficult to train and require a lot more time, patience, and energy.
3. How often will you be able to groom your dog?
Not all dog fur is the same. In terms of 'fur types', there are two major 'classes' - fur which does not shed and fur which does shed. A breed will typically posess one type of fur or the other. The fur type that doesn't shed grows continuously and requires trimming every 4-6 weeks (or else you'll end up with a very long-haired pooch!). Whereas fur that does shed may not need trimming (as the fur falls out once it reaches mature length), but it can be a little inconvenient as you may end up with fur all over your clothes and house! Ultimately, this means you will either have to commit to paying for grooming every 4-6 weeks, or vacuuming up dog fur in your house.
4. Will your dog be alone quite often, for extended periods?
A big drawback to the traditional 9 - 5 job is that there's a good chance that your dog will be left alone for up to eight hours a day...which some breeds simply cannot handle. Separation anxiety and destructive behaviour may occur in breeds that love human and family interaction (a good way to work around this is to bring in a pet sitter or dog walker). There are breeds that will not be too bothered with the idea of being home alone - and you can always keep them entertained with an interactive toy or two. Also consider how involved your dog will be in your daily life (including those all-important brunch dates!)
5. Do you have children?
If the answer is yes, great news: there are loads of dog breeds that love a pack mentality and thrive in an active, busy household. Some of them may even surprise you! Other breeds may not be suitable for very young children however, simply because of their size and energy levels (you don't want your dog to be bowling over your toddler constantly). At the other end of the spectrum are dogs that will not be able to tolerate the unpredictable nature of children, and are best kept in adult-only households.
6. How much space do you have?
Apartment-dwellers, good news: there are breeds that are happy to live in smaller spaces, provided you take them out for regular walks and engage in plenty of playtime! But size isn't everything here: while small dogs might seem like a sensible idea for an apartment, many small breeds also tend to bark. A lot. So yes - you can still have a mid-sized or even large dog if you live in a high-rise! But all the more room your dog will have to run and play, the better.
7. The big question: can you afford a purebred?
According to the RSPCA and other rescue groups around Australia, financial restraints are among the top reasons why dogs are surrendered to shelters every year - second only to moving to a home or apartment that does not allow pets. While not fun to consider, you should check to see that your budget will allow for a purebred dog and its care and maintenance. Pet insurance may be worth considering here, too!