There is of course no right answer to this! Perhaps the question should be “what do you want from your dog?” Are you aware of what your dog was originally bred to do? Are you willing to work through the behaviour traits that your dog might exhibit due to their genetics?
I see some owners become frustrated due to their dog’s behaviour that links directly to their breed type. For example, Collies that herd children or chase bikes and cars, or Spaniels that ‘steal’ shoes and guard them, or Terriers that dissect all their toys. If you aren’t aware of your dog’s natural instincts, then these behaviours might surprise you.
If you have a cross breed, then look at both breeds (or more) and understand that you will have a mix of all those breeds. With the rise in poodle crosses becoming very popular, I think most owners are very surprised to learn that Poodles are very intelligent hunting dogs that require a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep them satisfied; just because they look like cute teddy bears, doesn’t mean they want to cuddle!
Another popular trend is the rise in brachycephalic breeds (short nosed dogs) such as French bulldogs and Pugs. These dogs can have serious issues with breathing and a lot require major surgery just to be able to live a normal life. Health of breed and inherited diseases should be a big consideration when choosing a dog.
So, what skills do you want from your dog? Do you want them to accompany you on long walks each day or just once round the block? Do you want to do a dog sport, or do you want a companion on the sofa? Most domestic dogs are genetically still very similar to their ancestors so knowing what they were bred for will give you a very good idea as to what sort of dog you are inviting into your home.
I quite often ask people the reason why they chose that breed of dog and some of the answers really scare me. The most upsetting answer I got was from an elderly couple that had a Dalmatian puppy (very high energy breed); when I asked them why they chose that breed, they said it was the only puppy available in the paper that weekend!!! I was presuming it was going to be something along the lines of ‘we’ve always had this breed’ or something similar, but this answer stunned me. Getting a puppy (or re-homing a dog) is such a big long-term commitment; it must not be done on a whim.
In a world where we can get almost anything we want instantly I think getting a dog has unfortunately fallen into this mind set as well.
Making the decision to add a dog to your life needs to be very carefully considered. Do you have enough time? Do you have enough money? Are you willing to make changes to your lifestyle to accommodate this new furry family member?
If you do decide that getting a dog is the right decision, please research the breed, speak to experienced owners about their dogs, the pros and the cons and then pick your breed very carefully (you will have a wait for a puppy from a good breeder) or go to a reputable re-homing centre where they will guide you as to what dog will suit your lifestyle.