Choosing A Dog

Choosing a dog is a lot of fun, but also a very important decision, as he will be part of your life for around 10 years or more. Dogs come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, personalities and physical characteristics, so you need to analyse what kind of companion you want and what kind of companion YOU will be.

When choosing a dog you need to consider factors such as dog size, how much exercise they need, whether they shed hair, whether they will live indoors or outside, whether you want a young and playful or a gentle companion, friendly or protective, the size of your backyard, if you are planning a family, ongoing costs, how much time you have to exercise and train them, whether you plan to work overseas, and more. Will you live in a house or unit, going out regularly, be going on frequent trips, and how fit are you?

Consider the age of children when choosing a dog. A large, boisterous breed can be overwhelming for children under 5. It is often easier to introduce a dog to a family with a child, than to introduce a baby to a family with a dog. Jealousy can be a real thing.

Many older people enjoy the companionship of a dog after their children have left the nest.

I also wish I'd known how much fuss the husband would make about dog hairs on the carpet, lounge and clothes. Next time I would pay more attention to hair loss. I love my labrador, but now the vet tells me that they are famous for dropping hairs everywhere. And mine is hairier than any other lab I've ever seen.

Purebred dogs are usually of consistent temperament, however it is worth getting to know the parentage, and others' experiences with the breed when choosing a dog.

Dogs may be roughly classified into the following groups:

Their personalities may also vary, from dominant to clown, lovable to hyperactive, affable to aloof, perennially young, soft and submissive. A tip I learnt from PuppyWishes was to choose a lower-ranked puppy from a litter, as they are often less nippy and less dominant.

Consider how many dogs you could have. Choosing more than one dog will provide companionship for each other, and they can have complementary ages and size, as a way of passing knowledge from one generation to another.

For choosing a suitable dog breed, try SelectADog service from the Pet Care Information Advisory Service.

Other pet selection quizzes are available at

DiscoveryPlanet - Very realistic

Pet Rescue

When choosing a dog, don't just go to the closest pet shop. Please consider adopting a dog from one of the many pet rescue organisations in your country. This is a great way of saving a dog from being put down.

Otherwise, if you are interested in pedigree dogs, contact one of the registered breeders. This way you will get to know the parentage, litter characteristics, and won't be condemning a puppy to a lonely few weeks in a pet shop.