Our expert says:
I am glad you are doing some enquiries before getting a puppy. It is very important that you choose it correctly to avoid problems later on. You need to look at various factors, not just size. Do you want a long-coated dog (that will have to be groomed a lot) or short-coated dog (that will only need a brush about once a week)? Do you want an active dog that you will have to exercise every day for the next 10 years, or do you want one that is happy to be a pet and laze around the house and garden? All dogs need to be taken for daily walks, but some need more space and more action. You need to look at a variety of breeds in a breed book or on a breed website (see my petlinks on www.animal-behaviour.org.za/karengray) and weigh up all their good and bad points. The history of the breed will help you get an idea of what the dog is like. If it was originally bred as a fighting dog (e.g. Staffordshire Bull Terrier) then it's going to take a lot more of an effort on your part to get it socialised with other dogs so it won't fight. Most terriers are very active, whereas the poodles, pugs and shi'tzus are less active. You also need to consider your existing animals - whether they'll get on. Consider the gender, sterilization and the cost of owning a dog. All puppies should be socialised with lots of other dogs and people from 9 weeks old and trained from 7 months old, at least, so you'll need to put in this time and effort.
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