Pet Care Advice 》 Choosing a dog

When choosing a dog, it’s important that you think about your lifestyle first so that you can be sure the breed you have in mind is compatible with you.

  • Why are you looking to own a pet dog? Companionship? Protection? Service?
  • What kind of breed do you have in mind?
  • Does your home provide adequate space for the size of dog you’d like?
  • Do you have enough time to exercise your dog each day?
  • Can you afford to look after your dog properly, making sure they have an appropriate diet and access to regular veterinary care?
  • Do you want to adopt?

Often, new pet owners find it hard to adjust their lifestyles when they haven’t considered how a new pet will affect their daily routine, and that can lead to pets being abandoned or given up for adoption. Ultimately, the pet’s welfare is a priority and we would advise you to make sure that you are ready to take responsibility for a dog.

 Active Lifestyles

If you enjoy sports and regular exercise and are looking for a running partner, then smaller breeds such as poodles and Chihuahuas are probably not going to be a good option for you, as they simply won’t be able to keep up! Instead, a larger dog would be more appropriate, such as American Staffordshire Terriers, Australian Cattle dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and German Shepherds. Bear in mind that larger dogs will require more living space, as well as food.

 Small living spaces

Living in apartments and small houses means that you should consider noisiness, energy level, and also social skills as your dog is likely to come into contact with other dogs and people regularly. Here are some of the most popular small breeds:

Basenji dogs are very quiet and rarely grow taller than 18 inches. This breed does require regular attention, otherwise they can be known to be mischievous if left alone for extended periods of time. 




Bichon Frise dogs tend to grow no taller than 12 inches and are energetic, loving playtime and require regular exercise. They also shed less than other breeds, making them particularly suited to small homes.




Boston Terriers can grow to around 18 inches and are known to be quite hyperactive, so require regular brisk walks to help them burn off their energy.




Chihuahuas are famous for their small size and require less exercise than other small breeds. They enjoy being close to their owners, which is ideal if you are looking for a close companion, but they can also be weary of strangers, which means they should be supervised in social situations with new people.



Pomeranians are a feisty dog with lots of energy and are particularly well behaved on their own, making them a good choice for pet owners who spend time out of the house during the day. They are particularly good at barking, meaning that training them early on is important, particularly if you live close to neighbors.



 Adopting from a shelter

If you choose to adopt from a shelter, you should consider the behaviour and personal history of the dog when you visit.

Very excited or hyper dogs may be frustrated or anxious. Shyness may be a sign that the dog is fearful, whilst disinterested or unsociable dogs may have socialization issues. However, the best way to find out the true temperament of the dog is to spend time observing their behavior, then asking the shelter if you can take them for a walk or spend time with them at the shelter. Additionally, introducing them to other dogs will also help to determine how well they interact and behave around other dogs.

If you choose to adopt from a shelter, Doctors Beck & Stone offers a discount of 25% off services and 15% off products for all pet rescuers for up to 3 months. Click here for more information.

Whatever breed you choose, remember that being a responsible pet owner is an ongoing process. It requires time, work, and perseverance, but the joy of pet ownership can be very rewarding for both you and your dog for an entire lifetime.

Have you just adopted a new dog? Become a Pet Health Club member and save money on essential treatments and services throughout the year. Find out more here.