Choosing a family dog

When choosing a breed, you need to find the right fit for your family.

Some considerations:

  1. What size dog do you prefer?  Small vs. medium vs. large breed?
  2. Possible costs? Some breeds may cost more or need more maintenance. Long haired breeds will need grooming often or senior dogs need joint supplements and more visits to the vet.
  3. The age of the dog? A puppy can learn to socialise well with the entire family but needs lots of training. An adult dog should already be house trained but might be shy with friends visiting.
  4. Family activity levels? Do you want a dog to run or hike with or one that just walks with the family? Some dogs get highly strung or agitated if not exercised regularly.
  5. Your family’s needs? Some dogs only prefer adults or one gender. There may be other animals, like cats, that need be socialised with the dog.
  6. The size of your home property? Some breeds need more space to run around and explore. Others may be fine with a smaller space and a daily walk.
  7. Your family’s schedule? Is someone at home during the day? If not, the dog could become lonely and destructive.
  8. Do your homework. If it is a mixed breed or rescue dog, try to find out its history. If it is a purebred, research the breed characteristics. Either way, try to find out about your dog and take some time to let your family interact with it, before you take it home.
  9. Through sickness and health. A dog is a long term commitment and responsibility, not to be discarded when ill, not puppy cute anymore or if you immigrate.

Top family dog breeds

  1. Golden retrievers 
  2. Labrador retrievers 
  3. Poodle
  4. Irish setter
  5. Vizsla
  6. Newfoundland
  7. Collie
  8. Boxers
  9. Beagles
  10. Schnauzers
Checklist credit: Thanks to Dr. Kate Naidoo, Waterfall Travelling Vet, for her input.

Wendy Roux

Wendy Roux

Wendy Roux is a mother of a teen and a 12 year old. She has worked in teaching, the corporate environs and publishing. She is also the author of Checklist Parenting, aimed at parents of young school going children. The handbook offers parenting checklists, covering a range of topics, in a well laid out, easy to read format


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