There are more than 600 different breeds of dogs world-wide (the Kennel Union recognises more than 180 breeds in South Africa alone), and on top of that there are all the cross-breeds and mongrels whose family history is mixed, or to say the least, uncertain. So there’s definitely a dog for everyone. But it’s important to choose the correct dog for your circumstances. The wrong choice can mean unhappiness for both you and the dog. [One of the most common reasons for animals being abandoned at shelters is owner / dog incompatibility.] Here are some things to think about before welcoming your new best friend:
- Will there be someone at home most of the time to look after you new dog? A quick visit at lunchtime is NOT necessarily sufficient.
- Do you have sufficient space in your home to have a dog? Remember, big and or energetic dogs need adequate space to live and exercise.
- Does your complex allow pets?
- Are you prepared to exercise your dog regularly?
- Is there an open space near your home where you are allowed to exercise your dog if your grounds are nog big enough?
- Can you afford the vet’s fees if your dog is ill and for required annual injections?
- Are you prepared to give up time to see that your dog has the necessary training to socialise it and to obey the basic commands like “sit”?
- Do you know that some breeds are more noisy that others?
- If you buy an untrained puppy, are your prepared to have some damage in your home until it has learned to be clean and behave? In other words, are you a neat freak?
- Do you have time to groom a dog properly? Remember some of the long coated breeds need stripping regularly. Can you afford the grooming fee?
- Can you afford to feed a dog properly? Remember the larger the dog the more food he/she will consume…
- Do you realise that dogs, like people, grow old and may need special care and attention?
- If you cannot leave your dog with responsible relatives or friends when you go on holiday, can you afford the cost of boarding kennels?
- Are you prepared to love and care for your dog for all of his life, which is often more than 10 years, and not just when it is a cuddle puppy?
- Does anyone suffer from allergies / asthma?
- Do you have arthritis or back problems that may prevent you caring for an animal, especially a large one?
â€‹Your next step is to decide on what kind of dog you are going to get. PUREBRED / CROSSBREED / MONGREL (“ pavement special”)