Before you jump into the joy of owning a dog, take a moment to consider the breed you have fallen for
With Crufts on this weekend, and seeing the different doggie shapes and sizes, you may be inspired to get a certain breed. But there are a few things to consider as you find your perfect pooch.
Health and breeding
Some breeds are all about the looks over health – and poor health will cost you a lot of money in the long term. Avoid this by looking into the breed and issues on trusted websites such as RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association.
If you love a flat-faced, short-nosed breed like pug, bulldog, shih tzu, boxer, pekingese then they can have breathing and dental health issues. You can read more about health of these breeds on the British Veterinary Association website » click here.
Some breeds commonly have hip or elbow dysplasia, which is where the bones don't connect quite right and can cause a lot of pain. It needs surgery to correct it. Breeds that are commonly affected are german shepherd, labrador, retriever, mastiff, rottweiler and bulldogs. As it is hereditary, good breeders have their mating dogs scored or graded with medical tests before breeding puppies so ask them for proof of that information.
Small or toy breed dogs with dome-shaped foreheads and protuding eyes can have an horrendous skull pressure. Read more about syringomyelia and hydrocephalus. Breeds that are most affected are chihuahua, cavalier king charles spaniel, manchester terrier, pekingese, yorkshire terrier and boston terrier.
Pictured above: Piglet the chihuahua with us in 2023. She has an apple-shaped head with bulging eyes which needed daily eye drops. She also had some breathing difficulties because of her short nose and muzzle.
Seeing the mum dog with the puppies is very important – you can see her temperament, is she friendly and relaxed with you and her owners handling the puppies? A good mum is the best start in life for a young dog.
If you are told that mum is sleeping, on a walk or at the vets then ask to come back later. If they say you cannot, or feel pressured to buy, this could be a sign that the puppies have been bred for profit at a puppy farm and the house is a front. Puppy farms are where mum dogs are bred from over and over again, often kept in terrible conditions.
Read more about protecting yourself from puppy farm breeders on the RSPCA website » click here.
Pictured above: Puppy Rupert was abandoned shortly after weaning, possibly because he could not be sold. His brother was in very poor health. Last year we took in 9 abandoned puppies (under 6 months old).
» Further reading on where to buy a dog is over on our Pet Advice section, here.