Choosing the ideal dog for you
If you are thinking about getting a dog, make sure that you choose one that fits you and your lifestyle. At Purina you can find more information.
PEDIGREE, CROSS-BREED OR MUTT?
Did you know that there are more than 200 recognized dog breeds worldwide? If we include all those lovely cross-breeds and mutts, we end up with hundreds of kinds to choose from. If it's your first time getting a dog, it’s important you think about whether you want to get a purebred dog, cross-breed or mutt.
The advantage of choosing a pedigree dog (also called "purebred") is that there is a certain level of predictability regarding breeds. You can be pretty sure that your four-legged friend will be of a certain size, length, fur texture, personality and energy level, and also be able to know about possible breed-related ailments.
There’s also some degree of predictability concerning cross-breeds. Cross-breed dogs are the offspring of parents from two different breeds, but it can be hard to know which breed, and in which proportion, will determine its appearance and personality. For example, a Border Collie crossed with a Labrador may be calm, brimming with energy or neither.
The fun starts with mongrels (commonly called "mutts"). Their ascendants aren’t usually pedigree dogs and, although they may present the traits of certain breeds, their ancestry is usually a guessing game. One of the many advantages of mutts is that they tend to be healthier, since they have a broader gene pool, so they are less likely to present hereditary problems.
A PUPPY OR AN ADULT DOG?
The expression "puppy dog eyes" exists for a reason: there is something about puppies that makes them totally irresistible. They may be cute, but that does not necessarily mean that a puppy is the best option for you and your household.
If you are thinking about getting a puppy, you will have noticed that they are curious by nature and that they want to learn, so it’s crucial that you have enough time to train them. With love, attention, and training you can turn this enthusiastic canvas into a work of art! Training is a lot of fun, but also hard work: you'll have to teach it everything, from potty training to walking on a leash. If you have the necessary time and patience, you will discover that its transformation will be more than worth your efforts and, additionally, you’ll create an amazing bond between you and your puppy.
Another option is to give a "teen" or adult dog a new home. If it's your first dog, an older dog may suit your lifestyle better.
Most adult dogs will already be partially trained and socialized. However, this doesn’t mean that your work is cut out for you, there is still a lot to be done, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make as strong a bond as with a puppy. The old saying "old dog can’t learn new tricks” is false, since any dog can continue to learn and adapt throughout their lifetime.
Unfortunately, you will find that some adult dogs have not been lucky enough to enjoy a loving home, so they come with certain "emotional baggage". These dogs need more love, time and patience, but all your efforts will be tremendously rewarding, both for you and your dog, and will result in a lifelong friendship. Training together will help create a special bond and strengthen the trust between the two of you. Staff and volunteers from animal shelters will be more than happy to help you choose the ideal dog to become your perfect companion.
A MALE OR FEMALE DOG?
Another thing you have to think about before getting a dog is whether you want a male or a female. There are many opinions on the matter and, in the end, your decision will depend on your own preferences.
Some owners say that bitches are easier to train and tend to be more affectionate, while others believe that they are more independent and distant. It is often said that males are more aggressive, although neutering can help control them if they start to show too much bravado and self-confidence (in any case, this varies depending on its age when neutered and from one dog to another).
There is no simple answer; remember that your dog’s character and behavior will depend mostly on its own personality and the amount of time you spend training and socializing it.
Sometimes, dogs of either sex that have not been sterilized can be more boisterous. Males can roam in search of females, and unsterilized females can be difficult to control when in season, as well as suffering from psychological pregnancies. If you are thinking about breeding, these are some obstacles you will have to overcome. On the other hand, unwanted pregnancies can cause unnecessary problems for you and your dog, such as possible complications when giving birth and having to find homes for the puppies. The cost of spaying a female is usually higher than that of neutering a male, especially if she is already pregnant.
BREEDERS OR ANIMAL SHELTERS?
If you want a pedigree or cross-breed dog, the best thing to do is find a trusted breeder.
Contact the secretariat of a breeders club that has a list of available litters or that can help you contact breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder that is on an accredited breeders list.
Adopting a dog from an animal shelter and offering it a second chance at life can be extremely rewarding. There are many dogs our there that hope to find the warmth of a permanent home.
Each dog has its own story and many of them, who have lost their first homes undeservingly, would love to be part of yours.
Responsible shelters make sure they pick the right dog for each person: they do not want the dogs to be rejected again or for you to have to take care of a dog that is not a suitable fit. Shelter staff evaluate the dogs they bring in carefully, and will take the time to get to know you, your family and lifestyle before recommending one of their dogs. They will be happy to give you advice and help answer all your questions.
As expected, there are more adult dogs looking for a new home than puppies, and when there are puppies up for adoption, they usually get adopter more quickly. If you are set on adopting a puppy, you may have to contact several shelters and rescue centers, or travel further to find the right one for you.
Whether you buy a dog from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter, you can be sure to expect a future full of fun adventures with your new friend!