Choosing A Puppy


Choosing a puppy is no easy task. There are so many breeds to choose from. Each with its own unique set of characteristics, temperaments, and quirks. This article is designed to simplify the process by getting you in the right mindset for puppy selection.  

Why Do I Want a Puppy?

The first step to choosing a puppy is knowing the reason you want it. There are many reasons that someone might want a puppy, including:

  • Family pet
  • Security and Protection
  • Companionship
  • Exhibition or show ring
  • Sport and recreation

So, what do you want a puppy for? Once you’re clear on the answer to this question, you’ll be a lot closer to knowing the best breed for your situation. This is especially the case when you intend for your puppy to work as an assistance dog or as a working dog because some breeds are more suited to specific occupations and environments.

It pays to do your research on the needs and abilities of different puppy breeds. With the reason you want a puppy in the back of your mind, research different breeds for their attributes, needs, and temperaments.

Some important questions to consider:

  • Am I a busy person?
  • Will I be able to give a puppy enough attention?
  • Do I spend long periods outside of the home?
  • Will I be able to provide an active dog with enough exercise?
  • Do I have young children?
  • Do I live in a small home?
  • Do I have an ample backyard?

 Should I Get a Large, Medium or Small Puppy?

It’s a simple fact that larger puppies need larger areas to sleep in, play in, and exercise in. While smaller puppies can live in relatively small homes, a large puppy may need a bigger home and a decent size backyard. Keep in mind that while smaller puppies may need less space, they generally have similar levels of energy.

Which Gender Puppy Should I Get?

Male puppies usually tend to grow up to be larger and heavier than females. This may be important to consider if you have small children, especially if you’re already looking at a larger breed.

Another thing to consider is that female puppies which have not been desexed will come into season once or twice a year. During this time, they must be kept away for males for a few weeks to avoid unwanted puppies. You can find more information on desexing in our article here.

What Type of Puppy Coat is Best for Me?

Different breeds of puppy can feature a variety of coat types: long, short, single, double, and hairless. While all coat types require attention, the level of care needed will vary. Double coats will require a significant degree of brushing, washing, and vacuuming to maintain shine and avoid matting.

For people who want to avoid significant grooming, consider short-haired and single coated puppies. For people with allergies, certain breeds are available which shed less and can be allergy sensitive.

What Kind of Temperament Do I Want in My Puppy?

Temperament is an important thing to consider when buying a new puppy. Different breeds will have different behaviours and attitudes. For example, working dogs and gun dogs will be more active and demand more exercise. Dogs which have been bred for companionship may be calmer and more affectionate. Keep this in mind when looking at puppy breeds.

Can I Afford a Puppy?

Before you decide to commit to buying a puppy, consider the ongoing costs of ownership. These costs include paying for:

  • Food
  • Equipment
  • Council Registration
  • Veterinary Bills and Vaccinations
  • Grooming

Most puppies will come with their first lot of vaccinations and worming treatments. They will require more worming and vaccination as they continue to grow up. Talk to your vet about options for worming, flea control, and heart-worm. Consult our article on vaccinations for more information about costs and schedule.

Is this Puppy Family Friendly?

When looking to buy a puppy, it’s important to consider the age and size of your children. Some breeds are excellent with children, however, due to their size, are not suitable for families with small children. Similarly, working breeds, which generally have more energy, are more excitable and may distress younger children. Consider the responsibilities and needs of your children when looking for a puppy as forging a great bond between children and puppies is essential.

How Do I Find a Puppy Breeder?

Once you’re ready to commit to buying a puppy, search state-wide databases to find a breeder that suits your needs. Visit our Puppy Finder article for help finding the right breeder.

If you’re looking for more information, visit our own breed profiles here or visit the ANKC Breed Standards for a comprehensive summary of over 200 breeds.

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