The Kennel Club in the UK recognises 213 different breeds of dog, although there are many more. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) keeps the records of 339 breeds around the world. On top of this, so-called designer crossbreeds are becoming more common, and you can also just get a generic ‘mongrel’, or mix of several different breeds.
Looking at these numbers choosing the right dog for you might seem an impossible task! There are a few questions to ask yourself when considering the right breed for you.
1. What sort of activity level do I want my dog to have? Choosing an extremely energetic breed like a Border Collie when you want a dog who will be happy to just potter around the block is a recipe for disaster!
2. How much grooming am I willing to do? Dogs like Golden Retrievers need a lot of brushing to keep their skin and coat healthy. Poodles and other curly-coated breeds need regular professional attention to prevent matting. A dog like a Greyhound requires very little grooming at all.
3. What was this breed originally bred for? Some dogs, such as Hounds, were originally bred to hunt and their instinct still runs strong. You will need to have a safe, enclosed area if you wish to exercise these dogs off-lead safely.
4. What size of dog can I cope with? Trying to keep a large breed like a Newfoundland or Saint Bernard in a small flat will not be good for either dog or owner!
5. What health issues does this breed have? Different breeds and crossbreeds are prone to different health problems. Be aware of the common problems of your particular breed and look for a breeder who is working to improve the health of the breed.