Adding a four legged family member is an exciting step! However, there are many important decisions to be made including age, temperament and breed of your future dog. While there are many opinions about the temperaments of certain breeds, one thing that holds true to all dogs of one breed is their activity levels and exercise requirements.
One of the biggest factors for choosing a dog is whether or not they will be a good “family dog” The truth is, any dog can be a good family dog with proper training and being raised as one. But the exercise a dog receives can determine how well it does in a family setting.
There are lots of dog breeds who don’t require rigorous daily exercise. Breeds like King Cavalier Spaniels, Bulldogs and some other small dog breeds still need regular walks, but also probably won’t destroy the house if they don’t get out one day. Other dogs, like sport or working breeds (Viszlas, Weimeraners, German Short Haired Pointers, etc.) need plenty of exercise, both mental and physical, every day. All large breed dogs, even common family dogs such as Labrador and Golden retrievers need daily exercise in order to avoid destructive and unwanted behaviours.
Many people also buy a dog based on their looks. The physical characteristics of a dog such as their size and body makeup are what makes them appealing to us, and are also what determines the amount of exercise they need. While you might want a large dog, you also have to remember the extra exercise commitment this means!
If you chose a dog with a typical “job” the best way to tire them out might be to get them involved into the sport which they were bred to do. For hound breeds, this might be scent training, for gun dog breeds it could be field trials etc. For these dogs, it is important to give them a job in order to satisfy their mental and physical exercise needs.
Before deciding on a dog breed make sure to do plenty of research, not just from online sources like Wikipedia or kennel club articles, but reach out to others who have a breed you are interested, breeders or rescues for more information. Also, consider looking into rescue or shelters while you research the perfect dog for you.
Also remember puppies are puppies until the age of 3, and regardless of the breed they will always be a lot of work. Stay tuned for another blog post about what to know before getting a puppy!