There are more than 200 different dog breeds in the UK and that’s not including some of the mixes you can get. Pedigree dogs are split into seven groups: gundog, hounds, pastoral, terrier, toy, utility and working. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to concentrate on the different sizes of dogs, rather than the groups.
Choosing to add to your family by getting a dog is a big commitment, both in terms of time and finances. It is something that you need to think long and hard about as it’s a long term commitment (the average dog can live 10 – 15 years depending on its breed/size and health).
Giant dogs – such as Great Danes, St Bernard, Newfoundland, Irish Wolfhound
If you’re think of getting a giant or large breed, then there are a number of things you need to consider. They take up a lot of room so you need to make sure your home is big enough to accommodate them. They will need extensive training so that they don’t pull on the lead, otherwise you could find yourself being thrown to the ground during walks. They require more food than smaller breeds and generally don’t live as long, an Irish Wolfhound for instance has a life expectancy of just 6 – 10 years. Giant and large dogs are more prone to developmental disorders and joint problems because they grow/age much quicker than smaller dogs.
Such as English Springer Spaniel, Basset Hound, Airedale Terrier, Bearded Collie
If you’re looking for an active dog that will like curling up by your feet whist you watch TV, a medium sized dog is a good choice. They will be happy to go on long walks, play endless games of fetch and then have a snooze. They mightn’t eat as much as giant or large dogs but you still need to make sure you give them good quality food and have money set aside (or pet insurance) in case they need vet treatment.
Such as a Bichon Frise, Yorkshire Terrier, Pomeranian, Chihuahua
Small and toy dogs live the longest on average. They are great if you want a dog that will curl up on your lap and doesn’t require much exercise but it’s important to recognise that they’re not accessories. They can be just as demanding as larger breeds (and can be just as strong willed). They can squeeze through small gaps so you must make sure your garden is secure at all times.