How to choose a puppy

When choosing a puppy there are many questions you should ask yourself to make sure you choose a breed that suits your family and lifestyle. Here are some useful things to consider when choosing a puppy.

Why do I want a dog?

There are many different reasons why you might want a dog, including:

  • Companionship
  • Assistance
  • Exhibition or show ring
  • Protection or security
  • Working or trialling
  • Sport and recreation
  • Or a pet for a family with children

Often the answer to this question will determine the breed of the dog, especially if it is a Working or assistance dog, as some breeds are more suited to certain occupations and environments than others.

Do your research on the attributes and temperament of any chosen breeds and, most importantly, speak to different DOGS QLD breed clubs for information.

If you are a busy person and rarely at home, is a dog really for you? A puppy needs constant attention, love and training as they can become bored and destructive as they grow if they are neglected.

Consider your lifestyle, commitment and availability of time on a daily basis.

Do I want a small, medium or large dog?

The size and location of your premises will help you decide, but bear in mind many small dogs have just as high an activity level as larger ones, they just don’t need as much space. Also remember that the larger the dog, the bigger the food bills.

Which gender?

Males are usually a little larger and heavier than females. Make sure the size and strength level of your dog matches that of your children.

If you are not planning to show or breed, spaying or neutering is recommended.

A bitch comes into season at least once, or twice a year and must be confined and kept away from males for some weeks. Many health risks for a bitch are minimised once it is desexed.

Which coat?

There are many different types of coats. All need grooming and almost all will drop hair.

If you do not want to maintain an adult dog with a long coat that requires daily grooming, consider buying a short-haired breed.

For those people with allergies there are also specific breeds that do not shed and are almost allergy free.

What kind of temperament do I want in my dog?

The temperament of the puppy will depend on the breed you choose. As you learn about different breeds, remember the purpose for which the particular breeds were bred. For example, a Working dog or Gundog will be active in mind and body and will require regular occupation and a lot of exercise.

Can I afford the cost of bringing up a puppy?

You should always consider the ongoing cost of having a dog. Costs include:

  • Food
  • Equipment
  • Veterinary expenses
  • Council registration
  • Possible professional grooming

Your puppy should have had his first vaccination and been treated for worms by his breeder. The puppy will require vaccinating again at 12 and 16 weeks of age, and worming at approximately 10 and 12 weeks.

Consult your vet on products available for:

  • Worming
  • Flea control
  • Heartworm prevention

These are essential, but can be quite costly.

De-sexing your puppy is recommended if you don’t have any plans for future breeding or exhibiting.

Will this dog suit my children?

There are some breeds that are great with children but due to their size and strength are not suited to smaller children. Some working breeds, with loads of energy, are far more suited to older children.

Do your research on the most suitable breed for your family and educate your children on the correct way to socialise with the puppy, especially as it grows into an adult dog and its needs change.

How do I find a breeder?

Once you’ve decided on a breed go to the DOGS QLD Breeders Directory to find a breeder. Remember that all purebred dogs were bred for specific purposes and many have quite a history, which you should enjoy finding out about.

How can I find out more?

View the ANKC breed standards

The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) provides breed standards of each purebred dog in Australia (about 200 breeds). Each breed standard provides a small image of the breed as well as all the standards of the breed including the size, characteristics and temperament.

All purebred dogs are classified in 7 groups:

Visit dog shows

Go to dog shows or obedience clubs, where you can talk to owners and see a number of breeds. Dog shows give prospective puppy owners an excellent opportunity to view the breeds available and the chance to talk to breeders and exhibitors.

It also allows you to see dogs of all ages, so you will get a good idea of what the adult will be like in size and temperament. Most weekends there are shows which represent many breeds, a group of breeds or a single breed.