Choosing your first pet is an important step for many families. Dogs are a popular choice as they are friendly, sociable, respond well to training and can lift everyone’s spirits with a simple wag of the tail. There are many factors to consider when choosing your first family pet, from the size of the dog to the amount of exercise it will need right down to how much food it will eat. While some dogs are content to be left to their own devices throughout the day, many will need to be checked on every few hours. If you’re ready to choose your first family pet, why not consider these popular breeds.
The Classic Family Dog
If you’re looking for the quintessential family pet, you can’t go wrong with a Labrador. As puppies, they’re adorably soft and lovable, and they grow into loyal, patient and highly intelligent dogs that will firmly establish themselves as part of the family. Just don’t even think about watching Marley and Me once you’ve let a labrador into your heart and home.
The Hypoallergenic Dog
For some families, choosing a dog comes with some very practical considerations. If anyone in your family suffers from allergies, you don’t have to rule out having a family pet. Portuguese Water Dogs are the ideal choice for allergy sufferers – or anyone who hates filling the hoover with pet dander. They are playful, highly intelligent, patient with young children and best of all, they don’t shed! However, this means you will need to have them groomed with the seasons to help keep them cool in summer and warm in winter.
The Patient Dog
Often overlooked as a family pet, Beagles are wonderfully friendly and loyal, and best of all, they are incredibly patient with young kids. They are also highly intelligent, so you will be able to teach them basic obedience and fun tricks throughout their life. They are incredibly loyal and love a good cuddle, which makes them ideal pets for families.
The Gentle Giant
If you have a large house and want a large dog to help fill it, you should consider a St Bernard as your family pet. They have huge amounts of personality and are equally happy with a long walk or a cuddle on the sofa. They are a working dog, so they have been bred to help people. As such, they will need plenty of stimulation in the form of exercise and play. They are famously patient and can often handle anything even the most terrible of two-year-olds can throw at them.
The Overlooked Breed
Although many people start their search looking for a specific breed, many families are ultimately won over by a mixed breed animal. Crossbreeds are often free of the genetic and behavioural problems which can present in purebred dogs. If you like the laid back nature of one dog and the shaggy coat of another, chances are someone has combined their breeds. When choosing a crossbreed, always make sure you see both parents so you can be aware of their temperament and potential health problems. Whatever breed you choose, you should always make sure you have them fitted with a dog microchip. Not only is this essential for making sure you are reunited if they run away, but it’s also the law in the UK to have your dog microchipped by the age of 8 weeks.