Welcoming a new dog into your life is going to be one of the most exciting decisions you will ever make. But remember that this is not a step to be taken lightly. It requires a lot of research and due diligence to ensure that you are able to find the right dog for you - your perfect little furry friend, completely compatible with your environment and lifestyle.
WHICH DOG BREED IS BEST FOR ME?
If you are a new dog owner, the first step in your decision making process is figuring out whether you want a pure breed, crossbreed or mixed breed dog. In addition to more than 200 breeds, there are hundreds of crossbreeds and mixed breeds that you'll have to consider before you make your decision. A point to note is that each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Predictability is the major advantage of owning a pure breed or a pedigree dog. Pedigrees are usually a pre-defined size, and possess a certain coat length, texture, character, and energy level. You are also aware of the potential health conditions and issues that might affect your new pet.
Crossbreeds are dogs with parents from different pedigrees. This way, crossbreeds are not too far from pure breeds in terms of predictability. But, while we do know where they're coming from, it can often be hard to predict which side they will get their looks and personality from. They can draw characteristics from either one of the parents, from both, or from neither. For example, a Border Collie-Labrador crossbreed could either have a calm or an energetic personality. Or it could be something else altogether.
Where it gets really fun is when we come to mixed breeds or mongrels. They are usually far removed in their ancestry from any pure breeds. And even though you can always recognize the characteristics of different breeds in them, it's not easy to figure out the breeds they come from. The best thing about mixed breeds is that they are often much healthier, since they are drawing from a much larger gene pool and aren’t vulnerable to many hereditary issues.
If you would like to learn about the characteristics of different breeds and find the one best suited to you, check out our BREED SELECTOR TOOL
SHOULD I GET A PUPPY OR AN ADULT DOG?
You have to admit it - there are very few things in the world cuter than a puppy. While it's easy to be seduced by those irresistible ‘puppy-dog eyes’, puppies might not always be the best choice for you and your home.
Puppies are naturally curious and eager to explore and learn. You must be able to dedicate your time and energy towards training them. This will involve everything from toilet training to teaching them how to walk on the lead. With love and care you can transform them from the crazy little bundles of energy into your adorable little best friend. The training process can be hard work, and could require a lot of time and patience. But it can also be incredibly fulfilling, and over time you can build a great bond with your puppy.
If you don’t think you'll be able to dedicate that kind of time or energy, a better option would be rehoming an adult dog. First time dog owners will find that adult dogs are a much better fit for their lifestyle.
Although adult dogs will usually come to you with some amount of training and socialization, there will still be a lot for you to do. The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t always true. Dogs of all ages continue to learn and adapt throughout their lives. In fact, you might find that the bond you build with your 'teenage' dog can be just as strong as you could build with a puppy.
Sometimes, even rehomed dogs might need an extra dose of love, care, patience and training. This is the case when you are dealing with dogs that haven't had loving homes in their past. They might come with ‘emotional baggage’ that you might have to help them heal through. But if you are able to truly adopt them as your own, build trust, and bond with them, you might have just found an extraordinary lifelong friendship.
The volunteers and staff at reputable rehoming centres should be able to help you with advice and guidance in choosing the right canine partner for you and your home.
SHOULD I GO FOR A DOG OR A BITCH?
This is going to be the next decision that you will have to make in your process of selecting a dog. While opinions about whether one should get a male or female dog vary enormously, the ultimate decision comes down personal preference.
While some people say that bitches are much more loving and easier to train, others have experienced females to be more independent and aloof. In the case of males, while it’s true that they can start out as too bold or over-confident, neutering them can make them less assertive and a little easier to handle. This can vary with the age and personality of the dog.
Simply put, there is no easy answer. In fact, a lot of your dog's characteristics and behaviour will be decided by their individual personality and the kind of training and socialization that they received.
Whether you have a male or a female, unneutered dogs can sometimes be hard to manage. Males can often wander off looking for females, and females can prove to be a handful during their season. They can also suffer from phantom pregnancies. But not to worry, these are manageable hurdles if you are looking to breed. Unplanned pregnancies, though, can be a problematic for you and your dog. You might have to deal with the complications that could arise during birth and or spend time finding homes for the puppies. It can be costlier to neuter a female than a male, and the cost can increase even more if she is already pregnant.
Take a look at our neutering FAQs page to learn more about how neutering affects both males and females.
ADOPT FROM A BREEDER OR RE-HOMING ORGANISATIONS?
The last point to decide is where to get your new canine friend from. If you are going for a pedigree or cross-bred puppy, it would be best to find a reputable breeder. You can also approach a breed-club secretary who may be able to offer you a list of the breeders in the area and provide you details of the litters available. Your best bet is to find a breeder who is part of Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.
On the other hand, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience to adopt a dog from an animal shelter and give them a second chance at life. Shelters are filled with incredible dogs just waiting for someone to welcome them into a loving forever home. Each one has its own unique story and many of them lost their previous homes through no fault of theirs.
The people at reputable centres will be careful about matching the right dogs with the right owners. This is to ensure that you adopt a dog that's suitable for you and the dog doesn’t have to suffer being rejected again. They will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle before they match you with any of the dogs. You can always reach out to them for any advice and they’ll be happy to give you answers to any questions you might have.
There are many more adult dogs looking for new homes than puppies. Plus, puppies often get snapped up pretty fast whenever they come up for adoption. But if you are determined about adopting a puppy, you might have to put in a bit of effort and travel farther to find one that's right for you. You could also to reach out to different shelters and rescue centres.
Below, we have listed out some of the larger organizations and dog shelters in Dubai and elsewhere that you could contact.