Sharing your home with a canine chum – which breed of dog is the right fit for you and the place that you live?

If you live in a large property with lots of secure land, it could be the perfect place to share with a couple of Irish Wolfhounds or a Siberian Husky or three. However, if you live in more modest surroundings such as a flat, can you still have a dog? And if you do, should you opt for a small
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9th February 2022

If you live in a large property with lots of secure land, it could be the perfect place to share with a couple of Irish Wolfhounds or a Siberian Husky or three. However, if you live in more modest surroundings such as a flat, can you still have a dog? And if you do, should you opt for a small breed?

In fact, size isn’t really the issue – it’s more about the temperament and energy level of a breed – along with how much time you have to provide a dog with company, training and all the exercise and fun activities they need. A small, high energy Jack Russell Terrier will want to be busy and active all day, while a large, leggy Greyhound will be happy with just a couple of short walks a day followed by hours of snoozing on the sofa.

The American Kennel Club advises: “Do you prefer large dogs or small dogs? Note: Contrary to popular belief, your living situation doesn’t necessarily have to dictate this answer. Even apartment dwellers can easily share their home with some breeds of larger dogs. As long as the dog’s exercise needs are being met (through long walks, trips to the dog run, and activity sessions), the dog’s living area doesn’t necessarily have to be a certain size.”

Are you ready for a dog? Find out what's involved in caring for a canine chum >>

The essential thing is to choose a dog that’s the best fit for you and your lifestyle. This means undertaking lots of research and asking yourself some important questions.

What are you looking for in a dog?

Don’t be swayed by ‘fashionable’ breeds or because you like the way a dog breed looks on Instagram. Instead, you need to take a deep dive into any breeds you’re keen on to see if you can cope with their various needs – from exercise requirements (a Labrador Retriever requires two hours plus a day, compared to a Papillon who’ll be happy with a half-hour walk), to training, grooming, health and temperament.

Charities such as Blue Cross have online tools that may help you with suggestions of breeds, while the Kennel Club has an A to Z of breeds if you’re looking for a pedigree.

The Kennel Club advises:

  • Try to learn as much as you can about the breeds that you’re interested in. Find out about both the good traits and the downsides of owning any breeds you’re considering
  • Meet different breeds in person. Discover Dogs and Crufts are great places to meet and greet different dog breeds and talk to owners
  • Visit the Kennel Clubs Breeds A to Z
  • Talk to friends or family members who already have dogs
  • Each breed has at least one breed club you can contact for more information

Blue Cross states: “Lots of people make the mistake of choosing a dog by appearance without doing any research into whether they’ll be able to provide for the behavioural needs of that dog. Most dogs have been bred for a purpose and will still have natural instincts, whether it’s guarding, hunting or herding.” You can check out the Blue Cross guide to finding the right dog breed for you here >>

Environment and training all have a part to play, but most canine behaviour traits are hereditary, and the way your dog behaves is down to their genes, which is something to seriously consider before choosing your perfect canine companion >>

What can your dog expect from you?

To create a perfect pet partnership, it’s vital to think about what kind of energy and temperament you’d like your canine companion to have so you’re a good match for each other.

Are you looking for a high-energy adventurous dog that will love to go on runs with you? Then perhaps a dog from a herding or sporting breed such as a Border Collie or an English Springer Spaniel might be a good fit.

Do you want a naturally sociable dog? Then a Miniature Poodle or Shetland Sheepdog may be just right. Or a dog that’s easily trained? A Cocker Spaniel or Bearded Collie could be top of your list.

Perhaps you’d like a dog that loves nothing more than cuddles and companionship? Dogs from non- sporting breeds or toy breeds such as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or Shih Tzu are great options.

While all dogs need daily exercise, how much depends on their breed, age, health and even their personality. Could you manage to fit in two or more hours a day of exercise that a Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, Border Collie or English Springer Spaniel requires? Would your lifestyle be more suited to a breed that’s comfortable with around 30 minutes a day – such as a Miniature Dachshund, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, King Charles Spaniel or Pomeranian? Find out how much exercise your dog actually needs >>.

How much grooming are you prepared to do?

While most dogs shed, a shorthaired dog like a Boxer or Great Dane is going to be much less work in the grooming department than a Cockapoo, who will need regular trips to the grooming parlour, or Afghan Hound, who will require daily brushing.

Also check to see if anyone in your family is allergic to pet dander. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, there are some who have a non-shedding coat and therefore produce less dander. These include Bichon Frise, Poodle, Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer and Portuguese Water Dog.

Whether you have a high maintenance Old English Sheepdog or easy-care Whippet , regular grooming is important for every dog, whatever their breed (or mix of breeds). Grooming helps them maintain a tangle-free, glossy coat – and gives you the opportunity to keep tabs on their health. What’s more, grooming provides special one-on-one time for you and your canine chum, building that special bond you have together >>

Are you aware of any health conditions or illnesses that affect certain breeds?

Some dogs are more likely to get ill or be susceptible to certain health conditions due to their breed, so this is something you should consider when doing your research. Not only could this be upsetting, but it could cost you a lot in vet bills. For example, The Kennel Club, classes Pugs as a 'category 3 breed', which means it’s a breed considered to be more susceptible to developing certain health conditions associated with ‘exaggerated conformation’ – which is the way they’re bred to look with their large, round, wide-set eyes and flat noses.

A big problem for fashionable breeds is they are always at risk from unscrupulous breeders who care more about turning a profit than ensuring puppies are healthy. This is having a devastating effect on flat-faced dogs such as French Bulldogs, Pugs and Bulldogs. Find out more about the health risks of 'trendy dogs' >>

Where will you get your new dog from?

Always choose a Kennel Club Assured Breeder or consider a rescue centre. There are plenty of breed specific rescue centres out there if you have your heart set on a certain breed and expert staff will match the right dog with the right family, as well as ensuring all health checks/vaccinations/neutering have been carried out. They’ll also provide you with lots of useful advice and ongoing support.

Rescuing a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience – both for you and the happy hound who has been given a second chance. However, before you start your search for that special canine to share your life with, there are important things to consider – including where NOT to get your dog from >>

Will a puppy, adult or senior dog be the best choice for you?

Puppies are adorable but require a lot of work, which can be really challenging if you’ve never had a dog before, so an adult dog who’s used to being a family pet may be a better choice. If you have a quiet home, giving a senior dog a place to live out his or her golden years is something well worth considering.


The PUPPY Contract, is a free toolkit developed by the Animal Welfare Foundation and the RSPCA to help puppy buyers get all the information they need before making the decision to buy a new puppy. 

What do you need to buy for a new puppy? How do you toilet train a puppy? When are puppy vaccinations needed? What about puppy training? What food should my puppy have? How much exercise should a puppy get? What should you think about when choosing a puppy? Find out with our comprehensive puppy checklist >>

Can you afford a dog?

PDSA estimates that owning a dog will cost you a minimum of between £6,500 to £17,000 over their whole lifetime:

  • Small dog breeds: £6,500 to £12,000 (around £70 a month)
  • Medium dog breeds: £8,500 to £13,000 (around £80 a month)
  • Large dog breeds: £7,400 to £17,000 (around £105 a month)

These figures don’t include the cost of purchasing a dog, vet fees, the cost of day care or dog walker, boarding kennel or training classes.

Taking your time, doing your research and deciding you’re completely ready to make the big commitment owning a dog requires means exciting times ahead – and it’s time to share your life and home with a loyal, affectionate waggy-tailed chum who wakes up full of joy for the day ahead and is always pleased to see you. Welcome to the wonderful world of dogs!

Get your new canine chum off to a happy, healthy start – Burgess has food to suit every dog

Whatever type or age of dog you end up sharing your life with, providing them with right nutrition will help them get off to a great start by making ‘dinner time’ something to really look forward to!

At Burgess Pet Care, all of our dog food is made using premium ingredients to ensure excellent quality and superior taste – see how much they’ll love our BRAND NEW Burgess Supadog Rich in Salmon! Our high quality dog food has been designed to help your dog lead a happy and healthy life – from puppy to senior.

We’ve developed foods to meet the nutritional needs of working dogsGreyhounds and Lurchers, as well as dogs with sensitivities.

We’re also very proud of our Paul O’Grady’s range which includes the No Nasties and Hypoallergenic varieties, which in Paul’s words are “the best food you can feed your dogs.”

All Burgess Dog Food is a complete food. This means that whatever variety you choose for your dog, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.

Need expert nutrition advice? If you’re at all unsure about the best way of feeding your dog, you can call our expert team on 44 (0)0800 413 969 who’ll be happy to help. They’re available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, you can use our online form to get in touch.

CARE MORE Find out more about caring for your dog from the pet experts >>

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

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