How to know which breed
I don’t know whether you’re looking for a cat or a dog, but here are some things that you should think about:
- Where do you live? Providing you give your pets enough mental stimulation and physical exercise, they could be happy living anywhere. However, as a general rule, cats are happier when they have access to the outdoors. Large dogs with high energy levels tend to be happier in homes with gardens as well. Small and low-energy dog breeds are best suited for apartment living.
- How active are you? Cats and low-energy dogs won’t require too much exercise. However, if you want a Border Collie, an Australian Shepherd, or even a Siberian Husky, then you’re looking at a minimum of 2 hours of exercise a day. If you don’t provide your pet with enough exercise, problem behaviours, including destruction of furniture, aggression, inappropriate toileting, etc., are likely to develop. Do some research about the breed you’re looking at adopting and decide whether you have the time and energy to provide them with the exercise they need.
- How clean do you like your home to be? Cats are generally clean animals although they do shed a lot and year round. In terms of dogs, if you like to keep your home neat and tidy, you’re better off looking at breeds with a short, single coat. They will shed less than double-coated breeds and won’t bring in as much mud and dirt as long-haired breeds.
- How much time are you prepared to spend on grooming? Some long-haired cat breeds such as Ragdolls or Persians require daily grooming to keep their coats from matting, which can lead to painful skin infections. The same can be said for long-haired dog breeds such as Rough Collies or Samoyeds. Some breeds such as the Sphynx (cat) or Xoloitzcuintli (dog) will require intensive skin care daily due to their lack of fur. Breeds with coats that grow constantly such as Poodles, or wire-haired coats such as Border Terriers, will require regular trips to the groomers, which can lead to a significant financial cost. Do your research about the breed you are interested in and decide whether you have the time and patience to take care of their coat before you adopt one.
- How experienced are you? If this is your first pet, you’re better off adopting a cat or a good “first-time owner dog”. These are dogs who are easy to train and have laid back personalities. Good first-time owner breeds include Golden Retrievers, Italian Greyhounds, and Shih Tzus. Dogs who are not easy to train, who are stubborn and/or require lots of mental and physical stimulation are not recommended for first-time owners. Bad first-time owner breeds include Shiba Inus, Belgian Malinois, and Chow Chows. Again, doing your research will help you choose a breed that’s right for you.
- What type of home do you have? If you’re single, a cat or a one-person dog such as a Chihuahua might be perfect for you. If you have a family, a kid-friendly pet such as a playful Abysinnian or Beagle could be a better choice. Giant breeds may be too rambunctious for small children and on the other hand, small breeds might be too delicate. Make sure you pick a breed that’s suited to your lifestyle.
- Are you financially prepared? Some breeds are less healthy than others. If you own a Bengal or an English Bulldog for instance, you’re much more likely to go to the vets often than if you own a mixed breed or even a healthier pure breed such as a Whippet.
Wamiz has a cool breed selector test you can take to find out which breed is perfect for you. Why don’t you take it and find out? :)
Hope this helps!
Justine Seraphin, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare
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