How to Choose the Right Breed for the First Time Dog-Owners?

Over the past year, as we came to find ourselves restricted to our homes for everything other than essential trips and exercise. And the number of families welcoming a furry member of the family into their houses exploded. Many people expected to work from home for an unspecified time. Many families decided that the time was right to finally get a dog, leading to an influx of applications at adoption centers.

While this has obviously been wonderful for all those dogs waiting for their forever home, it seems that many families made the decision on the spur of the moment. They do it without researching their chosen pup’s breed and requirements before adoption. This, coupled with the negative effects of irregular schedules and pandemic life when starting from March 2020 rescues, reported tons of applications for particularly popular pups, and some breeders had waiting lists well into 2021.

Many dogs still need a loving home to welcome them. It’s more important than ever to ensure that you do your research fully before choosing your future furry friend. So that you know if they will be compatible with your lifestyle and schedule. Here are some of the most popular breeds amongst first-time dog parents so that you can compare their needs and personalities to help you with your decision!

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Mixed Breeds

Mixed breed dogs, also called designer dogs, are more popular than ever, with many families recognizing that mutts have fewer health issues than pedigree dogs. Purebred pups tend to have severe physical difficulties present from the get-go or that steadily develop over time. Not only can these health issues be costly, but they exert a hugely negative impact on the dog’s overall quality of life. Some breeds are more prone to particular conditions than others, regardless of the care and attention paid to them by the breeder, and can spend their entire lives plagued with ill-health and physical difficulties.

Mixed breeds are often either spared these conditions. Or are at least not so heavily impacted by them due to the dilution of that particular DNA.

Although they are less likely to have inherited physical conditions that impact their lives, mixed breeds’ personality and exercise needs are less defined. Particularly if their parentage is unknown. This makes it harder to know if they will suit your family set-up and lifestyle, making them a riskier choice. In such cases, it is essential to visit your potential pup as often as possible and have in-depth discussions with those you are adopting from. Also, mixed breeds turned to be cheaper than their purebred counterparts. Although some would charge up to $7,000 for several rare poodle mixes (cavoodles, labradoodles and retrodoodles in particular) and some people are even paying for it. 

Labrador Retriever

Always a popular breed, Labrador Retrievers were traditionally bred to be the perfect companion and working dog. They have retained their friendly natures and, as a result, prove particularly good in homes with children.

Affectionate towards children, strangers, and other dogs, Labrador Retrievers are hopelessly sweet and loyal pets. This makes them perfect assistance dogs for those with additional needs! These dogs are also known for their intelligence and high energy levels, making them perfect companions for long walks over different terrains – excellent for outdoorsy types.

While incredibly loveable, Labrador Retrievers nevertheless have their drawbacks. They require lots of exercise and stimulation to burn their energy. Otherwise, they will likely turn towards destructive tendencies within the home due to boredom. This exercise is also needed to counteract the HUGE appetite of this breed, which has a propensity for overeating and becoming obese. It leads to a plethora of uncomfortable health conditions, including joint pain and stiffness, limiting their quality of life.

Regardless of weight, Labrador Retrievers can suffer from hip dysplasia and other joint issues that affect their quality of life. However, providing your pup with a dog supplement specially designed to aid the flexibility and mobility of their joints will no doubt help in this circumstance, in addition to regular exercise and careful diet monitoring. A dog joint supplement such as YuMOVE is a good choice as their products are full of natural ingredients and antioxidants.

The human-orientated mode of these dogs also means that they can’t tolerate long periods alone, which will again trigger their destructive boredom and excessive vocalization.  

Cocker Spaniel

Another beloved companion breed, Cocker Spaniels were also a popular choice for dog lovers in 2020. With their luscious coats, exuberant greetings, and cuddly natures, it’s easy to see why they’re in the top 3. They are energetic and love to play with children, join in their lively games with enthusiasm, and display affection wherever possible, yet just as likely to be found curled up beside you on the settee in the evenings!

However, suppose you are almost obsessive about keeping a tidy home. In that case, a Cocker Spaniel is perhaps not the breed for you. Their lush coat is difficult to maintain (although new brush adaptations in recent years have made this job easier) and sheds fairly often, meaning that your home will require regular hoovering if you don’t want furry furniture! As with Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels are nervous dogs that can’t spend long periods alone, leading to destructive behavior, barking, and anxiety-based aggression.

Jack Russell Terrier

A traditionally English dog – bred approximately 200 years ago in England – Jack Russells are widely-known as small, energetic, intelligent dogs. They enjoy their independence and tend to fiercely guard their territory.

Intense and playful, Jack Russells require lots of high-energy exercises and, if properly trained, can be excellent companions for children, joining in with a variety of games. Jack Russell finds it easier than many other breeds to pick up different tricks – providing they feel that they are being properly entertained with stimulating toys. However, if bored, they are likely to become noisy and wilful, causing damage to your home.  

Despite their small stature, Jack Russells are canny escape artists, using their intelligence and ability to jump up to 5 feet (!) to find their way out regularly. This means that they require a well-fenced home spacious enough to burn off all their energy, preventing them from escaping.

Jack Russells are better suited to experienced dog owners due to their elevated energy levels and sense of independence.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Originally bred for the purpose of sport – dogfighting – in the 19th century, the breed has found it difficult to shake their image of aggressive dogs, despite their affectionate natures and intelligence. This is because Staffies while loving towards children (if properly trained), can often be aggressive when it comes to other dogs – with early socialization. However, this issue can be resolved.

Despite their occasionally rugged look, Staffies are trusting, sensitive dogs that make very loving companions. They are, in fact, so loyal and human-centered that they struggle to be without their owner and can experience extreme separation anxiety during long periods alone! Historically dubbed the ‘nanny dog,’ Staffordshire Bull Terriers are also known for being patient around children (although care should still be taken).

As with the Jack Russell Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terriers benefit from experienced owners caring for them. They require firm, consistent training and early socialization to bring out their best qualities. Their muscular bodies also mean that they require many high-energy exercises to maintain their health and physique, and so need owners who have time to dedicate towards these. Otherwise, their tendency to chew will be triggered and cause destruction in the home.  

Whether you are looking to adopt a lockdown companion or find yourself an exercise buddy, you must do your homework. You have to check that you can provide your chosen pup with the love, care, and attention they need.  

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