Finding your Perfect Canine Match

Written by Dr Rob Schaeche

When considering adding a dog to your family, it is important to select a breed that suits your lifestyle and interests.

Big powerful working dogs may not suit lighter elderly people, as a lap dog would not suit very active physical people.

As vets we see many well-matched dogs, but also we see dogs inappropriate for the family structure which can result in a stressful situation and detract from the overall enjoyment of a pet.

I will run through some of the more common breeds that we see and what you may expect.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are beautifully-natured dogs that love affection and time with their owners.
They are tolerant of children and will be perfectly happy chilling with the owners. They also enjoy exercise.
From a veterinary standpoint they can develop a problem with their heart valves later in life that needs to be managed.  
In addition their short-nosed conformation can predispose them to dental issues and breathing problems, so it is important to monitor these things.

Pugs have become a popular breed with their sturdy bodies and expressive faces. Their outgoing personalities and in-your-face attitude make them very appealing. 
They thrive on human companionship often “making owners pay” when not given the attention they think they deserve resulting in destructive behaviour. 
They are generally a very confident breed but also renowned as a breed difficult to train due to their stubbornness. 
They love the company of other pugs and thrive in group situations.
However,  their compressed faces mean they can have some health issues.
*flat face
*prominent eyes
*excessive facial skin,  
predisposes the eyelids to roll in and rub the eye surface which can ultimately end up with localised blind spots in their vision.
Their upper airways are quite often narrow including their nostrils and larynx, and they can develop over-long soft palates.  
These characteristics are exacerbated by obesity so maintaining a healthy weight is important.

Golden retrievers are larger dogs with a wonderful soft temperament, ideal for active young families.  
They have become one of our most popular breeds.
They are very good with other dogs and love activity with their family and are rarely stressed or anxious.  
They can be prone to allergic skin disease which tends to predispose external ear infections.

These three are just a small sample of a huge spectrum of different breeds within the dog kingdom and are definitely breeds that will suit you and your family.

I know I could not imagine life without a dog.