One very important issue to be factored into your decision making process is ….. children. Though the correctly trained and nurtured dog will do nothing but bond with and protect your children, there is always the slight risk of a dog harming your child. The choice you make in this case depends on how confident you are in your abilities to raise and discipline a dog. They need a firm but loving hand – a bit like children, really!
You may already know exactly what type of dog you want because youve either had experience with that particular type before or you know someone who highly recommends that particular breed as a family dog. That is a good basis to work on.
Will Your Dog’s Sex Matter?
I would say yes. In our experience we have found some breeds will be happy family dogs and others will be “one man dogs” and even within the breeds, females tend to be better family dogs than males.
I can hear a thousand voices raised in protest and I am so inclined to agree. We have had some wonderful male dogs – but I must say, weighed up against the females, I’ve always felt safer with having female dogs around my children.
I have loved my boys (and we have had some beautiful boys) – but even though we have never had a single incident of an aggressive dog in our family – just the sheer nature of a female dog makes her a safer option as a family dog if you have children.
Is Anyone in the Family Allergic to Dog Hair?
Though most dogs shed hair on a regular basis and moult quite heavily seasonally, the following is a list of supposedly non-moulting breeds:-
FOX TERRIER (WIRE)
PORTUGUESE WATER DOG
KERRY BLUE TERRIER
However, do be aware that these dogs usually need clipping at least two to three times a year, to keep their coats in good condition. As an aside – we have had two dogs which moulted much above the average that we would expect for that breed and at that time of year. It turned out that some dogs suffer of flea allergies and will promptly lose much of their coat if bitten by a single flea. Apparently, this occurs in 1 in a 1000 dogs. We had two of them at the same time – just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes!!
We live near wooded areas, frequented by hedgehogs and fox – so try as we might, we never could keep our dogs totally flea and tick free. So this presented us with quite a problem as having a family dog which lost enough hair to create another dog – was not my idea of fun!
We discovered the best way to treat these dogs is to use a flea and tick repellant which kills fleas before they have a chance to bite. The medication I am happy to swear by in this case is Frontline.
Frontline comes in a spray (which our dogs just hated) or in tiny vials which you drop directly onto the skin between their shoulder blades (they never even noticed we were doing it!). You will see signs of improvement within the week and the effects last for up to three months.
Day to Day Responsibilities
The other thing which often gets overlooked in the excitement of getting a family dog, is who is the family is going to be responsible for what!
Your children can often be the driving force behind getting a family dog, but unless youre happy to end up doing everything yourself, do take the time to emphasize to them the responsibility of the role they are taking on.