With more than 200 different breeds of pup represented at the annual Discover Dogs show, there’s tail-wagging, face-licking, stick-chasing potential a-plenty. Whether you’re seriously looking for a pet or only in it for the pats, there’s lots to do, from meeting canine experts to watching the Scruffts competition (sample categories: Child’s Best Friend, Prettiest Crossbreed Bitch).We asked the Kennel Club to recommend the ideal breed to suit a variety of lifestyles. ‘Although fashions change, people are essentially always looking for loyal and affectionate companions,’ they said. ‘Owners need to be in a position to provide regular exercise and grooming and to not leave the dog alone for long periods of time. Each dog has their own set of characteristics and needs’.
So here’s some pointers from the Kennel Club’s canine experts to start you off – you can find more detailed information at thekennelclub.org.uk.
THE FAMILY PET
‘The labrador and Staffordshire bull terrier are both breeds known to be good with children. However, more important than the breed is where you get the dog from. A good breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, will ensure that the dog is used to a variety of sights, sounds, people and other animals. Make sure you meet the litter with the mother. Her temperament is a good indication of what the puppy’s will be.’
‘Dogs love to exercise, so there are many breeds that would suit an active lifestyle. The border collie in particular needs lots of stimulation and exercise, as do the springer spaniel, cocker spaniel (particularly the working type) and the beagle. The parson russell terrier is an active and intelligent smaller breed which will also enjoy lots of exercise.’
‘Non-shedding dogs are good for people with allergies.There are quite a few of these breeds, such as the poodle, Irish water spaniel, bichon frise and Yorkshire terrier. Be careful about buying a crossbreed that claims to be non-shedding or hypoallergenic, as lots of people believe that dogs crossed with a poodle will be good for allergies, but this is not always the case – if they are bred with a moulting breed, they are just as likely to moult as they are not to.’
‘For the elderly, we would recommend a dog that is loyal and doesn’t require a large amount of exercise. An older rescue dog may be perfect.A Staffordshire bull terrier may be a good companion due to their loyalty – they are likely to stand by the owner’s side no matter what, and expect a lot of cuddles too. Or perhaps a retired greyhound, as contrary to popular belief they do not need that much exercise. A shih tzu, if well trained, is not prone to pulling. It may require a significant amount of grooming, however.’
‘All dogs are a great way to meet people, as they are good ice-breakers. People should consider looking at a vulnerable native breed. Not only will they be helping bring back a British breed that is close to extinction, they will also be able to tell people the fascinating and sad story of their heritage and their plight. Among the disappearing breeds that originated in Britain are the otterhound, the Lancashire heeler and the Cardigan Welsh corgi.’
‘There are many breeds that are happy to go to work with people and be walked a few times a day. A dog such as a Manchester terrier is a good choice as they do not require as much exercise as some other dogs. But unless the workaholic can take their dog in to the office and have time for several walks in the day, we would not recommend a dog for this type of person.’
‘The Manchester terrier, English toy terrier or other small dogs may be good for the person who takes their dog around with them everywhere too, as they may need to be carried in certain places like the tube.
THE TOP DOG
‘The Kennel Club has seen growing popularity for dogs such as the pug and French Bulldog in recent years. In London, the Staffordshire bull terrier has a higher registration rate than the rest of the country, and the French bulldog is also particularly popular here.’
THE WORLD’S CUTEST?
‘Is there a four-legged friend out there that can rival Pomerian Boo, the World’s Cutest Dog (www.facebook.com/Boo) in the looks department? One dog?‘There are hundreds – and they are all available to see at Discover Dogs. Don’t miss the British vulnerable breeds: the Sussex spaniel, Dandie Dinmont terrier and the Glen of Imaal terrier.’
Find more info about Discover Dogs (plus lots more loveable pics of pooches)