Adding a new member to the family can be a big decision. You need to ensure that you have adequate time to spend playing with your new puppy or dog, training them and caring for them. And of course you will need to be able to afford having another mouth to feed and look after; any pet parent will tell you that vet bills can be costly! If you have the time and money, the next decision is which type of dog to get. You need to consider the size of your garden and who the dog will socialize with such as kids and other pets. It’s also wise to keep in mind our South African climate when looking to add a new fur baby to the family. Long-haired breeds may not cope well in our summer heat and would require extra grooming to trim back that fur and prevent heatstroke.

Large dogs

Large breed dogs such as the Bouvier, German shepherd and Golden Retriever can be quite smart and easily trained, making them great as family pets. These types of dogs need plenty of running space so make sure you have a good sized garden for them.

Medium dogs

Medium sized dogs such as Labrador retrievers, Boxer, Staffies and Border Collies make great companions for the whole family. They require an average sized garden and most won’t eat you out of house and home (although some may try!). They also love going for walks so they will give you something to do as a family on Sunday afternoons.

Small dogs

Small and small – medium breed dogs such as Beagles, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Poodles and Pugs can have a lovely nature. These small doggies are often kept semi-indoors as they tend to be a bit clingier and more dependent than the larger breeds. You will still need to have at least a small garden as they have a lot of energy and love to run around.

All of these breeds can be friendly with both kids and other dogs and cats, when socialized and trained correctly. In fact, most dog breeds can make great family pets when given proper care, training and socialization, which is where our surprising number 13 comes in. Sometimes the best dogs with the greatest temperaments and gentle natures towards kids and other pets come in the form of mutts! Rescue, mixed breed dogs and puppies from shelters are often the most loyal and loving.

If you do decide to purchase through a breeder though, ensure that they are certified and that they allow you to meet the puppy’s mother so that you can see that she’s in a good condition. Some puppy mills in South Africa are in a terrible state and we wouldn’t want them to receive support.

What ever your decision, you will always get out what you put in. Providing love, affection, attention and care for your newest fur kid will bring about the best in them.

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