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The Perfect Pooch – How to choose the right dog for YOU

They say that couples begin to look like one another over time: sporting the same silly expressions and copied gestures. And if you believe the hype – owners really do resemble their pets, which makes choosing the right dog even more important if you value your looks.

As the RSPCA reminds us, a pet is for life, not just for Christmas so pick a pooch just like you choose a partner. Go with some chemistry, yes, but make sure you and your mutt have things in common. A personality clash with the wrong woofer can result in some nasty behavioural problems like barking and digging: that’s a hell of a headache for you and your neighbours.

Heeler or Husky, Poodle or Pomeranian – it’s a lifetime commitment when you take home that loveable 8-week bundle from the dog breeder. Boys cock their leg to pee (and furniture is often the first point of call) and females multiply if they’re not neutered, so choose your sex wisely.

You’re about to embark on a lifetime of dog care, training, health checks and hopefully many happy memories. Here’s a list of choice canines from the five main breeding groups to get you started. Match your lifestyle and your character with the best bow-wows from this bunch, and you won’t be barking up the wrong tree for your perfect puppy.

Australian Cattle DogWorking Dog You’re predictable, active, intelligent. So is he. The Blue Heeler (known officially as the Australian Cattle Dog) is one of the most likeable breeds in the country. If you’ve got the land, he’s got the time. Heelers round up cattle by taking a quick nip at the heels, hence the nickname. The stocky fellow is just as agile around the house, loyal to the end and quick to defend his owners. 

BasenjiHound DogYou’re curious, patient, tidy. He ain’t nothing but a hound dog, but he’s definitely not crying all the time. Basenjis don’t bark – they yodel. Really. With his furrowed brow, this is perhaps the most boutique hound on offer. Originally from the Middle East, the sharp-looking Basenji is also revered for his odourless coat and his ability to track down vermin.

Cavalier King Charles SpanielToy DogYou’re stylish, affectionate, and love the spotlight. Forget the prancing Poodle; the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel is a right royal treat. If a small dog suits, this highly intelligent spaniel is one of the most handsome breeds. He’s too active to call a lapdog, but doesn’t mind quiet time; equally happy to run or relax. Like to have more than one dog? The Cavvie is one of those rare creatures that loves all animals, great and small.

Golden RetrieverGundogsYou’re sensitive and sporty, with a family in tow. To hunt and retrieve is the call of the gundog, but the willingness to please you’ll find in nearly every strain. The Golden Retriever is perhaps the most shining example for a family pet. He’s a guide dog for the blind, a detector of drugs, and a generous and loving dog with children. But if you’re after a watchdog, this British breed won’t cut it.

Jack Russell TerrierTerriersIf you’ve got a bit of a temper, but you’re all heart, go for a terrier. They are the pest-controllers of the canine world. The terrier is alert and affectionate, but could be the postie’s worst enemy unless you keep him occupied. Cult status in terriers is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a smooth, shiny-coated dog from Central England. If you like the idea of a fearless companion, a muscly midget who’ll defend owner and house to the death, this bloke is it.


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