Thinking of getting a dog?


Once the question pops into your head, there’s no easy way of getting rid of it again: Should I get a dog? You don’t need to have everything planned in minute detail before bringing your new companion home, but there are some questions you should be asking yourself ahead of time to not get blindsided by the reality of being a dog owner. After all, you are making a decision that will affect the next 10 to 15 years of your life.

Lifestyle and responsibility

Dog sitting in front of a restaurant

The biggest change a dog will bring is in your day to day life. Dogs demand and deserve attention and responsible owners should ask themselves whether or not they have the time and resources to provide them with it. Especially in the beginning, even more so when you get a puppy, you’ll need to invest lots of energy into training and forming a basis of trust with your new companion. If you already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, adding a dog into the mix might not be such a great idea at this point in time.

Ask yourself whether you are willing to change your lifestyle to accommodate a dog, from your daily routines to your vacation habits. Can you bring your dog with you into work? Does your favourite hotel allow pets? To what degree can you include your dog in your hobbies? All these things should be thought about before making a rash decision, to ultimately make both a happy owner and a happy dog.


While arrangements can be made to fit your dog into your lifestyle, some things are a bit harder to work around. For one, there’s your living situation. While not every dog has to live in a house with a huge garden, a small flat in the city with no park in sight has its considerable disadvantages. If you’re renting your place, you also need to check the lease agreement on whether you’re allowed to have pets.

Child with a dog standing at a lake

No matter whether you live with roommates, partner(s), or children, it’s important to make sure that everyone is on board with the decision of a dog becoming part of the household, as all of you will fare better if you’re on the same page. It can also be helpful to check for allergies beforehand. Having to give a dog up because of that, with everyone already used to each other, is an experience you’ll want to avoid.

If huge life changes (that you know about) are within sight, it might be best to wait for everything to settle down before you throw yet another unfamiliarity into the mix. Especially when that unfamiliarity has the potential to chew through your furniture and eat your shoes.

Another thing to consider here is babies and puppies. While a kid and their pet can become companions for life, the timing needs to be right. Both a baby and a puppy respectively require lots of work, time, and patience, so ask yourself if shouldering both at the same time is something you’re confident in doing.

The breed(er) question

If you feel like all of the above is not an issue in your case, the time has come to find a dog that will fit your lifestyle and expectations. Different breeds come with different characters, energy levels, and quirks. It is important to know about their history, their original use (e.g. as a hunting dog, herding dog or companion dog) and the general health of the breed. Only by finding out enough about them can you create a solid foundation for the start of your adventure.

Once you actively start looking for a dog, it is vital that you find a breeder whom you trust. Going into the search with little to no knowledge of what makes a responsible breeder can seem quite overwhelming at first, but there are some things to look out for to differentiate the good from the bad.

Any responsible breeder should naturally have the greatest interest in ensuring that their bitches give birth to healthy litters that conform to the standard guidelines of the particular breed. They should also have a lot of experience of the breed itself, and of course breed according to the requirements of the respective kennel club and at least be able to show the mandatory health tests for their dogs. They should have invested time and research into who their dog’s ancestors were and have extensive knowledge of the pedigree and medical history of the litter. Ideally, however, they should go beyond this and also be interested in the long-term preservation of the breed (e.g. by participating in DNA testing to expand the diversity and gene pool of the particular breed).

If The Breed Archive hosts your breed of interest you can always yourself take a look at past breedings and their pedigrees.

You’re going to be visiting different breeders in the search for your puppy, and this is where you’ll be able to get a feel for the breeder’s legitimacy. There are some indicators you can spot right away upon arrival:

  • Clean and warm enclosure with toys etc.
  • Puppies and mother dog looking well-fed and clean
  • Trusting demeanour towards the breeder and newcomers

While you’re trying to find out whether the breeder is responsible, they’ll try to find out whether you’re a suitable dog owner. A responsible breeder is not going to give their puppies to just anyone, so expect a lot of question on your lifestyle, living situation, and whether or not you think the breed is the right fit for you. Generally speaking, if you feel like the breeder truly cares about where their puppies end up, you’re on the right track.

Having a dog become part of your life is an exciting prospect and the impatience to get the adventure started is more than understandable. Amidst all the anticipation, it is however in your and your future dog’s best interest to take the time to think this through and ask yourself whether the timing is right. Be aware that for the next years you’ll be responsible for a living being with feelings and needs, that can’t just be returned if you feel like it’s too much work. Confronting yourself with the hard questions now will ultimately pay off later, as you’ll be able to focus on everyday-life with your new companion without having to worry about fundamental issues. Put the work in and you’ll have paved the way for a successful, rewarding, and exciting experience that will bring you happiness for many years to come.