Dr Harry Cooper Series – Choosing the best cat or dog breed for your family

Pet Insurance

13 Feb 2017

Picking the Right Pet

Australia’s favourite Vet, Dr Harry Cooper, shares his thoughts on selecting the right family friendly dog or cat breed that’s perfect for your family.

Dr Harry | Woolworths Pet Insurance

“There is no one family dog or cat breed that is perfect for everyone. Instead you must determine which breed is best suited to your family. During my many years as a vet, I have learnt that the following questions and considerations will help make your pet buying experience as smooth as possible.”

A new pet is a family decision

Be sure to include all family members when making the decision to introduce a new dog or cat in to your home. Ensure that everyone understands and agrees to their new responsibilities. If this is you or your families first pet you may need to research what will be required from you in time and money as well as for walks, entertainment, meals, baths, grooming and training.

Choose a pet that suits your home

Before picking a specific pet, ask yourself questions about your living space. Do you have a big back yard, small back yard, no back yard? Do you have lots of indoor space or is it limited? Be realistic about what size pet would be best suited to your home and your neighbourhood. Daschunds, Griffons, Pekingese, King Charles Cavaliers, Poodles and Poodle cross, breeds generally weigh under 8kgs, making them a nice compact dog for a small home.

There are many breeds of cats that are very similar to dogs such as the Burmese and Siamese. It is important to ensure that all cats regardless of breed are kept indoors. This prevents them from destroying wildlife, or worse still becoming injured by passing motor vehicles. There are several enclosures on the market which can ensure your cat is in the outdoors without causing or inflicting any injuries, or causing damage to the outside environment.

Even some larger breeds of dogs can adapt to smaller environments depending on their temperament. An example includes Greyhounds who generally have a short burst of activity and then like to rest for extended periods of time.

It is important to do your research to learn about different breeds of cats or dogs. You can use the internet, visit dog shows, visit obedience classes, talk to breeders or talk to your local vet. I also recommend talking to someone who has the breed of cat or dog you are looking at and ask them about the pros and cons to help form an unbiased view.  

Choose a pet that matches your lifestyle

Your current lifestyle will help to influence your decision when choosing a family pet. Are you and your family active? What time can you allocate to looking after the animal? If you have ample spare time and energy then you can look to get a more active or needy animal. If you are time poor, you will want an animal that is low maintenance and one of the more family friendly dog breeds like a Whippet or a King Charles Cavalier. These breeds are relatively easy to train, have low grooming needs and require only a moderate amount of exercise. All dogs require a varying amount of exercise depending on the breed. Again do your research and feel free to talk to a breeder.

Dogs that require a lot of exercise such as Border Collies and Kelpies are not necessarily ideal for suburbia.

Remember you don’t always need to buy a pure breed. You can also look at adopting a dog. Just be sure to select an adopting organisation that has temperament tested first.

Your current lifestyle will help to influence your decision when choosing a family pet. Are you and your family active? What time can you allocate to looking after the animal? If you have ample spare time and energy then you can look to get a more active or needy animal. If you are time poor, you will want an animal that is low maintenance and one of the more family friendly dog breeds like a Whippet or a King Charles Cavalier. These breeds are relatively easy to train, have low grooming needs and require only a moderate amount of exercise. All dogs require a varying amount of exercise depending on the breed. Again do your research and feel free to talk to a breeder.

Dogs that require a lot of exercise such as Border Collies and Kelpies are not necessary ideal for suburbia.  

Remember you don’t always need to buy a pure breed. You can also look at adopting a dog. Just be sure to select an adopting organisation that has temperament tested first.

Pick the pet’s gender accordingly

Determine which sex you want. If you choose a male, you are choosing an animal that will naturally be more assertive and outgoing. Female dogs tend to have a more gentle nature, and are the more stay at home types. Can still be assertive but they are naturally less so than their male counterparts.

Make sure your animals are de-sexed, micro chipped and registered with your local council. Vaccinations and worming should be given at appropriate intervals. Depending on where you live make sure your dogs are protected from Heartworm disease and tick paralysis (depending on the area you live) and that both your dog and your cat are treated regularly with modern day flea control products.   

That only leaves me to add my top ten. Please forgive me if your dog breed is not on the list, there are many other breeds and crosses i like too. So, in no particular order they are:

  • Cavalier King Charles
  • Griffon
  • Whippet
  • Maltese x Shih Tzu
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terries
  • Miniature and Standard Poodle
  • Labrador
  • Greyhound
  • Doberman

Border Collies would be on the list for those of you who own over 2 hectares of land.

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*Price Promise a. only available if a Woolworths Pet Insurance policy is purchased by 28th February 2017  b. only applies to competitor products available as at 1st November 2017 that at least cover up to 80% back on eligible vet bills and have a similar excess c. does not apply to quoted renewals, variations, free insurance offers, or quotes that include discounts for other products purchased d. only available if the quote is genuine – written proof of quote may be required. Please note covers provided by insurers will vary.

Benefits are subject to the terms and conditions including the limits and exclusions of the insurance policy. Cover is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 AFSL No. 241436 (Hollard). Woolworths Limited ABN 88 000 014 675 AR No. 245476 (Woolworths) acts as Hollard’s Authorised Representative. Any advice provided is general only and may not be right for you. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement to decide if the product is right for you. Any general advice provided by Dr Harry Cooper in relation to Woolworths Pet Insurance is provided as an Authorised Representative of Hollard through an arrangement with Woolworths AR No. 1000933