It has often been said that a dog is your best friend, and that’s certainly true when you think of those wonderful animals that are trained to help people who have hearing or sight problems. Then there are the brave search and rescue dogs, and those that partner members of the police and the army. Farmers also use dogs to help them manage livestock. It is no surprise then that the family pet dog is such a staple in British households.
Choosing a family pet
There are certain breeds of dog that make great pets, and if you visit the Kennel Club website, you will find a useful guide to dogs for families with children. The top three recommended are the Labrador, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Boxer.
Labradors are playful dogs – athletic, intelligent and extremely popular in many countries across the world, including Australia, Canada and Denmark. They are often selected as assistance dogs because they have an admirable work ethic and are generally good natured.
Bull Terriers have robust and sturdy body shapes and tend to be protective of their families, which can sometimes be tricky unless they are socialised as puppies. This breed can develop skin problems so you should check regularly for allergies and insect bites, particularly from mites, mosquitoes and fleas. Usually, a course of dogs flea tablets will sort out the problem.
Originally bred from the Old English Bulldog, the Boxer has a distinctive head shape and is a shorthaired breed known for being loving, energetic, playful and faithful to its family. You must take care when introducing strangers as some dogs perceive this as a threat and can appear hostile.
Spaniels remain on the list of the top ten favourite dogs in the UK. Although originally employed as gun dogs, Spaniels are affectionate and good natured, and are great to have around energetic children, as they love to chase and run around.
Basic dog care
If you start your ‘family love affair’ with a puppy, in many ways it is much easier to predict the outcome of how the dog develops and the personality it is likely to have. A good socialisation and training routine can make all the difference. At the same time, maintaining your dog’s health will ensure its happiness and there are plenty of medicinal ways in which you can ensure good digestive health, a glossy coat, clear eyes and ears, and flexible joints. For example, pet grooming products include specially formulated shampoos, rubdowns and grooming packs designed to deter fleas and to condition coats. You will also find a range of brushes and combs to rival those used in any dog salon.
The British love affair with dogs is not likely to end anytime soon. As long as British royalty continues to favour the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the nation has a role model in the dog-loving Queen herself.