Owning a dog is a wonderful experience and when bringing home a puppy you can be sure to look forward to years of companionship and unconditional love, as well as heaps of entertainment.
However, while all dogs can be great companions and any breed can fit in well into family life, specific characteristics vary between breeds and even each individual pooch.
Therefore, it is important that you time to think carefully about the right choice of breed for your family and take the time to pick the perfect puppy for your lifestyle.
And, while it is almost impossible to completely judge a dog's personality in the first few weeks of their life, according to Steven Havers, dog behaviour and training expert at haversspecialiseddogtraining.co.uk, by meeting your pup's parents you can get a fairly good indication of your little one's future characteristics.
"If a dog comes from nervous and stressed parents, there is a very good chance the puppy will be the same," he says. "When looking for a puppy, ask to see both parents and it is the two halves that make the puppy."
It's always a good idea to visit your puppy at around six weeks, or even earlier if you get the chance, and to watch how they interact with their litter mates and their mother to get a sense of their temperament.
As they grow older, it's also worth noting how your pup reacts when being fed their dry dog food and if they enjoy being handled by people.
Although you may not get the opportunity to meet your puppy's father, spend some time with the mother and consider her size and temperament as these are a good indication of how your pup will turn out in the future.
"You should see relaxed and calm dogs as this should give calm and relaxed puppies, but there is never a guarantee," Steven adds.
"Reputable breeders will take back any puppy they have bred if it is unsuitable, but new owners need to be aware they will be the cause of any unwanted behaviour on their new puppy."
Written by: Hannah