Deciding to bring a pooch into the family is an exciting time for everyone, and the arrival of a canine in any household always tends to liven things up.
Indeed, not only do dogs serve as loving and loyal companions, but puppies in particular bring an energy and enthusiasm that is almost invariably infectious.
This is why so many people decide to go in search of the perfect pooch that will be the ideal fit for the family, keeping everyone entertained as well as being an affectionate pet - mutts are widely regarded as a man's best friend for a good reason.
But in between realising that you're ready to welcome a canine into the home and working out how often you're going to need to feed them their premium dog food, one of the most important choices is that of determining which breed best suits your household.
Given that pooches come in all shapes and sizes, it's vital that the four-legged friend you choose will be happy and comfortable as part of your family, so here's a few things that canine experts Purina believe you should take into account when selecting your dog.
Pedigree or mixed breed?
There are hundreds of breeds to choose from when it comes to picking out your perfect pooch, and one of the most important things to take into account is the size of a dog in relation to your home.
One of the main advantages of having a pedigree canine is that you can be almost certain of the size, coat length and texture of your four-legged friend as they get older, while energy levels are also easier to gauge.
This is less easy with crossbreeds as you can't guarantee which characteristics your pooch will have inherited from its parents, and this is the same with mixed breeds - also known as mongrels.
However, mongrels are sometimes considered to be more favourable as they tend to be healthier given that they often have a wider gene pool and less hereditary problems than their pedigree counterparts.
Puppy or adult pooch?
Puppies might well have the cute factor, but they aren't the ideal choice for everyone, and in some cases you may be better off adopting an older dog.
The advantages of puppies are that you get to train and mould them so they know how to behave in the home, although to begin with this can be very time consuming. It can also be hard to ensure they learn where it's appropriate to go to the toilet and what household items they aren't allowed to chew.
In contrast, older dogs tend to arrive having already been trained, meaning they will already understand what constitutes good and bad behaviour, although in some cases they may be timid or lack social skills depending on their background.
Dog or bitch?
Lastly you need to decide whether you want to bring a male or female pooch into the home, and this choice can often be informed by working out whether or not you fancy the prospect of welcoming a litter of puppies in a few years' time.
Yet given that bitches can be spayed, it usually doesn't matter whether your mutt is a boy or a girl if you're going to have them neutered.
Written by: Hannah Dyball