Thinking of buying a puppy for Christmas? Potential problems can be avoided with a bit of research.
The NSW Government has released a list of the state’s most popular dog breeds in the lead up to Christmas. If they look familiar, it might be because five also appear on the RSPCA’s ‘most dumped’ list of 2013.
Maltese terriers, Jack Russell terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, kelpies and cattle dogs appeal to buyers – but may be too much to handle. The dog that took out the RSPCA’s number one spot for ‘dumping due to aggression’? The Maltese terrier. These small, white dogs also topped the ‘dumped for problem barking’ list.
All dogs are individuals, and breed characteristics are just a guide, but it’s fair to say your average kelpie (or mix) will have more energy to burn that your average bulldog, or mix. Looking at a different breed could be the difference between an easy pet with all the qualities you love, and one who looks cute but doesn’t fit in.
For instance, the National Kennel Council’s breed description says Chihauhas are similar to Jack Russell terriers – they’re small, short-coated, lively and sensitive. But they are lower energy, and have a lower prey drive, so it’s less likely they’ll harass the neighbour’s cat.
If researching breed descriptions sounds tedious, try the AWL or RSPCA. They already know the temperament and needs of animals in their care. Eurobodalla RSPCA’s Lousie Webb says it’s important to be confident before giving a pet as a gift. “If you are thinking of a cat or dog as a gift for Christmas, make sure the intended recipient actually wants the pet,” she said. To adopt, contact RSPCA Eurobodalla on 0424 228 425, or the AWL on 0410 016 612.