The north London dog breed property match
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North London’s myriad open spaces, from the doggie paradise of Hampstead Heath to street side cafes for lapdogs of luxury, offer options for dog owners with time to spare outside the house, but what about at home? We find the ultimate four-legged friend for each type of property.
When choosing what type of dog to get it’s not all about the size. As Highgate Vet Allan Rapley says: “I’ve lived in flats and had large dogs and I’ve lived in big places and had small dogs.” Instead temperament and training are key – some large dogs are very laid back and will be more than happy snoozing quietly in flats where certain smaller breeds will have chewed their way through your entire shoe collection in the time it takes for you to shower. And whichever breed you plump for, make sure to go to a reputable breeder and do consider adopting a rescue dog – All Dogs Matter in East Finchley is a good place for north Londoners to start.
Flat first timers
“As a rule of thumb, the typical apartment dog wouldn’t be a working breed, you’d probably want something more decorative,” says Rapley.
Simon Hayes, of north London vet chain Village Vet suggests a French bulldog for busy flat dwellers – perhaps the icing on the cake for first time buyers making their first foray into full domesticity. “They’re very popular at the moment, very easy to look after. They like to be out and about and exercise but they also like sleeping. In a small flat their size is perfect.”
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As any terrace resident knows, your neighbour’s secrets are your secrets. There are some types of noise that are more disruptive than others – teenagers playing loud music do occasionally leave the house – but it’s hard to shut a barking dog up, especially if nobody’s home. Of course you can’t stop a dog from barking altogether, but some breeds will be more prone to it than others.
“I think you’ve got to be looking at the personality of the dog if barking is a worry,” says Hayes. “Don’t necessarily think about size so much as temperament. I’d go for a Cavalier King Charles spaniel.” Allan Rapley of the Highgate Vet describes these as a “bomb-proof” option, with temperaments well-suited to almost any set up.
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Friend of the family
Could there be a more family friendly breed than the golden retriever? These gentle, loving (and quite emotionally needy in return), soft and fluffy dogs are big hearted and big boned. They will adore every member of the family and love nothing more than snuggling up with them on the sofa.
Late life hip issues are common so fewer stairs or a home where they can have a sizeable ground floor base is best. And that fluffy golden coat sheds in clumps, especially as the weather gets warmer, so not one for clean freaks or allergy sufferers. Golden retrievers also need around two hours exercise a day so a reasonably sized garden and some nearby green space is a must.
Schnauzer of the schemi-detached
Friendly and very intelligent, schnauzers (German for snout or, colloquially moustache) are popular in Highgate says Rapley. Bred as watch dogs and rat catchers they are energetic and trained to guard so can bark quite a bit if not intellectually stimulated. However, their affectionate natures make them ideal family pets, especially in a larger home so long as they get lots of attention.
Substantial in the suburbs
“You wouldn’t want a wound-up Weimeraner that’s agitated and barking next door if you live in a terrace,” says Hayes. “You’d need to be a bit more suburban with access to a big garden and ideally near to the Heath or other large green space. You’re looking at 30-35 kilos so you need a house that’s big enough, although people do manage it in a flat.”
Darling of the downsizer
Hayes suggests that older downsizers in smaller homes might be better off taking on an older rescue dog rather than buying and having to train a lively, chewy, inquisitive, incontinent puppy. A more laid back, pre-trained dog will require less energy for downsizers, and is less likely to go stir crazy in a smaller house or flat.
With dark carpet
Cavapoos – a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle – are a low or non-shedding breed, ideal for the house proud. The loyal, affectionate nature of the King Charles combined with the intelligence and gentle nature of the Poodle makes for a hypoallergenic dog with the look of a cuddly teddy bear, no wonder their popularity amongst north Londoners is on the rise.