1.When? The best time to get a dog is when you have the time to look after it. If you are out at work all day you could argue you have time in the early morning and evenings but most dogs would argue thats a bit shit and they’d like to see you at other times too.
Chances are you’ve left getting a dog until you become a family unit… but as dogs and small children are very similar in many ways it seems silly to double up. Unless you really like clearing up two kinds of shit… otherwise; pushing a pram round and round the block waiting for a child to go to sleep will keep you fit until the child is old enough to get out of the pram at which case you’ll get even fitter chasing the child.
It’s time enough to get a dog when your child asks for one (usually once they start seriously mixing with other kids at school). If you get a dog before this chances are they will want another dog (or something more exotic that no-one else has got)… leave it until your child has been consistantly showing interest for about a year and then get one and score maximum parent points.
And now your child is at school you can keep fit by walking the dog. (unless you are going back to work fulltime at which point you probably don’t have enough time to look after your childrens needs let alone a dog as well).
2. Size. This is easy. Look at your hands… if they are small get a small dog… if they are very big get a big dog. NEVER EVER get a dog whose poos are too big for your hands to pick up. I’ve noticed since being a dog owner that its mostly the owners of big dogs whose owners don’t pick up after them…
3. What breed? Unless you are going to show the dog… or need it for a specific purpose… get a mongrel. Unless of course you want to make a fashion statement at which point you can get whatever sort of dog is fashionable in your world… popular breeds at the moment seem to be a Chihuahua amongst those with more money than sense (a dog comparable ounce for ounce with buying saffron). Or amongst those who have more money (gained mostly from drug selling) than sense there’s the Staffordshire Bull Terrier…. great little dogs with kids… vastly maligned… vastly over represented in rescue homes but they do make people thing you deal drugs.
Whatever you do avoid the fashion for combining any two breeds of dog, giving it a silly combination name and charging £400 quid plus. The cockerpoo, labradoodle craze is basically out of hand. I could tell people my dog is a Yorkshire Parson but I didn’t pay enough for him and he’s no experience of judging jams and chutneys at country shows.
Go to a rescue centre… choose a dog that you like and take it home.
*I’d like to point out, for the literalist computer nerds out there (and the humourless) that this is slightly tongue in cheek and that other pets ARE available.