Looking to raise a dog in London? These laid-back breeds are great for first-time owners
Any dog owner will tell you, life with a dog is much better than one without. There’s the wagging tail as soon as you get through the door, the constant companionship on days you really need it and the abundance of adventures you’ll share together.
And, it seems most people would agree — as of 2023, the World Animal Foundation reported that 34% of households in the UK share their space with a fourlegged friend. In London 9% of the population own a dog, with more than 300k pups residing in the city,
according to petsmagnet.co.uk.
It’s a common misconception that dogs that live in the countryside are happier than those that live in the city. In fact, it could be argued that the constant flurry of smells, sights and sounds that come hand in hand with living in a city like London provides extra stimulation for pups. Getting a dog is a big decision, however, and if you do live in the city, there are extra factors to consider. Breed-specific traits, says Adam Spivey, owner of Southend Dog Training, is one of them.
“Lots of the dogs I know that live in the city are incredibly happy. People who don’t have a garden tend to get out with their dogs more often. Most people with larger gardens, or lots of land, tend to think that letting their dog run around the same place every day is enough. In actual fact, dogs need to experience new sights and smells for proper stimulation.”
Adam says that owning a dog in the city is perfectly okay for them. It’s when people don’t research the dog they want when issues can arise. “Lots of people go on looks alone, and are then confused or infuriated when dogs start displaying traits that are typical to their breed.
“Border Collies, for example, are not a breed I’d particularly recommend for first-time dog owners, or for those that live in the city. It is, at the end of the day, a herding breed — it was built to herd and protect livestock. When they can’t do that, they start to get frustrated, and it’s then they can partake in destructive behaviour, such as chewing or biting furniture.” If you’re a newbie owner living in London and you’re looking for a relatively easy dog to manage, here are three loving breeds that’ll make your doggo dreams come true.
If you’re a little on the lazy side, a greyhound is the perfect dog, says Adam. “I call them the world’s fastest couch potato. They truly are friendly, peaceful souls and, given they have 20 to 30 minutes of exercise daily, you’ll find that they’ll be happy and content sleeping for
most of the day.”
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Adam has always had a soft spot for staffies, and they’re the reason he got into dog training in the first place. “When I first got my staffie, I wanted her to be the best possible dog she could be — I feel they have an unfair reputation,” Adam explains. “In reality, they’re the most people-friendly dogs on the planet.” Staffies typically need at least one hour of exercise per day, including brisk walks or playtime — specifically tug or with a flirt pole, both of which can ward off unwanted behaviours. Early socialisation and proper training is key to keeping temperaments in check, and once that’s been achieved, Adam says staffies make a great dog who’ll spend most of their time on your sofa.
For an easy and well-rounded dog, a Labrador is a great option. They’re incredibly friendly, easy to train and have a willingness to work with their owner. “Behavioural problems are rare with this breed,” says Adam, “and they’re typically really healthy (given they’re appropriately exercised), with a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. There’s a reason they’re so popular.”