If you are a stay at home mom with a big backyard or a busy businessman living in an apartment, we’ve got just the dog for you. To avoid a Marley & Me situation we’ve got hold of an expert from the Ceylon Kennel Club to explain just what type dog is suited to your lifestyle. This is the first of a series of articles on pets, where we will talk to experts in the field, so keep reading. Depending on the owners’ living space, budget and needs they can take their pick from any of the seven dog breed groups: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Labrador retrievers

Families with children

Life span: 10 – 12 years
Height: Male: 57–62 cm, Female: 55–60 cm
Colors: Black, Yellow, Chocolate
Temperament: Outgoing, Even Tempered, Gentle, Agile, Kind, Intelligent, Trusting
Weight: Male: 29–36 kg, Female: 25–32 kg
As Ceylon Kennel Club, Administrative Secretary, Sunil de Livera-Tennakoon explained, of all the popular dog breeds in Sri Lanka Labrador retrievers are the most popular. They come in three colours: Yellow, black and chocolate brown. Yellow also ranges from golden yellow to white. Lively and sporty, they are true to their type; Sporty. Being natural child-lovers, these docile dogs are ideal for families.
Not to be confused with Golden retrievers, Labs come with shorter coats, making them easy to maintain. Kennel expert says that this reduces the chances of Labs getting tick infestation. Tick and louse borne diseases are prevalent in Sri Lanka, but we still lack necessary medicines and the knowhow to deal with these diseases. So, a dog with a short coat is ideal for any Sri Lankan.


Apartments/Smaller houses

Life span: 12 – 15 years
Weight: 6.35 to 8.16 Kg
Temperament: Charming, Playful, Docile, Clever, Quiet, Stubborn, Attentive, Sociable
Colours: Black, Fawn
Belonging to the Toy group, the Pug is a ‘large dog in a small package’. It has a wrinkly, short-muzzled face, and curled tail. It comes in fawn and black.

Shih Tzu

Apartments/Small households, Owners with time to spare

Life span: 10 – 16 years
Temperament: Lively, Outgoing, Playful, Alert, Gentle, Loyal
Weight: Male: 4 – 7.2 kg, Female: 4 – 7.2 kg
Height: Female: 20 – 28 cm (Adult, At the withers), Male: 20 – 28 cm (Adult, At the withers)
This easy-to-carry dogs are ideal for small households as they don’t take up much space. But this doesn’t mean that they cannot be reared in larger households. They are easy to take care of due to their small size. Kids in particular love their carriable size. But since they have longer coats grooming can be time-consuming and extra care has to be taken so they won’t be tick infested.


Big backyard

Life span: 8 – 10 years
Temperament: Devoted, Good-natured, Alert, Steady, Self-assured, Obedient, Calm, Confident, Courageous, Fearless
Height: Female: 56–63 cm, Male: 61–69 cm
Weight: Female: 35–48 kg, Male: 50–60 kg
Colours: Black, Mahogany, Tan
Scarier than German shepherds, these big dogs
are formidable watch dogs. Generally friendly,
they can turn aggressive if not properly trained. Belonging to the working group these beats consume a lot of food and need equivalent level of exercise.
Rottweilers, German shepherds and Doberman pinschers are all one master dogs, meaning they only answer to one master or trainer, although they love all family members. They also consume more food compared to other dogs. Consequently they aren’t ideal for low budget households or families living in confined spaces, unless you have some time on your hands to take it out walking.
Bullmastiffs and Great danes are other noteworthy working group dogs.

Cocker spaniel

Owners with time to spare

Life span: 12 – 15 years
Temperament: Playful, Faithful, Friendly, Quiet, Affectionate, Trainable
Colours: Black, Orange & White, Liver Roan, Blue Roan, Liver & Tan
Height: Female: 36–41 cm, Male: 38–43 cm
Weight: Female: 12–15 kg, Male: 13–16 kg
Cocker spaniels are of the Sporting group. Similar to Shih Tzus, this breed is recommended for owners with spare time, because their coats are long and grooming can be time-consuming. If their coats are not brushed regularly, they can get knotted, warns our canine expert.


Owners with time to spare

Life span: 12 – 15 years
Height: Toy Poodle: 24 – 28 cm, Miniature Poodle: 28 – 35 cm, Standard Poodle: 45 – 60 cm, Medium Poodle: 35 – 45 cm
Temperament: Instinctual, Alert, Faithful, Active, Intelligent, Trainable
Colours: Black, White, Red, Grey, Sable, Blue, Cream, Brown, Apricot, Silver
Poodles, like Cocker spaniels are recommended for owners with time to spare. Grooming can be time-consuming and expensive. Bull dogs, French Bull dogs, Dalmatians, and Tibetan Terriers also deserve honourable mention in the Non-sporting group.
German shepherds and Belgian shepherds are members of the hound group most popular in Sri Lanka.


Small households, uncongested neighbourhood

Life span: 14 – 17 years
Height: 8 inches to 9 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 7.3 to 15 Kg
Aaaand the winner is Dachshund! According to our canine expert Dachshunds are the ideal, most economical watch dogs for small Sri Lankan households. Of course, Beagles are also a good option, but they are explorative and can escape your compound.
According to our canine expert, these black and liver coloured miniature dogs are ideal for small households. Lovably called the sausage dog, the Dachshund is of the hound group. A common breed of dogs in Sri Lanka, Dachshunds come in three types; smooth haired, wire haired and long haired.
They are child-friendly if they are exposed to children at an early age, otherwise they become aggressive towards children. They are cleverer compared to other small breeds. These are not ideal for flats and apartments or houses in congested neighbourhoods as they bark loud and continuous, especially if they are not properly trained. But with their feisty bark and keen alertness, they are ideal guard dogs.

Beagles, Basset hounds and Rhodesian ridgeback deserve honourable mentions in the Hound group.
All dogs much like their human masters need exercise and living in an apartment is no excuse to not exercise your dog. Dogs need at least half an hour walk per day. Small dogs like Pugs can be exercised in a veranda in a flat. It is also imperative that owners do not over feed their dogs. According to our canine expert dogs should be fed in proportion to their weight.
Next we’ll talk about how to pick out the healthiest pet dog and how to groom and maintain it.
In interview with Ceylon Kennel Club, Administrative Secretary, Sunil de Livera-Tennakoon