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Discover the benefits of pedigree dogs

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They are supposed to be man's best friend but how much do we actually know about our canine cousins? Bringing a dog into the home is a big decision so making the right choice for your lifestyle is crucial. Many people take on a dog without researching all the options but understanding the character of your pet is crucial if you want a smooth settling in period.

With the acquisition of a pedigree dog you can know more about the dogs character, which helps when selecting the right temperament of dog for the right home. There are 206 breeds currently registered with the Kennel Club that are categorised into seven groups: Hounds, Gundogs, Terriers, Utility, Working, Pastoral and Toys and each group has a distinct character. Terriers are thought of as 'brave and tough'. Gundogs are considered 'all-round family dogs' and Hounds as 'aloof but trustworthy'.

But despite their obvious appeal dozens of native breeds are in danger of becoming extinct. Skye Terriers have declined to the lowest figure of new registrations, with only 30 registered puppies bred last year. They have been on the vulnerable breeds list since 1995, but have suffered a steady descent, tumbling to a worrying new low.

Fears that pedigree dogs suffer more health problems than their crossbreed cousins are unfounded according to experts. In fact, veterinary experts are getting excited about the potential for wiping out diseases in pedigree dogs through rigorous DNA testing and selection of appropriate breeding mates.

This year's Discover Dogs show at Earl's Court on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November will showcase the diversity of pedigree dogs and the differences in character, coat and needs. Experts will be on hand to advise prospective dog owners on the right breed for them. 24,000 people attended last year and tickets and further information are available at www.discover-dogs.org.uk