A little boy chooses a puppy for National Puppy Day

How to Find Your Perfect Pup this National Puppy Day!


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National Puppy Day happens every year on 23 March. Technically, it’s inter-national puppy day… Still, as long as we’re celebrating tiny fluffy cute puppies, it kind-sorta doesn’t matter what we call it, right!? Puppy Day (for short) is a time to enjoy, play with, talk about and – maybe even – choose a puppy to adopt.

If you’ve been itching to become a first time pet owner why not start on National Puppy Day! Let’s help give these furkids a second chance and the furever home they deserve. But before you pick, there are some important things to think about.

This guide will teach you how to choose a puppy that’s a perfect match for your lifestyle and personality.

On National Puppy Day, a choose-a-puppy event takes place where a small brown puppy is walking on a leash in the grass.

How to choose the right puppy on National Puppy Day

Dogs come with character, personality, fur and energy, and although all dogs are created equal, their needs can vary. Some pups are perky and make great family dogs. Others are good at guarding. Some wouldn’t have it any other way than to simply lounge around and cuddle.

Speaking of which, read about the health benefits of sleeping with your dog in your bed. Or for that matter, sleeping with your cat.

There are actually seven dog groups. (No, that doesn’t mean they get together to discuss mutual hobbies). Rather, dog breeding societies have organised different breeds according to their characteristics, qualities and needs. What better time to get to know these ‘types’ than National Puppy Day!

woman celebrates her puppy on national puppy day

Get to know dog breeds this National Puppy Day

In New Zealand we have 224 recognised dog breeds. Each one falls into one of these seven groups:

1 Toy GroupAustralian Silky Terrier, Maltese, Italian Greyhound, Pug, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Russian Toy, Yorkshire Terrier
2 Terrier Group Australian Terrier, Jack Russell, Fox Terrier, Airedale Terrier, Border Terrier, Scottish Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier
3 Gundog Group Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, Weimaraner
4Hound Group Greyhound, Foxhound, Afghan Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Whippet, Irish Wolfhound, Dachshund
5Working Dog Group Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Welsh Corgi, Australian Kelpie
6Utility Group Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Boxer, Saint Bernard, German Pinscher, Schnauzer
7Non-Sporting Group Bulldog, Poodle, Shih Tzu, The German Spitz, Great Dane, Dalmatian, French Bulldog

How to choose the right puppy for you

Ever wondered how a match made in heaven is actually made? Certainly there’s a bit of serendipity involved, but it doesn’t end there… It’s also up to you to know how your personality and needs will work with those of your future puppy.

That way you can choose a puppy not only because they’re cute, but also because it’s a lifestyle match. National Puppy Day is all about giving puppies the chance they deserve. (If you’re already a pup mum or dad, celebrate your furkid with these puppy games and dog birthday cake recipes).

Below are four important things to understand when you buy or adopt a new puppy. If you do plan to adopt, then read our dog adoption checklist.

this Labrador is being adopted on National Puppy Day!

Energy levels

You need to match your dog to how much activity you can provide for them, or they’ll be unhappy to say the least. Read about the importance of playtime for dogs for more on this.

Fur example, if you fancy yourself more of a jock, you could be very suited to a Border Collie. These ebony and ivory coloured dogs love (and need) to run daily. Whereas, if you’re after more of a couch potato pet you can certainly get those too. Why not consider getting yourself a Pekingese.

Be sure to check out the dog breed exercise requirements to see what the right amount of exercise is for different dogs.

Side note: If you’re a cat person then Persian cats are great couch potatoes. Just take note they hate it when you move their stuff around. Their armchair must be wherever they last left it. So don’t get any funny ideas about interior design changes! Find out more about different cat breeds, including our Persian pal.

Training needs

Why is thinking about training important when you a choose a puppy?

Well, some dogs – especially the big ones with a lot of energy – may need plenty of training in order to live happily alongside you and others. If you’ve got guests over, you won’t want your gigantic Alsatian to constantly jump up on them or knock over their kids, do you?

Positive reinforcement training can help show your dog the dos and don’ts and make living together much more harmonious.

If you feel you can’t commit the time and patience into training your pup, you could get a dog trainer or pet behaviourist in to help you. Either way, the possibility that your darling pup might need training at some point (generally sooner than later) is something you’ll need to factor into your decision.

A woman playing with a dog on a dirt road.

Grooming needs

Besides energy levels, another deal maker or breaker is grooming. Dog lovers who get the itchy-sneezy effect that fur can bring on will love knowing this: some fur is actually hair.

That’s right. Some dogs have hair rather than fur. That’s an uber cool and fun fact to learn for National Puppy Day! Hair just keeps growing and growing and doesn’t moult. Unlike fur that constantly falls out to make way for new fur growth.

Unlike fur, hair doesn’t cause as many allergies. Think poodles (all kinds) and poodle crossbreeds. Like for example a Spoodle. Spoodles are hybrid dog breeds with a fur-hair combo that makes them more hypoallergenic than fur only. Same goes for hairless dog breeds like the Chinese Crested.

On the other hand, if you’re more after a Lassie dog who comes with ample fur then read about routine pet care and pet fur removal. Grooming isn’t all bad – it’s a chance to bond whilst keeping your pet pal fresh!

national puppy day is a chance to adopt the right puppy


Like any person, every dog has its own personality (dog-a-nality?) … Beyond that, there are some inherent qualities typical in certain breeds.

For example, a German Shepherd makes a great guard dog. They typically dislike strangers and are extremely loyal to their loved ones. If on the other hand, you love throwing dinner parties and often have new friends over for barbeques, the Labrador gets on well with most people.

As a pet parent to be, National Puppy Day is the best time to find out all these dog breed facts. And if you’re bringing home an adopted dog and don’t know the breed then guess what… You can easily do a dog DNA test to find out your pup’s breed mixology.


Like people, dogs can get into all sorts of scrapes and scratches. There are also a number of genetic health conditions that different breeds are predisposed to. IVDD in Dachshunds and hip dysplasia in dogs are just a few examples.

Often, genetic (aka hereditary) conditions are carried over generations through inhumane breeding practices. For example, breeding unhealthy dogs, not taking care of parent dogs well and over-breeding for profit. We keep this cycle in practice if we buy from puppy mills.

It’s easy to get caught up in puppy scams. But it’s just as easy to avoid it if you know how to buy a puppy safely in New Zealand. Make sure you’ know these ‘ve read our 10 steps on how to identify ethical dog breeders.

BTW, when it comes to asking are mixed breed dogs healthier than purebred dogs the answer is often yes!

NZ shelters are overburdened with unwanted pets

Other family members

When you’re thinking about bringing a furry friend into your home, considering your family dynamic is super important. After all, you want everyone, including your new pup, to get along and be happy together, right?

If you’ve got kiddos running around, you’ll want to choose a puppy breed known for patience and being gentle with children. Some dogs just have a natural love for kids and are known for their gentle demeanour, like Golden Retrievers, Labradors, or Beagles. They’re like the cool, calm, and collected aunt or uncle who’s always ready to play and doesn’t mind the occasional tail tug.

If you have other pets, especially other dogs or cats, you’ll want to think about how your new dog will fit into the mix. Some breeds are more sociable and can easily make friends, while others might prefer to be the only pet in the house. Breeds like Collies or French Bulldogs are usually pretty chill and can get along with other furry family members.

Just like people, every dog is unique. It’s super helpful to spend some time with them before you choose a puppy. That way, you can see how they interact with your kids or other pets and make sure the vibe is right.

Remember, it’s all about creating a harmonious home where everyone, on two legs or four, feels comfortable and loved.

introducing your new puppy to kids and other pets is important for getting along

Give your pooch a soft landing for National Puppy Day

Last but not least, get your furry friend a dog insurance plan. It’s easy to use and inexpensive. You’ll be covering your puppy for most eventualities, from unanticipated vet visits to treatment for hereditary conditions, provided they only start to show after your plan starts and waiting periods finish. Hospitalisation and prescription medication are big costs insurance can cover too.

Why wait a moment more. Avoid hairy financial situations now and into the future by getting your pet plan as soon as you get your pet! PD Insurance gives you one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy your online pawlicy. Happy National Puppy Day – let’s look after our nation’s puppies to grow a future generation of healthy, happy dogs.

Click below to get your pet plan today.

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