Looking for a pet? Until the age of AI magic dawns, here are some simple tips for helping you connect with the right dog for you.

Puppy or mature? Puppies are cute but you have to spend some six weeks potty- and leash-training. If you don’t have those skills, you need to learn them. Also, if you work, this becomes really, really difficult. A mature dog who’s already house- and leash-trained is a lot easier! Especially if it’s your first dog.

Size is in direct relation to how much space you have. A tiny place is not a good match for a dog the size of a small pony. Tip: Paw size isn’t a great indicator of final height. Look at the mum and reckon that’s going to be roughly what you get.

Even more important than size, also look at what kind of coat you want to deal with. Anything that’s not a short-haired coat means grooming. If you are not the type who adores brushing a pet every day or you can’t afford to pay a groomer every month, go for a short-haired pet.

Character matters a lot because dogs are like people: They will adapt a little bit but essentially your pet has a fixed outlook on life. So, if you want an outgoing dog who loves your kids and cats, make sure that you have a good match. And if you decide on a rescue pet with issues, be prepared for that animal to need gentle special care all of its life.

Activity level can be hard to gauge in young mongrels. If you want a particular type of dog, say a relaxed one who loves to couch-surf or a pet who will run with you every day, adopt an adult pet that matches your requirements. Other-wise it’s very much hit-and-miss.

Also, if you go for a pedigree, do ask an impartial vet first about known health issues. Some breeds can have very expensive problems early on in life, an issue that is much less likely with a nice crossbreed or mutt.

Finally, if you go to a shelter or bona fide rescuer, a vet will have made sure the animal is neutered, vaccinated, flea-free and basically healthy. This costs a bomb so do please give a donation so they can carry on their work.