Should you get a puppy or adult dog?

January 7, 2022 - 3 min read

This article was written for the United Kingdom market and the advice provided may not be accurate for those in the United States.

So you’ve decided you’re going to get a new canine friend. But which is right for you - a puppy or an adult dog?

When people choose a new canine companion, puppies are much more popular than adult dogs.

In January 2022, we surveyed 175 people who owned one dog and found that 70% of them got their canine companion as a puppy.

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The five biggest reasons people gave for choosing a puppy were:

  1. To bond with them from a young age (67% of survey respondents included this reason)

  2. To train them themselves (49%)

  3. So they grow up with their own children (37%)

  4. Wanted the puppy raising experience (32%)

  5. Puppies are cute (20%)

It can also be cheaper to take out puppy insurance than to try to get cover for a more senior dog.

The most popular age to get a puppy was three-six months.

That’s good news, as puppies should stay with their mother until they’re at least eight weeks old. This was made the law in 2020.

Should I choose an adult dog?

The most popular reason for choosing an adult dog was to give a home to a rescue dog or an animal in need, with 43% of people giving this reason.

It’s interesting that the the second most popular reason for choosing an adult dog was to get an animal that’s already trained. As nearly half of people who instead choose a puppy said it was because they wanted train it themselves, it seems adult dogs are seen as the easier option.

The thing is, puppies only stay puppies for a few short months, So when you get a puppy, you’re also getting an adult dog.

It’s vital to put in the effort for training and socialisation so you enjoy many more years together with a well-balanced adult dog.

Read our guide on how to stop your puppy chewing, barking and biting as well as some other top training tips you can start on day one.

For both puppies and older dogs crate training can make them feel secure.

How long is a dog a puppy?

In our survey, we defined a puppy as being under one year old, but puppyhood isn’t the same for all breeds.

Smaller breeds tend to grow up quicker, while large breeds can keep growing well beyond the first 12 months.

Tiny breeds like Pomeranians or Chihuahuas can be fully grown by around eight-10 months old. Giant breeds, including Newfoundlands and Bull Mastiffs can continue to grow past the age of two years.

But that’s just the physical side. Some dogs seem to never stop being a puppy, long after they finish growing.

So if you’re choosing a dog under one year old to enjoy those crazy, zoomies-filled months, remember you could be ‘enjoying’ them for years.

Why you should consider a senior dog?

Senior dogs were by far the least popular with our survey respondents. only 6% of single-dog households said their companion was over the age of eight when they got them.

Although 50% of them said they chose a golden oldie to give another chance to a rescue dog, it seems there are a few benefits to a senior dog.

Of respondents who chose a senior, 10% each said it was because they wanted a dog that was already trained, cheaper to buy and needed less exercise.

What age of dog suits you?

There are no hard and fast rules over whether an adult dog or a puppy will suit you better, but our survey shows that people who choose puppies are keen to train them and want to integrate them with a young family.

Adult dogs are seen as a little cheaper and less in need of training. Senior dogs come with their own charms too, particularly for those who want fewer and shorter walks.

But breed and personality can be just as important as age. Our guide to what to think about when you’re getting a puppy will help you choose the right companion for many more moments together.

Derri Dunn
Content marketer

Derri is a personal finance and insurance writer and editor. After seven years covering all things motoring and banking at GoCompare, Derri joined ManyPets in 2021 to focus on pet health. She has fostered cats and kittens for Blue Cross and Cats Protection and is owned by tabby cat Diggory and two badly behaved dogs.