Pet Insurance for Dogs: Best Dog Breeds for South Africa
Thinking about adding the pitter-patter of tiny feet to your home? If you’re considering adopting a dog, the first decision you’ll make is what breed to get. It’s a highly individual choice that will depend on the home you live in, whether or not you have kids or other pets and your overall lifestyle. You should know that the kind of dog you choose will also impact your dog insurance options, so it isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Whether you want a dog as a companion or as a trusted guard dog, these fur babies become part and parcel of your family — and as such you will want to give them the same protection that you provide the human members of your family. Thankfully, First for Women has you covered with pet insurance for dogs — and all the information you need to know about selecting the best dog breed for peace of mind and your pocket.
South Africans are a nation of pet lovers
South Africans have always prioritised having pets, and even the Covid-19 pandemic couldn't hamper the volume of pets being adopted. Statistics from Euromonitor International show pet ownership grew during the pandemic. Not only are people adopting pets but they're also spending more money on them than ever. The same report estimates that the pet care market is currently worth R7.1 billion and is expected to grow by at least 2.5%, over the next five years. This spend comprises pet food, toys and accessories and pet insurance for dogs, cats and other popular animals kept as household pets.
What you should know about adopting a dog in SA
While you might think adopting a dog is as easy as picking out one that you like from a shop or animal welfare centre and then purchasing dog insurance, there's a lot more to consider than this. For example, if you live in a complex or estate you might not be able to get a dog at all, or will be restricted in terms of what size or breed you can adopt.
Then there's the Animal Protection Act of 1962, which governs how we treat pets. While animal cruelty is obviously illegal, there are many other ways to contravene the Act or its amendments accidentally. For example, your responsibility will be to ensure your dog gets the medical care they need should they become injured or ill. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine or imprisonment. Realistically you'd never let your pet suffer like that, which is one of the reasons many people are looking at investing in pet insurance for dogs or even dog medical aid plans. This way you won’t end up in the situation where you're faced with an astronomical veterinary bill for saving your dog from sickness or any other canine catastrophe. What’s more, the dog breed you’ve chosen could be more prone to certain medical conditions or injuries than others.
Best dog breeds for South Africa
Although no official statistics exist, it’s believed that the following dog breeds are very popular and firm favourites in South Africa. Here are what they are and what you can expect from them:
Small Breed Dogs: Jack Russell, Maltese Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier
Small breed dogs are a popular option for those with limited space, as this type of dog can require little exercise. However, they can also be highly territorial and loud, depending on their breed. Things to keep in mind when adopting a small dog is that they tend to live longer than larger breeds. If taken care of, they might not have many health issues. However, long-haired breeds can require frequent grooming for appearance and hygiene purposes. Additionally, flat-faced breeds like pugs or Boston terriers tend to have breathing and sight issues throughout their lifespan.
Family Dogs: Labrador or Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler
These larger breeds are ideal family dogs and highly intelligent animals. Most thrive well in households with a decent amount of garden space and plenty of mental stimulation. Provided you invest in training, they’re also relatively uncomplicated to look after. Unfortunately, these larger breeds are also more prone to becoming overweight and developing joint problems like hip dysplasia. While you can purchase a dog from a KUSA verified breeder to avoid dealing with this, there’s often a high price tag and a long waiting list for these purebred dogs.
African Dogs: Boerboel, Africanis, Rhodesian Ridgeback
These highly active dogs are unique to the continent with many coming from a long line of hunting and farm animals. You can expect these breeds to be active, brave and engaged pets. They’ll correspondingly need plenty of activity and training. Depending on the nature of the dog and its specific breed, you’ll need to ensure its space is highly secure and that you keep them on a leash in public. A failure to do so could see your dog damaging someone’s property or even worse, harming another animal or person.
At First for Women we strongly encourage you to consider adoption instead of shopping. You can find a wide range of dogs of all ages and breeds at your local animal shelter. If you’re in Gauteng, we recommend contacting our pet adoption partner, Woodrock Animal Shelter, in Pretoria on 076 155 4439 for more information about the pet adoption process.
Keep your best friend safe with pet insurance for dogs
Having doubts about the value of pet insurance is understandable. It’s natural to wonder why you should pay money towards something when you’ve adopted a happy and healthy pup and your biggest problem is keeping them from chewing up your designer heels. The reality is that accidents do happen and dogs get older. While they might not develop the above-listed health issues, even minor ailments can run up a bill when you least expect it.
Let’s say little Fido (or Fifi) has been listless and isn’t eating or drinking. After a few days of this, you take them to the vet for a checkup. You find out they need to have surgery. While vet consultation costs can vary, you’re looking at a hefty bill for treating your dog.
If you’re unsure what level of insurance you need, take the time to read through our pet cover guide on how pet insurance works.
Get dog insurance from First for Women
No matter which dog breed you decide to adopt, you’ll want to explore your options regarding pet insurance for dogs as your choice of breeds will impact your pet insurance prices. Once you’re ready to make a decision, you can contact the team at First for Women for a quote today.
 Business Insider: Pet ownership rose in SA during the pandemic
 Sowetan: Consider the costs before buying or adopting a pet
South African Government: Animals protection act