three lovely Labradors, head shot

Atlanta vet advises which pet may be right for you

Picking the perfect pet is no small decision.

Between time management, finances and intown breed restrictions, there’s a lot of factors to consider. Georgia Voice sat down with Dr. Cheryl Coplon, an associate veterinarian at North Springs Animal Clinic in Atlanta, to give some advice on which creature may make the best furry, finned or scaly roommate for you.

Say you’re looking for a Bruiser to your Elle Woods …

If fashion trends and matching threads are your jam, Coplon recommends the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

“They’re great to dress up and they’re adorable with their long beautiful ears,” she said. “They have wonderful personalities and they prance around, so they’re the perfect one for a fashionista.”

What if your favorite place to be is anywhere that doesn’t have walls?

Labradors are the way to go for outdoorsy Atlantans.

“They love to go on water, they love hiking, they pretty much love to do everything outdoors. They like to roll in dirt,” Coplon said.

There are three different lab colors, and each has a slightly different personality type. Coplon said chocolate labs are more high-energy, playful and super-active, whereas yellow labs tend to be more laid back. Black labs are the middle ground and tend to enjoy water the most.

If Phipps is your go-to mall …

For Atlantans who prefer the luxe life, a Himalayan cat may be the way to go. The long, fluffy gray coat and crystal-blue eyes make them quite a statement piece.

“They’re high-maintenance in grooming because they’re long-coated, but they’re pretty low-maintenance cats in the sense that they’re not always stressed. They don’t have to be in your face all the time,” Coplon said. “It’s good to brush them on a regular basis.” 

What if your kid won’t stop bugging you about a puppy?

“Families with small children, I say a golden retriever, mainly because they’re just happy-go-lucky,” Coplon said. “They go with the flow. Generally when they’re puppies they are high-energy and they can run with the kids. As the kids get older, the goldens tend to get more mild-tempered and mellow out a little bit more.”

She said golden retrievers do need some grooming because of their long coats.

And if the child that wants a puppy happens to be allergic, Coplon recommends either an American hairless terrier or a goldendoodle, which is a golden retriever-poodle cross that can carry a gene that makes them shed less.

Does the saying “hold the door” make you get a little teary-eyed?

Then a bearded dragon may be the pet for you.

“They’re really cool little reptiles. They like to hang out, and they’re actually really social animals, so it’s a really cool pet to have around. And then you have your own dragon,” Coplon said.

She said if you’d like to have more than one beardie, get them about the same age. Otherwise, the older one could be prone to attack her younger siblings.

 You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog …

So if you’re a die-hard music lover, you need a hound to croon alongside you. Coplon recommends breeds like the basset hound or the beagle, which will be loving pets and great duet partners as well.

“I want an animal, but …”

If you’re looking for something to keep you company, but don’t have the finances or time to care for a dog or cat, a betta fish might be up your alley. Betta, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are known for their vibrant colors and fluttering, flowing fan tails. According to the PetSmart Betta Fish Care Guide, one of these little guys (or ladies!) can live up to three years in a tank or small aquarium, requiring little maintenance other than regular cleaning and feeding.

What if your friends nicknamed you after a superhero?

Then your first cape-wearing feat should be to rescue a pet, of course! Take a look here to see some of the Atlanta-area furbabies looking for fur-ever homes. 

You’ve always wanted a cat, but you’re allergic.

“I would go for a Sphinx,” Coplon said. “They are hairless and they have really cool personalities. They’re really fun to have around. They still act like cats, even though they have no hair.”

Sphinxes, which look like wrinkly, fur-less Egyptian felines, also make for great cuddlers.

Your mom keeps bugging you to “settle down” and “find the right one” … but you’re too shy to talk to that hottie.

Clearly, you need an attention-grabbing pup.

Clearly, you need a schipperke, Coplon said.

“They like to dance for you in a circle, and they’re a little less fluffy than a Pomeranian,” she said. “There’s still some grooming that needs to be done, but it’s not as involved as a Pomeranian would be. They’re just as much energy, just as much yippy-ness. They’re fun to have around.”

Need a couple extra bucks?

Depending on where you live in the Atlanta area, you may be able to have a few backyard birds or even small ruminants such as goats, both of which can help you earn a few extra dollars. Though dairy goats can be picky eaters, some agribusiness owners rent out Boer goats to maintain lawns, or you can craft a chicken coop and bring home some biddies to lay eggs to sell (or gift) to your neighbors. If you aren’t zoned to allow for agriculture, but still want some animal interaction, you can always call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 to find workshops and farms to teach you all you want to know.

And if you’re not very good at keeping things alive?

Well. In that case, there’s always a pet rock.