Not every pet is a good fit for a pet owner’s lifestyle. Where you live can determine to a large degree what type of animal you’d be best equipped to care for, or that would be happiest living with you. Let's take a look at some pets that do best with those living in wide-open, rural spaces, and some that make ideal companions for those who spend their lives in urban jungles.
CITY: BOSTON TERRIER
The Boston Terrier is a breed developed right here in the good old U.S. of A. That’s why its nickname is “the American gentleman.” Boston Terriers are uniquely suited to owners who live in urban environments, particularly apartment sweller. They are intelligent, eager to please, calm and quiet — so they won’t bug your neighbors (or you) with barking. Although they require regular walks like any other dog, Boston Terriers are not athletic and won’t require a ton of exercise to be happy. In fact, extremely hot or cold weather can bother them quite a bit, so they’ll be most content inside of a cozy apartment with controlled temperatures.
COUNTRY: BORDER COLLIE
The Border Collie is widely regarded as the most intelligent breed of dog. But with that intelligence comes a mind that’s always hungry for intellectual and physical stimulation. A Border Collie that’s cooped up in a city apartment won’t be happy. A Border Collie that lives on a large property with lots of room to run and play will thrive. Make sure that you’re able to keep up! The more you and run with your Border Collie, the happier it will be. And they make excellent agility dogs, too, so use your acreage to set up an obstacle course!
Many people would cringe at the very idea of keeping a rat in their home, but the animal’s poor reputation is not entirely deserved. Not only are pet rats extremely intelligent and friendly animals, but they are also very hygienic. They groom themselves almost as fastidiously as cats. Although a pet rat requires a relatively spacious cage to hang out it, rats like to spend a lot of time outside of their cages to bond with their owners. And as small as they are, a pet rat can do quite well even in the most modest of city apartments.
Goats can make wonderful companions, given the right environment. Typically, that means a lot of open space in which to roam and graze. Also, because goats are meant to travel in herds, a goat can’t truly be happy on its own, so having just one isn’t the best idea. But if you have the space for your goats, plus stalls or a barn, you could do worse than to keep pet goats. Unless you’re breeding, you may want to steer clear of males that aren't neutered, as they emit a powerful odor and can become aggressive.
CITY: BEARDED DRAGON
Bearded dragons are very popular pets, due to their ease of care and docile temperaments. They are quite friendly and agreeable, surprisingly affectionate, and they look cool as heck. A bearded dragon makes a good pet choice for kids or beginner reptile keepers ... or anyone who wants to be able to tell people that they own a freakin’ dragon. Plus, since they’re small and low-maintenance, they make good apartment pets.
Contrary to what stereotypes would have us believe, donkeys are not overly stubborn — they are remarkably intelligent and have pleasant personalities. For someone who lives on a farm or just has a lot of land, donkeys can make fine pets. Like goats, though, they can grow lonely on their own, so owning more than one is best. Donkeys will require some sort of barn, lean-to or other shelter, which will need to be cleaned regularly, which may take more effort and not be as pleasant as scooping a dog’s poop or clearing a litter box. But donkeys are loyal and tough, and can even be used as guard animals to protect your property from wolves and coyotes.
We certainly understand that, with as many arachnophobes out there as there are, a pet tarantula isn’t for everybody. But for those who are squeamish — and for whom a lot of handling and cuddling aren’t important features of pet ownership — tarantulas can make fine pets. Not only are they extremely cool-looking, but they also are docile and easy to care for. You may be surprised to learn that a tarantula can live about 15–20 years, so be prepared for a significant time investment.
Pigs can make great pets. They are well-regarded for their intelligence, being at least as smart as dogs, and they have personality plus. But of course, they are enormous, and not suited to small homes or urban environments. In recent years, there are been a craze over teacup pigs, sales fueled by photos of itty-bitty piglets that fit inside actual teacups. But those photos are misleading, because teacup pigs, aka mini pigs, don’t stay that small. As adults, they can still grow to 100 pounds, small only compared to regular pigs that weigh half a ton. Many owners have surrendered their full-grown teacup pigs. Know what you’re getting into before you commit!
CITY: INDOOR CAT
Cat owners may disagree about whether to keep their pets indoors or allow them to explore the great outdoors, but what’s for sure is that where you live can affect that choice a great deal. While most cats can thrive indoors wherever they are, the outdoors may be particularly treacherous for city cats. Urban areas by definition are far busier and more full of treacherous traffic than the country. Cats are wily and can survive a lot of danger, but your pampered, possibly purebred house cat is going to be much safer in the comforting embrace of your house or apartment.
Next: 12 Tips for Apartment Hunters With Pets
COUNTRY: OUTDOOR CAT
Even in your quiet country home, far from the buzzing city streets, a cat can be happy living the indoor life, but you may wish to let your cat roam your property. Some cats may not be able to take to the domestic life, such as feral cats, who are born untamed and generally stay that way. Many people find owning a feral cat very rewarding (as much as anyone can “own” a feral animal). For those who live on farms, there is a long-standing tradition of keeping barn cats, typically feral cats who are “employed” as mousers to keep vermin at bay.
City Pets vs. Country Pets
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