Dogs are man's best friend for a good reason. They are loyal, affectionate and highly intelligent. They cheer you up when are down, they don't judge you, and they always love going for a walk. But owning a dog is a commitment that can last up to 15 years. In a two part-series, the behaviour and training manager at the Hong Kong Dog Rescue (HKDR), Mark Curran, reveals what to consider before taking home your canine companion, and offers some tips on how to have a well-behaved dog. At the HKDR shelter in Pok Fu Lam, Mr Curran looks after about 170 dogs, which have been saved from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) government kennels. At the AFCD, any of their strays, wild or surrendered dogs are destroyed after four days, said Mr Curran. 'The sad thing is that we euthanise more than 25,000 dogs in Hong Kong a year. It's crazy. For such a small place it's a big number.' At the shelter, there are dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds. 'I would recommend a mutt every time. I think they are undervalued and underappreciated as a breed. And I would always recommend adopting as opposed to buying,' said Mr Curran, who graduated from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. 'Pure breed dogs are inbred by definition, so a lot of them tend to have medical problems. A lot of labradors have hip problems when they get older.' Mr Curran said dogs don't need much space, but 'we won't give a very large dog to a person who lives in a small apartment, unless they have a good exercise routine'. And some large dogs that are easily annoyed by a playful child are not suitable if you have children, said Mr Curran. Other questions to consider are: Where is it going to sleep and live? And how are you going to exercise it? Mr Curran recommended walking all dogs four to five times a day (or three times minimum), with one walk more than a 'bathroom break' that lasts at least an hour. Bigger dogs need more exercise. Another issue is how long the dog will be left alone. 'We see a lot of people who are out at work all day and want a dog. It's really bad for a dog to spend all day by itself,' he said. 'They are pack animals and want to spend their time with their pack, which is us.'