The Importance of Selecting the Right Breed of Dog
All dogs have descended from wolves. Each breed of dog was bred for a specific need or reason. Some breeds are for working, others for companionship. Each domestic breed is here for a reason. And that seems great until you realize the average joe is not in need of a 24/7 livestock guardian anymore. What does that mean for breeds bred for that purpose? Well, it’s time for them to find a new purpose. And it’s up to th e owner to give his companion a new job or face the behavioral turmoil thereafter. I’m not saying that every Great Pyrenees would be good at guardianship, and I’m not saying that there aren’t exceptions to this rule. I had an Australian Shepherd whose only interest was sleeping and not herding cattle. I am saying that when you’re looking for your next pet, it would be wise to choose a breed that would fit your needs. We see so many dogs that need behavior training. Even worse, some need medication to prevent injury to themselves, other pets, or their loving humans. Most people don’t realize the needs of the dog they’ve just chosen at the pet store or shelter. Unfortunately, the majority of dogs are purchased based on looks alone. This is the wrong reason to get a pet, and this goes for any pet for that matter.
When choosing your next companion, consider your wants in a pet. For example, I enjoy a companion who likes to cuddle, can be trained off leash, and is overall friendly. Things I would not like in a dog are high energy, breeds with many known health problems, and protective tendencies.
Breeds that would make my list are:
Duck Tolling Retriever- very social, likes to spend time outdoors, easily trained.
Golden Retriever- friendly, easy to train , and loyal
Irish Wolfhound- very laid back, patient and devoted.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel-Playful, good lap dog, adapts easily to new environments.
Breeds that would not make my list:
Cane Corso- needs a lot of work in socialization, bred as a guard dog.
Yorkshire Terrier- high energy, stubborn
Border Collie- high energy, can be unintentionally rough with children
English Bulldog- multiple health issues.
*To those of you who own breeds that wouldn’t make my list, this is just an example. Nor, am I suggesting these breeds don’t have good qualities. Though, I did list breed traits as reasons why they would not make the criteria for this example. *
So why am I sitting here trying to convince you that breed selection is important? Because on a personal level, I cannot take another poorly investigated news reporter slandering dog breeds when they don’t know the first thing. On a professional level, I can’t bear that thought of being Court Ordered to put down a good dog that was in a bad situation and forced to act.
Each and every day I see people not reading a pet’s body language well. Each day I see dog breeds that are ridden with anxiety because they’re not meant for living in an apartment where the owner is home only three hours a day. Each day I see frustrated owners because their dog is destroying their house when they’re gone. These are all reasons to appropriately pick your breed and ensure that your family is ready for the responsibility of pet ownership.
I’ll go through and explain each of these instances.
Yesterday I br ought my new rescue dog into training (Our trainer is wonderful, in case you haven’t heard!) She is a Border Collie Mix and is very high strung. Her previous owners kept her in a cage the entirety of her first year of life. She was in a barn, in a cage, and was only brought food and water. As previously described, Border Collies are high energy, working breed dogs. As a result of her neglect, my poor girl suffers from severe separation anxiety, fear of people, loud noises, and new situations. I’m taking her through training to help build her confidence and give her a job to do. Walking through our lobby, my dog has her ears pinned back, a low stature, and tail tucked between her legs. A man pops around the corner and reaches down to try and pet her, loudly saying “Oh what a pretty dog!” In this instance, I was upset. Clearly my girl had been trying to keep a low profile, looking for the sanctity o f the training room. Had this man not taken any of her hints? Or do the vast majority of people not understand how to recognize body language? In this instance, this man could have been bitten, he could have filed a report. I could have had to put my dog to sleep, according to court order , because this man didn’t see my fearful dog trying to tell everyone in the lobby to leave her alone.
Next, I’m going to mention a very popular breed of dog, the German Shepherd dog. This breed is very intelligent, athletic, and loyal to their core. This breed is popular for use in Police Departments, for family protection, and people with active lifestyles. A s a family dog, we can run into some issues. Not every family is active, nor has the time to spend with such an intelligent breed. This dog lives to serve you, but if you’re not asking them to do anything but stay in a kennel while you’re at work all day, you could wind up with some anxious tendencies. I see so many of these dogs who have separation anxiety even in the most active homes. This is a breed that needs to work. No amount of anxiety medication is going to calm that drive they were bred to maintain.
Lastly, if your pet is having accidents in the house, destroying your favorite shoes, going in the kitchen cabinets and eating your cheetos, there’s a reason. Firstly , rule out medical conditions such as internal parasites, irritable bowel, UTI, urinary incotinence, urinary crystals or urinary stones. If it all checks out, this is your pet crying out for attention. Our domesticated dogs are here to please us. We live our lives with dogs, but dogs live their life FOR us. Your pet may not be suited for the lifestyle you have. Maybe, your Saint Bernard doesn’t want to run five miles with you on a 90 degree day. Maybe, your Jack Russell Terrier wants to play more fetch in the backyard wh en you come home. Your dog is eating your shoes because he or she is under stimulated. They’re going to find something to do and they don’t understand that you just bought that sweater to wear at TJMax for half the original price. They’re trying to find something to impress you with while you’re gone.
In short, I hope you’ll take into consideration your needs, and the needs of a breed of dog you want BEFORE purchasing. Do your research before purchasing or adopting any new pet. If you’re having trouble deciding what pet would work for your family, ask your local veterinarian. They would be so pleased to hear from a responsible future pet owner, and help you out with meeting your new best furry friend.