How to Choose the Right Breed for You


The choice of a breed is not always as easy at it seems for a family and dog breeds are not interchangeable. For a long time, man has bred dogs to do particular jobs. Today, few dogs do those jobs, but they still harbor the skills and adaptations that made them successful in their original careers. With these diverse set of skills, each breed requires different types and amounts of training, food, and exercise; each breed has different "personalities" and drives. For instance, some are laid back and gentle, some are dominant; some are noisy; some dig holes, climb fences, etc. Others are always looking for something to do and can be destructive if not given enough. Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and disciplines thus, one must be knowledgeable about the breed they bring into their home to allow for the best possible family match and care for the canine. One factor that is important to consider when choosing a breed is cost. Some breeds have higher medical, training and maintenance bills than others. Purebreds are more expensive than mutts. Dogs with dominant personalities generally need more training sessions than mild-mannered dogs. Different breeds have various coat types and thus vary in grooming care and cost. Food as well varies among breeds. Larger dogs will be more expensive to feed than smaller dogs. Remember, dismissing a dog because it sheds or barks too much is not the dogs fault, but merely a lack of education and research made by the owner beforehand. Incompatibility is heartbreaking for both owner and canine so these steps are very important for a successful pairing. Next, one must determine what kind breed best fits their living space and lifestyle. If one does not have a enough room for a known energetic breed, the canine will find other  more destructive ways to exert their energy. Finally, know your breed. Dwindle down the choices and begin to research, contact breeders and possibly engage with the breed to know all you can before making a final decision.


The AKC divides dogs into seven groups: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding.  Dogs in the sporting group include the setters, pointers, spaniels, retrievers, and a handful of others, were all bred to hunt game birds. Their personalities range from mild to hard-headed to tough, but all are suitable family dogs for an active household of patient owners. However, if you don't want to train your sporting breed, forget about the Weimaraner or Chesapeake Bay Retriever, for these breeds can be domineering if not taught mind their master. If you have boisterous or overzealous children, cross the Cocker Spaniel off the list, for Cockers will not abide rough handling or teasing. If you cannot keep your dog confined in a securely fenced yard when he's not under direct supervision, choose a breed that is more willing to be a homebody; the sporting dogs were bred to hunt, and most will take advantage of every opportunity to follow their noses up hill and down dale. The best of the sporting group are the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever. They enjoy the attention of well-behaved children, are relatively easy to train and care for. The Brittany and the English Springer Spaniel are smaller but have the same great personality traits and sparkling manner as the retrievers. The setters are very high energy dogs that are great for active families. The pointers are smart, working dogs, but require persistent training.

The hounds come in many sizes and in two basic types -- scent hounds and sighthouds. Some of the scent hounds are lethargic, others are almost frenzied to get about the business of following a trail. Most are difficult to obedience train because their noses are always responding to the smells around them. The scent hounds are friendly pets accustomed to working with their handlers in the field. Sighthounds, bred to work independently of the hunter, tend to be aloof and rather tough to obedience train. The scent hounds are Basset; Beagle; Black and Tan Coonhound; Bloodhound; Dachshunds; American and English Foxhounds; Harrier; Norwegian Elkhound; Otterhound; and Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen. The sighthounds are  Afghan Hound; Basenji; Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound); Greyhound; Ibizan Hound; Irish Wolfhound; Pharaoh Hound; Rhodesian Ridgeback; Saluki; Scottish Deerhound; and Whippet.

The working dogs are medium-to-giant size and are often independent and difficult to manage. Some were developed to guard palaces, homes, and livestock, occupations that require true grit. Others were draft animals, hauling carts of fish or cheese or carrying the worldly goods of nomadic tribes. Many of these breeds are aloof and independent with strangers. Working dogs should be accustomed to children at an early age, for a child's unpredictable movements, and high-pitched voice can trigger prey drive in unsocialized or poorly socialized adults of these breeds. Many of the working breeds have thick, downy undercoats and moderately long topcoats that shed once or twice each year. Also to note, most working breeds are not suitable for first time dog owners without a commitment to formal obedience training. Working dogs that are easier to handle are Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dog, Samoyed, Bernese Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Great Dane, and Saint Bernard.

The terriers are also hunting dogs, but their game is generally vermin. The terriers temperament is fiery and are scrappy, ready to take on even giant sized adversaries. On the down side, some terriers are yappy and can be nippy with overactive children. They can also be quite independent and difficult to train for the weak-of-will. Most terriers are tough to train, for they have their own idea of how the world works and that idea frequently differs from the owners'. Terriers are not generally good for rowdy children. However, three terriers, the Border, Irish, and the Soft-coated Wheaten, are considered to be generally good with children. The others are recommended only for families with older, well-behaved youngsters.

Toy dogs, often smaller versions of other breeds, were developed as companions to the ladies and gentlemen of the courts in various nations. Diminutive size does not mean a mildness of temperament; many little dogs are as tough as their larger cousins. As a rule (Pug excepted), they do not like small children, and their movements can be too quick for elderly family members. Toy dogs are generally easy care pets. Some (Shih-Tzu, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese, and Pekingese) require heavy grooming; some (Japanese Chin, Toy Poodle, and English Toy Spaniel) require moderate grooming; and other require little or no grooming. The important thing is to keep the long, fine hairs free of tangles and mats to avoid pain and skin problems for the dog and a big grooming or vet bill for you. Many toy breeds are mass-produced for pet stores and thus have medical issues so be careful who you buy them from.

Most herding dogs are active, intelligent, courageous, and determined. Many are favorites for obedience competition for their strong working bond with their owners. They are mostly medium-to-large in size, but include the smaller Shetland Sheepdog and the two Corgis. The German Shepherd, a versatile working dog, is part of this group, as is the intelligent Border Collie. Be mindful, the German Shepherd is prone to temperament problems because of overbreeding, so it is imperative to seek out a responsible breeder. Herding dogs are subject to hip dysplasia and should be purchased only from breeders who x-ray their stock. Some herding breeds suffer from overpopularity and have flighty or fearful temperaments. Please, take your time and examine the variety of canines large and small, short-haired, long-haired , and wire-haired; active and sedate; loving and aloof; strong, loyal, and independent or soft, cuddly, and intuitive; sloppy and prissy; dignified and silly. Be mindful that there is a breed for everyone, but not everyone is right for every breed.

If this is your first puppy you may want to read this post first Holiday Puppy Adoption. To view all dog breeds view Puppies n Dogs.

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