choosing a dog you are entering a relationship that can last 10-15 years or
longer so compatibility is of utmost importance. It would serve you well
to not solely rely on looks and a brief description found on an internet site
or a book about dogs.
Energy Level / Activity Level
not get a dog that you cannot or will not fulfill their exercise needs. Get a
dog with a level of energy that matches the family. The dog's energy or
activity level should be equal to or less than the family's.
high energy dog will not be happy being left alone all day with nothing to do
and nowhere to go. This can lead to behavior most would consider destructive.
Energy Levels: Low, Medium, High, Very High
important consideration is whether you can physically control the dog. A twenty
pound active dog may be too much for some to handle.
Toy size dogs
generally move quickly out of your way, whereas larger dogs often lay there and
don't move when you are walking toward them which can result in tripping over
them. Small children can easily injure a small dog by falling on them, or not
treating them gently. It is also not unusual for a small dog to feel the need
to defend themselves rather than running and hiding.
dogs shed, but dogs with hair that is clipped, are generally considered
hypoallergenic. It is not the hair or fur that causes the allergic reactions,
but rather the skin cells known as dander. This dander gets onto the dog's fur
so dogs that shed frequently can result in more dander in the environment.
Larger dogs will naturally have more dander just based on their size.
hair dogs can often get by with a brushing once a week, while some long hair
dogs can require daily brushing. Some dogs require professional grooming and
clipping to keep their coats in good condition.
with a double or undercoat will shed a greater volume of fur. Other dogs like
the Dalmatian will shed year-round. If you are wearing white, they will shed
black hair on you. If you are wearing black, you will have white hair on
are dogs that characteristically have a temperamental disposition to
assertiveness. Published bred profiles that include comments like "unsuitable
for inexperienced dog owners" "needs consistent, determined owner", "requires
experienced owners", and "requires experienced and authoritative owners" are
not advised for the easy-going, permissive, and or first time dog owner. These
dogs range in size from the toy to large breeds. These dogs require a 100%
committed assertive leader. It is not required to be harsh to control these
dogs; in fact it is recommended that you are not. While most dog owners would
not be a good match for these dogs, they can be great dogs for those who have
the proper knowledge and necessary skills.
dogs like children, some tolerant, and others want nothing to do with them.
This is influenced by breed, early socialization, and life experiences. If the
dog will live with children look for a dog that likes children, a dog should
not have to tolerant them. Dogs with a
more independent nature may not tolerate much handling.
dogs are uncomfortable around toddlers and young children. Dogs that are
nervous, high energy, touch-sensitive, or have dominant tendencies are
generally not a good match for younger children.
There is no set age where
it is appropriate for children and dogs to be together. The child's age is
arbitrary because the maturity of children varies. Dogs and
children should always be supervised when together. Children must be taught to respect dogs and
understand that they can be a playmate, but they are not a play thing.
Young children don't have the ability to
make a distinction between appropriate and provoking behavior when interacting
with dogs. Dogs
should not have to tolerate constant touching, handling, restraining, or abuse
by children. Hugging often times is annoying for dogs and can be viewed as threatening.
Herding breeds will have the tendency to chase
children and are set off by the movement of bicycles, roller skates, etc... and
are prone to nipping.
Scent hounds breeds generally would rather play hid-and-seek, and find
a ball or toy rather than catch, chase or retrieve it.
Guarding breeds and Terriers
characteristically do not like to share. They can be taught to share and
retrieve, but this is best done before 16-weeks of age. This is a consideration
around small children.
Adult or Puppy?
require a greater commitment then that of adult dogs. Puppies need to be feed
more often, given more frequent potty breaks, need to receive several
vaccinations until about 4 months of age, need to be handled more, socialized,
and exposed to the world in a controlled manner to prevent the development of
behavior problems. This must start with the breeder to prevent future
you choose a puppy, you must be prepared for the challenges of the juvenile
period from 3 to 6 months, and the adolescence stage from about 6 months to up
to 3 years in some breeds until they reach social maturity.
is often considered the most difficult period of dog ownership, and the age at
which many dogs are surrendered to animal shelters. Sadly, many dogs will never
see their second birthday because many people apply permanent solutions to
temporary problems by surrendering their dogs to animal shelters.
Most puppies are
destructive between 6-18 months as they explore their environment. It is a
natural stage that many unknowingly maintain this behavior by restricting the
dog's freedoms, keeping them bored, frustrated, anxiety, etc...
If you are set on getting a
puppy, please download and read: How To Buy A Puppy @
With an adult dog you can
see physically what you are getting in the way of size, color and appearance.
It is not always apparent what the extent of previous learning has been or what
the temperament or personality of the dog is without spending the time to
Adult dogs are available
for adoption for various reasons. Some of the reasons can include the dog is a
stray and the family never bothered to search for the dog, the dog may have had
behavior problems, the dog was too active for the family, too much to handle,
or the family did not have enough time to spend with the dog, and often
everyone in the family did not want the dog from the start.
Since animal shelters do
not resemble a home environment you cannot be sure of what behaviors that you
will see in the home.
test will not guarantee the dog's future behavior, because the dog's behavior
is influenced not only by genetics and what it has previously learned, but it
is greatly influenced by the environment and new owners.
Each breed and individual dog's
development period will vary slightly. When choosing a dog the dog's genetics
are very important because they determine a dog's individual tendencies and
predispositions that affect its behavior.
Purebreds, Crossbreeds, & Mutts
are several considerations when looking to adopt a dog, one of which is
choosing between a purebred, crossbreed, or a mutt.
A purebred dog has had most of the genetic variety bred out
of them to select for size, appearance and temperament, thereby providing the
ability to predict the likely characteristics of the dog as an adult and the
has contributed to numerous genetic disorders in purebreds today, so they should
only be purchased directly from a reputable breeder and never a puppy store or
backyard breeder. Rather than purchase, consider adopting a purebred from a
shelter or rescue. You will not have to pay the inflated purchase price. For
additional information read "How To Buy A Puppy". @ www.howtobuyapuppy.net
of two purebred parents of different breeds. Much like purebred dogs there is a
better chance of determining likely characteristics because the genetic makeup
is still limited.
are either mixed breeds or crossbreds. With mutts, review the physical features
such as the ear shape, shape and size of skull, chest size, feet, tail, color
and texture of coat, energy level and behavior to determine the likely genetic
influences. If choosing a puppy, adult size and appearance is difficult to
determine. Mutts or mixed bred dogs are
generally not subject to the inbreeding of purebreds or the limited gene pool,
but there are no assurances a mixed bred dog will not develop a genetically
are no "best" breeds or types of dogs. Differing dogs are better for certain situations. There are no
perfect dogs, which should not be surprising since there are no perfect people.
is important to understand what job the intended breed was designed for. It may
be a high energy dog that was developed to herd, or to find and kill small
rodents. It may be a guarding breed, or developed to assist humans with
hunting, or just breed as a companion dog.
part of your research, look up the breed standards and other descriptions of
any dog you are considering.
aloof, with a certain keen fierceness"
"tends to show
dominance to other dogs"
"fearless and with well developed protective
"loyal and affectionate to those who earn his
you have guests at your home regularly, you may not want a dog that is "distrustful of strangers". If you are easy going or permissive, a dog that is
described as "loyal and affectionate to those who earn his respect" is probably
not the right dog for you.
you do not want to live with excessive drooling, research the breed you are
considering carefully. Some of the more popular dogs such as the Boxer, Great
Dane, Newfoundland, English Bulldog, and the Basset Hound and many others may
not be to your liking due to drooling. These are not the only excessive droolers,
so it will serve you to you your homework before choosing a dog.
Common with many in this group is predatory behavior
directed at small animals with fur. This can include rabbits, squirrels, cats
or even small dogs. These breeds need early socialization to small animals so
that cats and small dogs are not looked upon in the same light as rabbits which
were hunted for food.
They typically are considered more independent /
aloof and less interested in human direction which can make them harder to
These are a
sprinting breed that can have remarkable stamina as they chase down prey. Sight
hounds hunt in two different ways: They chase, catch and kill, or they chase
and capture and wait for the hunter to arrive to kill the prey. They are not a
vocal breed, they hunt silently. They are easily distracted due to a strong
predatory chase drive.
Many will require a
considerable amount of daily exercise.
Many of the Sight Hounds with short-coats and low body fat will seek out
soft resting places such as your couch or bed unless you provide a comfortable
resting place for them.
Sight hounds were
breed to work independently and are often described as dignified and aloof but
trustworthy companions. They are known to be a soft breed, both physically and
emotionally and extra care should be used in training.
Greyhound, Pharaoh Hound, Afghan Hound, Irish Wolfhound
Scent hounds range in size from
small short-legged hounds, medium-built athletic hounds, to the large
Some follow scents with their nose
on the ground following a trail, and others with their nose in the air to track
their prey. They are distracted by
scents. Scent hounds are long distant runners and if in an unsecured area are
often just happy wonderers following the path that their nose takes them.
They are a vocal
breed; they bark, bay or howl on the hunt. Some of these breeds like company,
and if left alone they will bay or howl to call out to others.
While some of the
breeds, specifically the large, heavy-bodied hounds need a modest amount of
exercise; most of the medium-built athletic hounds will require a considerable
amount of daily exercise. Scent hounds
generally would rather find a ball or toy rather than catch, chase or retrieve
Beagle, Bloodhound, Basset Hound, Rhodesian
Ridgeback, American Foxhound
Sporting / Gun Dogs
They are naturally active and alert and make good companions and great
family dogs for those who will provide regular, vigorous exercise. They are
generally less physically sensitive making them good around small children, but
that does not mean children should be unsupervised or that the dog should be
expected to tolerate harassment or abuse. They were bred to work with humans so
they do not want to be along all day.
American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker
Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel
Other Dogs with Spaniel Names
The King Charles
Spaniel was bred exclusively as a companion dog. The Tibetan Spaniel was bred as an alarm dog
and companion for the monks in Tibet.
English Setter, Gordon Setter, Irish Setter, Irish
Red and White Setter
English Pointer, German Short-haired
Pointer, Weimaraner, Vizsla
Standard Poodle, Labrador Retriever,
Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Livestock / Pastoral Dogs
This group was bred for the protection or herding of livestock. Typically have double coats to protect it
from the elements.
These are large
strong dogs that are considered fearless guardians that were required to
protect livestock from predators and thieves.
Most are naturally suspicious of strangers and need early socialization
to other dogs to prevent problems with aggression.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Komondor, Kuvasz, Pyrenean
high-strung, high-energy dogs that need lots of exercise. Herding breeds need a
job. If you do not provide one, they will create one. Their herding instincts
can lead them to chase cars, bicycles, kids on roller skates, children, etc...
They also are prone to movement motivated nipping.
characteristically bond strongly with one person and are highly trainable since
they were breed to work with humans. Most need early socialization to other
dogs to prevent problems with aggression.
Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Collie
The working group is comprised of Service Dogs, working with and
assisting humans, and Property Guards which often worked
independently of humans.
The working breeds can be high in reactivity and moderate to high in
aggression. Many tend to bond strongly to one owner or family. Their size and
strength make it imperative that they live in a structured environment and be
These breeds were
used to pull heavy loads on wheeled carts behind them.
Mountain Dog, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Newfoundland
These dogs are
extremely powerful high-energy dogs that need a considerable amount of
exercise. They are known for their independent
Malamute, Siberian Husky, Canadian Eskimo Dog
Their task was to
run or walk alongside or behind horse drawn carriages to protect the travelers
and their property.
These dogs require
a strong leader and are not for novice owners. They are loyal and can range
from affectionate to independent.
Boxer, Doberman, Great Dane, Boerboel,
Toy Group (Companion Dogs)
The Toy Group is primarily comprised of dogs whose sole purpose is as
companion animals. Most of the dogs in this group are considered affectionate
and loyal and like attention. The majority of the toy breeds do not need a
great amount of exercise.
Bichon Fries, Italian Greyhound, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Chihuahua
Some of the dogs placed into this breed group are placed into this
category due to their small size. Dogs such as the Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Manchester Terrier, and Miniature Pinscher
(breed smaller since its working days) were household or city dogs used to
control vermin and can be classified as Earth Dogs.
This group derives its name from the Latin terra, meaning earth. They
are often described as feisty, energetic, excitable, highly reactive,
tenacious, extremely brave and tough with little tolerance for other animals,
including other dogs. This is generally
a vocal breed that likes to bark. They are naturally curious, have high prey
drives and like to dig.
They were breed to work independent of humans so they are
characteristically more independent or aloof by nature. This can make them more of a challenge to
Many of the terriers
have wiry coats that require regular and special grooming known as stripping.
Terriers as a whole are not big shedders.
Russell, West Highland White Terrier, Australian Terrier, Airedale
Other Dogs with Terrier Names
The Silky Terrier
was breed from Terrier lines but it is not classified as a Terrier, but rather
listed in the Toy Group since it was breed as a household companion dog.
The Tibetan Terrier
is not classified as a Terrier since they are not true Terriers. They were
breed as companion animals and to herd sheep. It could be classified as a
pastoral herding breed.
Included in the
terrier group are dogs that are not earth dogs, but rather they are crosses
between terriers and bulldogs to create a tenacious fighting dog. Today their
primary use is as a companion animal despite its original purpose these dogs
are generally friendly with people.
Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier
A number of dogs were originally bred with fearless
temperaments to be fighting dogs. Like so many other breeds of dogs, these
groups today are not usually breed for their original purpose. Although these
dogs have a heightened genetic potential for aggression, their temperament has
been refined into the breeds they are today.
Dogs are individuals and they vary greatly. When there
is a problem with aggression it is not merely genetics, but rather has often
been enhanced by humans.
Today these dogs are listed in the Non-Sporting Group, Working Group, or
the Utility Group by different Kennel
Akita, Boston Terrier, English
Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Shar Pei
Please choose carefully;
I"ve met many dogs who when they were adopted believed they
were going to a home with their new best friend and companion. Sadly, many
ended up with an address and an acquaintance. Others ended up at an animal
shelter and were euthanized because of overcrowding.