Dog Breeds and Breed Selection Tips

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How can I be sure the dog breed we choose is right for us?

Don't Love Me Because I'm a Star

It is very easy to become enamored with a breed on the big screen. When the Walt Disney Movie 101 Dalmatians came out people flocked to get a Dalmatian puppy. Unfortunately, many of these people were not aware of the health problems and extensive training that this breed needs. Many Dalmatians ended up unwanted in animal shelters. After the blockbuster movie Men in Black featured a pug, this breed gained instant notoriety and popularity. Pug breeders increased in numbers, producing dogs with unnecessary health issues and people unknowingly purchased these dogs.

So while a movie star breed might still be for you, check to make sure that the breed is compatible with your life and your needs before you make that purchase. Verify that the dog you are looking at is healthy and from a reputable breeder.

   
How can I find the right dog breed for me?

Use an Online Breed Selector

If you want help on deciding what breed to get and you're somewhat Internet savvy, consider going on-line to take a breed selection test. They typically take anywhere from five to ten minutes to complete and ask you various questions about your lifestyle and preferences. You'll be matched with a few compatible breeds according to the answers you supplied along with a description of each breed. What more could you ask for?

   
Should I choose a breed based on appearance?

Don't Love Me for My Looks

It's easy to fall in love with an exotic breed for its striking appearance or a cute puppy you saw on TV. Maybe you're taken by that Siberian Husky, with its lush coat, dark mask, and blue eyes. Or you're smitten with that darling spotted Dalmatian. Unfortunately, some folks love the look of the dog and not the personality. What really matters are the characteristics and energy level of the breeds you are considering. Learn more about dog breeds and which ones are compatible to you.

   
How can I match my dog and my lifestyle?

It's All About the Lifestyle

When considering what kind of breed to get, look at your own lifestyle first and then select a dog. Do you love long hikes or do you prefer to lounge at home in front of the TV? Do you live in a one bedroom apartment or do you have a home with a yard big enough for a dog to roam? Do you have kids or plan to soon? A Samoyed might be a great dog to have for a family due to its friendly, tolerant nature. A Brittany might be ideal for the active, outdoorsman due to its energetic and athletic qualities. Consider how a certain breed will fit into your home and you'll likely find the perfect canine to be part of your life.

   
How do dog breeds varying besides in size?

Consider a Breed's History

When selecting a breed, consider the history of the breed to help you decide if the dog might be right for you. For instance, dogs in the working group generally like some sort of structure and a task to keep them occupied. Dogs from the toy group were bred to be companions and are happiest simply spending time with their owners.

   
What besides walking and frisbee can I do to exercise my dog?

Active Breeds

So you're looking for a dog to go jogging with, take some hikes, and maybe try a competition sport or two?

In general consider a dog from the Working Group or Sporting Group. Working dogs like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies would do well covering some outdoor terrain with you. A dog from the Sporting Dog group --- such as the Golden Retriever or English Pointer are high energy dogs and would love go accompany you on a physical jaunt to burn off some steam!

   
What dog breeds are in the sporting group?

The Sporting Group

In the field, this dog breed works in concert with their human counterpart to increase the effectiveness of the hunt. These dogs are at home in the bush or in the water.

* Spaniels will move back and forth, flushing game to be taken down with the hunter's rifle.
* Retrievers will do just that - retrieve game (usually fowl) that has been downed by the hunter.
* Pointers and Setters will set off in front of the hunter. Then when they come upon their prey, they will freeze, showing the way towards the prey.

In a domestic environment, these dogs require lots of physical exercise and are usually happiest playing a game of fetch.

   
What dog qualities should I consider in picking a breed?

Consider This:
No. 3

Each breed of dog has traits that are unique to that breed. Consider when choosing a breed whether you want an active dog or a calm one. Consider whether you want a large dog, medium dog, or toy dog. And consider whether you one that requires little grooming or a lot.

   
Should I choose a breed based on appearance?

Consider a Mixed Breed Dog

A mixed breed dog can be a wonderful addition to a family. They typically cost less than the purebreds. And they can be free of genetic problems that plague some purebred dogs. You can find mixed breed dogs at shelters in almost any community. You'll have the added bonus of giving a new home to an unwanted pooch.

   
Could you give me some information on the papillion dog breed?

Papillion: The Butterfly Dog

Just looking at this tiny pup, you might expect it to take flight! Its oversized ears have earned it the nickname "the butterfly dog," but the Papillion (pronounced PAP-ee-yon) is not flighty at all.

The breed is intelligent, friendly, affectionate and a whole lot tougher than it looks. Weighing in at roughly 10 pounds, this dog enjoys a good romp in the yard with its people of whom it is fiercely loyal and protective. One of the oldest dogs on record, the papillion's signature ears can be either erect or drooping, both of which compliment its spotted silky coat. Expect to give your papillion a daily brushing to maintain that coat for up to 16 years (a typical life time).

   
Which dogs shed?

The Shedding Factor

While some dogs appear to shed more than others, all dogs do shed - even those marketed as 'hypo-allergenic.' Some dog breeds have a faster rate of hair replacement and growth --- and accordingly, tend to shed more.

Environment, heredity, and nutrition all play a factor in how much dogs shed. The amount of time that a dog spends in the sunlight and extreme temperature changes affect shedding. Dogs who spend a great deal of time outdoors may shed during seasonal changes to prepare for warmer weather. The amount that a dog sheds may change as he becomes older or sick. And a female dog tends to shed more after she has been in heat.

Regular brushing helps keep shedding to a minimum. If your dog is shedding due to stress, see what you can do to make his day-to-day life more relaxed and structured. If you are looking for a low shed breed, try the Poodle or a dog from the sight hound group, such as a Greyhound or Saluki. Remember that a dog's coat needs attention, whether they are shedders or not and many breeds require grooming (professional or maintenance by the owner at home).

   
Which dogs are in the hound group?

The Hound Group

Historically, these dog breeds have been used for hunting any number of animals. Within this group, you can find scent hounds, such as a Coonhound, and sight hounds, like the Greyhound and Borzoi.

Although some Hounds are mostly silent, like the Basenji, others display ability to produce a unique sound, called baying. Think of a pack of Foxhounds or Beagles on the trail of their prey, and you'll get the idea.

Unlike dogs of the retriever family, which wait for direction from their master, hounds lead the way, chasing down their quarry by sight, sound, and scent.

   
Which dogs drool a lot?

The Drool Factor

If you are not opposed to a little drool around the house, you can enjoy the company of breeds such as Saint Bernards, Basset Hounds, and Mastiffs.

However, if too much salivation is less than appealing to you, you're in luck. Most of the dog breeds are not prone to drooling. Keep in mind, however, that drooling is sometimes caused by health issues such as dental decay, or nervousness. Always research the breed that you are interested in beforehand and ask the breeder about particular characteristics to see if a dog is compatible to your lifestyle.

   
Are mixed breed dogs a good idea?

Mixed Breed Dogs

If you have done your research to carefully select a dog that's right for you and discover several breeds fit your lifestyle, it can never be a bad idea to get a mixed breed from a shelter. Many times mixed breeds are free from the health issues that plague their purebred counterparts in closed breeding circles.

In fact, the so-called 'designer dogs' such as the Cockapoo, ChiWeenie, etc. are basically mixed breeds! Two purebred parents of different breeds still produce a mixed breed puppy despite the fancy marketing term and added purchase price.

If you're getting a mixed breed from a shelter, you have the added advantage that many of these dogs have had basic canine obedience and socialization. Unless you are getting a puppy, you also will be privy to information about the dog's personality, particular likes and dislikes. Your adoption fee will also be much less than the cost of buying a purebred puppy from a breeder. And the best part is that you'll be giving a canine a new home.

   
What is the toy dog breed group known for?

The Toy Group

Dogs of the Toy Group epitomize the idea of a companion dog. Small, compact and portable, these dog breeds are mostly miniature versions of other breeds, such as the Italian Greyhound, or the Miniature Pinscher.

Others, like the Chihuahua, are a breed unto themselves. Due to their small size, dogs from the Toy Group are popular with city dwellers, since they tend to be under 20 pounds.

   
What is the most important factor in choosing a breed?

Consider This: No. 4

Another important factor to consider when choosing a breed of dog is selecting one that is compatible with your needs and lifestyle. Always evaluate the temperament, training needs, grooming needs, and exercise needs of the dog and make sure that it fits with your day to day life.

   
What were terriers bred for?

Terrier Truths

Terriers were bred to hunt vermin and tend to have a high energy level and an uncanny ability to stick with a task until it is done to their satisfaction. This tenacity is an excellent trait for ratting. However, the same determined trait poses challenges when Terriers are placed in other situations. This breed group is not likely to back down from a challenge and is best suited to individuals who are diligent in training their dogs. People must also be able to appreciate the tough, energetic level of this breed group.

   
What dog breeds are in the working group?

The Working Group

The Working Group contains dog breeds which historically have served humans in the duty of guarding, sledding, and performing water rescues. Because of their size, these breeds are not the best choice for the inexperienced dog owner.

When properly trained, dogs of the working group excel at their intended purpose, for example:

* The Newfoundland does well at water rescue.
* The Alaskan Malamute is skilled at sled pulling.
* The Mastiff breed is designed for guard duty.

These dogs also make fine companion dogs if you have the space and the dedication.

   
How can I avoid making a mistake a picking a puppy?

Pick the Right Pup

When choosing the right puppy for you, always make sure that you have considered your lifestyle and are looking at a breed that is a good match. Then find a reputable breeder through your local kennel club. Spend some time to ask the breeder questions and interact with the puppy that you are interested in one on one. Make sure that the puppy is active and well socialized. You should check that the breeder will allow you to take the puppy to the veterinarian for an examination before you make your final purchase.

   
Are popular breeds a good choice for me?

Popularity is Not Enough Reason

Popularity is not a good enough reason to select a breed. Although some breeds are popular because they carry traits that are ideal to a broad spectrum of people, dog breeds also become popular for the wrong reasons. Occasionally, there is a surge in the popularity of a breed that was featured in a movie or television show. People may think that the pooch is ideal without knowing the care required for that particular breed. It's always a good idea to do your research on the characteristics of specific dog breeds before making your decision.

   
Where can I go for breed-specific answers to my questions?

Breed Information - Get the Specifics

So you want to get specific information on a breed. Where do you go?

You can participate in on-line breed discussion groups to meet other members with your interests, share advice specific to your breed, and learn the latest information on your breed. On-line discussion groups are a great way to get instant responses and information.

Another way that you can find information specific to a breed of dog is by visiting the website of a dog breed club or contacting one of their board members.

   
What is the terrier dog breed known for?

The Terrier Group

Anyone who has owned a dog from the Terrier Group can attest to the Terrier mentality. Energetic, sharp, and independent, terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill rats and other vermin.

Later, in the 1800's, Terriers such as the Pit Bull were bred for fighting. Today, Terriers are mostly used as companion dogs. With their determined nature, they don't easily back down from a confrontation and don't always exhibit a high tolerance for other animals and dogs. This breed is suited for those who enjoy the spirited, feisty nature of Terrier dogs.

   
What are the new designer dog breeds?

The New Breeds

In recent years, there has been a rise in the breeding of specific mixed breeds to create what aficionados refer to as "designer dogs" and what naysayers refer to as simply mutts.

The most common of these new breeds are Poodle crosses, due to a Poodle's lack of shedding. This means almost no allergy rate in their human owners. Some of the common mixes are the following:

Labradoodle - a Labrador Retriever and Poodle mix
Yorkipoo – a Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle mix
Cockapoo – a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mix
Schnoodle – a Schnauzer and Poodle mix

If you are considering a Poodle mix, or other mixed breed, keep in mind the resultant dog could have physical and temperament attributes of either parent breed.

   
What personal factors should I consider when picking a breed?

Consider This:
No. 2

When choosing a dog breed, consider your history. Consider your previous experience with dog ownership. Consider the kind of relationship you hope to have with your dog. And consider the amount of time you have for training, grooming and exercising your dog.

   
Should I consider my experience with dogs when picking a breed?

Match Your
Experience Level

When considering dog breeds, take into consideration your own level of experience with dogs. Some breeds are easier to care for, handle and train than others, based on their size, temperament, activity level, health issues, and grooming needs. For example, a Shiba Inu is a dog that requires an experienced hand and is not a dog for beginners. A Golden Retriever is a popular family dog due to its good disposition and trainability.

   
Are you seeking a large dog that is good with children?

Hounds: Consider the Irish Wolfhound

If you're looking for a large breed that is also good with children, then consider the Irish Wolfhound. This breed is known as the "gentle giant" due to its sweet disposition despite its sheer size. An adult dog is well over 100 pounds and stands over 30 inches tall at the shoulders. And the bonus is that the Irish Wolfhound needs minimal grooming and sheds very little.

   
What dog breeds are in the herding group?

The Herding Group

The newest of the AKC dog breed classification, created in 1983, denotes dog breeds which have the ability to control or herd other animals, namely cows and sheep.

Dogs of this group are highly intelligent and require much stimulation in a non-working environment. Many people use Herding dogs in agility courses.

At home, these dogs are known to herd their human counterparts, which can be quite amusing. Some breeds included in this group are the Corgi, the Australian Cattle Dog, and the Border Collie.

   
What personal factors should I consider in choosing a breed?

Consider This:
No. 1

When choosing a dog breed, think about the circumstances in your life. Consider your health and whether you have any allergies. Consider what your financial resources are. And also consider the amount of space in your house and yard to share with your dog. Choose a dog to match your resources.

   
How can I choose the dog for me?

Breed Recognition

In the United States, the American Kennel Club recognizes over 150 breeds of dogs. In order for a new breed to be recognized, the AKC considers whether there have been many generations of a new breed that has retained the same characteristics. There must also be a national parent club for the new breed that adheres to AKC guidelines. And there must be enough interest in the new breed itself.

   
How can my family decide on the best dog breed for us?

Assess Your Needs

When deciding the type of dog to get, first assess your family's needs. Are you looking for an active dog or a mellow one? Do you want a dog primarily for companionship or as a watchdog? Do you have a large backyard or do you live in an apartment? Then do your homework on breed characteristics and match those characteristics to your family's lifestyle.

   
What are dogs used for?

Canine Careers - Is your breed doing their job as bred?

Dogs were originally bred for a variety of specific tasks ranging from hunting to herding to life as companion animals. Today, dogs can hold a variety of careers, and if they were bred for a specific job and are not doing in their life, it is usually becomes a behavior issue to address.

Here's a partial list of some jobs that dogs have: • Therapy Dogs – These canines help bring cheer to a broad range of people including disadvantaged children, the elderly, and those recovering from psychological trauma. • Canine Search and Rescue Dogs – These dogs go where disasters strike and help to find and rescue folks who need help. • Narcotic and Drug Dogs – Canines in narcotic and drug work sniff out illegal substances for law enforcement. • Canine Actors – They're highly trained entertainment professionals. These dogs appear in films, television shows, commercials, and live performances.

   
Am I ready to get a puppy?

Pet Alternatives to Dogs

If you really want a pet, but you don't have the time to care for a dog, then consider that there may be other options for you. Typical lower maintenance pets include fish, small birds, cats, and some members of the reptile family.

If you're still keen on spending time with a canine, you can still volunteer your time to be a dog handler or dog walker at your local animal shelter. You can spend anywhere from several hours a week to just a few hours a month of your time.

   
Where can I find information on dog clubs and organizations?

Join Specialty Clubs

If you're locating information on a specific breed club or organization, a good source is through the American Kennel Club. The American Kennel club recognizes over 150 breeds and has listings for conformation, obedience, and tracking, among others. Other good sources to try would be local breed rescue groups, veterinarians, and professional trainers in your area.

   
Where can I get suggestions for dog breeds for my family?

The Advice of Family and Friends

Although it's fine to ask the opinion of family and friends to point you in the right direction when selecting a breed, always do your own research as well. Remember that the well-meaning people you know have a different set of criteria when imparting their judgment of the best breeds. And their opinions may not necessarily be best for you. Additionally, it's always best to speak to a breeder who can give you educated information about a particular breed's temperament, health issues, and daily care.

   
Which dogs are in the non sporting group?

The Non-Sporting Group

Dog breeds of this group run the gamut from small to large, short hair to long hair. This breed group of the AKC classifications contains a mixed bag of dog types.

Included in this group are the Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Shiba Inu, and Poodle just to name a few. The history of these breeds is varied.

* Chows were used in ancient China as guard dogs.
* Poodles were first bred for water retrieval.

Because there is no standard profile in this group, it is best to do your research, and get all the dog breed information you can before deciding on a dog from this group.

   
How can I find the right dog breed for me?

Discover Breeds at a Dog Show

If you're trying to decide on a breed of dog and want to see a variety all in one spot, go to a dog show! They take place year round throughout the country and often have a variety of breeds competing at the same time. You'll get the chance to see the dogs in action and get an idea of breed temperament. This is also an excellent location to try and locate a good breeder or to ask questions.

   
What is the history of dog breeds?

The Domestication of Dogs

The oldest known remains of dogs date back about 15,000 years ago. But the start of the interaction of wolves, the dog's ancestor, and people goes back over 125,000 years ago.

There are several theories as to how wolves and people began to interact. One theory suggests that the paths of wolves and humans may have crossed because of our similar hunting techniques. Both people and our four-legged counterparts used teamwork in order to capture prey. People may have realized that wolves, with their keener sense of smell and hearing, were better able to locate the next meal as well as ward off predators. And then perhaps we began to feed the wolves. Thus, was the start of our co-existence.

Some of the earliest breeds of dogs include hounds from Egypt resembling our modern day sight hounds such as the saluki, greyhound, and the Ibizan hound. Many paintings depicted on Egyptian walls, sculptures, and tombs show the close relationship that people had with their dogs as early as 4500 B.C.

   
Why Should I Be Worried About The Size Of My Dog

Dog Breed Size Is Important to Know

Buying a new puppy is a great thing to do. However, once you get your bundle of joy home, you may not realize they are going to grow and get huge quickly. Since this is possible, here are some of the reasons why you should know exactly how large the dog is going to get that you have just purchased.

1. The dogs can easily outgrow your home if you get a large breed or giant breed dog for your smaller home. When this happens, you will either have to adapt to picking items up all the time or getting rid of the dog that you have grown attached to and love.

2. Amount of food these dogs eat is larger then what you are used to having to feed a smaller dog. So you can expect to have a higher food bill then what you are thinking you would have because large breed dogs can often eat a fifty pound bag of food in a week to two weeks.

When you are buying a new puppy you may not think about how large the dogs are going to get when they get older. However, this is one of the main things you need to think about. Once you find out about the size of the adult dog, you can make a choice on if the dog breed is proper for you or not.

   
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William Pirraglia