Dog Breeds: So You Want a New Best Friend

October 15, 2009

So you want a new best friend. Well why not choose a new best friend known for its undying loyalty and dependability…a dog. But what kind of dog should you get? Simple…first you need to understand your reason for getting a dog.

For example, are you looking for a protector? Then maybe a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler is what you are looking for. Are you more interested in a dog known for its ability to do tricks so you can impress your friends? Then any dog in the terrier or poodle families may be the best choice for you. Maybe you’re overly impressed with the “cuteness” factor of toy breeds.2 Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas, or Shih Tzus may be for you. So let’s take a look at the different breeds.

It can be a daunting task to decide on what kind of dog to buy. There are breeds from which to choose. So how do does the inexperienced future dog owner decide. Simple. The first thing every future master should know is that all dogs, no matter their breed, can be lumped together into four major groups; Working dogs, Sporting Dogs, Toy Dogs and the Mutt. First you have to know why you want a dog. So let’s look at the four categories.ChihuahaMilo1

WORKING DOGS

Working dogs include German Shephards, Rottweilers, Collies, Hounds and nearly all of the larger breeds. These are breeds known for the fierce loyalty, their quick minds and their ability to learn quickly. Shephards and Rottweilers are good for protection and search and rescue. Retrievers and Setters are highly valued to hunters for their ability to swim and track prey. Collies are known for their instinctive herding ability and have been a very important member of the rancher’s families for hundreds of years. Hounds are fantastic trackers and are used by search and rescue teams all over the world because of their incredible sense of smell.

SPORTING DOGS

Retrievers and Setters are the two major exceptions to the rule that most large breeds belong to the working dog category. Retrievers and Setters are highly valued by the sporting and hunting communities for their instinctive ability to retrieve. Hunters use Labrador Retrievers for hunting various birds, especially ducks. Labs are known for their love of the water. That, combined with their innate love of the game fetch, makes the lab the number-one choice of hunters and other sportsman.

TOY DOGS

Toy breeds seem to have the most press in recent years thanks to their popularity with celebrities. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears have brought the Chihuahua back into the spotlight. Jessica Simpson is pushing the lovability of the Maltese. The strongest drawing card for these breeds is the all-powerful “cute factor.” These are the breeds, which also include Shih Tzu’s, Terriers, Pugs and Dachshunds, which are routinely spoiled to the point that their owners no longer realize they even have a canine. They are convinced they have a little human in the house.

MUTTS

Of the breeds available, Mutts are probably the most plentiful and the most diverse. Everything from a Cockapoo (part Cocker, part Poodle) to a Rottsund (part Rottweiller, part Dachshund) is available. Mutts come in all shapes, sizes, colors, temperaments and personalities. And they can be found in every Humane Society and Rescue Society in the world. They can be smart and they can be stupid. They can be cute and they can be downright ugly. And the best part…with a Mutt, there’s definitely a dog out there for everyone.

There are of course other things to consider when buying a dog. What is its reputation with children? How big do they get? What are the health problems associated with a certain breed? Am I going to show the dog or is it primarily going to be a pet? All good questions, and all should be thoroughly researched before deciding on a certain breed. But before you consider the answers to breed-specific questions, you should understand your own reasons for owning a dog. If you are looking for a protector and go to the local pound and take home a Chihuahua, neither you or Tinkerbelle are going to be happy. So before you do your research and decide to buy a dog, do a little soul searching. If you understand and accept your own reasons for getting a dog, it will make you a more understanding owner. That understanding translates to a happy dog. And isn’t that what all dog owners want.

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