Most people already have an idea of the breed of dog that they want to make a member of their family, however they may not really understand what the specific breed was originally bred for. They may have never asked themselves the question, what breed of dog should I get? This can make a huge difference on whether or not your new puppy will be a good fit for your household. For instance, I love Belgian Malinois dogs, they are the Usain Bolt, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, all wrapped in one, of the dog world. They are, unfortunately, too much dog for me. I have run marathons, done other endurance events, but they are still too much dog for me. This breed is excellent for the military, police, and private security, but for the majority of the population this breed would not be appropriate. What is sad is you can google Belgian Malinois rescue organizations and find lots of dogs available for adoption. Some of these adoptable dogs have the caveat, not good with children, other animals, or teens.
Another thing to consider is the health of the breed, take for instance the Bernese Mountain dog, a great big giant beautiful dog. Who wouldn’t want one of these majestic animals. Except that the average lifespan of this breed is 6-8 years. It seems that they are especially prone to hereditary cancers, along with hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, epilepsy, heart disease, eye diseases, autoimmune diseases, and blood clotting diseases.
Something else to consider is the size of the dog when they are full grown and if you will be able to control your dog in an emergency situation. Not always a situation that you may see as an emergency, but your dog can assess a situation as an emergency that you or I would look at as just plain silly. A plastic bag blowing across the parking lot, an inflatable Santa Claus, the list is endless. To give an illustration of this, I was at the vet’s office with my dog waiting to get out of the car when I noticed another car pull up beside me with two huge Saint Bernards. The man and a lady got out of the car, each one with one of the dogs on a leash. So far everything was good. One of the things that I noticed immediately was both the man and the lady were having some obvious mobility issues. On top of this, the man was also on a portable oxygen tank. One of the dogs decided it no longer wanted to be led and wanted to do some investigating on its own. So with not much effort the dog broke free of the man. Once this dog was free, the other dog, not wanting to be outdone, broke free from the lady. Now there were two massive Saint Bernards roaming around the parking lot in a busy shopping center. They tried calling them A LOT, but to their dogs they no longer existed. My wife and I were able to get them corralled back up and returned them to their owners. I talked with their owners for a while and discovered that they were still pups, only eight months old and both over a hundred pounds. If I were to guess I would say they were both probably out of the same litter due to both of them being the same age, another huge mistake. Something I would blame on an unscrupulous breeder. Well, not long after being back with their owners they both decided that being free was so much fun that they decided to do it again, but this time they should stay far away from those strangers that returned them to their owners the first time. So they both broke free again and this time they headed south east across the parking lot and over the prairie until they were both out of sight.
Be honest with yourself when you are contemplating the different breeds, is this dog just too much dog for me? Are they prone to barking and I like quiet? Will they be too big that I won’t be able to control them in all situations? Do they drool and I really can’t stand drool? How much do they shed? How active are they? How active am I? What are some health issues for this breed? You can start to research some breed choices here https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/ . Once you have narrowed your selection down, talk to some Vets about the breeds you are considering. Do they have any information on that particular breed’s health? Go to https://apdt.com/ select a trainer, and contact some trainers in your area about the breeds that you are considering. Are they difficult to train? Do they have any resource guarding tendencies? If you have an AKC club in your area and they have puppy classes, drop in on a puppy class, ask some of the trainers there about the particular breed. Understand that at the AKC classes there are all kinds of breeds at the classes, not just purebreds. Above all be honest about what you want, and what you are able to handle, when you ask yourself the question, what breed of dog should I get?
My next post will be on where you should get your puppy from, and the questions that you should ask.
What have your experiences been with particular breeds?