YOUR BREED CHOICE MUST FIT
TheDogPlace Exhibition Editor /
When selecting a family pet, consideration should be given to temperament,
size, and coat. While not always visible in a puppy, they are predictable in
seven groups in the AKC are: Toy, Herding, Working, Sporting, Non-Sporting,
Terrier, Hound, and Miscellaneous. More miscellaneous breeds are being
accepted into AKC. Dogs initially were bred for a specific purpose and were
grouped and named for that purpose. If pet owners understand a potential
pet’s heritage, fewer surprises occur. Selecting a breed that fits your
lifestyle keeps dogs out of shelters.
Each of the AKC groups
offers a short coat, long coat, wire coat, silky coat, and no-coat such as
the Mexican Hairless and Chinese Crested. Below are some expected traits of
TOY BREEDS: Toy dogs require thoughtful
care due to their diminutive size. They are more vulnerable to theft or
attack if left outside. Hairless breeds sunburn if left outside and most
toy breeds can’t handle extreme cold. Some are heavily coated such as the
Pekingese and Yorkies and need daily grooming. The Minpin or Toy Fox have
smooth tight coats and terrier-like attitude. Bed dogs and lap dogs, most
toys tend to lose teeth early due to miniaturized jaws and some are
difficult to house break. Toys can become “ankle biters and “double as
doorbells” with their yapping. However, if you want an extremely
intelligent, cuddly, portable breed, this is the ticket! Good apartment
dogs, toys require less outside walking. For an outgoing, happy companion,
toy breeds can’t be beat. A long life span finds many outliving their
HERDING BREEDS: Herding dogs are hard wired to herd; cars, bicycles, skates,
children, tractors and stock are fair game. A fenced yard is required. Large
and small, prick ears or folded ears, all herding breeds are sensitive,
extremely smart and eager to please. They do NOT do well outside or chained,
but prefer to be one of the family. Size varies from short-legged Corgis to
swift German Shepherd Dogs. Herding dogs are keen and responsive, excelling
in obedience and agility. Some herding breeds are used in police work.
Protective, they love children. Herding instinct leads them into dangerous
situations, so owners must insure their safety. Herding breeds are
affectionate, responsive companions.
WORKING BREEDS: Working dogs mean business. Dignified, loyal, devoted, and
intelligent, working breeds also participate in rescue and police work.
Bernese and St. Bernards still rescue hikers in the snow covered Alps.
Newfies rescue swimmers and like Great Danes, their size requires space.
Some, such as Pyrenees and Anatolians guard livestock against wolves and
tend to be more independent. The “northern breeds” (Malamute, Siberian,
Samoyed), are bred to travel miles over the tundra. They can cover a lot of
ground in a short time when let loose so be careful. Working breeds need a
job to do and a strong leader so one must be “alpha” when choosing a dog
from this Group. Training classes are important...
SPORTING BREEDS: Hunting and gun dogs are “pointers, setters, and retrievers.” Their
size and coat type varies depending on the job they do. Pointers rapidly
run through rough cover and have short close coats. Spaniels are smaller,
cover less ground, and are easier to keep up with. Water retrievers have
thick, protective coats and require special attention to wet drop ears.
Expect an occasional “water shower”, messy floors, and the occasional skin
problem. Affable, active, friendly and devoted, all sporting breeds assist
the hunter. Devoted to family and job, sporting breeds prefer the front seat
of the truck. Quick and accurate in locating game, most perform well in the
field. Like herding breeds, most dogs bred for the field are high energy and
require lots of exercise. If you like the sweet disposition but don’t need
the high drive, choose a Clumber or Field Spaniel.
HOUND BREEDS: Bunnies and varmints are fair game for hounds. Having an acute sense
of smell, their noses get them into trouble. When on track, they have little
awareness of their surroundings. Some hound breeds flush out fox, deer,
otter, elk, and boar with enthusiasm and courage. Many hounds run in packs.
Sight hounds pursue game by sight, snatching it in strong jaws while
at a racing gallop. Scent hounds go to ground and pursue their game
relentlessly. Some have short legs and are easier to keep up with. Scent
hounds have long ears to cup their head to assist in pulling scent into
nostrils. Their resounding bark and upright “flag” tail identifies their
location for the hunter. Hounds can be single minded, stubborn, and
independent but a pleading expression absolves them of all guilt.
Greyhounds, Borzoi, and Whippets are exotic and graceful. Irish Wolfhounds
are imposing but all hound temperaments are pleasing.
BREEDS: The Non-Sporting
group offers delightful variety. They range in size and purpose as lap dogs,
temple guard dogs, Oriental sleeve dogs, circus performers, and ratters, and
many dogs in this Group once served a noble purpose. Size and coat type
range from the Chow to the Bulldog to two sizes of Poodles and two types of
Tibetan dogs. The Boston Terrier is a good American breed for young and old
alike. Individual breed history is deep and varied. Extensive research into
history (did you know Poodles were German water retrievers?), temperament
(nothing tops the bulldog for unshakable courage), size, and coat care will
serve one well when selecting a dog from this Group.
TERRIER BREEDS: Terriers are active, tough, hardy, and excluding the larger Airedale,
most are small enough to carry. Scotties have been the choice of several
Presidents. General Patton chose the Bull Terrier. Compact and strong, all
terriers wear their scars proudly and should not be penalized for a lively,
aggressive nature. Varmint hunters all; terriers are gay, active, and
fearless. Most are diggers, so if lawn is important to you, study another
group. Most terriers require professional clipping or hand stripping to like
the photos. Tail high, stiff-legged and on tippy toes, terriers love a
challenge! There is little “give” in a terrier, they are
single-minded, determined, and need discipline. If you want a cuddly lap
dog, terriers are not for you but all terrier breeds love people. The Am.
Staffordshire, Staffie Bull and Bull Terrier have sweet temperaments and
make good pets for older children despite the “bum rap” associated with
illegal pit fighting. As with some of the working breeds, check with your
insurance agent regarding coverage.
BREEDS: New breeds desiring
AKC recognition are put into this Group. Many are old world or rare
breeds. Some are quite large and require an experienced handler. If you have
never owned a dog, this is not the place for a pet owner to start because
some of the breeds in this group are foreign breeds which are being further
developed in America. They don’t have the decades of verifiable history and
genetic background of the long-accepted American Kennel Club breeds although
they are admittedly “new” and interesting.
Select a breed that
fits your lifestyle! YOU ALONE are responsible for damages done by your dog,
be it property or person. Proper environment and allocated time for grooming
is important. Dogs must be socialized with older people and children.
Barking and marking may cause a neighbor problem. View your choice at
maturity for growth, coat, and temperament. A spur of the moment purchase
can evolve into an unwanted surprise and inability to keep your pet.
When in doubt, go to
www.AKC.org. Breeder referrals and more detail in purpose of breed is
available. There’s also a whole section on
Choosing The Right Breed in TheDogPlace. If you want to select a shelter
dog, identify its parentage if at all possible. This indicates natural
tendencies, health problems and personality traits that surface as the dog
Enroll in obedience.
Introduce your dog to other breeds. Welcome to the wonderful world of dogs
where new friends and experiences await.
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