1. Working dogs include St. Bernard's, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Huskys, and lots more. All of these breeds are large and need room for exercise. These dogs also need lots of socialization and obedience training. They are extremely intelligent and eager to learn, but they need a job. They were bred to work. A bored dog is a problem.
2. Sporting dogs are a popular choice for many families. This group includes the Labrador Retriever (my favorite and America's favorite) The group includes spaniels, retrievers, setters, and pointers. All were bred to help two-legged hunters. They're usually easy going in personality, but they are active. Regular exercise and interaction with people will form a great family companion--if you have the room and are an active family. No couch potatoes for this group.
3. The Hound group includes Beagles, Afghan Hounds, Coon Hounds, Bassetts, and the list goes on. This group of dogs loves the chase. Once they're on the scent of the quarry...well they're focused. Beagle puppies are adorable. Who doesn't want a Snoopy--they're short-haired, and a nice size. Be aware that all of these dogs love to bark, howl, bay. It's what they're bred to do. It's a signal they've found the rabbit, the raccoon, or whatever they're after. Your neighbors will not love you if you leave them in the backyard at night.
4. Non-Sporting dogs are extremely diverse. The group includes the Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Chow, the Poodle, and Shar-Pei just to name a few. Make sure you find a reputable breeder and understand the specific breed before plunking down the cash.
5. Terriers have been popular for years and years. They're apartment sized and have engaging personalities. However, they were originally bred to kill. Farmers relied on these pint-sized dogs to keep the vermin down in the barns and farmyards. They love to dig, are absolutely focused on the kill, and aren't the most tolerant of other dogs. They need a firm and loving hand, lots of socialization, and obedience training. They're as smart as whip, so be prepared to be tested. Popular breeds in this group are the Jack Russell, Scotty, and West Highland.
7. The Toy Group is filled with the itsy-bitsy dogs that are pretty portable. Although small in size their price tag may be large. There are lots of undesirable breeders out there, so caution is advised. Some of the breeds are the Maltese, Pekingese, Chihuahua, and Yorkshire Terrier. Although, I'm more of a big dog person, the toy breeds make great companions. They aren't nearly as much care in the exercise category, aren't as expensive to feed, and you can even slide them under your airplane seat when you travel.
A dog is a long commitment--10 years or more in many cases. If you want a great family companion, find the best fit for your current lifestyle. Don't think you'll change. A nice idea, but it seldom happens. Studies show that dogs enrich our lives in many ways --even reducing stress and blood pressure. Set yourself and your dog up for success by selecting the right breed, get obedience training, and work toward getting the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) award through the AKC. Any breed or mixed breed is eligible to test. That's it for this week. Now it's time to wake up Clancy, and take him for a walk.
Resource Link: American Kennel Club
Next Week - July 13: A Memorable Dog - Buck
July 20 - Call of the Wild and Other Great Dog Stories
July 27 - Workin' Like a Dog - Interview with Border Patrol Agent and his Detection Dog