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Choosing the Right Breed of Dog

May 30, 2021


Eastabrooks Studio's - Houston
Eastabrooks Studio's - Houston

Every responsible breeder, will want to do everything that they can, to make sure their puppies are going to a home where they will be well cared for and loved. The last thing that a responsible breeder wants, is for one of their pups to end up in an animal shelter. I require a phone interview with anyone that I sell a puppy to, to make sure that the person buying the puppy is educated and making the right decision about getting a puppy from me.

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One of the reasons that people end up surrendering a puppy/dog, is that they were unaware and unprepared for what they were getting into. I addressed a lot of those things in the previous post. You can refer back to that post for that info. Another reason is that people were not correctly matched with the type of puppy that they chose. That is what I will try to address in this blog post.

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One of the biggest and most popular myths of these current times, is this phrase: "It's all in how you raise the dog". That phrase frustrates me to no end. I am sure that it is well meaning people that spread that phrase around, but it is simply quite misleading. I am not down playing the importance of raising a puppy right. It is certainly VERY important. However, genetics is every bit as important!

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Domesticated dog breeds have been developed over many many years of selective breeding. Breeders have purposefully selected the dogs that had the traits that they wanted in a dog for many generations and years, to develop the qualities that they wanted in the specific breed that they were working on. For example: If a breeder was trying to develop a good bird dog line. One of the traits they would look for is the natural tendency for the dog to retrieve. They did not just breed for looks, but also the natural inclination to retrieve. After breeding a good retriever to another good retriever for years and years, that trait is genetically wired into brain of the dogs in those bloodlines. While there may be exceptions to the rule, most of those dogs are going to be genetically hard wired to retrieve. They are going to WANT to retrieve and they are going to do it naturally. The hunting dog training then will train them to use their natural traits, to accomplish the hunter's goals. When a trait is genetically hard wired into a breed, it is next to impossible to dependably remove the trait from the dog that it was bred into.

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Example: I had a Lassie type collie. I tried and tried and tried, to teach that dog how to fetch. I never did succeed at it. I got very frustrated. I finally gave up. Now, I am not saying that a collie can't be trained to fetch. I know that they can be, but compare that to a Golden Retriever. I got my first Golden Retriever and I didn't even have to train it to fetch. It just did it on its own. Almost all of my Golden Retrievers were like that. They just naturally retrieve. It is bred into them genetically. It is hard wired into their brains. Although my Collie did not retrieve, she did herd (which she was bred to do). She herded my children and my horses, whether I wanted her to or not.

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If you want a good water fowl dog, you are going to want to choose a dog who has been bred for that work. Maybe a Golden Retriever, of Lab, or one of a number of dog breeds that have been specifically bred for that task. It would probably not be wise to choose a breed such as a Blue Heeler, or a German Shepard, and you certainly wouldn't have wanted my Collie, because she would refuse to even get her feet wet, let alone retrieve. If you choose one of these breeds, you will most likely get very frustrated, attempting to train them to be a water fowl dog. They are not bred for it and their brains are not hard wired for it.

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There are many people out there, that are stuck on one breed, and really don't like other breeds. I personally, like many breeds. I don't think that there are "bad" breeds. I believe that there are bad "matches" between dogs and people, and that is a huge cause of people surrendering dogs to the shelters and pounds. People have a certain idea of what they want out of a dog, and they don't end up with it, then they get frustrated and give up. Some of that can be due to improper or lack of training, but quite a bit is because people got the wrong kind of dog for their lifestyle.

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I can not over emphasize the importance of researching the breed that you are thinking about adopting. Research what it was bred to do. Research the trainability of the breed. Research the family friendliness of the breed. Are dog bites common in that breed? or aggression? Research the grooming aspects of the breed. Are they shedders? Do they tend to mat? Most dogs are either shedders or matters. You will either have to groom or vacuum. Which would you rather do? Do you have allergies and need a dog that is "hypo-allergenic"? Does the breed tend to be an "Alpha" breed, where you will have to remember to maintain "Alpha" status, or is it a more laid back and easy going breed? All puppies are cute, but remember, they all grow up to be dogs! Research how big the breed is supposed to get. Do you want a large dog, or small dog? Do you want a high energy dog, or would you like more of a couch potato? Do you want a big feed bill? or a small one?

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One more very important thing to know, is this.... in most all breeds, there are various kinds of bloodlines even within the breed. I will use Golden Retrievers for an example. You have your confirmation dogs, your obedience dogs, your field dogs, your American Goldens, and your English Goldens. Sometimes, the bloodlines can over lap and they can be bred for more than one characteristic. 30 years ago, I bought 2 Golden Retrievers. One was from a confirmation line, one was from a hunting line. They were both awesome dogs, but quite different from each other. The confirmation dog was bigger and blockier, with longer and blonder fur. The field dog was redder with shorter fur. She had pretty good bone under her, but not as blocky as the confirmation dog. They were pretty close to the same age, and I put them through the same training program at the same time. That field dog pick up the training 3 times faster than that confirmation dog. Often times the field dogs are higher energy dogs than the confirmation dogs. Also, they sometimes tend to have a leaner frame and shorter hair than the confirmation dogs. Some of the confirmation and English lines that I have had, were complete couch potatoes, where my field dogs would want to play fetch til my arm fell off. All very wonderful dogs, but yet different from each other. So, keep that in mind, while researching your dog breeds.

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You can find a lot of info on line, and in books, but when doing your research, I highly recommend talking to Vets and local dog trainers as well. Another good resource, is talking to people that you may know, that own or has owned specific breeds that you may be interested in. You may even want to join a social media group for the breeds that you think that you may be interested in.

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Adopting a puppy is always an exciting time! Have fun searching for the perfect breed for you. You won't regret it!

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by KJE

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