Why You Should Know About Breed Characteristics Before Getting a Dog

Adding a dog to your family is a very big decision and one that warrants research and careful thought. Many people want to feel that magical moment when they look into those soft puppy eyes for the first time and feel an instant connection. There is nothing wrong with that feeling per say. husky german shepherd mix What dog lover doesn’t want to find a great companion that is a perfect fit? However, the sad truth is that what usually happens when you get a dog on feelings alone, is that moment is just a moment. When you take your new pal Rory home, the day-to-day routine takes its toll and suddenly you have a dog on your hands that is not actually a good fit for your current lifestyle. There’s nothing unfeeling about doing some research before going to adopt a dog. In fact, knowing what you’re looking for and what you can handle makes the moment of connection that much sweeter because you really do know that you have found a good companion to share your life. You owe it to yourself and the dog to have a good idea of what you’re getting into before you take Rory home.

Some primary things to think about are the characteristics of your potential dog’s breed, even if you are planning on getting a mixed breed. While the best characteristics of each breed tend to come to the fore in mutts, these dogs can still exhibit strong breed traits so it’s still worth your while to be aware of what you are getting. Breed characteristics have a big impact on the dog’s personality, and also on you and your life. Are you able to exercise a high drive breed? Are you able to handle a working breed that loves nothing more than to watch and bark at everything and get into your stuff? Will you be around with enough frequency to give a needy dog the appropriate amount of attention?

An Apartment Means I Need a Small Dog, Right?
Some people will take their current living situation into consideration when adopting a dog. They think that a small dog is good for an apartment or condo, while a bigger dog is better placed in a home with a yard. While determining dog suitability based on size does work out in a lot of cases, there are some small breeds that actually don’t do as well in apartments. This is, again, due to breed characteristics. For example, a Jack Russell terrier is a small dog so he should work great in an apartment, right? Actually, the Jack Russell’s breed characteristics are not that well suited to apartment or even city living. These dogs have a strong hunting drive, and they require a large amount of attention from you, outdoor activity, exercise and discipline in order to be good companions. They can be aggressive toward other dogs, which can cause a lot of difficulties in a close environment such as a city.

On the other hand, small dogs well suited to apartment living tend to be members of the ‘toy’ dog group. Some dogs in this group are calm and complacent, and they don’t require a great deal of exercise or, in some cases, excessive attention. If you live alone in an apartment or are getting on in years, a Chihuahua can be a good choice. While Chihuahuas certainly have negative characteristics (as does any breed) that include being distrustful of other humans and dogs, they are very loyal to their owners and likely won’t cause injury if they jump up on you to say hello.

If You Have the Space and Your Lifestyle Permits, A Larger Breed Might Be for You
The working group of dog breeds, which includes Dobermans, Australian and German Shepherds, Huskies and Rottweilers, require a great deal of exercise and understanding of their nature. Strong working tendencies exhibited in this group include working on putting a hole in your couch or chewing through a lamp chord while you are at work. Working dogs that have strong herding characteristics such as Border Collies are often not suited to city living, whether in an apartment or a house. These types of dogs typically require a lot of space to exercise in, and you may find Rory trying to herd the lawn furniture.

All of the dog breeds mentioned and the many other breeds available have numerous excellent characteristics that make them warm and loving companions, particularly with good training. Also, it’s not an absolute certainty that any particular dog will not be a good companion for you if Rory’s primary breed characteristics don’t typically mesh with your lifestyle or living situation. However, because incompatible dog/human relationships happen with too much frequency, being aware of the exercise and attention requirements of dog breeds and what their breed characteristics can mean to you and your life, will better help you make a sound decision that leads to that 15,000 year old mystical connection between dog and man.