When considering adding a dog to your household, how do you know which is the right one for you? One way is to understand the needs of the various breeds. And, there’s a great many types of dogs out there! Therefore, choose one that fits your lifestyle.
Do Your Research.
Each breed has a different personality, activity level, and size. Mixed breeds, too, will have their own character traits, likely taking some from one breed and other characteristics from the other. For example, a goldendoodle may have the curly hair of the poodle and the personality of the golden retriever … or vice-versa.
How do you know the various breeds’ needs, size, and personality? One of the best online resources is provided by the American Kennel Club (AKC). You’ll find information about different types of dogs here: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/.
Westminster Dog Show/AKC
Another fun way to learn about the various dog breeds is through your television set. The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place February 12 and 13; it will be broadcast in the U.S. on Fox Sports and NatGeoWild. Watching the program, you’ll learn more about the different dog breeds as they appear on stage. You can also learn about dog breeds from the organization’s website: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/breed-finder/. And though the AKC and Westminster Show promote breeding of dogs and encourage people to buy from breeders, they do stress no dogs on the show come from pet stores or puppy mills. Personally, I will always adopt, but I recognize the value of understanding breeds before adoption. Knowing what type of dog is best for you before you adopt is much better for you and for the dog you bring home: less frustration, less chance the dog will end up back at the shelter in less than a year. Westminster’s website also provides information on choosing the right dog for you and your lifestyle: http://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/find-the-right-dog-for-you/.
Spaniels and Shih Tzus
When my husband and I began searching for another dog to add to our household last fall, our first choice was another spaniel. We’ve been blessed to share life with springer and cocker spaniels, and we both enjoy the breeds. Although originally developed for hunting, springers and cockers have become popular simply as companions, particularly cockers. We’ve experienced their loyalty and friendliness; however, cockers tend to be snippier with young children. Since we don’t have children in our household, we didn’t worry about that. Turns out neither cocker spaniel we lived with had a problem with kids; in fact, one made several schools visits with me for author talks.
So, what dog would we adopt this time? We inquired about some spaniels early in our search, but (not surprisingly) they were adopted quickly. Knowing I wanted a small dog because I am aging, we began to expand our horizons. The Shih Tzu is known to be affectionate, playful, and outgoing, can live to be 15 years old, and usually weighs 12 to 15 pounds (females smaller). We discovered a four-year-old rescued from a puppy mill available through a regional pet rescue sanctuary. He was still available for adoption when we inquired, and our adoption application was approved. Jeremiah came to live with us in September 2017, and though he had some issues, medically and behaviorally from spending three years as a puppy mill stud, he has settled in wonderfully. Jeremiah and Mary, our springer-cocker mix whom we adopted in January 2013, have bonded nicely, and Jeremiah’s happiness living in a loving home is apparent when he dances as I come through the door and as he prances around the neighborhood during a walk. He’s learned the leash takes him places to explore, and that toys are fun to fetch. And, his cuddles on the couch bring out that affection to us, and our fingers scratching his belly relax him and shower him with the love he never really experienced.
Who Will Be Your Next Dog?
As you consider adding a dog to your household in the future, learning about the different dog breeds will benefit you … and the dog you eventually bring home.
Check out this other online resource to learn about various dog breeds: https://www.jenreviews.com/dog-breeds/
Our recently adopted puppy mill survivor, Jeremiah, considers our springer/cocker mix, Mary, his best friend.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.