Choosing a Dog Breed

While there are exceptions, the American Kennel Club places dog breeds in these categories:

Sporting Dogs - Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Lab, Pointer and Vizsla - are high-energy, people-oriented, attention-seekers.

Hounds - Afghan, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Greyhound, Basset Hound and Harrier - are scent and sight oriented high-stamina hunters.

Terriers - Miniature Schnauzer, West Highland Terrier, Airedale Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier - are feisty, yappy balls of energy.

Working Dogs - Akita, Boxer, Great Dane, Newfoundland, Rottweiler and Siberian Husky - quick learners but tough to train and often domineering.

Herding Dogs - Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, German Shepherd and Old English Sheepdog - are people-oriented but bore easily when they are not working.

Toys - Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu - can be fragile, fussy and temperamental with children.

Non-sporting - American Eskimo, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Poodle - are diverse in size, coat, personality and appearance.

Mixed Breeds - usually have the characteristics of their parent's breeds.

Unfortunately, many people ignore breed characteristics when buying a puppy. They're unaware that Dalmatians often snap at pesky children or that bored Labs are notorious chewers.

Consider the following:

  • If you have a busy life choose a dog that needs little grooming, training, and exercise.
  • If you're on a budget buy a small-to-medium dog that needs little grooming.
  • If you've never owned a dog, don't choose a large, dominant or a high-energy breed.

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