Choosing a dog breed

Choosing a dog breed, or better yet choosing the right dog breed for you and your family can be a huge undertaking. Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, and the primary function of the breed has a lot to do with this.

Labrador RetrieverTheir looks are influenced by what their breeds intended purpose was; however, this alone is not enough information to make a good decision. It is unfortunate that this is oftentimes all we have to go off of.

People make the mistakes of picking dogs simply because of the way they look. What they fail to realize is that not all dogs act alike.

A terrier that has been bred to kill rodents for thousands of years may start digging trenches in your backyard to get all the gophers. You might wonder why, when none of your other dogs had ever acted this way. None of your other dogs must have been terriers.

It is centuries upon centuries of physical and behavioral selective breeding that has given them an affinity for digging up vermin. These instincts are difficult, if not impossible suppress. We have to select a breed based not only on its looks, but by its tendencies to behave in a certain way.

No two dogs will act exactly the same, and of course there will always be an exception to the rule. Dogs can be trained, but genetics play a much larger role than most may imagine

Choosing a dog breed that is good with children?

Arguably the single greatest consideration if you are a parent is your concern of whether the dog will be good with children. Rest assured that every breed can be great with children if raised properly.

Gordon Setter

You are going to want to evaluate the breeds based on what scenarios concern you most. For example, as a child our family had a Shar Pei. We had to lock her up every time the neighborhood kids came over to play in the back yard. She did not understand that we were playing, and her instincts as a guard dog would take over.

Energetic dogs have a tenancy to jump and knock over small children if they are large enough. On the other hand, a small dog may be fragile and could be injured if a child were to accidentally fall on her.

A herding dog may feel the need to round up the children, and sometimes this can scare them. There are a myriad of possibilities, the worst of which is the dog being aggressive and biting or injuring a child.

There is a lot to take into consideration. Just know that choosing a dog breed that will suit you and your family goes beyond love at first sight.