Choosing The Right Dog And Best Breed For Your Family:
The Challenges Of Dog Guardianship Are Easier When The Right Dog Is Chosen
Before choosing the puppy, you must choose the right dog. Tailor the breed to your needs, expectations of behavior and the environment you can provide. Focus on the dog the puppy will become – by 8 weeks its personality becomes apparent. A little forethought is necessary in choosing the right dog.
Choosing the right dog means a better life for you and the dog.
Choosing the right dog includes considering health care, grooming, exercise requirements, size and level of commitment.
Dogs are abandoned when the owner did not choose the right dog. Incompatible matches to avoid:
People often select dogs for the wrong reasons.
Choosing the right dog for kids.
Some medium and large breeds are known for protective instincts toward children. The right dog chosen should be solidly built, amenable to roughhousing by children, patient and gentle. A common mistake is choosing the right dog by size or cuteness rather than temperament.
Consider selecting an older puppy for the family dog, 6-10 months. These puppies are past the nipping period and may be housebroken.
Introduce the family dog when children are 5 years or older -- they are more emotionally independent and excited about the family addition. Under 5 years, child and puppy will compete for your attention. A young child might hug the puppy like a stuffed animal, causing it to become fearful and defensive.
The challenges of dog guardianship are easier when the right dog is chosen.
Small (20-25 pounds and up to 15 inches) is easier. Smaller requires less room, exercise area, and food; easier to pick up, cleanup, and transport. However, the medium-sized dog has the advantage of being small enough to travel in small cars but large enough to engage in active outside activities. Large dogs make excellent family companions, and with adequate training are protective of owners and property. Their presence deters crime.
Male or female?
In general, females are smaller than their male counterparts and more easily trained at earlier ages. Not all females will retreat when facing danger, not all males will be defensively aggressive.
Do not choose the right dog based on gender. A reputable breeder will not place a puppy solely on gender, unless you are certain you will be breeding. “We may breed later” rarely happens, and the dog may be unable to breed anyway. Besides, we are better off not adding to the dog overpopulation.
Purebred temperaments can be extreme – very energetic, very demanding, very stubborn. But, dogs are as individual as people, so a particular dog may not have the temperament typical of its breed. Much depends on the parents’ exhibited temperament. When choosing the right dog from a breeder, observe the parents interacting with the breeder. Or, minimize any uncertainty; acquire an adult dog, where you see the temperament.
Purebreds have higher incidence of genetic defects.
Purebred dogs have a higher potential for cancers and disorders of: bones, joints, eye, heart, immune system, nervous system, blood and skin. Most breeds are built on limited gene pools, so the same set of genes reproduces over and over without introducing new genes. Weaker animals with health problems often results. Certain physical characteristics predispose breeds to health problems and shorter life spans. Bulldogs and Pugs are cute but do not breathe well due to their short faces. Long bodies (e.g. Dachshunds) are prone to back problems and paralysis. Non-pure breeds tend to have good genetic diversity and better health prospects.
The term “mixed breed dogs” is misleading -- it suggests a MIX of purebreds. Unless you know a puppy has purebred parents, you are guessing “what breeds are in it”. More accurately, mixed breeds should be called non-purebreds. If you do not see the parents, you cannot assume the temperament of the puppy. A good solution when choosing the right dog is to select an adult that has the appearance and temperament you want. And, you might be saving a life.
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