Once you have decided taken the first step and decided to get a dog the next step, which is sometimes a little more difficult, is to decide what type of dog you want. There are a number of factors to consider. Probably the most important is temperament – not only the temperament of the dog but also the temperament of the owner! Your temperament is probably just as important as that of the dog.
Breeds vary tremendously with regard to temperament. Even though both breeds do have fine qualities a Fox Terrier, for example, is very different in character to a Labrador Retriever. A Maltese poodle is completely different in character to a French poodle.
If you are a quiet, somewhat shy retiring person in all probability you are going to want a dog of similar temperament, one that fits in with your style of living. As highly intelligent and remarkable as a Border Collie happens to me it would probably not be a good idea to choose a boisterous, lively, very active, often highly strung, dog like this. There are many breeds that would be more suitable for your life-style rather than a boisterous, lively over-active dog like the Border Collie.
An interesting choice and somewhat exotic of breed for someone who wants a dog that will be a good companion but is not as demanding and constantly craving affection as some other breeds, is the Afghan. For this reason the Afghan has acquired the very interesting label of the “Philosophers Dog”.
Quite obviously where you live is of paramount importance in your choice of a dog.
If you live in an apartment and you do not have an opportunity to exercise your dog a great deal then you will be obliged to choose one of the smaller breeds such as a Pekingese, Yorkshire Terrier, King Charles spaniel or Maltese poodle.
On the other hand, if you have the time to give the dog plenty of exercise, the choice can be made from the large variety of terriers, such as the smooth or Wire-haired fox terrier.
Shetland sheepdogs – in appearance very much alike a miniature collie – are very handsome animals, are very obedient, although sometimes a little sharp. The Schipperke, a small sturdy dog, is also a delightful animal to own.
Give some thought to your reason for wanting to get a dog in the first place. Once you are quite clear in your own mind about this it will go a long way to helping you choose the most suitable animal.
Is it because you want a pet for the children to play with, enjoy and come to appreciate the responsibilities of looking after a pet? Is your main purpose to get a dog that will a guardian of your home? Is it because you have fascinated with Obedience competitions and would like to enter – and win – competitions? Is it because a dog of a particular breed is fashionable at the moment?
Perhaps you want a dog of a certain exotic breed because you want to have a dog that is different to everyone else’s?
Even though there may be an apparently frivolous or illogical reason for wanting to own a dog of a certain breed, there is nothing wrong or unnatural about this. After all this probably an important reason why people buy certain cars. The choice is often more emotional than practical. When you come to think of it, the choice of a particular breed of dog in some respects is similar to the choice of a motor car!
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have an exotic breed of dog. You may be someone who wants something a little different to everyone else. You want to express your individuality.
Having a better idea now of the type of dog you are looking for, your next step should be to visit one of the many all-breed dogs shows that are regularly held, so that you can examine at first hand the great variety of breeds on display.
The breed you finally decide on might be one that appeals to you because of physical beauty; its sporty nature; its friendliness; its happy outgoing temperament; its quiet reserved, dignified appearance.
If your purpose in choosing a dog is to have one that responds more easily to obedience training this immediately narrows down your choice. Your obvious choice would be a Border Collie, German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Doberman, Shetland Sheepdog or any of the dogs that fall in the category of “Working Dogs”.
The same would apply if you want a dog primarily as a guard but would also like the dog to be a family pet and companion. Here again the group of “Working Dogs” include many breeds ideally suited for this purpose, such as Rottweillers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and some other fairly large breeds that can be both protective guards, suspicious of strangers and yet be wonderful, friendly, lovable family pets.
Where to get the dog of your choice.
Having now more or less made your mind up about which dog you would like to get, you will have to decide where to get a dog of this type.
It may be a strange suggestion, but a good place to look may be an animal shelter. Even if it is a dog of a certain breed you want, and also a pure-bred animal that is quite clearly identifiable as a representative of this breed, you may find what your are looking for at an animal shelter.
There are sometimes animals of very good breeding that turn up at animal shelters. There are a great variety of reasons for this. People frequently change locations; move into apartments where they cannot accommodate a dog; sometimes there are domestic issues, families split up. As a result the dog that came from a good, loving home is reluctantly placed in an animal shelter.
A further advantage of getting a dog from an animal shelter is that quite often you may be fortunate to acquire a somewhat older animal, where the health problems that young pups sometimes have are no longer present. It may also be a reasonably good specimen of the breed you have set your mind on.
If however, you have no success at animal shelters and now determined to get the dog of the breed you have decided on, your next step would be to follow up on advertisements of pups for sale in your area.
It is always an advantage to choose a pup from a breeder in your area, because you will have the opportunity to see both the Sire and the Dam of the pup. This is of great importance as far as temperament is concerned. If both Sire and Dam have sound, friendly, approachable temperaments, there is every likelihood of the progeny inherited the same good temperament.
The temperament of the Dam is probably of even greater importance than that of the Sire. The pup not only inherits genetic temperament features from the Sire, but is also influenced often to an even greater extent by the behavior and temperament of the mother.
Of course, if you are a person who is interested in showing an animal competitively in conformation classes, then the procedures you would adopt would be quite different.
In this instance it might not be advisable to select a pup from someone breeding dogs in your area just because it is more convenient. It might be worth your while looking further a field. It is a completely different ball game and introduces many different factors
If however, like most people it is merely a happy, friendly, outgoing pup that you want, that is handsome and good natured, then your choice is not so difficult.
This article is one of many that appears in the website freedogadvice. This website was set up to provide a free advisory service for dog lovers. In addition to advice about training, there is also valuable information with regard to health, feeding and suggestions with regard to the choice of a suitable breed. For those interested in German Shepherds, there are in-depth articles about show and working bloodlines, with particular reference to top winning dogs in Germany – past and present.
Dennis Fisher has been involved with dogs as a Judge, Breeder and Director of Obedience training for his all-breed Obedience training Club. Although his special interest is German Shepherds, he has also personally owned and trained dogs of the follwing breeds: Great Danes, French Poodles, Cairn Terriers, Schipperkes, Dobermanns, and Fox Terriers. A great variety of articles covering a wide range of subjects can be found on his website freedogadvice.com This website offers a free advisory service for the benefit of dog lovers. There is no charge whatsoever for this service.