In selecting a dog the prospective purchaser should bear in mind the purpose for which he intends to use the dog, the surroundings in which the dog will live and the temperament of the individual purchaser.
What are the types of dogs?
Dogs are man’s best friend, and all types give loyalty and devotion to the master, whether he be kind or cruel.
Quite apart from sentimental bonds, most dogs were bred for a specific purpose and can be trained to perform their normal duty.
The main categories into which dogs fall, from present-day standards, are hunting, working, sporting and guard work.
The hunting group is the most ancient of all. Dogs were used for hunting purposes well before the Christian era.
Hunting dogs are divided into two groups: Sight hunters and scent hunters. The first named group includes Greyhounds, Whippets, Borzois, Deerhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Salukis, and similar type dogs.
All are streamlined in build and possess great speed. They hunt entirely by sight and run their game to earth without any noise at all.
The scent hunters include Beagles, Harriers, Foxhounds, and Bloodhounds. These hounds have extremely keen scenting powers, but are comparatively short-sighted and give tongue when on the game.
Working dogs can be grouped into several divisions. Firstly, we have stock dogs, Kelpies, Collies, Belgian Sheep Dogs and many European varieties, all of which, in the main, work sheep.
Cattle Dogs, Welsh Corgis, and other types of dogs for working cattle and horses exclusively are found in various parts of the world.
Another important branch of the working group is draft dogs. The Dog and Goat Act prevents the use of dogs for this purpose in Australia, but members of the Spitz family (mainly of Arctic origin), Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and several continental breeds, are used exclusively for draft purposes in other countries.
Police dogs and those used for leading the blind are of much more recent origin and include Airedale Terrier, Alsatians, Dobermans and Boxers. These varieties were classified earlier as guard dogs, but the necessity of guarding flocks with canine aid from ravages of wolves and thieving humans, is gradually disappearing in all parts of the world.
Rescue work, done by St. Bernards in the old days, truffle finding and many other duties which dogs were required to perform years ago, leave quite a few breeds “out of a job” today.
The Sporting group includes all types of terriers, gundogs, Great Danes, Basenjis, Elkhounds, Ridgebacks and dozens of other native breeds. This group covers a very extensive field, and all were evolved to deal with all types of wildlife from rats to lions.
Terriers vary considerably in type and size, but each was built to hunt vermin of any description – badger, fox, rabbit or any animal which lives underground. All are possessed of courage above the ordinary and are natural killers.
Gundogs, on the other hand, are required to find and/or retrieve game only. Setters and Pointers are purely bred for finding, while retrievers and spaniels are expected to find and retrieve. All are regarded in the best circles as being useful for “feather” only, but most practical Americans welcome some “fur” as well in the bag.
Great Danes were bred originally for hunting wild boar in the Black Forest of Germany, Ridgebacks are used for lion hunting in Africa, Dachshunds for badger hunting in Germany, and most other countries have evolved breeds for hunting native fauna.
Modern burglar alarm systems have almost eliminated the necessity for guard dogs, but Mastiffs, Keeshonds, Alsatians and other similar types served a useful purpose and, for that matter, still do in this world.
Many other types of dogs were bred for specific purposes from the Chow Chow to the Dalmatian, bred as a showy dog to run with the carriages of “the gentry” before the era of the motor car.
We must not forget the toy varieties such as toy/teacup Maltipoo and Australian Silky Terrier. These were produced to grace the drawing rooms, and they vary considerably in size.
From the diminutive Yorkshire Terrier to the Great Dane, all dogs have many common traits and can be trained as watchdogs, or to perform ordinary obedience work, and all have a love for man unsurpassed by any other animal.
How do I pick the right dog?
The confined area of a modern apartment in a large city is naturally not conducive to the wellbeing of hunting breeds or the larger breeds. The congestion of city streets and the hard pavement are not suitable surroundings for a dog requiring plenty of exercise and open country as a normal part of existence.
The city dweller, though his personal inclination may lean toward the large breeds or hunting dogs, would do well to consider a dog who in stature will best fit into his surroundings and at the same time give his owner to a certain degree those same qualities and habits which he will expect to find in the breed of his first choice.
Outstanding characteristics found in some large breeds can likewise be found in smaller breeds and to a certain extent the expression and nature of a large dog duplicated in the smaller. We have but to compare the general make-up of the large breeds with certain of the terriers and toy dogs to discover that the above holds true.
At present, there are over one hundred breeds of dogs. These breeds are classified into groups, closely associating the dogs according to uses. From these groupings, the prospective purchaser can select a dog best suited to his needs whether they be for work, sporting or companionship. Breed standards were drawn up for the purpose of guiding those breeding or judging and today these standards govern the type of each individual breed. By becoming familiar with the standards anyone can form a picture of what each breed of dog should be and look like.
The great difference in breeds and types of dogs was the primary object for the classification of the numerous breeds into groups. A study of the breeds and their standards will give the person interested in selecting a dog an excellent idea of just what he is looking for.
A fuller appreciation of the dog and their importance to man has aroused in the average dog owner a desire to possess only the best type of purebred dog. The appellation of “purebred” means that the dog is of the purest breeding and when bred with a suitable mate, will reproduce true to type.
Selecting the best puppy from a litter with any degree of certainty is a problem. Successful breeders have been known to ignore certain puppies in litters which eventually defeated more favored brothers or sisters. Nevertheless, there are certain rules if applied to the selection of a puppy should assure the purchaser of securing a dog representative of the breed desired possessing to a marked degree the character, type and balance required by the standard.
The puppy to choose is the one showing the strongest characteristics of the breed. He should be sturdy and strong. It is usually advisable to select neither the largest nor the smallest of the litter as the medium-sized puppies have a better chance of maturing to the correct size in a majority of the breeds. While a puppy’s coat is uncertain in the early stages, the density of the coat should be looked for.
In choosing a puppy always bear in mind the characteristics of the antecedents of the puppy in order to avoid selecting one which shows a tendency to inherit some family failing.
A trained dog is a happy dog
When purchasing a new puppy or adult dog there are three major factors that will ensure your pet will live a long happy and healthy life: Veterinary care, a complete balanced diet with a premium quality dog food, and professional dog training.
Before you choose a particular breed or crossbreed consider talking to a local veterinarian, professional dog trainer and/or breeder. The dog that you choose must fit into your family’s lifestyle. Points to consider are the size of the dog you want in comparison to the size of your property; grooming (high maintenance or low maintenance); is the breed known to be good with children. The dog’s activity level will differ in certain breeds, as will hereditary health problems.
When you have decided on the breed, it is important to plan the dog’s future before you arrive home with your new family member. This means training starts as soon as your pet arrives home. The pet has to know where the toilet area is going to be, sleeping area, feeding area and so on.
Most behavioral problems are caused through confusion between people and the dog due to a lack of knowledge or incorrect information being passed on. All dogs have a different character and temperament and must be trained and handled accordingly.
The most common problem that professional dog trainers encounter on a daily basis is separation anxiety. This is a people problem passed onto the dog. Separation anxiety can be very stressful for the dog as well as for the family, but this problem can be cured with help from your local veterinarian and a professional dog trainer.
Training is education for your dog; dogs learn through good experience, bad experience, consistency and repetition. By using positive reinforcement in the way of verbal and or physical phrases, the dog will learn to behave in the best possible manner given your requirements and how you want it to fit into your lifestyle.