Breed All About It

By Loralei Zwitt, My Dog & Me

Terriers can be vocal and snappy. Labs will eat your house. Yorkies are hard to housebreak. Think that this is stereotyping?

While all dogs have an individual personality, when considering a pure-bred puppy, a prospective owner must take breed predisposition into account. There are many factors that can affect behavior, but a landmark study performed by Scott and Fuller in 1965 determined that genetics was the most powerful influence.

Dogs have been selectively bred for thousands of years to perform functions that may not translate well to suburban life. A Husky, bred to run for hundreds of miles a day, is not an ideal candidate for an apartment or small yard. The single most important thing that a person can do before getting a puppy, is their homework.

Research the breed, talk with trainers, chat with owners and get the real story. If you insist on purchasing a dog from a breeder, ask about the parents and the factors that went into breeding these particular dogs. If a breeder doesn’t allow you to meet the parents or cannot tell you why they bred them. Run!

Too many dogs end up in shelters because a dog was purchased on impulse or without knowledge of the breed. Those who train for competition or in a working capacity know that a good dog starts with the parents. Some time spent researching before you get a puppy, can ensure the best possible partnership for years to come.

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