When it comes to diversity, no species on earth rivals the dog. Our canine friends come in a vast array of sizes, shapes and colors. Not only that, but they also display vastly different character traits from one breed to another.
Much of this is down to human meddling. For centuries we have bred dogs to meet our needs, so that over time we’ve developed over 600 distinct dog breeds.
However, recent studies suggest that many of the physical changes in dogs may have occurred spontaneously. So as amazing as it is, it seems dogs have actually evolved along the lines they believe we expect of them. Now that’s what I call devotion!
Fascinating stuff, but there’s also a practical purpose to all this.
Let’s say you are interested in buying or adopting a purebred dog. I’m sure you’d want one that is a good fit for your life style. It would be foolish for example to adopt a Husky, if your idea of fun is flopping down in front of the TV with with a bowl of popcorn. Before you know it you’ll have an extremely frustrated dog, most likely with behavioral problems.
By the same token, an active person who gets a Bulldog and expects him to join in the Sunday morning jog is bound to be disappointed.
And it doesn’t stop at activity level either, name any trait you find particularly desirable in a canine companion, and you’ll find a dog breed that meets your requirements. Some breeds are more affectionate, others more independent, some are protective, others timid, some are known to be yappers, others hardly bark at all.
Then there are physical characteristics. You may prefer a larger or a smaller dog. Well, it’s hard to imagine a greater discrepancy than between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua. It’s almost difficult to believe that they belong to the same species!
Another factor you need to take into account is the amount of hair the dog sheds. Some dogs shed enough hair to make another dog, while others hardly shed at all. And if shedding is really an issue there are hairless dogs, like the Xoloitzcuintle.
And what about training? You are going to train your dog aren’t you? Well then you should know that not all dogs are equally easy to train. With some it’s a piece of cake, with others more like talking to a brick wall.
So if trainability is an important factor you’ll want a dog that is a quick learner with an eagerness to please. Dogs that fall into this group include the Poodle, Papillon and Golden Retriever.
The breeds you’ll want to avoid are most of the Hound Group, including Bassets, Beagles, and Bloodhounds. Some breeds, like the Dachshund, are known for being particularly obstinate, while certain toy dogs will ignore you as a matter of principal.
And then there are the so-called designer dogs, as well as mixed breed dogs, which we haven’t even spoken about here.
Fact is, there really is a dog breed to suit just about everybody’s lifestyle. Which is yours?