When choosing a puppy or rescue dog for their family, the majority of people will research various breeds, wanting to find out what are the good breeds of dog in terms of behaviour, and to fit in with their lifestyle. I applaud this approach, as it shows a consideration which is very important in a responsible dog owner. The considerations that come into play are often:
- Which breeds of dog are good for a family
- Which need a lot of exercise (if you live an active lifestyle)
- Which don’t need very much (if you don’t)
- Is this an aggressive breed
- How easy is the breed to train
- Does the breed cause allergies
- Are there any known health issues for this breed
- How big does this breed grow to (and have you got room)
As a dog trainer with over 7 years of experience, an understanding of dog psychology, working with countless different breeds of dogs, I can safely tell you that the most worthwhile considerations on that list to look in to are the last two/three. If there are known health issues then your dog is likely to encounter pain, and your bank balance will be hit for high vet bills. If the breed is going to be bigger than you’ve really got room for, then make another selection…
Regarding the other considerations, you can do an unlimited amount of research into the breed of a dog to find out what kind of character of dog it may turn out to be, how easy it will be to train, or what its behaviour will be like; but ultimately what you are taking home is an individual. Yes some people from Essex wear a lot of fake tan and go to Sugar Hut, and some people who were Made in Chelsea were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, but this is an example, not the rule. The same applies to dogs. So you may have heard of some staffies who have bitten and did some damage. You won’t have heard of all the lovely docile staffies, as they don’t make the news. You also won’t have heard of the aggressive Yorkshire Terriers, or Toy Poodles. I’ve met a couple of each in my work, and many other ‘unlikely’ breeds showing aggression. (To read more on aggression you can try this blog.)
So which breeds are good breeds of dog then?
Ultimately it’s down to you to choose which breed of dog you would like to have. Take with a pinch of salt anything you read about what their behaviour is likely to be, and instead arm yourself with a good understanding of canine behaviour, rather than being breed specific. I answered a few of these questions in a recently blog on dog behaviour myths. Another good place to start is with Jan Fennell’s book “The Dog Listener”.
I can tell you in short, that any canine you take home with you will want to know the following:
- Who is protecting from danger?
- Where is the food coming from?
- What is my place in the pack?
- Who leads the way when we go on the walk?
Learn how to answer those questions in the right way, whatever breed of dog you choose, and you stand the best chance of having a happy life with your dog. I help owners one to one in home in Essex and the surrounding areas, so if you would like any help as you progress with your dog, please get in touch for a consultation.