Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You

Advantages of Purebred Dogs

A Breed's Traits are More Reliably Present. Getting a purebred dog has a number of advantages. The primary benefit of a purebred dog is that you will most likely have a dog with predictable physical traits and behaviors. By understanding the traits associated with a particular breed and examining the puppy's sire and dam to see how well they conform to the breed standard, it's possible to judge the physical characteristics (like size, tendency to shed, etc.) your puppy is likely to have as an adult. Similarly, evaluating the puppy's parents then performing a temperament test as discussed in Chapter 6, you can make a reasoned judgment about the likely temperament and behaviors the dog will have when it grows into an adult. This means that when you acquire a purebred dog, you'll have a reasonable idea of both its physical traits (for example, how large it will grow, how much it will shed, and the other characteristics listed in the Physical category); and how it will behave (how well it does with children and does it make a good watchdog etc.). For example, if you adopt a purebred German Shepherd, you can reasonably expect that a male puppy will grow to be 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder, weigh between 100 and 140 pounds, shed heavily, learn very quickly and be a good watchdog. These are all characteristics of the breed. As previously discussed, some behavior and temperament characteristics are carried in your dog's genes. If you want a high-energy dog, this may lead you to the Herding group. If you want a hunting dog, select a dog from the Hound or Sporting group. Purebred dogs generally inherit breed-specific temperaments and behaviors that some people call 'instincts.' However, keep in mind that all dogs are individuals. Some dogs will inherit more and some dogs will inherit less than the expected amount of any particular trait found in their breed. Inbreeding can change a dog's behavior or temperament which could result in a shy or nervous dog in a breed that is typically outgoing or creating an aggressive dog in a breed that's usually gentle. You must test a dog's temperament to confirm what you expect actually exists. Some breeders concentrate on breeding dogs with specific behaviors or temperament. If you want a dog that makes a good pet, find a breeder that specializes in breeding dogs with good temperaments. If you're looking for a herding dog or a hunting dog, look for a breeder that focuses on breeding dogs that have these characteristics. Breeders that concentrate on breeding dogs with specific behavioral traits frequently engage in those activities themselves or have a good reputation among members of that part of the dog community.