Chapter 4
How To Know What Type Dog Is Best For You
Toy Group. The Toy Group contains the smallest breeds, including the Toy Poodle and the Pekingese. Many dogs in this group have been bred to be companion animals and are typically small, docile and don't require as much exercise as other breeds. Most fall into the lapdog category and make great breeds for those who have restrictions on the space available for a dog. However, because they are so easily injured, most Toy breeds are not well-suited to families with small children. Perhaps the two biggest problems with members of this group are that some tend to be "yappy," and many are difficult to housebreak. Non-Sporting Group. The Non-Sporting Group consists of the breeds that don't conveniently fit into the other categories, including the Bulldog and both the Miniature and Standard Poodle. Dogs in the Non-Sporting Group range in size from small to large, and have a wide range of personalities and activity levels. Some dogs in this group may be suitable pets for the average family, but some dogs in the Non-Sporting Group have specific characteristics that make them less appropriate in a typical family household. Grooming requirements vary within the Non-Sporting Group. Some of the dogs, such as the Dalmatian, require regular brushing to minimize year-round shedding, but otherwise, require very little care. Other breeds, such as the Finnish Spitz, have a double-coat that requires regular brushing and bathing and may require more grooming than a family has time to provide. Herding Group. The Herding Group contains the breeds that are the most active in all of dogdom. Bred to herd livestock, many of them possess herding instincts even as companion animals. Some attempt to herd family members, especially children, who are considered part of their flock to protect. Herding dogs can use tactics such as a headbutt or nipping, which should be discouraged from an early age. If left unchecked, this nipping tendency can evolve into biting. However, herding dogs may also prevent children from becoming involved with dangerous situations, such as running into the street. Most Herding dogs have extremely high exercise needs. These dogs were bred to herd all day long, and their stamina means that they require extensive exercise. Australian Shepherds and Border Collies require several hours of daily exercise and may become obsessed with tennis balls, chasing them for hours - long past the point when other dogs would drop from exhaustion. Herding dogs require active households that provide plenty of exercise, including those who want to compete in dog sports, such as agility or flyball.