How to Choose a Dog Breed That Fits Your Personality
It’s no surprise that most dog owners and their dogs end up looking–and acting–somewhat alike. Whether it’s that the owner takes on the characteristic of the dog or vice-versa is hard to tell.
Either way, it’s highly likely that a would-be dog owner looks for a dog with an expression that matches her or his own; that is, a scowling human will probably look for a jowly dog with a no-nonsense demeanor, and a bubbly person will look for a wide-eyed and bouncy type dog.
Sometimes, too, persons looking to bring home a new dog are very particular about other considerations, such as size. An owner might want a very small dog, like a Chihuahua, or a large dog, like a Doberman Pinscher.
Looking For a Guard Dog?
Of course, there are persons who really should not be taking on the responsibility of a dog. These persons are those who are not prepared to lavish money, time or loving attention on their new pet. Also, those concerned only with whether or not the dog is considered a good watch dog should think twice before adopting a dog. Experts say that this is absolutely the wrong approach to selecting a dog.
Krista Mifflin, author of Your Guide to Dogs at About.com, says this about the topic of getting a dog for security: “Dogs are so much more than a barking machine. Dogs come with health care costs, feeding costs, and time investments. If all you want is something to keep your home safe, please… look for a home security place.” (Aside from that, all dogs make good security dogs. Any dog that has a voice and is well-cared for will automatically rise to the occasion and protect his or her master when needed.)
So what’s important to you in selecting a dog breed? Is it temperament? Weight? Level of activity? Once you discover your preferences, it’s time to research dog breeds and to narrow down your search.
Choosing A Dog By Temperament
On the “friendliest of dogs” end of the temperament scale are Beagles, Bichon Frises and Golden Retrievers. Beagles also have a high energy level, so need to be considered as a dog that also falls into the category of needing exercise. They are not high maintenance; they require almost no grooming. This breed would make a good addition to a busy, multi-tasking family with a yard.
The American Pit Bull Terrier, too, is actually a very friendly animal. As a matter of fact, The American Temperament Test Society dubs it one of the sweetest breeds of all! The Pit Bull has received bad press, but—aside from digging holes in your backyard—this breed can be a big bundle of joy.
A Pit Bull should be socialized early on (as a puppy). This is best accomplished by getting your pet used to people. Make sure your pet is not in a household where there is constant conflict or aggressive behavior between its owners, as pets tend to mimic the mood of a household.
As a breed, Bassett Hounds are especially good with children—if that’s an important consideration for you. These dogs can be charming. They like nothing better than to climb on to your lap (that is, when they’re not burrowing after bunnies in the back yard!)
The Chihuahua breed, on the other end of the spectrum, is widely considered the least people-friendly. This breed is not too social around other animals, either. On the plus side, however, Chihuahuas are hardy and extremely loyal and protective. Families with older children might be a good choice for this pet.
Choosing A Dog Breed By Activity Level
Are you an active person with lots of room to spare? Then you’ll love a Jack Russell Terrier, an Airedale Terrier or an Alaskan Malamute. These are pure work out dogs! Looking for a jogging partner who can get you motivated? Take along one of these enthusiastic canines!
The Jack Russell Terriers are especially intelligent, in addition to being great fun to exercise with. If you’d like to train your dog to fetch objects (like a toy for her or him to play with), consider a Jack Russell Terrier. (A Jack Russell Terrier of my acquaintance corrals wild turtles, cutting them off and running circles around them while barking madly.)
Among the least active dogs are Clumber Spaniels. Clumber Spaniels were thought to originate in France, where they retrieved prey for the main hunter of large estates during the 1700’s. These dogs are very playful, loving and gentle and seem quite happy with a few (slow) walks a day.
Choosing A Dog Breed By Size
Some people are more comfortable around a dog that falls into a certain size or weight grouping. If you feel drawn to the larger dog breeds, you might want to consider looking into adopting a Labrador, a Doberman Pinscher, a German Shepherd, an Alaskan Malamute or a Golden Retriever. A suitable breed might be an Afghan Hound, if you are able to provide a great deal of grooming for your dog.
Akitas, too, are larger breeds, but come with a unique set of traits. They are big on vigilance and have a high prey drive. If you are not prepared to spend a great deal of time on managing your Akita, it’s best to opt for another breed.
Depending on your personality, large dogs may strike you as overpoweringly assertive. Be sure you want an animal associate or a companion–and not a toy. (Although some smaller dogs may come off as bossy, their size may make them more manageable in your mind.)
If you find yourself being irritated by a bulk of fur making decisions on where she or he wants to walk, or when, you might want to aim your sights at a smaller dog.
Once you have an idea of the breeds that are more likely to suit your personality, you’ll be able to hone in on the ideal dog for you. After all, if the dog you select is well-matched to your personality, she or he will sense your contentment. This will ensure the well-being, loyalty and affection of the dog as well as your—and your family’s—confidence and happiness as successful dog owners.