dog-breedsWritten by Jennifer Evans, DVM

There are over 175 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, not to mention thousands of combinations present in the mixed breed dogs of the world.  So which one is right for you and your family?

Breed or combination of breeds plays a huge role in both the behavior/personality and likely medical issues your future family member may have.  Learning as much as you can about potential breeds and making an informed decision before you fall in love with the totally adorable but completely wrong dog for your lifestyle, can prevent huge amounts of heartache down the road.  For example, if you aren’t willing /able to commit fairly significant financial and time resources toward the health of your dog, an English Bulldog should probably not be on your list.  They are wonderful dogs but are notorious for having many, significant health issues, several of which require surgery to maintain their quality of life and prevent suffering.  Certain breeds are much better around small children than others; they just have more patience for the grabbing, running around and noise that inevitably accompanies kids.

All dogs are individuals, and any particular dog can be great or terrible in a given situation but genetics play a very strong part.  Breeds exist because humans selectively bred dogs showing particular physical and behavioral traits for hundreds of generations.  These traits become embedded in the breed and some simply can’t be changed.  Border Collies exist to have a job, if we don’t give them a job, they’ll come up with one on their own, usually something like reshaping your furniture or herding your cats or children.  Knowing this before you bring home a Border Collie or a Border Collie mix doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t still choose that dog, but it means you will know ahead of time that you will need to plan on obedience classes and maybe agility classes or something else to focus their drive and intelligence on.

So many behavior problems exist and so many dogs are given up to shelters or rescue groups simply because the dog and owner are not a good fit.  No breed is intrinsically bad but many breeds are not appropriate for the majority of dog owners.  In reverse, there is no perfect breed that is right for everyone.

At Animal Care Clinic we would love to help you work through choosing the next breed or type of dog for you.  We can provide insight into common medical problems in each breed as well as help you decide if your lifestyle, family and home are a good match for a particular type or breed of dog.