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Research breed characteristics before buying or adopting a dog

By HELEN PALMER

K9 Corner

I had an argument the other day, guess we all do at one time or another.

However, I still feel I have logic on my side. The subject was the need to research breed characteristics before buying a dog. My friend doesn’t feel this is necessary. Obviously, I wasn’t sufficiently convincing.

Now maybe, I am stuck on researching things that might change my lifestyle. I spent nearly three years reading up on all the breeds of dogs and their characteristics before I selected the schnauzer as the breed most suited to my routines. The attributes that convinced me were: easily trainable, naturally protective, good with children when socialized (my neighborhood had lots of youngsters back then) and most importantly this breed is noted for not roaming. However, the schnauzer comes in three sizes so I made arrangements to visit a kennel that bred all three sizes and chose the standard (mid-size) schnauzer as the best for me. I never regretted the selection.

Here are some examples of things to watch for in studying breeds. The Australian cattle dog, being very intelligent can also be very clever, crafty and calculating especially if they are not given plenty to do that is mentally and physically stimulating. This breed is noted to be masters of manipulation.

You might like the size of the cattle dog, you might like the coat for easy care, but if you haven’t done your homework, you might find this breed to be incompatible with your lifestyle. People who like jogging each day through heat, snow and so forth, will find this breed an ideal companion. Also an agility enthusiast will find the cattle dog a willing competitor.

Another example: Dalmatians. The two movies featuring this breed, you know them, have won the hearts of Americans. The cute, cuddly black-spotted puppies in the films caused an avalanche of puppies in real life as people wanted to cash in on the buying frenzy. What happens to these puppies as they grow up into large, strong, athletic dogs needing lots of exercise? They end up in animal shelters.

In spite of the fact that the Dalmatian Club of America, the American Kennel Club and yes, even the Disney Studios, broadcasted warnings about the needs of this breed and that Dalmatians are not for everyone. Humane societies across the nation were flooded with enough Dalmatians to make Cruella De Vil a warehouse of coats.

If you plan to rescue a dog from an animal shelter, you should still study the various breeds; making notes on the size you want, the type of coat, the personality and definitely the activity level. Then you will be able to ask for a dog or pup with these characteristics. Be aware though, puppies at shelters have their own growth patterns and even if small now, can grow into huge dogs. If you want to rescue an already trained dog, consider one of the Mutts with Manners trained at Northpoint Training Center. Call the shelter at (859) 238-1117 for more information.