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Purebred or Mixed Breed?  Finding The Right Dog!

So you’ve decided to get a dog? Wonderful! I have a sign hanging in my house that reads “The high point of my day is that moment when I get home to be with my dog.” It’s the truth. And I’m pretty confident that you’ll love coming home to your dog too, as long as you bring home the right dog for you and your family. The first thing to think about is whether you want a purebred or a mixed breed. There are advantages to both, but depending on your situation, the purebred might be the way to go. Why? There are a few reasons.

  1. Different breeds have different temperaments. While there’s no guarantee that the dog will be typical of its breed, breeders pick their dogs based on things like temperament and how well the dogs reflect that particular breed
  2. You’ll have a pretty good idea of how big the dog will be when fully grown. If your living situation dictates a small dog, rescuing a puppy from your local Human Society, while admirable, might not be the best idea. I had a friend who adopted a dog that should have, according to his paperwork, topped out at about 25 lbs. By the time he hit 50 lbs., my friend realized she didn’t have a small dog. Thankfully that wasn’t a problem for her, but for someone else it might have meant that the dog had to go back to the Humane Society. The folks at the Humane Society, at best, have the dog’s owner telling them what breed(s) the dog is or might be. At worst, they can only tell what it looks like it might be.
  3. You’ll know that the dog has been bred to exhibit certain behaviors. If you’re looking for something in particular, like herding or hunting, with a purebred you’ll know that that’s what you’re getting. With a mixed- breed you just don’t know. If you want a dog to herd your sheep and you wind up with one that just wants to chase them around all day, well, you’re going to wind up with some pretty unhappy sheep.
  4. Certain breeds are known to have specific medical issues. Assuming you obtain your dog from an ethical breeder, you can be sure that the breeder does his/her best to eliminate or control these issues. And many breeders offer health guarantees.

Buying a purebred dog from a reputable breeder has its advantages. Mostly it’s the knowing, something you won’t get with a rescue from the SPCA. Remember when the President was looking for a dog for his daughters after his first election? He needed a dog that wouldn’t cause allergy problems. The Portuguese Water Dog is a good choice for that specific issue. Chances are he wouldn’t have found one at the local pound.

The second thing to think about is what kind of dog? Bringing a dog into your home is a big decision, so do some homework to be sure you make the right choice. Some things to think about…

  1. Your lifestyle. Do you have time for a dog that needs lots of grooming? If not, the long haired breeds might not be a good fit.
  2. Do you live in a small apartment or in a community that has weight limits on resident pets? Many communities only allow dogs up to 25 lbs. A Pug would probably be ok. A Newfoundland? Not so much.
  3. Does your community have breed restriction? Many do. Bring home any of the dogs on the “restricted list” and you’ll probably be looking for a new home before you have your new pup housebroken.
  4. Do you like to go out and play? If you’re active and want to include your new buddy in your activities, a dog that’s bred to run all day and has a huge amount of energy like any of the herding/shepherd breeds might be a good choice.
  5. What do you expect from your dog? Do you want a lap dog? If you do, then I’d definitely recommend  a Maltese rather than a Mastiff, unless you’re ok with 180 lbs. of dog in your lap. They’re gentle and don’t require a lot of grooming, but they’re huge!

There is a lot to think about, but the American Kennel Club’s website is a great resource. The list of breeds they have information about is as long as my arm, and if you look under the ‘Breed Standards’ section of any particular breed, you’ll find all kinds of information.

Bottom line is, if you choose the right dog you’ll both be happy campers. And then, hopefully, coming home to your new best bud will be the high point of your day, too. Happy housetraining!

 Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer