Dog breeds are often the first thing people focus on when choosing a new canine friend. It is all about appearance, be it size, color, markings, cute or menacing, etc. Temperament is often ignored and sometimes comes as a shock to the new parents.
A better place to start might be the groupings created by the AKC (American Kennel Club), if only because they give you some insight into the true nature of each breed: hyperactive or couch potato, private or social butterfly, worrywart or easy-go-lucky?
Funny enough, this categorizing really comes in handy to help determine the temperament of mixed breeds – given enough clues to help you figure out their canine ancestry. Here’s a good place to get started.
Lumping dogs into large or small dog breeds is not much help when it comes time to select the right companion dog. A good match will more likely be the result of giving thoughtful consideration to dog group instincts and temperament, and then allowing individual personality to kick in.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has grouped dogs together based on the type of function they were developed to perform throughout history.
Though excluded from the American Kennel Club, Mixed Dog Breeds offer something for everyone and have made their way into more households throughout the world than purebreds.
Although temperament and adult appearance can be harder to predict, they are less likely to suffer from certain hereditary defects such as skin allergies, heart disease, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Herding Dogs comprise dog breeds as diversified as Collies, German Shepherds, Sheepdogs and Corgis which were all bred to herd livestock.
The Border Collie is the dog breed most likely to spring to mind when you think of herding dogs. Highly intelligent and active, eye contact backed by aggressive barking is of paramount importance as they relentlessly will recalcitrant members of the herd to do as they are bid.
Hound Dogs assist in the hunt in either of two ways.
Scent hounds like the bloodhound, beagle and foxhound track their quarry through their formidable scenting abilities, while sight hounds such as the saluki lend their speed to the chase.
Hounds form a more diversified grouping. For example, the dachshund
Non-Sporting dog breeds are impossible to define as they include all breeds that do not fit anywhere else, from the intelligent, highly-trainable, often pampered poodle to the stalwart, unruffled bulldog, the outgoing dalmatian and even the playful bichon frise.
Each breed must be appraised individually for skills and temperaments.
Sporting dog breeds represent canine stardom with the highly popular pointers, setters, retrievers and spaniels.
Naturally gentle, highly trainable and always eager to participate in any game their family can rustle up, they make excellent family dogs appreciated for their intelligence and alertness.
Terriers have acquired a reputation as feisty bundles of energy always forthcoming with an opinion and absolutely no inhibition to express it.
The same energy and tenacity employed in your backyard can transform your dream garden into a rabbit warren in no time flat, all accomplished while maintaining a running commentary on the procedure.
Toy Dog Breeds have done very well for themselves, surviving chiefly by providing companionship.
Affectionate and loyal, their intelligence shines when channeled towards obedience training and competition. They relish showing off all the tricks they have mastered.
Working Group dogs come in all forms and shapes, though most are large, powerful and headstrong.
Used as police dogs, rescue dogs, sled dogs, as well as to guard livestock and property, they bring all their focus on the task at hand and are not easily distracted.