The importance of knowing your breed of choice

The importance of knowing your breed of choice.

By Michele Lee

Last week we covered where to look and what to watch out for when acquiring a pet.
I now would like to go briefly over ‘choosing’ your breed.
It is not a good idea to make choices for a pet based on some of the following commonly used criteria.

  • Awww, he is so cute!! (a puppy)
  • Needs a home, will be euthanized if he/she is not adopted (shelter animals),
  • Has an intimidating look that will keep strangers at a distance.
  • Have always wanted a certain breed of dog.

‘Just because he is cute’ is a thinking that will quickly wear thin,
if you are not prepared for what a new puppy will introduce into your household.
Puppy’s like to chew, it may be a shoe, your leather couch or just your big toe.
Needle sharp teeth with a constant need to chew (somewhat like the old ‘Pacman” game),
will be something you can pretty much count on well into a dogs first year of life.

It is an admirable thing to bring home a pet from a shelter, it is something more people need to do.
However,if you choose a breed that you are not familiar with you may end up with a few unexpected occurrences.
I am speaking from experience. I myself wanted to give a shelter dog a home and quickly fell in love with the large brown eyed Beagle that looked at me with his eyes just begging to become a part of my family.
I thought it was odd that Georgie (the name we gave him) was obviously a purebred Beagle and young, only a couple of years old. I was mystified by what had caused him to end up at our local pound.
(I can hear Beagle owners everywhere laughing at me as they are reading this)
I soon found out that Beagles are a tracking breed and they ‘love’ to track.
They will find a way out of a fenced in yard when let out to potty or dart out a door if they pick up a scent.
And they are always picking up some kind of scent!!
There are a lot of pets out there that have been rescued from shelters and have found themselves back out on the street, kicked to the curb by new owners that had no idea of what they were getting into.

I do not think I even need to go into much detail about what could happen when you choose a breed because of it’s fierce looks. That’s right, you may end up with a pet that will hold the flashlight for your burglar if he gets scratched on the belly!! This is the case more often than not with many breeds. Unfortunately, their owners try to make them aggressive or mean in a variety of ways.
The end result…the evening news covering a tragic story of a child being bitten or mauled by an animal.
What is not reported is that the animal has been mentally and physically abused by its owner.

Often, people have wanted a certain breed of dog for years.
They have childhood memories of knowing or owning one, they have read books or have seen movies that ‘starred’ one.
Whatever the reason they will go out and purchase the pet they have always wanted.
Listed below are some obvious examples of why this may not be one of the best ideas that you have had in your lifetime.

A Great Dane as a housedog may have a difficult time not running into and knocking over your prize collection of ‘what nots’ that you have distributed lovingly throughout your home
English Bulldog’s are most likely not going to be a great choice if you are looking for a pet that can make it through an agility course.
Jack Russel Terriers may be small but they are definitely not the lapdog that your elderly grandmother wants!!
Certain dogs believe it or not can be trained to use a litterbox but for obvious reasons if this is your plan I would have to advice against attempting this with anything but teacup sized breeds!!!

Many of have us lead different lifestyles and there are pets that are better suited to some than others.
Take the time to do some research before making a commitment that is much like having a child.

Beginning your journey for a new dog

Beginning your journey .

If your quest is for a family pet and not for breeding or showing, than an excellent place to start would be with your local Humane Society. These animals are in desperate need of a good home. Adopting a pet is ultimately saving a life, what could be more rewarding than that?

Another route for adoption are breed rescues and clubs that are ‘breed specific’.
They are easy to find via the internet and they often have available information on their animals history. Such as; where they came from, their temperament, their habits, age, if they are good with children or other pets etc.
If you have decided that it is a ‘puppy’ of a specific breed than it is to a breeder that you must go.

Searching for a breeder.

Many dog breeders by definition are unscrupulous and unethical. Unfortunately the ‘good’ ones are the minority, but they do exist.
It’s comparative to finding the ever elusive needle in a haystack, but with patience and good researching a conscientious and caring breeder can be found.
Be prepared and do your home work, learning as much as possible about the breed of your choice. Always consider your lifestyle when deciding. Just like humans some dogs can be much more demanding and higher maintenance than others.

Where to begin

Now is the time to practice patience if you are lacking in this area. Jumping at the first cute puppy encountered could lead down a path intermittent with vet bills and disappointment.

You can also be directed by clubs that are ‘breed specific’ they as well can be found on the internet and through the American Kennel Club registry. Through them you can find breeders and rescue organizations.

What or whom to avoid

Breeders that advertise continuously in newspapers and magazines. These kind of breeders have an ongoing supply and are either ‘puppy mills’ or ‘puppy brokers’. Both of which are extremely undesirable because they are in it for a fast buck and unconcerned about the health and welfare of their animals.

Pet stores offer animals that are either the remnants of a litter that a breeder was unable to sell, or they are acquired from a breeder that breeds specifically to sell to pet stores. Again you are running into ‘puppy mill’ breeders.

Contracts that require you to give a ‘puppy back’ out of your first litter when purchasing a female or maintain ‘stud’ rights on a male.

Claims that a puppy is ‘show quality’. There is no way of discerning if a puppy is show quality, unless it is several months old (at lease six) regardless of its pedigree.

’Tight’ line breeding, this is when close relatives are bred together for example; a mother and a son, littermates ( sister to a brother) or father to a daughter. This type of breeding is done to preserve all the quality characteristics of a bloodline, but it also doubles up on all of the bad genes and health problems.

Breeders that offer no health guarantee on their animals. For example; the puppy you purchase ends up with a genetic heart problem. Ethical breeders will either refund your money or offer you another puppy as a replacement.

Pups that are sent home with a buyer before at ‘least’ eight weeks of age. It is against the ‘law’ in many states. A law that has been implemented for a very good reason. Pup’s are too young to leave their mother before this. Health certificates cannot be acquired from a vet until all series of shots and worming have been completed. And this happens at the eight week mark.

What to expect from a good breeder.

You will be educated. Health and behavior issues will be addressed for their specific breed. Diet requirements and brands of food that are best suited will be discussed.The standards of their breed are explained while faults that may be apparent in their pups are pointed out. Responsible breeders will either give away or sell a pup at a greatly reduced price if it displays an obvious fault. But it is contiguous with the agreement that the pup is to be spayed or neutered. Honesty, as a rule is upheld by these breeders.

You will be invited to tour their facility/home and find that the living conditions are clean and comfortable. You will not see crates stacked on top of one another or animals confined in small crates or quarters.There will not be a large number of animals or several different breeds.

Highly reputable breeders may have a waiting list and nothing available until a later date. However, it is well worth the wait.
These individuals will not breed their females back to back (every heat) and will not breed them period,
until they reach a certain age.(usually the on second or third heat)
Also, they will discontinue breeding them after they have had a few (3-4 MAX) litters.
Normally these breeders will only have one to two litters available a year even if they have several females.

Ask for recommendations. Good breeders have no problem with recommending another breeder if they do not have anything available or what you are looking for. They will not slander others, but advise you of what to be cautious of.

Now you have the basics. Let me conclude with a reminder that a puppy or an adult dog is a big responsibility. They need plenty of attention and care not unlike having a child. When cared for properly they can be quite an added expense. Puppy’s will require training and patience. This is something to consider seriously before taking on the added responsibility of a pet. If you are prepared and ready for an addition to your family. You will have a very rewarding experience and a new friend

DEFEAT PARVO!!…This site saves lives!!!

UPDATE 05/25/10

Unfortunately the original link I had posted for the site I actually used for my dog is no longer active….but I did find another site that is extremely informative and helpful. They however do not use the same remedy that was used for my dog…but I still want to go ahead and have information available to you so that you do not lose hope or think that you have to either fork out hundreds of dollars to a vet or lose your animal….because this is not true you CAN do it yourself…you just need guidance and determination!!

Note: You will see me reposting this over and over in hopes that it will save a life!!!

Signs of Parvo : Dog or puppy stops eating, stops drinking, diarrhea-can be bloody with mucus and foul smelling, throwing up, refusal to eat or drink, becomes very weak and listless almost overnight. There are several virus’s and conditions that have similar symptoms. All of these result in death to the animal(s) because of DEHYDRATION. The treatment suggested below is for keeping your animal ‘Hydrated’ and will help the survival chances of any condition that causes ‘Dehydration’

Pictured: Our dog ‘Rain’ who owes her life to the treatment I am posting!!

This is a site I discovered when our pit bull was stricken with the deadly ‘Parvo’ virus.
I was absolutely devastated. My finances were not in any shape to take on the vet bills that can easily average from $1,000-$1,500. I searched the internet in desperation of discovering some sort of cure. Knowing how deadly this illness is I had no real hope of finding an answer.

I was wrong, I discovered a site with several different home remedies for a variety of things.He makes no promises…He is straight to the point.

If you do not have the the stamina ‘Hang it up!!’ You are wasting your time if you cannot completely dedicate yourself to your animal and pretty much forget about sleep ” (hopefully you will have some one to trade off with)


I did everything he said, the only difference was I was able to talk my vet into selling me a bag of I.V. fluid. (Most vets will do this for you if they are half way decent) A vet tech also showed me how to administer it.

Don’t think you cannot not do it ‘YOU’ CAN, ‘I’ did.

If you are reading this and you have an puppy stricken by this, My thoughts are with you….and I wish you the best. I make no money off the site I have mentioned, I do not even know the owner. But I can say that I myself did this treatment and it worked, it took about 48 hours for her to seem ‘somewhat’ normal… but she fully recovered.