Do Your Research!--the Importance Of Choosing The Right Breed For You


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(Before you get started, this is LONG. But worth reading! So put on your reading glasses and get started!)

You weren't really looking for a dog, but you passed the pet shop window and that cute little furball just gave you that look, and you couldn't resist.
Or, you grew up with a Boxer, and he was great. So now, you want one.
Or, you like a breed for no real reason, they're just pretty and neat dogs.
Or maybe, the kids wanted one and you couldn't say no.

Well, that logic is what puts millions of dogs in shelters and pounds. Just because your Boxer growing up was awesome doesn't mean you can handle one now. And even though the kids really want an Air Bud, you hate having to brush your own hair, much less a whole big dog covered in it.
If you are a couch potato, an Australian Shepherd isn't the way to go. I don't care how much you love Lassie, a Collie is not a good fit for your tiny apartment. On the other hand, if you're a fitness buff who jogs 10-15 miles a day, a English Bulldog doesn't really want to accompany you for that long. A Border Collie, however, would love to join your fitness routine. High energy dogs are not intended to be yard ornaments, and they will let you know this by chewing, digging, becoming aggressive, or a variety of other "bad behaviors."

Here's an example. When 101 Dalmatians was released, the Dallie population exploded. Dalmatian numbers were at an all-time high....and at the same time, shelters saw more Dallies than they had perhaps ever seen of any one breed. Millions of people came to the conclusion that Dalmatians were unpredictable, uncontrollable, aggressive beasts who couldn't be trusted with children. As a former Dallie owner and still a lover of the breed, naturally my response was...

Dalmatians are an extremely sensitive, high-energy breed. Without exercise, they very quickly develop behavior problems, including aggression, that escalade at an amazing rate. This is not the fault of the dog. These dogs were bought to sit in the backyard and play with the kids once in a while, without the owners knowing that these dogs can't function normally without mental and physical stimulation.
Pit bulls? Same situation. Overbreeding and owner ignorance have given this dog the reputation it has today. Like the Dalmatian, these dogs are sensitive and high-energy. Without careful training and exercise, these dogs can create a lot of problems.
How about small dogs? Why do they have the nickname "ankle-biters?" Little dog does NOT mean little exercise, my friends. Toddlers are small, does this mean they don't need exercise and don't need to learn anything? Absolutely not. And yet, seeing a small dog on a walk with his owner happens less frequently than Bart Simpson earns a B on a test. Small breeds need exercise too. So don't assume that a Jack Russell Terrier is a great apartment dog to sit and watch TV with. They aren't.

By researching breeds BEFORE finding a new family member, you can have some insight as to what you're getting into and what breed best fits your family's lifestyle. When you don't, you're almost sure to end up with problems. I can't count on my hands AND feet how many times I've had Border Collie owners tell me, "She's just CRAZY all the time! She never slows down. She drives us nuts! Is yours this HYPER???" And my answer is always, "Well...yes! That's a BORDER COLLIE! She'll be that way all her life, and without exercise and training she's going to keep driving you crazy." The response is usually a terrified and sheepish expression, and you can tell they're thinking, 'Oh my gosh, she's going to be like this FOREVER?!?!?! What did I get myself into????' Had they researched the breed first, they'd be prepared for their always-on-the-go workaholic, and they'd still have a mint condition leather sofa, and the full set of Friends Season 2 DVDs(without the holes and teeth marks in the cases).

Energy level is not the only thing to look for in your potential new family member. If you aren't willing to groom the dog DAILY, then do not get a Sheltie or a Poodle. If you don't plan on spending any time caring for the dog's coat, or the money to send her to a groomer regularly, then do the dog a favor and DON'T BRING HER HOME. It doesn't take very long for mats to form in an ungroomed coat, and they HURT.

I used to work in a grooming salon. We once had a Lhasa Apso who had probably never been brushed. There was no way to salvage his coat, and when we shaved him down he had one HUGE mat the length and width of his body. The owner told us that they were out of town for a weekend, and his petsitter didn't brush him. Newsflash: the groomers aren't stupid. The dog can't get that matted in a weekend. So don't bother lying to the groomer.
Another example: we had a family who had a Shih Tzu and a Poodle. Both were very sweet dogs(initially), but neither was ever brushed, and the owners didn't want them shaved. When the Poodle first came in, she was just a young pup but did have quite a few knots. Her fur wasn't long enough yet to mat, but she still needed brushed. Each time they brought her in, she was severely matted. She quickly became very aggressive, because every time she came to the groomers, she was going to get hurt. Brushing out mats HURTS, severely. She became a snarling, vicious little dog. After the first 2 visits, we thought maybe they just needed advice. So we showed them the appropriate brush, and how and when to brush her. The next time, she was matted. After about 9-10 months of brushing mats out of this dog every time she came, the manager had had enough. She shaved her down, as well as the Shih Tzu and told them not to come back. We couldn't continue hurting these dogs, especially since the Poodle was going to get more and more aggressive.

So, if you love to vaccuum, walk daily, and really love all things baby, a Rottweiler may just be the perfect match for you.
Are you obsessed with fitness? Were/are you an all-star pitcher? Like to play frisbee with your friends? Then a Border Collie might be a good fit. (Don't worry, if you aren't an all-star pitcher, your Border Collie can teach you.)
Not into the whole "exercise thing?" A Bichon Frise might be right up your alley--just brush while you're watching TV!

Not really sure what you want? How about a pure, 100% M.I.X.? (Millions of Interesting CROSSES!) More often than not, mutts are SMARTER, MORE TRAINABLE, AND LESS PRONE TO HEALTH PROBLEMS! Along with all those benefits, they are also SUPER EASY TO FIND! Just head on down to your local shelter, or check out Many of these dogs have been abandoned, lost, or never had a family at all. Don't want to deal with puppy raising? Adopt an adult dog! Some of them may have came from a family who couldn't keep them anymore for one reason or another. They may just have all their housetraining, kid-proofing, and basic manners out of the way! Still have your heart set on a purebred? Shelters have these too! Don't fall into the line of thinking that adult dogs are "set in their ways." Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Plus, you'll feel great about rescuing a dog instead of buying from a pet store(where the puppies almost always come from puppy mills, and could have health problems).

Take the Breed Quiz to find out what breeds might be right for you!


Honored Member
Staff member
Thanks Jackie. ^^
Yes, you're probably right. Something like this should be posted in every pet store....but then they wouldn't make any money, lol!


Well-Known Member
I foster and volunteer at the local shelter and it is obvious people do not research their breeds first!


New Member
Over the years teaching at various dog clubs.... it is so obvious that many people do not think before they buy!!!

I was asked for advice about a 16 week old Border Collie pup who was chewing and digging.... the owners worked 8+ hours a day......... need I say more!!!!!

Isi Havanese

Active Member
I just posted the thread below yours Havanese anyone? After reading your thread I feel :sick:(n):unsure:guilty "advertising" this fabulous and quite potentially disasterous:censored: breed they have huge potential draw backs too! I mentioned the grooming as a huge draw back. But I love grooming. bathing and all the intensive special coat care this breed requires. It is as high for the grooming requirement as they come!:cautious: I researched and took every quiz online I could find before I chose my breed that is why I am so delighted! To others this same fantastic breed could be a matted up expensive little purse dog which is definitely :(NOT what they are!:sick: They are high energy needing walks and tons of play and training for their busy intelligent brains to not get into mischeif with:sneaky: My post is a great example of what you are talkng about. Just because she is the dog of my DREAMS she may be the dog of your NIGHTMARES!
People that take the quiz honestly and keeping in mind the rest of their family and their likelihood of changing circumstances are much more likely to be as thrilled with their dog as I am with mine. I am looking for an adult Havanese now. Though with this breed their is very little difference in a puppy and an adult in terms of constant need for training, devotion of time and energy requirements. :eek:
Anyone wanting a cute little purse dog :rolleyes: ought to be banned from ever owning any dog!!! Better yet slapped:confused:O_o;) I did buy my girl a carrier for safe car rides and a retreat from when I take her to work but it is not a purse and it is to socailize her and not to show her off. :ROFLMAO::p:D She is a natural show off.
My breed for instance is prone to many genetic diseases that do not show up until you are quite attached @ 2-3 years old so are you going to pay the price for the right breeder with ALL the genetic testing first? They suffer when left alone for over 4 hours a day. Is someone home with them; can you take them to work with you?
EVERY BREED has it's positives and negatives some way more than others.;depending on who you are. Don;t get a breed that needs daily long walks with your new diet plan in mind the dog will not make you stick to a new daily walking plan.
KNOW THYSELF before you take the tests do it honestly and then think carefully for a LONG while before you ADOPT or buy your new Best Friend Forever! They need and deserve a FOREVER home
IDEA::eek: Try fostering a breed you like from your local ASPCA or volunteer there and play with and walk and groom lots of dogs so you learn the traits you actually do like and the ones you don't. Please don't adopt then think you can return him or her! They are not sweaters! They are Gods creations that will devote themselves to you whether or not you are worthy of their love.:notworthy: They don'y get thrown away when you are done and want a new one either!What a :censored::poop:ty thing do!:whistle::mad:


Honored Member
Staff member
Isi, I know what you mean as far as your dream dog being someone else's nightmare. ^^ I can't count on all of my fingers and toes how many times I've met a fellow BC owner and have been asked something along the lines of, "Is yours this HYPER?" ABSOLUTELY! And she always will be. That's a Border Collie! Oh the horrified looks on their faces. :confused:

I remember when I worked at Petsmart, I was helping a fellow BC owner, a mother and daughter. Can't remember what they were looking for for their two BCs, but somehow we got on the subject of what we liked best about the breed. I said something about them being "crazy," and truly meant it affectionately--I LOOOOVE the super crazy nutcase dogs that most people can't stand. Craziness, for me, is one of the best things about many BCs!! The fellow BC owner was extremely offended, and said quite firmly, "They are not crazy. They are excellent and wonderful and I can't imagine a more perfect dog." Sheesh, obviously she didn't hear the tone of voice I used and clearly didn't get what I was meaning. Ah well. I explained that I loved the energy of the BC, etc, tried to recover to make her understand that I meant it in the best way possible, but she pretty much had cast me off. LOL.
But, the craziness that I love about my dogs is what a lot of people would really hate. Zekers, for instance, is easily THE most high-drive dog I have ever ever encountered. If I woke him up at 1:00 a.m. he would be 200% ready to go. He can rest, and has learned to relax, but is a very high drive dog. He is crazy fast, incredibly agile, athletic...I swear there's a Ferarri engine in there somewhere, and pogo sticks in his legs! He is also incredibly clingy, can easily develop obsessions, is a velcro dog, and always dying for attention. He has been and continues to be a lot of work, but all these crazy traits also make him amazing to train. He is very eager to learn, and would do literally anything to make me happy. He wants nothing more in life than to cuddle and to chase tennis balls. I'm not saying that I am anything special at all, but I know that a lot of people would just not be able to tolerate Z's Zekeisms.

Haha...sorry. ^^ Got a bit off topic.


Honored Member
I lovve this thread!!

I can't stand when people will get a dog and not know a thing about the breed. :|

Isi Havanese

Active Member
:pThe pic is a Havanese now that looks like Isi, my name is Christie. I just learned that my step child and his wife that have an American Eskimo @ 2 years old, female named Reagan may be moving from Hawaii to live with us for a year in Hawaii. I have never met Reagan. I have my 4 yr old German Shepherd and my 14 week old Havanese. I already looked up Reagans breed info. I have never been a big Spitz family fan but they are beauties. The kids in Hawaii want to travel the world before returning to Hawaii and starting a family and they have asked my husband and I to babysit for a year or so if they do this is @ a year. His other son did actually do this travel the world thing so as far fetched(pardon the pun) as this sounds it will probably happen. Can anyone offer suggestions to this situation? I know the kids love their dog like I love mine, they know how greta I am with dogs and said I was the one they would ask this of otherwise they would stop planning to go on this once in a lifetime(and not in my lifetime) LOL chance to travel like this. I told my husband to make sure to tell them to get her socialized well to other dogs and as many people as possible. She is an only dog right now. I want her exposed to big dogs for sure, she is already around the other kids' chihuahua and Pomeranian so I am not ass wrried about that. Anything else BIG anyone can think of to have them work on this year to make this as smooth as possible a transition for her? By the way if I fall in love with her which I know I will, they may not get their dog back:D:rolleyes::( after a year of me having her. They do take her with them to the beach daily and everywhere else she can go. Ohio has long cold winters which I hate and I do not have a fence, maybe they should buy me fence? LOL

Isi Havanese

Active Member
By the way I posted that here due to it being a choose the breed and do your research and I am babysitting a breed I know nothing about and did not choose for year in my home, so any breed info or advice would be greatly appreciated;)


Honored Member
Staff member
I think making sure they help her get socialized with larger dogs will be fine. Also if she's not already crate trained, that could be a good idea so she has something familiar to move with her to your house. That way, even though her whole family is gone, she still has her "home" that is safe and she can go there when the stress of all the newness is too much for her.


Honored Member
I loved this part, about focusing on the ENERGY LEVEL and exercise requirements of a breed..but most ppl read, "oh, border collies are supposed to be so smart, so i want one!" unaware of the DAILY exercise requirements to keep most dogs of that breed sane.

//I can't count on my hands AND feet how many times I've had Border Collie owners tell me, "She's just CRAZY all the time! She never slows down. She drives us nuts! Is yours this HYPER???" And my answer is always, "Well...yes! That's a BORDER COLLIE! She'll be that way all her life, and without exercise and training she's going to keep driving you crazy." //

Of course, there are individuals amongst a breed,
one can find a less hyper border collies, or labs, etc etc, if they are choosing from adult dogs they can then SEE or ASK what that particular dog is like...(puppies are often a bit of a mystery box, but reading up on the breed should help even the couch potato types get a dog more suitable to their lifestyle)

but i WISH ppl bringing home a high energy dog were interviewed at length prior to being allowed to have one. :ROFLMAO:

soooooooo many ppl are unrealistic in evaluating their own energy level, their own ability to provide long walks twice daily, and/or daily runs, many ppl often seem to overestimate their commitment
to learning about dogs and dog training,
etc etc etc etc but still take home dogs who WILL need such things.

For real, there are ppl who spend the bulk of their time sitting in front of a tv set, who would say, "who me? Sure i will make sure my dog gets plenty of chances to run around full speed, of course i'll take the dog jogging, yes yes, i AM the kind who will learn how to train the dog.":rolleyes:

and then go back to eating chips and watching tv...More ppl who want a dog to just watch tv with them, should be more honest about this and get a lower energy dog.

Tx is sooooooooo right, so right, ppl need to both research the breed
be honest to themselves about how lively THEY really are,
honest about how active their lifestyle really often they REALLY go for walks, etc.

Many ppl complaining about their nutty border collies, or high energy dog of any breed,
would really been happier with a lower energy breed that actually DOES fit with their own energy level....
ACTUALLY, much of this applies to dogs of most any breed, to some extent. There are some ppl who should stick to cats, or senior aged dogs.


Honored Member
most dog websites
(ever wander through Yahoo Answers Pet section? it'd make your head explode...)

get soooooooooo many complaints from puppy owners,
"they won't stop biting me!"
"when will they housetrain! my carpet is ruined!"
"why won't this baby dog do a heel yet?"
"the puppy is crying all night long and i can't stand it"
"this puppy keeps chewing up my whole house, and he just ate my ipod.."
on and on and on.....even from low energy breeds,
their puppyhood time is often hectic.

Many puppy owners sound so frantic and at wits end, as if they are about to pull their hair out.

i think more ppl might have more pleasant first year with their new dog,
if more ppl were open to bringing home an ADULT dog.
Many ppl have lifestyles better suited to rescuing one of the millions of adult dogs, and just skipping the whole "year of insanity" that too many puppy owners go through.

if one chooses to adopt an ADULT dog, it is a bit easier to find out
if the dog is high energy dog
or lower energy dog
when you choose an adult dog, especially if it is living in a foster family setup.