Does Breed Matter?


     This is a question we are asked a lot. Everyone wants to make sure when they adopt a rescue or bring home a new puppy that they get exactly what they want. Most people want a family-friendly, cuddly, silly, easy-going pup to make their lives a little more furry and joyful. So when you’re looking for your next best friend, does breed really matter?

      Yes and no.

      Dog breeds exist because mankind needed their dogs to perform certain tasks. Different dogs were bred and mixed and bred and mixed, all the while we humans were choosing the dogs with their proper temperament, the right look, the best abilities to do what we needed done. Example: Australian Cattle Dogs, also known as “heelers”, are the product of breeding several different breeds of dogs for many generations to form an extremely fast, high stamina herding dog that could work in the heat of the Outback. Their bloodline boasts everything from border collies to bull terriers and even the Australian dingo. Each of their ancestors helped make the breed what it is today. Most cattle dogs are very high energy, need lots of exercise and mental stimulation, and are very intelligent. So yes, breed does matter…

      …But does it always? No. While these herding dogs are typically very high energy and can, quite honestly, be a lot to handle for some families who can’t make a commitment to their need for exercise, there are some very low-key, calm, easy-going heelers that are perfect family pets. Just as with people, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Our genetics definitely play a part in who we are and how we act, but we are not necessarily bound by our DNA. Pitbulls can be aggressive, difficult dogs. They can also be big, fat babies that are scared of chihuahuas. German shepherds can be hard working police dogs or lazy snuggle buddies. Mini poodles can be sweet playmates for your kids, or they can be dangerous biters that are not at all family-friendly.

In short: Dogs and people are very different, but we have one thing in common. We all have different personalities and temperaments. Dogs of a certain breed tend to have their characteristics. Heelers are bred to herd, so they will nip at your heels when you play with them. Jack Russells are bred to hunt foxes and rodents, so they love to dig. Bloodhounds will undoubtedly get sidetracked by all the smells during your walk. However, a dog is not just the label we put on them. They can be docile or aggressive, lazy or energetic, social butterflies or grouchy hermits. Choose a breed carefully, but know that breed isn’t everything. And always consider getting a good ol’ mutt from the pound with a great personality.

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