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Dog Weirdness and Breeds

Dogs have a lot of weird stuff that always makes us wonder, “How in the world did they get that quirk?”  We humans love to make excuses for our pup that he or she has a charming personality.  And it’s so true!  Dog’s do have a personality and it’s mostly contributed to their breed.  Eons ago when man and wolf came together, they formed a bond which has now manifested into many domestic dog breeds.  Certain dogs were bred specifically for certain characteristic traits and work abilities such as for herding sheep or digging for mice.  So before jumping to the behavior problem category I would suggest doing research on your dog’s breed to see if that trait was bred into the breed on purpose.  Does that make sense?

I was actually inspired to write this piece because of a book title I saw while window shopping on Amazon.  But I wasn’t looking for books on dogs, but rather, in the positive spirituality section for humans, “Weirdness that Makes Our Lives Matter.”  What about for dogs?  What kind of dog weirdness makes our lives with them, matter? 

Are there any rules?  What are they?  One thing I learned about rules is that we are allowed to mess up, we make mistakes to improve, and then we move on.  Same with dogs.  Thinking that dogs are like robots would be a gross error in judgement.  Every species and organism on this planet must learn how to co-habitate with one another in order to achieve harmony.  That is Mother Nature.  And we, the human organism, learns to co-habitate too, and with ALL kinds of species like insects, raccoons, wild bears, birds, and yes, with other humans no matter the race, nationality or gender. 

So, let’s focus on the human/canine relationship.  Getting to know the breed of your dog is a good idea, especially if you are thinking about getting a dog if you don’t have one yet.  Reason for this is that you don’t want a hyper energy working dog bundle if you work all the time and don’t get out that much with your dog.  Also, if you have kids getting a good family breed is optimal like the very popular Golden Retriever.  If you want to have a low maintenance type of dog then I would not recommend a long-haired breed.  Whatever kind of dog you finally end up getting, remember that dogs take a lot of responsibility just like having a child.  It takes a lot of care, control, maintenance and discipline to manage another life form for the next 15-20 years other than yourself.  Some things to think about are:

  • When your new dog or puppy settles in your living space

  • Where they will be sleeping and their bedding

  • Home, yard and car safety

  • Nutrition and feeding, like types of food

  • Food requirements and food allergies (food allergies are common in dogs)

  • Grooming and dental hygiene

  • Veterinarians and routine health maintenance

  • Exercise, basic training, and socialization

Each dog breed has their own weirdness that can be understood when we dive into the group they belong to.  There are actually six main dog groups: Hound, Gundog (Sporting), Terrier, Utility (Non-Sporting) Working and Toy.  The Hound Group (1) includes the Afghan Hounds, the Basenji, Basset Hounds, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Dachshunds, Elkhounds, Foxhounds, Greyhounds, Whippets and more.  These dogs were bred to hunt and work within all kinds of terrain.  Basset Hounds and Beagles were bred to hunt rabbits, and Dachshunds were bred to hunt badgers.  The Gundog Group (2) includes dogs that were bred to hunt and retrieve large furry or small feathered game.  They are known to be quiet with easy going temperaments.  This group includes the English Setters, the Brittany, German Short-haired Pointers, the Hungarian Vizla, Irish Setters, Pointers, the Golden and Lab Retrievers, the Cocker Spaniels, and the Weimaraner.  The Terrier Group (3) are known to be the pest-controllers.  They were bred to find and kill rodents of all shapes and sizes.  Yet they are alert, playful, and an affectionate friend.  But don’t expect them to be the delivery man’s best friend.  In this group: the Airedale Terrier, Border Terriers, Bull Terriers, Irish Terriers, Scottish Terriers, the Jack Russells, Bull Terriers, Welsh Terriers, and all the other Terriers. 

Now the (4) Utility Group (Non-Sporting Group) is more like a hodgepodge of many dog breeds because they really don’t fit in any other group.  It seems that these dogs were most likely bred as companion dogs.  So there is a wide variety in this group.  It includes the Boston Terrier, the Bulldog, the Chow Chow, the Dalmatian, the French Bulldog, the Japanese Spitz, the Miniature Schnauzer, Poodles, the Schnauzers, Shar Peis, and the Shih Tzus.  When it comes to the Working Group (5), it has the largest number of breeds which includes herding dogs and working dogs.  These dogs were bred to guard, herd haul, and rescue.  They have very active minds so when they are not at work then they can easily become mischievous and difficult to control if they are left up to their own devices.  So don’t be surprised if you come home with your house destroyed and your dug running around in circles, barking up a storm.  This group includes the Alaskan Malamute, Australian Shepherds, Bearded Collies, Border Collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Boxers, the Mastiffs, Dobermanns, Eskimo Dogs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Sheepdogs, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Siberian Huskies, and the Corgi family.  Finally, the Toy Group (6) which consists of dog breeds that are the smallest of them all, hence the name of the group.  But unlike their name would suggest, they really are not “toys” you can just play with.  They can have the meanest of temperaments like any big dog and can attack just like any big dog protecting their owner from strange people they don’t know.  These tiny tots include Affenpinschers, Australian Silky Terriers, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahuas, English Toy Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Japanese Chins, the Maltese, the Miniature Pinscher, Pomeranians, Pugs, and Yorkshire Terriers.                        

In Conclusion, find joy in the breed of your puppy and in the companionship of the two of you.  Dogs come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes and have many weird quirks because they were actually bred that way.  So, it would be in your best interest to know your dog’s breed first, then you can incorporate any training or playtime based on what your dog was actually bred for.  If you will be getting a new puppy for the first time, do your research on the type of dog you want according to how you are living because a working breed would not do well in an apartment.  Make sense?   





I started my own dog training company after working with dogs for over 15 years.

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