Dogs are much like humans in the sense that no two dogs are the same. There are, however, a few ways to make an informed decision about what type of dog is a good match for certain human personalities, environments and lifestyles. A dog’s breed can tell you a lot about what that dog’s temperament is like, as well as which instinctive reactions it will have in response to certain stimuli. A Labrador Retriever, for example, would see a group of children playing and would run to join them, while a Border Collie would attempt to herd the children as they would with sheep.
Understanding canine behavior really boils down to knowing what they were bred for. There are going to be individual differences even within breeds, but here are a few of the most popular breeds and what you can expect from their behavior:
Originally, the bulldog was bred to fight against other dogs, bears, and bulls. They look tough because they were bred to be sturdy and ferocious. Nowadays, the bulldogs gene pool has been mellowed out, and these dogs are tame and make great family pets. Bulldogs are gentle, friendly, affectionate and enjoy the friendship of other dogs and of people. They are still fairly dominant, so strange dogs and larger animals may put them on edge, so be sure to keep other dogs clear of a bulldog if it’s in an unfamiliar face or exhibiting territorial behavior.
While this particular breed’s origins go back hundreds of years, the modern German Shepherd was actually bred for work in the German army. This may be why this breed makes such a great guard and watch dog. Despite their potential for ferocity, they are extremely lovable, enthusiastic, and happy pets that can get along well with children and other dogs. These dogs love to learn and benefit from training, running around, and being with others. Because they retain much of the wolf’s pack mentality, German Shepherds are happiest when they have a firm hierarchy to operate under, with the humans in their household as dominant parties.
This long-haired dog was bred for a specific purpose, which is to be both able to run for many miles without tiring and to withstand the freezing temperatures of the Arctic regions. The long, thick fur they sport is a trademark aspect of their breed, allowing them to exist comfortably in temperatures dozens of degrees below zero. This fur, says a Houston dog grooming specialist, works to insulate them from both hot and cold temperatures, making them highly adaptable no matter what environment they find themselves in. Huskies can exist comfortably in almost any geographical location, so long as there is enough shade and water for them to drink if they become overheated. The husky is a social dog that loves the companionship of people, dogs, and other pets due to their being bred to run as a team with other dogs. Highly intelligent and bred to run almost constantly, huskies need plenty of exercise and are better suited to the outdoors than a small apartment.
The Pug is believed to be a descendant of the Tibetan Mastiff. The breed as we know it was created to be a family and companion dog. Due to this breeding, the Pug is a very sociable dog and makes an excellent modern family pet. The Pug does not require much roaming space, as other breeds do, having been bred smaller and shorter-legged so as to live comfortably indoors.
There are several resources available online for the dog owner or potential owner looking to research their chosen breed. This can go a long way towards helping owners understand their dog’s temperament and perceived idiosyncrasies, providing the foundation for behavioral training that works for both dog and owner.