Do you know why people buy pugs or Labradors? It may just be because their owners like them. But that doesn’t mean these dogs aren’t valuable they’re all part of our rich cultural history. The American Kennel Club (AKC) estimates that more than 80 percent of Americans own at least one pet.
And while some pets are simply companions, others can help us make sense of life’s events. Dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance. They also give back by helping us cope with loss, illness and loneliness.
But if you’ve ever been turned down when trying to adopt a puppy because someone said “No Pugs,” you already know that choosing the right dog isn’t easy. That’s especially true if you don’t grow up around animals. People often prefer certain types of dogs without even knowing it. Some common preferences include:
- Grooming requirements
- Energy level
- Watching television
- Being used as a therapy animal
While those traits sound good, we rarely consider whether we really need them. For instance, if you live with other adults, watching TV with your dog could lead to barking fits or separation anxiety attacks. Another example is energy levels. If you work long hours, you might not notice that your dog has trouble waking you up in the morning since he or she will eventually get fed.
These things matter less when you’re dealing with puppies because they’ll adjust to you anyway. So before buying any dog, ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you lead. Then, look for dogs that fit into this lifestyle.
The popularity of different breeds varies greatly across the country. In New York City, for example, pit bull terriers are among the top 10 most popular breeds. Meanwhile, in Portland, Maine, only two pit bulls were registered between 2005 and 2006. This means that pit bulls are unpopular in Portland.
People who choose purebred dogs usually base their decision on several factors. Most importantly, they think of the qualities that define each breed. Popular characteristics include these general attributes:
Coat length and texture
Height and weight
Flexibility regarding food intake
Adaptability to living conditions
And here are some specific ones that apply specifically to individual breeds:
If you choose a purebred dog, you can expect a few surprises along the way. Although these dogs tend to come well trained, sometimes they develop health issues later in life. Since they’re bred for specific physical features, they can also suffer from congenital defects or diseases. A few examples include hip dysplasia in show dogs such as German Shepherds, entropion in English Bulldogs, mitral valve disease in Boxers, epilepsy in Dobermans and Cocker Spaniels, and luxating patella in Golden Retrievers.
It’s important to note that shelter dogs and mutts shouldn’t be judged based solely on pedigree. Shelters tend to place emphasis on training and socialization skills. On the flip side, many rescue organizations focus mostly on finding homes for rescued animals. As a result, mutts and shelter dogs are typically more independent than purebreds.
Purebred Versus Mutt Breeds
Although purebred and mutt dogs vary widely, there are benefits to both. Both offer something unique. For example, if you plan to compete in dog shows, purebreds are better suited for competition. Also, if you want a large dog, a purebred may be best choice. Purebreds generally weigh more, but that’s not always the case. Many mutts actually weigh more than purebreds. However, if you desire a small dog, a purebred might be a better bet.
Mutable dogs are known for being friendly and adaptable. Because they weren’t created through selective breeding, they’re also cheaper than purebreds. Plus, many shelters and humane societies use mixed-breed puppies instead of euthanizing older purebred dogs. This makes mutts great choices for families looking to adopt a new family member.
Some people say that because purebred dogs are expensive, they should only be purchased by wealthy individuals. Others argue that because shelters tend to save purebreds longer than mutts, they should be given priority when available. One thing is clear: Shelter and rescue agencies receive more public funding than private breed clubs. Therefore, it seems unfair that some people get to enjoy expensive purebreds while others must rely on shelters for basic necessities.
A final point worth mentioning is that although purebreds are often sold by reputable brokers, some unscrupulous sellers exist. You may want to avoid puppies bought off Craigslist or other classified ads. Be sure to check references and reviews before purchasing anything.
To prevent unwanted pregnancies, spaying and neutering helps reduce aggression in male dogs. Aggression can also occur due to hormonal changes during adolescence. Spaying and neutering decreases the chance of developing aggressive behavior, depending on the breed. Male intact dogs are more likely to engage in fighting or chasing than female intact dogs.