Purebred Dogs: Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family

Purebred dogs are becoming more popular every year. Buying a dog that is a purebred is sometimes quite stressful. That is why contacting the AKC (American Kennel Club) for the name of a reputable dog breeder is always a smart start, along with researching the prospective breeds that you are considering.

Acquiring a dog that is registered does have its advantages. Dogs that are registered with the AKC are eligible to participate in the over 16,000 events offered each year by the AKC and its affiliated clubs.

The AKC was created on September 17, 1884 and its main objective is to see that strict standards for breeding are kept in place to insure the most pure bloodlines.

When purchasing a purebred dog the prospective owner should address certain questions to ensure that the breed chosen is right for his or her situation. Some of these questions are:

If children are present-will this dog get along with children?

Is this dog going to be an inside dog or is it going to spend the majority of its time outside?

Do I want a dog that is playful or more reserved?

Do I want a dog with a short coat or a long coat? (A short coat is easier to maintain. A long coat requires frequent washing and brushing. Shedding is also a factor with breeds that have long coats.)

Do I want a dog from the Toy Class of breeds or from a larger class? (Size is an important issue if you are choosing a dog to stand guard over your home and family.)

It is virtually impossible to list all of the breeds available today and their characteristics such as temperament and size, there are simply too many. Here are few breeds from some of the groups of dogs available:

Toy Group

The Toy Group is the smallest of the pure bred classes. Toy dogs are some of the most beautiful and well-tempered dogs available. This class includes breeds such as the Pekingese, Shitzu, Maltese, and the Bichon Frise. When selecting a dog from this class be sure to choose the one that is appropriate for your situation, some require less grooming than others, such as the Shih Tzu.

Some excellent breeds to consider from the Toy group are:

This breed is of Chinese origin. Its temperament is one of independence. It carries itself as if it were a larger dog. It is also unafraid of putting itself in harms way to protect its family. A very good-natured dog that is very tolerant and also excellent with children. Its weight is usually between 10 to 14 pounds. The Pekingese has the stockiness of a bulldog but on a smaller frame. The height of this breed is approximately 14 inches from head to base of paws.

Shih tzu
Another dog of Chinese descent, the Shih Tzu is a wonderful companion dog for both young and old. They were first prized by Chinese nobles and were kept as palace pets. This breed has a wonderful soft coat that does not shed, which can make it a wonderful breed for people with Asthma. Their weight is usually between 9 to 16 pounds with the females being on the lower end of the weight scale. Its temperament is one of outgoing affection and adoration for its owner.

The Maltese is known for its beautiful mantle of long, silky white fur. This breed is quite suited for a small apartment or house due to its size. This dog will not often weigh over 7 pounds. The temperament of a Maltese is usually gentle and extremely affectionate. This dog is a wonderful companion dog for the elderly who require a breed that is easy to lift.

Bichon Frise
Its white powder-puff appearance plumed tail and dark eyes characterize this breed. Its height usually varies between 9 /12 inches to 11 �½ inches. This breeds temperament is gentle by nature along with playfulness and sensitivity. The hallmark of this toy dog is a cheerful attitude.

The Terrier Group

This group of breeds tends to be extremely feisty. You can find just about every size of dog in the Terrier group from small to large. This breed does not tolerate other animals well at all, especially other dogs.

Terriers were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin. While these dogs are more appropriate for outdoor activities they do require more attention than most breeds when it comes to grooming. A method known as stripping is used to keep their wonderful coat in shape.

This group contains breeds such as the Airedale Terrier, Australian Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, and the popular Scottish Terrier.

When selecting a breed from this group, keep in mind that the dog should be muscular and stout. A pup that is sickly or fragile looking is not a good choice. The runt of the litter would also be an unwise choice, as these dogs are supposed to have a little weight on them. An underweight pup can be a signal that it is unhealthy. The coat should be wiry with a glossy shine to it.

Here are a few wonderful breeds from the Terrier group:

Airedale Terrier
This breeds hallmark is its long sloping shoulders, short back, and muscular hindquarters. The height of this dog is usually 23 inches at the shoulders, but slightly less for females. This breed is an excellent companion for outdoor sports.

Australian Terrier
This small but sturdy dog is known for its intelligence, spirit, and self assured nature. Its height is usually 10 to 11 inches at the withers. This breed is always alert but also courageous. It does have a natural aggressive nature that comes from being bred to hunt. It has also been known to show aggressive behavior towards people and may not be the best choice for small children.

Lakeland Terrier
This is one of the smaller breeds of the Terrier group. It was originally bred to hunt vermin in northern England. His temperament is gay, friendly, and self-confident but not overly aggressive. The Lakeland Terrier usually weighs between 15 and 17 pounds with the females of the breed being slightly smaller. This breed is a wonderful companion dog.

Scottish Terrier
This small sturdy breed is compact with short legs. This dog will usually grow to weigh between 19 to 22 pounds, especially the males. Females will be slightly smaller weighing between 18 to 21 pounds. The Scottish Terrier is an alert dog, like the Lakeland Terrier, but is also highly spirited. It is a loving and gentle breed especially with people but can turn aggressive towards other dogs.

Working Group

The Working groups of dogs were bred to perform such jobs as guarding, sled pulling and performing water rescues. These breeds are incredibly intelligent and make wonderful companion pets if you have the extensive room needed for them. These dogs must be properly trained because of their size and strength.

An important point to remember if you select from this class is that they require massive amounts of space, food and sometimes attention.

The Working group contains breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Boxer and Great Dane.

Alaskan Malamute
This breed is one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs and is still in use today for sled pulling. It is a strong, muscular, and powerful breed. The height of the Malamute is usually 25 inches at the shoulders and it can weigh up to 85 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller. This breeds temperament is very affectionate, and friendly. It is a very loyal companion with a playful nature.

Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is of medium size with a very muscular build. Its height can be up to 28 inches at the withers. The Dobermans temperament is usually energetic, watchful, and obedient but at the same time it is an excellent guardsman.

This breed is recognized by its short, tight-fitting coat and its muscular body. The adult male usually grows to a height of 23 to 25 inches at the withers. These dogs are known as hearing guard dogs. They are playful with adults yet patient and stoical with children. He is naturally wary of strangers and will exhibit fearless courage if threatened.

Great Dane
The Great Dane is a very regal and dignified breed. Its extremely muscled body makes it a powerful dog. Its normal size is 32 inches or more at the shoulders. This breeds temperament is one of courage and spirit but it is never aggressive or timid.

The Sporting Group

The breeds of the Sporting Group are known to be very active and alert. They are mainly used for hunting and field activities. Potential owners of dogs from the Sporting class need to remember that these dogs require massive amounts of exercise on a regular basis.

Some breeds from the Sporting Group are the Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, English Setter, and Labrador Retriever.

Here are a select few from the Sporting group that are wonderful breeds:

Cocker Spaniel
This is the smallest breed in the Sporting Group. It is a very muscular dog and is capable of considerable speed and endurance. The height for a male Cocker Spaniel is 15 inches and 14 inches for the female. Its temperament is out-going but they have been known to be aggressive towards strangers and children.

Irish Setter
This breed is a wonderful bird dog and faithful companion. Its height is 27 inches at the withers on an adult male and slightly smaller on grown females. The average weight is 60 to 70 pounds. The temperament of this breed is out-going with no characteristics of hostility.

English Setter
An elegant breed with stamina, grace, and strength, the size of this dog is usually 24 to 25 inches. The English Setter’s temperament is one of a gentle, friendly, and affectionate nature. It is without shyness or fear, and exhibits no sign of aggressiveness.

Labrador Retriever
This breed is medium-sized and very athletic. It is a wonderful dog in the field. Its height is up to 24 inches at the withers and between 55 to 80 pounds depending on the gender. Its temperament is friendly, with an eager to please attitude. This breed is very gentle, but also intelligent.

Choosing the right dog for you and your family is important. With the many breeds available, the right one can mean the difference between a happy life with your dog or one full of anxiety.

Be sure to research the breeds that you are considering before you make a decision. Many purebred dogs are extremely expensive. Realizing that you have purchased the wrong breed for you and your family can be an agonizing and expensive mistake. Be smart in the beginning and this will not be an issue for you or your new dog.

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