Each dog has their own unique personality. If you already own a pup or two, you are well aware of this fact. Does your 90lbs furbaby insist on sitting in your lap? Or maybe your pooch falls asleep to classical music? Character traits such as these are instilled through breed, upbringing, daily routine, and more.
After writing many articles, we often came across the notion of dog breed characteristics. It’s due time we dove into a piece dedicated to the advantages of knowing your dog’s breed! The ancestry of a dog can help identify their behavior, energy level, intelligence level, and possible illnesses. Although your pup’s breed does not determine everything, it can certainly help make preemptive strides.
Dog Breeds and their Behavior
Dog groups are categories of certain breeds; often portrayed in dog shows. Animal Planet defines eight different groups of dogs: the sporting group, non-sporting group, herding group, hound group, working group, terrier group, toy group, and mixed breeds. Depending on the dog group that your furbaby belongs to, you can identify certain natural behaviors they may portray. Additionally, this information can help you when looking for a new pup to adopt.
- Sporting Group. Those belonging to the sporting group make great family dogs because they are gentle and highly trainable. Historically, these pups were used for hunting on both land and water. Today, you will often find them acting as service dogs.
- Non-Sporting Group. The non-sporting group seems to be a category for breeds that don’t fit anywhere else. Consequently, each is of varied skill level and temperament. For example, the American Kennel Club characterizes the dalmatian and bulldog as non-sporting.
- Herding Group. Pups in the herding group will have a strong instinct to herd, even if they are not working a field. They were bred to be sheep and cattle dogs. Their strongest attribute is a high level of intelligence, but owners must be willing to give them a lot of activities.
- Hound Group. Hound group breeds are the original hunting dogs. Their great scenting abilities and, sometimes, fast agility was harnessed for tracking. For this reason, they are commonly used by law enforcement.
- Working Group. Caution: not for new owners! Dogs classified in the working group are notably difficult without proper training. While skilled, intelligent, large, and powerful; they are also very headstrong.
- Terrier Group.Terrier group dog breeds have two different personalities. Unfortunately, some have been crossbred to become fight dogs. Consequently, these feisty pups have earned a bad reputation. Others are incredibly friendly and calm.
- Toy Group. For a great companion dog, head to the toy group. They absolutely love attention and are good at learning new tricks. In contrast, they have no practical skills. Breeds in the toy group will be ideal for new owners but tend to be too fragile for young children.
- Mixed Breeds. Finally, mixed breeds have an ancestry that is hard to define. Believe it or not, most canines are considered mixed or “mutts.”
Dog Breeds and their Energy Level
Both Cesarsway and Reader’s Digest suggest that a dog’s breed is not the most important factor when searching for your next pup. Instead, consider which energy level will be perfect for your lifestyle. Cesarsway states, “…look for a dog with the right energy level – the same as or lower than the lowest energy level among your existing pack, whether it’s only humans or you already have dogs.”
While the breed of a dog will not 100% tell you their energy level, it’s a good place to start. When searching for a great companion, make sure to visit them multiple times to observe their true level of energy. You can even ask kennel employees or previous owners for more great research!
The energy level of a dog is the key to finding out how much attention they truly require. Reader’s Digest gives a wonderful starting point with three levels of energy:
- Level 1: low energy. Level 1 dogs will be wonderful for the inactive person. Along with their great behavior, these pups only need a few short daily walks. It will not take much effort to train them. In contrast, do not expect spectacular athletic ability. To see an extensive list of low energy dogs, click here.
- Level 2: medium energy. Level 2 dogs will be great for those who like the opportunity to teach. They will experience short bursts of energy; perfect for running and playing in the park. In contrast, they are not extremely physically talented. Most people do very well with a level 2 dog.
- Level 3: high energy. While level 3 dogs are much more physically talented and teachable, an owner should be willing to spend lots of time with them! Their high energy will lead to destructive behavior if ignored. These pups will make a wonderful adventure companion. To see an extensive list of high energy dogs, click here
Dog Breeds and their Intelligence Level
Your furbaby’s level of intelligence will never affect their amount of love and companionship. Instead, it can give you an idea of how a pup will react to training and commands. “The Intelligence of Dogs” was published by Professor Stanley Coren in 1994. Mr. Coren was a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia. “The Intelligence of Dogs” is both popular and controversial! Wikipedia summarizes his book as “…theories about the differences in intelligence between different breeds of dogs.” In short, Professor Coren reviews instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working/obedience intelligence.
Professor Coren proceeded to rank dog breeds according to their perceived intelligence:
- “Brightest Dogs”: are able to understand a new command in under 5 repetitions. Some include the Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd.
- “Excellent Working Dogs”: are able to understand a new command between 5 and 15 repetitions. They include the Corgi, Mini Schnauzer, English Springer Spaniel, and more.
- “Above Average Working Dogs”: are able to understand a new command between 15 and 25 repetitions. This includes the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Puli, Yorkshire Terrier, and more.
- “Average Dogs”: are able to understand new commands between 25 and 40 repetitions.
- “Fair Dogs”: are able to understand a new command between 40 and 80 repetitions.
- “Lowest Dogs”: need 80 to 100 repetitions to understand a new command. This includes breeds such as the Shih Tzu, Basset Hound, and Mastiff.
To see what intelligence level your pup has, click here.
Dog Breeds and Illnesses
By far, the best reason to understand your pup’s breed(s) includes their health! Certain dog breeds will be prone to specific illnesses. A little research will allow you to take possible preemptive measures. After all, you want your furbaby to life a healthy and pain-free life! For example, we’ve pulled four common dog breeds from Pets.webmd to showcase.
First, the Siberian Husky is both bold and beautiful. Yet, underneath all that luscious fur is a possible autoimmune disorder. These types of disorders will affect their skin; causing sores, hair loss, cataracts and more. Luckily, your local vet will be able to administer treatment.
Second, the lovable Bulldog and other pups with smushed faces can experience breathing problems. Sometimes this is as simple as snoring. On the other hand, they can have life-threatening emergencies if overheated or overtired. Therefore, an owner should keep a watchful eye during the hotter months.
Third, the Pug is absurdly too cute to handle. Unfortunately, their bulging eyes are prone to popping out of socket during rough play. If this occurs, an owner should be prepared to rush to the vet! Fortunately, your local veterinarian will be able to put it back in place.
Fourth, the powerful German Shepherd often experiences hip dysplasia. Pets.webmd defines this as “…the joint’s ball and socket don’t fit together properly, which causes pain, arthritis, and problems walking.” On the positive side, healthy German Shepherd parents are most likely to produce healthy pups.
We understand that all this talk about doggie illness is a bit disheartening. To bring some positive energy, think about all the healthy dog breeds out there! Seven of the healthiest breeds include the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Chihuahua, English Springer Spaniel, German Pincher, and the common mixed breed. Mixed breeds, surprisingly, are believed to live healthier and longer lives.
While knowing your furbaby’s breed isn’t the key to every question, it can certainly have advantages. With a little research, you may can come to understand your pup on a whole new level. As a result, you may find solutions to doggie problems and take any precautions. Finding out you have a highly energetic pooch, you can pay extra attention to play time. Or, in the world of possible illnesses, knowing ahead of time can even save your pup’s life!
In the end, we want both you and your pup to live a fun-filled life together. You are faithful companions to one another and will pretty much do anything for each other’s happiness. If you are interested in knowing your dog’s breed, check out our article on the Wisdom Panel DNA Dog Breed ID Kit.