There are many different sorts of dog in the world, so many that it’s difficult to keep track. The American Kennel Club lists 190 breeds, and their list doesn’t begin to touch all of the new poodle mixes (doodles) that are so trendy. Their top 10 most popular breeds are:
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
- French Bulldogs
- Yorkshire Terriers
To Adopt or to Purchase from a Breeder
The pooches in the AKC’s top 10 are all so good-looking that it’s tempting to find the nearest breeder and put a deposit down on their next litter. However there are also thousands (millions?) of dogs who would love to be adopted. Many of these are from great homes whose circumstances have changed, or who simply cannot support a dog, for whatever reason.
Good breeders offer future pet owners a certain peace of mind. They should have records for the breeding dogs at their facilities, and implement practices that work to eliminate breed-specific, genetic diseases. Breeders also make sure their puppies stick with their mothers for the proper duration, ensuring you the most well-reared puppy possible.
On the other hand, there are bad breeders. To avoid bad breeders, make sure that you ask questions about bloodline, genetic diseases, etc. If the breeder makes outlandish claims that their dogs never come down with disease, that’s a red flag. The best breeders will do their best to eliminate hereditary diseases, but will be sure to not make absolute claims. While this may seem like a lack of confidence, it’s a realistic posture regarding genetics that reflects true knowledge of dogs and breeding.
Then, there’s adoption, a term that covers a broad spectrum of experiences. You can adopt a dog from the local shelter, but there is often no way to know where the dog has come from. Nonetheless, these dogs need homes and they don’t necessarily deserve to be put to sleep – assuming they are in a shelter that practices euthanasia. Though your dog may be the sweetest, best-behaved dog on the block, when you adopt you should be prepared to work with your dog to help him socialize and be the best dog he can be.
On the other hand, there are various rescue organizations, some of which rescue dogs from breeders, and help older purebreds find new homes. While this method allows you to adopt a purebred dog, but you won’t likely get papers for your dog. These dogs are no less deserving of a good home, but your chances of fulfilling your dreams of a purebred hinge on availability. If you want a specific breed, but also want to help keep the dog population down, breed-specific rescue organizations may be the way to go.
How to Select a Dog Breed
Dog breeds are rather specific and each has its own temperament, size, and relative availability. If you want a friendly, loyal dog that may or may not be the best guard dog, a Labrador is a great choice. Those who want more protection, and companionship, might choose a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd.
Size can be a huge factor in determining what sort of dog you take home. Beagles and Bulldogs are rather small and might better suit an apartment dweller. However, the Beagles are highly active and demanding. Bulldogs are far less active, yet are plagued with health issues and don’t live very long.
Availability might end up being a huge factor. For instance, if you want one of the AKC’s most popular breeds, there’s a good chance that you can find one in your local area. You can also find interesting mixes. Labradors, in particular, seem to have found their way through the larger doggie gene pool. Visit your local dog park and you’re sure to see many Lab mixes.
Ultimately, when selecting a dog breed, you want to take a look at your lifestyle and living situation. If you are very active, have a large yard, and have time to walk your dog a few times a day, a big, exercising-loving Rottweiler might be the dog for you. Super-busy apartment dwellers might prefer a smaller, less active dog such as a Dachshund or a French Bulldog.
Present and future parents should also consider how certain breeds interact with children. Labradors are typically great with kids and families, but Dachshunds tend to be rather possessive of their owners. They might balk when a baby enters the scene.
Why do Dog Breed Costs Vary?
There are many factors that contribute to the relative cost of dog breeds. Essentially, their prices are subject to simple economics – the higher the demand, the higher the price. Supply plays a role, too. When the market is flooded with, say, Labrador Retrievers, their price falls.
Dog breeds also come into and out of fashion. For instance, when, 101 Dalmations, hit the big screen, dog lovers were crazy to get one of those high-energy polka-dotted bundles of joy. Thus, their price went up to meet the demands of the market.
You might also pay more for dogs that have been deemed purebred by the AKC, or whose bloodline includes dog-show champions. The high price will come with proof of bloodline, which will be helpful if you choose to breed your puppy.
Breeds with Known Health Issues
Here are some of the breeds with known health issues. Make sure you do your research on any breed you are looking to purchase, as this is not a comprehensive list.
Chronic eczema, corneal issues and hip dysplasia
Bacterial, parasitic and viral infections
Eye issues including retinal detachment and juvenile cataracts
Jack Russell Terriers
Hernias and kidney disease
Deafness and urolithiasis, crystal in the urine
Ear infections and eye problems, and seborrhea, greasy and smelly skin
When bringing a new pup into your home, it is important to research their hereditary and congenital predispositions so you can be prepared. With purebred dogs, it is a great idea to get pet insurance from the very beginning, before their conditions become preexisting.