If you’re reading this site, it’s no doubt you love dogs, but have you ever had a favorite? A dog that no other dog quite measures up to? There’s so many breeds, it’s hard to do this as a poll, so we’ll use breed groups, as recognized by the AKC. If you’re not sure where your dog fits, click here for the AKC listing of breed groups.
Keep in mind that the watch dog is NOT a guard dog. The difference is that a watch dog will warn you there’s a stranger around, but a guard dog will go take care of the problem.
Obviously, this means that watch dogs will typically be barkers. If you live in a small apartment or have close neighbors, you’ll want to think twice before getting one of these breeds.
Click here for more information on watch dogs.
Loyalty. Intelligence. Obedience. These are the top qualities you will look for in a guard dog. You don’t necessarily want a dog who will bark to alert you to intruders – that’s a watch dog. Guard dogs, on the other hand, take care of the problem by taking down the intruder. Early socialization is important because a guard dog must be able to distinguish between friendly people who just happen to be strangers, and those people who actually pose a threat to you and your family.
So, what are the top ten breeds to fulfill all of these requirements?
If you have a small home or if you just like smaller dogs, you might want to choose from one of the breeds on this list. Small dogs are generally a little less expensive to care for because you will have to buy less food and smaller-sized accessories such as kennels, leashes, and toys. In addition, some of your veterinary care will be less expensive because you will be buying smaller doses of medication.
What’s that saying about if you can’t play with the big dogs, stay on the porch? For those of you who are looking for a really big dog, check out our top ten list of XL dogs (otherwise known as giant breeds). Dogs who weigh over 75 pounds as adults are generally included in this group, although many weigh close to 200 or more!
The American Kennel Club has recently released its list of the breeds most registered with them in 2009. Although purebred guardians are under no obligation to register their dogs, and mixed-breed families aren’t allowed to register, this list is used as one indication of the popularity of the various breeds.
If you paid careful attention during the broadcast of the National Dog Show on Thanksgiving Day, you may have noticed that the American Kennel Club has approved three new breeds, bringing the total number of recognized breeds to 162.
The three new breeds are the Irish Red and White Setter, the Norwegian Buhund and the Pyrenean Shepherd.
The Irish Red and White is part of the Sporting Group. This breed looks very similar to the conventional Irish Setter, except for the coloring. However, the breed is sufficiently different to warrant recognition as a separate breed, rather than a variety of the Irish Setter. Originally bred in 17th century Ireland as a hunting dog, the Irish Red and White was nearly extinct by 1900, but careful breeding efforts revived the breed by the 1940’s. These dogs were eventually exported to the United States, where they have now been added to the official ranks of AKC breeds. For more information, click here.
The Norwegian Buhund started its history as a farm dog companion of the Vikings. The breed is capable of herding, guarding, and hunting, but is classified as a member of the Herding Group. This dog is medium-sized and descends from the Spitz family, which also gives us the Chow-Chow, the Husky, and the Akita. Like other Spitzes, the Buhund carries his beautifully plumed tail curled over his back. For more information, click here.
The Pyrenean Shepherd is also a member of the Herding Group. This dog may also be known as Berger des Pyrenees or Pyr. Shep. Smaller than the Great Pyrenees, the two breeds often work together to help shepherds in their everyday tasks. The long, lean body of this breed shows off the dog’s natural athleticism. For more information, click here.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!
The AKC has developed a list of the nine breeds that have embodied America’s taste in canine companionship over the past 125 years. (I added the 10th, because of my belief that everyone needs the experience of knowing a Golden Retriever at least once in their lifetime.)
Looking for a new member for your family, but not sure what breed to choose? A controversial study from the American Veterinary Association shows that breeds can be placed in seven groups based on three general traits:
- Reactivity (described as showing a need for affection, excessive barking, snapping at children, being excitable, or having a high activity level)
- Aggressiveness (showing dominance or being territorial)
- Trainability (easy to train)
You can use this these groups to narrow down your search, based on what you are looking for in a dog.