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Tips on How to Select Your Dog

Nov 25, 2007
The right dog can be a source of fun and companionship for many years. But the wrong dog may well turn out to be a nuisance and cause of family dissension. So, give some serious thought to the matter of picking your dog.

Purebred, Crossbreed, or Mongrel

To paraphrase Gertrude Stein: "A dog is a dog is a dog." No one breed or mixture is better than another. It all depends on why you want a dog and what kind of a dog your particular situation will maintain. There's only one species of dog, Canis familiaris, with 116 breeds registered in the American Kennel Club. As to the crossbreeds and mongrels, their numbers and combinations are best left to the mathematicians. You may be sure, though, the crossbreeds and mongrels far outnumber the purebreds.

The purebreds, crossbreeds and mongrels are much alike in their general behavior and instincts. Any one of them will offer friendship, loyalty and companionship. And with reasonable care, a dog from any of these groups will turn into a fine pet.

Purebred dogs

A purebred dog is one whose parents and ancestors are of a single breed. It is a dog with a traceable pedigree. In America, purebred dogs are registered with the American Kennel Club. Foreign purebred dogs are registered in the official kennel club of the specific country. The American Kennel Club now registers 116 breeds, divided into six groups.

Crossbreeds and mongrels

You may have decided that you just want a dog, nothing fancy - animal or price. If so, you have a wide range of choice from among the many combinations of crossbreeds and mongrels. They have little monetary value, but they'll give every bit as much loyalty and companionship as the purebreds.

Don't think that because crossbreeds and mongrels are purchased cheaply or obtained gratis, they are not highly prized by their owners. Of the 26 million dogs in the United States, more than two-thirds are crossbreeds and mongrels. And, along with the purebreds, these "cheap" dogs are the best-fed and best-cared for dogs in the world.

There are some disadvantages in getting a crossbreed or mongrel dog. To be sure, the crossbreed will grow up to look somewhat like his sire or dam. But not the mongrel; what he will look like is anybody's guess. Neither the crossbreed nor the mongrel can be entered in dog shows or field trials. So take this fact into consideration if you want to take part in the competitive areas of the dog world.

You will not experience much difficulty in finding a crossbreed or mongrel. And often they are yours for the asking. Consult the classified ads in your newspaper, visit a humane society, or reputable pet shop, and check with any neighbors who have puppies they cannot keep.

Male Vs. Female

The choice between a male or female should be based on facts, not prejudice. There are pros and cons for both sexes. The usual objection to the female is her estrus cycle or heat periods. She has a discharge during her periods, wants to go out and roam, and attracts a horde of canine Romeos. Add to this the excellent chance of unwanted puppies and you have the case against the female.

It's really not a very strong case. Let's consider some of the pros for the female. You'll find she is cleaner around the house, with better control of her bladder than the male. This is an important factor if you live in an apartment. You will recall that the male dog has an instinct for lifting his leg and urinating against trees, poles and fireplugs. He won't hesitate to use table and chair legs, doorjambs or floor lamps as substitutes.

The female has a strong maternal and protective instinct. She will guard children (especially if raised with them) as closely as she will guard her puppies. Some dog trainers consider the female to be more tractable, more willing to learn and with a longer attention span than the male.

You now should be in a stronger position to find a dog which will really suit you.
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