Tag Archives: the best dog breed for you

A Thoroughbred Chorkie

4 Oct

In my day job, I am a marketer. I have spent the last 10 years selling stuff to hundreds of thousands of people with slogans, graphics and catchy product names.  Working at a vet clinic for ten plus years in my “past life” I was exposed to new dog owners on a daily basis, sometimes just hours after purchasing their new “Micro” Chorkie from one of the many petshops in South Florida.  Saying you have a Micro Chorkie is like saying you have a WhatzitMajigger. There is no such thing.  It’s a marketing term made-up to sell you a puppy for profit. One of the things owners were always very excited about was that their $1000+ puppy who was a “Thoroughbred” Micro breed with a Pedigree. Of course now all the puppies available on the internet have made things even worse.

When they would come in for that first check up with the new family member and their stack of paperwork – I had to just bite my tongue – it was too late. There was no point in bursting their bubble and possibly resently their puppy. Hopefully I can help educate a few perspective pet owners who are tempted to purchase a dog. I hope this post will help teach you what this dog lingo really means. Make sure you are an educated buyer (if you choose to buy vs adopt)

Thoroughbred: Is a type of horse – just like a Boston Terrier is a breed of dog. The term Thoroughbred does not pertain to dogs in any way.

Purebred: The term means that the parents and grandparents (and all prior generations) of the dog are known to be of that same breed.  A purebred Chihuahua puppy has Chihuahua parents and grandparents and great grandparents (and etc).  There are several different Registries that track this family tree, known as a Pedigree. Although the term “Purebred” sounds attractive – it is still no guarantee of anything.  Having a Purebred dog does not guarantee health or temperment of the dog.

Pedigree:  Everyone dog has one 🙂 It means genealogical descent whether documented or not. This should not be considered a “selling point” for a dog.

Dog Pedigree

Registered: When your puppy is registered with a kennel club or other registry, it simply means it is “signed-up” with that registry. The “major”  kennel club here in the US maintains a pedigree registry. Each dog receives a unique number. If that dog has offspring, each of the puppies can receive their own unique number. It’s really nothing more that a family tree that is documented.

My dog has “papers”: Some registries allow you to send in money and your application form – and you get a Papers for your dog. Other registries make you send in a health certificate from a vet, photos, xrays and more before they will issue papers. Some are in-between.

Designer Dog:  Is a mixed breed dog that has been well marketed. Other names for Designer Dog are mixed breed, All American and Mutt. Commonly the dog supplier will acquire different breeds of dogs, allow them to breed, make up a name – and sell them. Names are usually the first part of the name of one parent, and the last part of name of the other.  A  supplier might breed a Yorkshire Terrier bred with a Poodle – and say the puppies are “Yorki-Poos” and charge $1000.

A Yorki-Poo is not a breed. The reason people might pay $1000 for a dog is that is a trained protection dog, has amazing herding lines and will be working on a cattle ranch in charge of running the ranch, or maybe will be a trusted hunting partner and has a pedigree with a long line of hunting dogs.

You can go to any shelter and find and name your own designer dog.  If you need help making up the name – let me know 🙂

Micro/Mini/Teacup:/Pocket Most of the time, this is just a made-up marketing term.  There are a handful of breeds that  legitimally have “miniature” in their names – like a Miniature Schnauzer.  There is no such thing is a Mini or Micro Yorkie.

Full Blooded:  Another term for Purebred.

My advice is – if you are tempted with purchasing anything called a Pomapoo, Puggle, or Snorkie – head straight to your nearest shelter and find your own designer breed. If suppliers keep selling, they will also keep breeding. Here are some Designer Dogs sitting in Shelters right now…


You Can’t Judge a Dog by It’s Color

5 Aug

Someone at work today sent out an email to the entire company trying to find a home for his 9 month old Black lab because it has too much energy. After working with and around dogs for as long as I have, it still surprises me when people pick the breeds they do to become part of their lives. Picking a dog should be like the TV game show “Dating in the Dark” – where you have to get to know the person before you see him/her.  It’s the same thing with dogs. People pick dogs because they like the way they look – and that is the absolute last reason you should select a certain breed. If you have done your homework and research on dog breeds, traits and characteristics and have narrowed your choice down to a few – then you can pick on looks from those finalists.

Terriers aren't the best herders - hence the muzzle

I have well-behaved, trainable, happy healthy dogs for a reason. Besides great nutrition and wellcare, I satisfy the mental and physical requirements of all of my dogs, pretty much every day. It’s not always easy but I knew what I was getting into with each breed. And there is  a reason my latest addition is a Japanese Chin from the Toy Group.

If you do your research about Labs you will find that they “were initially used in work alongside fisherman,  helping to pull in nets and catch fish that escaped from fishing lines”. Those skills, strength and stamina were bred into Labs for generations. The dogs that could work the hardest and the longest passed on their genes. So then where does that leave the Lab that is the family pet in the house all day? The dog that gets to see the family for an hour in the morning before everyone leaves for the day, maybe gets a walk around the block at night, then sits around with the family and watches TV. The skills, strength and stamina of the fishing dog are still in there – and those physical and mental needs still need to be met. They might be met with an aware owner with clicker training, jogging, daycare, games, dog diving, hiking, agility etc. And if not, the restless Lab will find a way to meet them. This usually is in the form of chewing, digging, barking, and whatever else he can do to release some energy.

Most dogs can’t be happy in their own skin and turn be the fabulous family pet you have always wanted unless their mental/social/physical needs are met first. The intensity of those needs goes hand in hand with what they were bred to do.

If you want a mellow dog to hang out with the family, don’t get one that has been bred to herd sheep for 10 hours a day. If you want a jogging partner, make sure the breed (or mix of breeds) you select wasn’t genetically refined to sit on laps and snooze.

If you are considering adopting a dog – the same rules apply. Do your breed research first.  Instead of walking through the shelter looking for a brown fluffy dog like the dog in the latest movie – be asking for any Poodle mixes (or whatever breed you decide most matches your commitment level) Like dating, there should be someone or some dog out there for everyone. And remember in the dating world how much going just on looks can get you into big trouble!

No herding required

Here are some “general” guidelines when picking the perfect dog breed for you:

The Sporting Group:

Naturally active and alert, Sporting dogs make likeable, well-rounded companions. Many of these breeds actively continue to participate in hunting and other field activities. Potential owners of Sporting dogs need to realize that most require regular, invigorating exercise

NOTE- Invigorating exercise doesn’t mean a walk around the block on leash…

The Hound Group:

Most hounds share the common ancestral trait of being used for hunting. Some use acute scenting powers to follow a trail. Others demonstrate a phenomenal gift of stamina* as they relentlessly run down quarry.  Some hounds share the distinct ability to produce a unique sound known as baying. You’d best sample this sound before you decide to get a hound of your own to be sure it’s your cup of tea.

NOTE- Phenomenal gift of stamina. What would that look like after being inside all day when you were at work?

The Working Group:

Bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds and performing water rescues. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. Their considerable dimensions and strength alone, however, make many working dogs unsuitable as pets for average families.

NOTE – Not the best for the first time owner

The Terrier Group: These are feisty, energetic dogs who typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Their ancestors were bred to hunt and kill vermin. Many continue to project the attitude that they’re always eager for a spirited argument.

NOTE – Terriers are my favorite 🙂

The Toy Group: The diminutive size and winsome expressions of Toy dogs illustrate the main function of this Group: to embody sheer delight. Toy dogs will always be popular with city dwellers and people without much living space. They make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap warmers on nippy nights.

NOTE: After having 2 Jack Russels, I am LOVING my Japanese Chin from the Toy Group!

Terrier Beach Fun. We would drive 6 hours to Saint Simons so she could play

There are more groups and more dogs besides what I mention above.  Please use AKC.org like I did as a research tool when selecting the best dog for you.  Research, read, and talk to other owners who own the breed you are interested in.  Onofrio.com lists upcoming shows around the county where you can see the breeds in person. If you are considering a mixed breed do you general research anyway to again allow you to make an informed decision. Remember – unless you can give your new canine companion the mental and physical stimulation levels it needs on a daily basis – you will have a hard time finding harmony with your hound.