I’m a dog person (some people are “cat” while others are “dog” and some of us are BI-PET “dog + cat”). I’ve had everything from Afghan Hounds, to Old English Sheepdogs. Our current four-legged family member is Clemenza (Clem) the not-so-miniature miniature bull terrier. While I’ll admit that I’m a breed snob, having shown dogs in the past, it breaks my heart to know that so many dogs are being “dumped” into shelters because people can no longer afford to care for them in this economy.
If your family is looking to add a member, here are some great tips from Irvin Cannon, author of For the Love of Dog Tales
Among the biggest victims of the economic recession are the once beloved family pets surrendered to shelters as their owners deal with extended joblessness. The U.S. Humane Society estimates 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year – and 3 to 4 million are euthanized.
“We don’t have firm numbers but we know anecdotally that the communities that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn are seeing that reflected in their shelter intake numbers,” says Inga Fricke, director of sheltering issues for the U.S. Humane Society.
“And, unfortunately, while the majority of the public is in favor of adopting pets from shelters, very few – usually about 20 percent – actually do. That has recently gone up slightly to the mid-20s.”
“You won’t find a better companion, whether you bring home a mystery mixed-breed or a purebred Labrador,” he says. “Everyone thinks mutts are smarter and generally healthier, but really, it all depends on their mix of breeds and which breed strain is dominant.”
Border collies and Rottweilers are two of the smartest breeds, Cannon says. But they tend to have other traits, too, which are just as important to consider when choosing what dog best suits your lifestyle. Remember – dogs are as individual as people. A dog’s breed, or breed mix, is no guarantee that it will have certain traits.
That said, border collies tend to need lots of room to run and lots of attention – they’re high-maintenance, Cannon says. If you can’t spend a lot of active time with them, they’ll be unhappy and you’ll have problems.
Rottweilers are fast learners and loveable family animals, but they also tend to have bold personalities associated with pack leaders. If you don’t think you can assert your authority, or if you have young or shy children, you might want to consider a more submissive breed. Dominant dogs that are allowed to bully their family members can become dangerously aggressive.
Here are some other tidbits regarding breeds:
• Among other dog breeds known for intelligence: Shetland sheepdogs, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, poodles, Australian cattle dogs, Papillons and Doberman pinschers.
• Bulldogs, beagles and Basset hounds all start with ‘B’ but get much lower grades for smarts.
• It’s a myth that mutts have fewer health issues than purebred dogs. Because some breeds have tendencies toward problems such as deafness, blindness or hip dysplasia, remember, these are genetic issues that are inherited. So if you’re mixed-breed includes some German shepherd, it may also have hip dysplasia (a problem with the joint’s bone structure).
• If you’re in the market for a purebred dog, you have a 25 percent chance of finding one – although maybe not the breed you want – at a shelter. If your heart is set on a specific breed, check your area for a rescue group specializing in that breed.
About Irvin Cannon
Irvin Cannon was a poor kid growing up in Detroit when his family took in a stray dog. It surprised young Irvin that his father would be willing to share the family’s meager groceries with a dog, but he soon discovered the return on their investment was enormous. A former police officer in Detroit and Denver, he also worked as a corrections officer in Arizona.
I like them both, but my son is allergic to cats, so we only have a dog.
I am a cat lover but once we get to the country my husband (a dog lover) is getting a dog. We just read an article in our paper about this. Breaks my heart. Your dog is adorable!
Huge dog lover here! I’ve had both mutts and purebreds. As for the basset hound not being smart (in general this is true)… I had a basset hound for many years and she was very smart and equally stubborn. 🙂 We have a Great Pyrenees right now, who is such a sweetheart.
I’m a dog person.
Virginia from That Bald Chick says
Rescues are a great option for those who insist on a breed dog.
Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy says
I’m a dog person too. We currently have a dachshund but my husband really wants a doberman.
Amy @ Pixie Deals says
We just adopted a pure bred dachshund puppy from the shelter. It’s crazy how many animals are without homes!
Anne - Mommy Has to Work says
I’m a cat peraon, but the kids and dad want a dog!
Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says
I am so surprised that people talk the talk but don’t actually get dogs from shelters. What a shame. That percentage is way too low.
Penelope (NYC Mom Blogger) says
There are “no pets” people (like me) but if I had to choose, I’d pick a cute doggie (I really don’t want to take care of any pets though).
Marcie W. says
I’ve always LOVED bull terriers so very much. Clem is precious! We have our first family dog, a 9 month old boxer/pit bull mix named Harvey. I adore him!
Maureen @ Wisconsin Mommy says
Definitely a dog person too! Our neighbors have a border collie and she is definitely one of the smartest dogs I have come across.
Hubby is allergic to both and I love dogs a little more, but had a special place for my cat Sassy – which acted more like a dog. I love mutts though!!
linda petzolt says
yes im the tipe i do spick my mind why get a dog if you rent or not goveament back you can lose your job or thay by a big dog for a small child the god can trean on the child by then its to late your child is dead . think about it be for you get a pet . there nice to have and great co to have . i love mine with all my hart i do the best i can to find homes for dumped dogs . i have a hart where pople have none . when thay cry and all along there a lone on the rd. i try to save them. if one comes to me there not alone any more there with me . if you find a dumped afghan hound f fixed or male would give them a farm life free . 352 861 4459 ask for linda
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ps please call me dont take emailes . im looking for a afghan by a owner not resq .but must bring to me when it goes to resq it could go on death row still thay give it 72 hors to live . if its free you bring it to me i own a small farm i have renters horses that live here he took his horses to me he feeds them i look out for them and care . 352 861 4459 if have a afghan ai take it no matter where it comes from if can gring it to me why let it go to death row to some one that dont care popole cant aford fees . but i can aford to feed if the dog got sick i have a friend i can di small pay ment plans to get them well . im looking for only one for now for a for ever home in dunn fl hilands
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