Some fun and useful dog breed facts

Everyone loves the thought of coming home with a new cuddly puppy. But you must make sure that you pick the right breed for you and your family. You should also realize that taking home a new puppy is like adding a new member to your family and is a major responsibility — on the other hand you get to start purchasing pet lover gifts. You can’t just scratch them on the head once in a while – they need quality time to bond with you; you need to exercise both their bodies AND their brains (and if you don’t you may find yourself with a dog that digs, barks, and possibly even chews his way through your sofa!!) With that in mind you should select the breed based on their size and characteristics. It is also a good idea – if at all possible – to see what the puppy’s parents are like – are they friendly and sociable? You probably get the idea.

Here are a few breeds and some of their traits, which hopefully will help you make the right decision on what kind of dog to adopt.

Labrador Retriever: (my personal favorite, as I have had 5 of them so far). Average height 21 to 24 inches and average weight 55 to 75 pounds. Labs love (and need) to exercise – they love just running around and adore swimming. They are friendly and like children and other animals. They are also very smart and probably the most popular breed in the United States today. They are happiest (as are probably all dogs) when they are trained and know what is expected of them – they aim to please!

Chihuahua: Average height 6 to 9 inches; average weight 2 to 6 pounds. Chihuahua’s are known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners and not to anyone else. Because they are so small (watch how fast they can run if they think you are going to step on them!!) it is best to use a harness (not a dog leash) when you take them for a walk (and like the rest of us, they do need exercise even though they love to be carried around). This is the perfect dog to buy a collection of clothes for – they hate cold weather. They are also difficult to housebreak and not very good with children.

German Shepherd: Average height 22 to 26 inches; average weight 75 to 90 pounds. German Shepherds are intelligent and loyal. Because they are so big they often develop hip problems – make sure you don’t let him eat too much and that’ll help. They need a LOT of space to run and they prefer to have a task to do than to just play, which is why they are often used as police dogs and guide dogs for the blind. They are great with YOUR kids (after all, they’re his family) but don’t trust anyone else much.

Boxer: Average height 22 to 25 inches; average weight 60 to 65 pounds. Boxers are very independent and protective and don’t like to be left by themselves. They need to have plenty of exercise and they would prefer if you did that with them!! They excel in drooling and snoring but if you are REALLY REALLY persistent, you could probably teach them some tricks (like get off the couch!!). Basically they just want to be with their “family” (that’s you).

Beagle: (another favorite of mine – I had to say that or my beagle Jesse would get mad at me!!). Average height 13 to 16 inches; average weight 20 to 25 pounds. Very friendly, sociable dog that loves children (and almost everyone he meets in fact). Top on his list of favorite things is to get a good scent and follow it wherever it goes – not even food can top this!! Very good at entertaining themselves – just leave them out in the backyard for a while (please have a good long run or a fence or you will be looking for him for hours!) and see how many holes he digs!!! My dog even plays ball by himself – throwing a tennis ball up in the air and catching it. Provide them with plenty of dog toys or they will steal your daughter’s stuffed animals and happily chew them up!!