March 04, 2005

Choosing a breed - read a book.

There are so many things to consider when deciding on which breed to get, and which breeder to choose that it is not suprising that there are a number of books written on the topic.

Your Purebred Puppy: A Buyer's Guide by Michele Welton has an excellent section of questions to ask a breeder before looking there for a puppy, however the information on particular breeds can be a bit general. Under cautions when buying, for example, the same caution is given for many breeds "Don't choose a scrappy, timid or frail puppy" so you may want to read this in conjunction with a more comprehensive dog breed encyclopedia.

Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting and Owning a Dog and Puppies for Dummies are from the two series of information books and are good general reference books that are widely available.

Paws to Consider by Brian Kilcommons & Sarah Wilson is a refreshingly candid guide. Topics covered include:
  • Genetic health problems for all breeds: which popular breeds go bald, which big dogs get orthopedic problems, and why others get cancer.
  • Daily exercise requirements: a once-a-day jog satisfies a Borzoi (yes, it makes a great city dog), while a Labrador needs hours of fetching and playing.
  • Classic temperaments for nearly one hundred breeds: a Golden Retriever will desperately want to please you, but a Beagle will be deaf to your call if he finds a rabbit trail.
  • Lifestyle matches: for instance, a French Bulldog will travel with you anywhere and a Keeshond is perfect for active young families.
  • The potential problem dogs: Jack Russell Terriers, Dalmations, and certain other breeds that can give you more than you bargain for.

You might find their criticisms of your favourite breed a bit negative, but at least you are prepared for the traits your puppy exhibits down the track.

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