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Spot's Corner: How to find a compatible dog breed – Savannah Morning News

Considering adopting a pet? Adding a pet to one’s family certainly can add happiness to one’s everyday life. Many studies have revealed owning a pet can drastically improve a person’s health and happiness. There is nothing better than coming home to the most unconditional love that pets give.

As proponents of animal welfare, we must stress the importance of doing some research regarding what breed of pet will be a good fit for your personality, environment and situation. Ask yourself, what do you expect a pet to contribute to your life?

There are so many pets that end up being discarded or returned to shelters because their breed characteristics ended up being a bigger undertaking than owners had expected. Savannah’s pet rescue agencies, as well as Savannah-Chatham County Animal Control, are usually at full capacity on a regular basis.

Therefore, please consider adoption when searching for a pet. Visiting pet adoption events, animal shelters and petfinder.com are worthwhile ways to explore what pets are available for adoption. We believe it is important to spend some time with a potential pet, to have a better feel for its temperament.

We also find it valuable to go through the various adoption processes, such as completing multi-page applications and having a potential pet’s rescue group visit your home, as they are designed to help you think through all the responsibilities that you are about to take on. A poor fit will not benefit you or the animal.

Personality, energy level and size are critical factors when thinking about adopting a pet. The breed type will prove quite beneficial in determining these traits.

The local Savannah Kennel Club is a great resource to ask about breed characteristics. The Savannah Kennel Club hosts its annual dog show at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center around the Thanksgiving holiday. The dog show can offer you much-needed information on different breeds of dogs. In addition, The American Kennel Club website offers a wealth of information on different dog breeds at www.akc.org/dog-breeds.

According to the American Kennel Club, the top 15 desired breeds of dogs are as follows: Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, bulldogs, beagles, Yorkshire terriers, poodles, boxers, French bulldogs, rottweilers, dachshunds, German shorthaired pointers, Siberian huskies, doberman pinschers and great Danes.

Mixed-breed dogs can sometimes offer the best characteristics for each of their consisting breeds. Mixed-breed puppies are often born without inherited congenital diseases that pure-bred breeds are prone to. The mating process naturally leaves out defective genes. However, with a mixed-breed dog, its exact mix of breeds cannot be easily and entirely determined. For instance, sometimes it may be difficult to estimate the size a mixed-breed pet will actually be when it is full grown. A tiny puppy can grow into a bigger dog than what you have wanted.

Personality or temperament

This is probably the most important aspect when looking to adopt a dog. For an example, a Labrador, while large in size, would make a good family companion with its stable temperament. The French bulldog is easygoing, intelligent, muscular, small in size and not terribly active. Georgia’s favorite bulldog is calm, courageous and friendly. A bulldog would require regular walks and requires minimal grooming.

Size

When adopting, determine what size of dog would be appropriate for your living situation and lifestyle. Toy and small-breed dogs are becoming quite popular as their upkeep typically requires less effort compared to large breeds. They are also easily transportable, to accompany you on your travel, as more and more hotels and restaurants are becoming pet friendly. These breeds may include Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas and shih tzus. Medium dogs weigh between 21 and 55 pounds and are usually 15 to 24 inches in height. Bull terriers, bulldogs and Australian shepherds are considered medium-sized dogs. Large-breed dogs may include Alaskan malamutes, American bulldogs, American foxhounds, great Danes and Bernese mountain dogs. These dogs weigh more than 56 pounds and would require plenty of space.

Energy Level

Do you want a running and hiking buddy or is your idea of exercise watching sports on TV? If you are thinking of adopting a young animal, do you have the time and patience to work with the pet through its adolescence, taking into account potty training, endless chewing and its boundless energy? Have you considered your lifestyle carefully and determined whether a younger or older animal would be a better match for you?

Dog breed energy levels vary from extremely high to very low, but it is crucial to remember that all dogs are individuals, and for mixed breeds, one breed characteristic may be more dominant. Some examples of high-energy dog breeds are Australian shepherds, boxers, border collies and Jack Russell terriers. Some examples of low-energy dog breeds are shih tzus, Saint Bernards, mastiffs and bulldogs.

Be sure to do some dog training research as well, to be more fully prepared. There are many supports to assure that you make a reasonable, sound decision when adopting. Rescue agencies, trainers, veterinarians, pet store staff members and other local pet vendors can typically offer advice to help lead you to a better awareness of your pet’s health and well-being.

Jusak Bernhard and Jeff Manley are owners of TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories. Send your questions and suggestions to them at happypets@tailsspin.com.

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