Choose the Right Breed of Dog

Choose the right breed of dog, whether it be a purebred, mixed breed, or mutt and you'll enjoy years of happiness. Did you know that a mutt and a mixed breed dog are different things? I didn't. A mixed breed is a dog borne of two different breeds, like my dog, Sydney. She's half Newfoundland, half Lab.

A mutt, however; is all mixed up! Yep - a dog with both parents of more than one breed. That particular mutt could have a mix of four or more breeds. Wow! That's why it’s difficult to tell what breed a dog is just by looking at it.

But that shouldn't matter. I've had mutts my whole life and they've all been great dogs.

I suppose if you're looking for a particular trait in a dog, it would be better to know what type of breed your dog is. But that doesn't even guarantee that your dog will have the particular traits associated with that breed.

My Dog Syd - Mixed up in more than one way!

For instance, my dog, Sydney, being part Lab, part Newfoundland should like to fetch and swim right? Everyone knows Labs love to retrieve; aren't they supposed to like fetching a ball until they drop? A Newfoundland is supposed to excel at water rescue; after all, they were bred to work with fishermen. They are supposed to have excellent swimming abilities.

Well, Sydney likes neither fetching nor swimming. What she likes to do is wade; any body of water will do, even a mud puddle. As far as fetching, she only wants to fetch balls that belong to other dogs. That's one of her favorite things to do. And once she has the other dog's ball, she prances around looking quite proud of herself!

Because of her mixed lineage, she is considered a large dog; whereas female Newfoundlands weigh between 100 and 120 pounds, which place them in the "Giant" weight category. Sydney weighs close to 80 pounds, lots smaller than a Newfoundland. Female Labrador Retrievers weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, so she's a bit larger than the upper range of a Lab's weight.

Sydney does seem to have the best of both breeds; Newfoundlands are known for their sweet dispositions and loyalty, and Labs are known for their easy-going nature and friendly attitude. Syd is all those things.

Be sure to consider the size of the dog before adopting. A small dog is defined as one that is less than 20 pounds. Think about your living space. Do you have room for a large dog? Are you strong enough to handle a large dog? Large dogs eat more and make bigger messes. In fact, when I think about the large messes Syd makes, sometimes I wonder what I was thinking! It's much easier to clean up doggie doo doo from a small dog. Oh well. I wouldn't trade her, but do think about that kind of thing before you choose your new dog.

Also understand that having a small dog, or even a toy breed dog doesn't necessarily mean they will need less exercise. A dog that doesn't get enough exercise may get bored and become destructive.

choose the right breed

Do read up on different personality and temperament traits associated with different breeds of dogs in order to choose the right breed for your liking.

You can do more of that online at written by the editors of Dog Fancy Magazine. (A new window will open).

Dog Breeds at

Even purebreds however, may not have the exact traits attributed to their breed, but you can get a general idea.

There are several breed "types," including sporting, hound, working, Terrier, toy, non-sporting, and herding. If you are interested in one particular breed, there are organizations that concentrate on specific breed rescues.

Choose the right breed by continuing to Part 2 of Choose the Right Breed - Breed Characteristics

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