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Dog breed traits that can influence temperament and behaviour
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Dog breed traits that can influence temperament and behaviour

While it is absolutely true that every dog is an individual and that breeding alone should not be considered to dictate the temperament or behaviour of a dog, nevertheless there are various breed-specific factors to bear in mind that may in many ways influence or dictate your dog’s temperament and behaviour.If you are considering getting a new dog and wish to narrow down the range of potential breeds or types of dog that you might like to own, taking into account several factors that can be breed-specific and how they might impact upon your future pet is a wise thing to do. If you are not quite sure what you might need to think about or account for when researching different breeds, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out about some of the breed-specific traits that can affect the temperament and behaviour of popular domestic dogs.

Activity levels

How much exercise a dog requires varies greatly from dog to dog, but some breeds are most certainly more active and lively than others. Dogs such as Dalmatians, huskies and collies are full of life, hard to tire out, and constantly ready for action. If you do have the time and inclination to cater for a high-maintenance and excitable breed then this is great. But if you own a dog that is particularly active and do not provide enough stimulation and exercise for them, you will soon find yourself struggling to control a dog that may begin to act out, try to escape, or become unruly and hard to control when out walking. It is important to find out about the normal activity levels for the breed you are considering before you get the dog, and not find out you have bitten off more than you can chew when it is too late!

Historical breed usage

The vast majority of the dog breeds that we keep as pets today have their origins in historical working roles alongside of people, and may potentially have been used for hunting, retrieving, guarding, fighting, or even pulling a sleigh or carriage. However far removed the dogs that are their modern counterparts may seem to be, nevertheless the traits that made working dogs fit for their originally intended purpose are still inherent in our modern dogs, and can affect the temperament and behaviour that these dogs display today. Present a hunting breed type with a prey animal such as a rabbit, and it is only to be expected that they will do what comes naturally, as instinct and centuries of training kicks in to dictate their behaviour. Herding dogs will tend to demonstrate herding behaviour with their family or other pets, even if they have never seen a field of sheep or cows in their lives! Bearing in mind factors such as these is important to ensure that again, you do not find yourself faced with behaviour that you do not understand and do not know how to resolve.

The coat and skin

Different breeds and types of dogs have very different styles of coat, from the simple to care for single layered smooth type to the curled, triple layered or wrinkled kinds! This can dictate not only how much time and attention that the care of the skin and coat requires, but also to some extend, how happy and comfortable the dog is at any given moment, which of course can affect the mood. Dogs that are prone to skin conditions or problems with the coat such as the Shar Pei will understandably become miserable if they are uncomfortable or in pain, which can affect how they interact with their family and other people.Similarly, dogs that do not receive enough care and attention to their fur and coat, such as high-maintenance breeds like the poodle, may develop sore patches, irritations and matted areas that can all lead to grumpy behaviour and discomfort.

Intelligence and trainability

The intelligence levels of dogs tend to vary significantly between breeds, something that has been touched upon in this previous article. Highly intelligent dogs can of course prove much more amenable to training and learning a wider range of skills and tricks than less intelligent dogs, but this can also mean that training itself presents a whole new set of challenges. Intelligent dogs tend to become easily bored and require a lot of stimulation, interaction and variety in order to keep them happy and relaxed. Inadequate training or not spending enough time providing entertainment and stimulation for very intelligent dogs can cause behavioural problems to manifest themselves as the dog is constantly on the lookout for new ways to keep themselves entertained.

Do your homework!

All of the above factors can have a significant affect on the suitability or otherwise of any given breed or type of dog to match your lifestyle, and how you will be to ensure that all of their needs are fulfilled. Make sure that you consider all of these criteria in any breed or type of dog that you are getting, as it can be easy to forget them in the face of more tangible factors such as the size or appearance of the dogs that you like.

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