Are all dogs the same, just packaged differently?
While all breeds are similar in their pure intelligence, there are enormous differences between breeds for the development of certain characteristics - for example, all dogs have the potential to display "aggression" but some are much easier to stimulate into this reaction than others.
When choosing a dog, you should not only look at the genetic behaviour of the dog and its breed, but also their individual and breed-related energy levels. More often than not, people who struggle with "problem dogs" simply have the wrong type of dog for them and their lifestyle. The New Zealand Kennel Club categorises breeds into the following groups - Toy, Terrier, Gun Dog, Hound, Working Dog, Utility and Non-sporting Dog - and in order to make an informed decision, you need to look at each category carefully, their origins and what they were bred for, and what they require in order to successfully fit into modern life. Visit www.nzkc.org.nz for more information on the breed categories.
You must be aware that you can never prevent a dog from being what it is genetically predisposed to be - the way it thinks, its body shape and size and how it acts - because inbred postures and behaviours feel good to a dog. They are internally motivating and internally rewarding; this means the reward is not in the environment, but in the dog itself.
The most important point is that the animals breed should always be considered - don't just choose a dog based on looks. The more you know about the breed, the better the choice you will make as this information will give you an insight into their behaviour, temperament, personality, trainability and exercise/energy requirements. So long as the breed element of the dog is satisfied in a healthy way, the dog has more of a chance to be, and remain, happy, balanced and safe. When these hard-wired instincts and desires are not fulfilled, this is where behavioural problems will start to occur. When choosing a breed, you should make sure that it will fit into your lifestyle, and don't chose a dog that has a higher demand for energy and exercise that you are willing or able to give.
There are many great websites and questionnaires available to help you chose, by matching the breed best suited to your lifestyle, and we are here to help and offer as much advice as possible prior to you deciding to add a four-legged friend to your family - this way you can gain the ‘greatest friend in the world' for life.