It's occurred to us recently, there's a lot of misconception in the dog world- particularly around dog breeds.
We'd like to preface this post by stating that a dog's breed is not necessarily a predictor of his or her personality. Though two dogs may look the same, their characters can be completely different. However, dogs within the same breeds often share similarities when it comes to certain behavioural traits. Just as physical characteristics like face shape and coat colour may be passed down through the breeding process, so too can behavioural attributes (such as shyness, playfulness, fearlessness, etc.) This "predictability" is generally the reason why certain breeds/groups of dogs are chosen for certain jobs/activities- though as we know, there are exceptions to every rule.
For some reason, certain breeds are more prone to misunderstanding than others... so we decided it was about time to bust the myths and reveal the truth about these commonly misunderstood dogs. If you think your dog should be on this list, tell us why on our Facebook page!
This article features photos of our past and present clients, who are all beautifully trained and cared for by their owners!
Myth: "They are so fast, they must need heaps of exercise!"
Truth: Whilst Greyhounds are the fastest dog breeds, they are also a strong contender for the laziest. All dogs need a walk every day, but a Greyhound's exercise requirements are very minimal compared to the average dog. Most Greyhounds are satisfied with a 20-30 minute walk each day; a quick "sprint" is appreciated but not always necessary; and anything more than this is a bonus. A Greyhound's favourite activity is lounging about on the couch or bed in a nice, warm house. For this reason, Greyhounds make excellent companions for older people or those not up to an energetic power-hour every day.
2. JACK RUSSELL
Myth: "Jack Russells don't need much exercise because they're small..."
Truth: Jack Russells are miniature athletes who were originally bred to hunt and kill vermin. They have spectacular endurance and are generally quite displeased without their daily run! Jack Russells are generally very playful with a strong desire to work, and require lots of physical and mental stimulation in order to feel satisfied. Don't be fooled by their tiny stature; they have energy to boot and make an excellent running partners. They're also very clever, meaning they require a high level of interaction. Jack Russells are not a "low maintenance" dog, but sadly, they are frequently found in shelters due to poorly researched owners. Jack Russells make wonderful companions provided their pet-parents can keep up with them!
3. BULL ARAB / BULL TERRIER / BULL ANYTHING
Myth: "All breeds with the word "bull" in them are aggressive!"
Truth: We really don't like hearing about "bully" breeds being tarnished with this brush; some of the gentlest dogs we have met are "bull" breeds. It is true that larger breeds of dogs have a higher capacity for damage due to their sheer size, but this says nothing of their predisposition to aggression in the first place. All dogs require repeated positive exposure, obedience training and socialisation from a young age in order to develop a balanced temperament; together with adequate mental and physical exercise. Without this, any dog can become nasty. As with all breeds, dogs are either the result of irresponsible breeding, and/or a reflection of their owner. Unfortunately, due to their 'tough' exterior Bully breeds are often attractive to dog owners without the right intentions. This is the minority, however, as Bully breeds are subject to media heat and blame, the reputation is perpetuated. We hope that the increasing awareness around Responsible Dog Ownership and Breed Specific Legislation puts responsibility/blame back where it belongs (i.e. on the humans) and allows for Bully breeds to be recognised as the wonderful canine citizens that they truly are.
4. BORDER COLLIE
Myth: "Border Collies are the smartest dogs so they don't need training!"
Truth: A few years ago we used to visit with a Border Collie whose backyard was full of craters so big you'd think machinery was required in the process. Border Collies are working dogs who have been adapted for pet applications in suburbia, but this doesn't mean their needs are any different. Border Collies make fantastic companions to owners who are willing and able to provide them loads of physical and mental stimulation. The key here is in the "mental" part. Keeping a Border Collie happy doesn't just mean walking or running every day for an hour or two: this would be akin to locking Einstein in a room with nothing but a treadmill. Border Collies need heavy interaction, engagement, and trick-training throughout their entire life. When their needs are met, Border Collies can make the most amazing companions... but they most definitely need training, without a doubt!
Myth: "Labradors are used for Guide Dogs so they are naturally well-behaved!"
Truth: It goes without saying that medical service dogs go through extremely rigorous testing and there are many dogs who don't pass due to various reasons. Labradors are tremendously friendly and biddable, but they most certainly aren't "naturally well-behaved", generally speaking. Labradors are well known as "stomachs-on-legs", and are amongst the most-claimed breeds of dogs when it comes to pet insurance, specifically due to the ingestion of foreign objects. Labradors can make beautiful companions, but it should remembered that their first loyalty is to their appetite, and the perceived edibility of an item (e.g. socks, furniture etc.) has little influence on a Labrador's decision to consume it. The Labrador's obsession with eating makes training a breeze, but can cause havoc in other areas (e.g. stealing food from the table etc.) A new Labrador in the family is a great reminder to keep the house clean and uncluttered at all times!
6. RESCUE DOGS
Myth: "Rescue Dogs all have baggage!"
Truth: Some rescue dogs do come with baggage because they haven't had the ideal start in life, but this is different between individuals. Not all rescue dogs have had a terrible beginning: many are well-loved companions who have been surrendered due to an unavoidable and unexpected change in circumstances. Even those who have had a poor start in life often respond tremendously to rehabilitation with their foster carers and new owners. There is hardly a more rewarding sight than a transformed rescue dog. With so many homeless dogs and puppies in society, it seems crazy not to at least consider adopting your new companion through a rescue group, rather than buying from a breeder. Rescue groups take rehoming extremely seriously and ensure you and your new companion are ideally matched. Above all, the love from a rescue dog is out of this world: they know what it's like to go without companionship, so their new owner truly is a hero.
If you or someone you know would like recommendations on Rescue Groups, please email us. We have plenty of great suggestions!
There you go - our top 6 misjudged dog "breeds"... okay, the last one was a bit of a trick!
If you think your dog is frequently misunderstood, share a photo and tell us a story on our Facebook page! We'd love to hear it!