Choose a Dog Appropriate to Your Garden
Dogs come in many sizes, shapes and colours. Those conforming to specific standards are classified as breeds. Various breeds have been developed over generations for specific purposes for example, sport, work, show or toys.
Depending on the breed, the size and temperament of the dog will differ greatly. You will find tiny (teacup), small, medium, large and giant dog breeds. Smaller breeds are best suited to small homes or apartment living because of the obvious space restrictions. Small breeds also cost less to look after than larger breeds, for example less needs to be spent on feeds and medications. Many working breeds require space to exercise and run, some large breeds like to sleep and do very little but still need an appropriate living area and outside space
Some dogs have a reputation for being easily provoked or are more likely to attack other dogs. Some breeds are great around young children, other breeds are less tolerant. It is rare for a dog to bite its owner, but it is an owner’s responsibility to prevent the dog from biting other people. Dog bites, especially from large breeds can be severe. Small children have been seriously maimed and some have died. Some aggressive breeds have been banned from residential areas and you must check the laws in your area and consider selecting a large or giant breed or an aggressive breed very carefully.
Pure Breeds or Crossbreeds?
Pure dog breeds, or pedigrees, are susceptible to hereditary abnormalities and disease susceptibility. Whilst buying a pure breed will give you some confidence in your pet’s temperament, final size and appearance, if bought from a puppy, there are a number of psychological as well as physical issues which you may need to be aware of.
Some examples of pure breed problems include back problems which can lead to paralysis of the rear legs. This is because they have been specifically bred to have much longer backs. Paralysis may become permanent if not properly treated.
Another common health concern is gastric problems which are an issue with large deep-chested breeds, particularly Great Danes, German Shepherds, Boxers and Weimaraners. This is a major concern and you should check with the breeder to determine if the parents or grandparents, or any siblings have had the condition as treatment is very expensive and not often successful.
Deafness and eye problems are associated with some breeds including Poodles, Australian Cattle Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Border Collies and Golden Retrievers.
Joint problems are also a concern in many breeds, with larger breeds at risk of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, while small and miniature breeds can suffer patella (knee cap) dysplasia.
Abnormalities are being targeted by responsible breeders and many are becoming much less common. The whole breed should not be condemned; rather you should be sure to confirm the health of the breeder’s animals, particularly the direct bloodline of the dog you want.
When we think about cross-breeding we think of the vigour of hybrids. Basically the genetic mix often enables the dog to have greater health and vitality. This is discussed in greater detail later in the book.
There are over 500 dog breeds however with the emergence and increasing popularity for particular breed mixes we can see over 600 breeds emerge. For example the Poodle, Maltese and Pomeranian, which are all very small breeds, are often mixed and bred to produce ‘designer’ toy dogs such as the Malpoo, Maltipom, Pomenese, Moodle, Pompapoo for example.