The Match Game

The Match Game

The Match Game

The Match Game

So you've made the decision. You want to share your life with a dog—but what breed? The 400 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) and kennel clubs throughout the world offer something for every dog lover.

Registration papers are issued for dogs with registered parents and certified by the breeder to be purebred. These papers are not a guarantee of quality, nor a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Dogs are only as good as their breeder.

Most potential dog owners have some idea of what type appeals to them: large or small, hairy or smooth, active or quiet. All that's left is to narrow down the choices. The various attributes of the breeds, plus individual personalities, allow everyone to obtain the perfect match.

Sorting Them Out

Certain breeds are often groomed professionally and some must be brushed frequently. Others come with wash-and-wear coats. A long-haired dog is gorgeous when combed and gleaming. But the same animal looks filthy and tangled if the owner doesn't brush and care for the coat.

Everything sheds! Nothing dies with the same hair it is born with. Contrary to popular opinion, long hair does not shed more than short – it just has more length! Longer hair often makes less mess around the house, the clumps being easier to pick up than zillions of little pointy hairs sticking in cushions or carpet.

Although a large dog can take up a lot of room in a small apartment, a lethargic giant uses less space than a tiny dynamo dashing from sofa to window to front door back to sofa. Most dogs are content in their owner's home, be it huge or humble. One of the big breeds can do just as well in the city as the country, as long as the animal receives the proper exercise. The amount of activity a dog requires does not depend on size alone, but on attitude. Some of the giant breeds, for instance, are happiest when snoozing in the sun. High-energy breeds demand daily vigorous exercise. Frisky dogs are more in tune with a jogging family than an eighty-year-old needlepoint devotee.

Tiny breeds are not the best choice for a family with small tots. Big dogs have a reputation for being easygoing and patient with children. A giant breed is not as likely to be injured by a slamming door or a toddler. The dog might rise, knocking down the infant on a well-cushioned bottom, but doesn't need to retaliate with teeth.

Conversely, choice is not limited to large breeds if you are looking for a dog to protect your family and property. Statistics show that persons, homes and businesses with doggie doorbells are avoided as victims of break-ins and attacks. Dwarf or giant, dogs make a lot of noise – yaps, growls and booming barks serve as canine alarm systems. It is simpler for the intruder to go on to the next place. Besides, little teeth hurt as much as big ones.

A member of the larger breeds can be more difficult to manage because of mass and weight. It is harder to nudge a Saint Bernard over the car seat than even the most defiant Toy breed!

A few dogs prefer one or two persons and remain aloof from others. Some breeds love playing and tumbling on the floor with children. Let's face it; kids are noisy, enthusiastic creatures. They shriek. They run. They slam doors. This can make even devoted parents' nerves stand up and quiver.

A good relationship is difficult to develop when you're separated from the rest of the family. But it's convenient to ignore the urge to scratch behind an ear when you have to go to the backyard to do it. More likely your only contact will be to holler at the dog to shut up when the lonely howling begins. Nevertheless, some circumstances demand an outdoor domicile for the canine member of the family. A few breeds must live indoors and suffer from extremes in temperatures. Others adapt to any weather with adequate shelter. But all dogs do better when inside with the family at least part of every day.

A houseful of precious objects calls for a graceful, mannerly dog. Rough-and-tumblers suit a family with a casual lifestyle.

Whatever your hobby – whether it's hunting, biking or sledding – there's a dog panting to join the fun. Some dogs look elegant lying in front of a fireplace or on a satin pillow. A few bristle at your best friend; others greet any and all effusively.

A good relationship is difficult to develop when you're separated from the rest of the family. Bonding is easy when your pet is your shadow by day and your footwarmer at night. But it's convenient to ignore the urge to scratch behind an ear when you have to go to the backyard to do it. More likely your only contact will be to holler at the dog to shut up when the lonely howling begins. A few breeds must live indoors and suffer from extremes in temperatures. Others adapt to any weather with adequate shelter.

A houseful of precious objects calls for a graceful, mannerly dog. Rough-and-tumblers suit a family with a casual lifestyle.

Whatever your hobby – whether it's hunting, biking or sledding – there's a dog panting to join the fun. Some dogs look elegant lying in front of a fireplace or on a satin pillow. A few bristle at your best friend; others greet any and all effusively.

If you want a purebred, registered dog, attend a dog show. For an overview of all AKC breeds, watch the Westminster Kennel Club show, telecast annually in February. Shows offer classes for most of the breeds in this book. Magazines and local clubs can furnish information on dates and sites of shows. Flan a full day to observe several breeds. Catalogs giving owner information and time schedules for each breed are available. Study behavior and personality of the breeds you are considering, both in and out of the rings. Breeders want their puppies to be happy, and the best way to ensure this is for the new owners to be happy too.