I believe in adopting a dog from a shelter over any other method of getting a dog. There are so many homeless pets that need homes and are in danger of being put down, yet people encourage dog breeding by buying from pet shops and irresponsible breeders.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the desire to know exactly what you are getting. I know that people looking for a dog want certain traits, certain personality characteristics and certain size limits. By getting a pure-bred you are most certainly more likely to get a dog that fits within breed characteristics. Well. Maybe. A dog bred irresponsibly may have as many breed standards as a mutt, so you really are playing roulette anyway if you go that route.
But adopting a dog doesn’t have to feel like a game of chance, even if the dog is a “mutt” from the pound.
This is how I recommend beginning the process of picking out a small dog from a shelter:
- Check out a complete list of small dog breeds for history, personality and breed characteristics.
- Visit the shelter armed with knowledge about your favorite breeds, and rule out breeds you absolutely will not consider.
- Go with an open mind. Just because an animal is partly a certain breed, doesn’t guarantee they will possess breed characteristics.
The most important thing, however, is to meet the dog. Spend time with it. Touch it’s feet, tail and ears to see how it reacts. Find out if it is food aggressive. Let it meet your children or other pets. Talk to the shelter workers about its behavior. A shelter dog that appears high strung and barks a lot may only be responding to their environment. If possible, take the dog somewhere quiet. Walk it on a leash. You want the dog to be very social and pushing for your attention as opposed to not interested in you.
Generally shelters are pretty good about “guessing” the origin of a dog’s breed, and you can use that as a guide for determining their future personality. But it’s not fool-proof even with a pure-bred dog. Some shelters will even have pure-bred dogs, but even then, do not judge a book by its cover. Make sure you follow the same steps listed above to make sure the dog is a good fit for your family.
My husband and I never expected to adopt a smaller breed dog when we were looking to add a new family member, but we happened to meet one quite by accident and he stole our hearts.
“Toby” is said to be a Wirehaired Terrier mixed with a husky, and when you read about the breeds, he surely fits the descriptions. He is 25 lbs, so definitely sized more like a terrier, but he is smart, stubborn and is most happy when he is running around playing. He also has a very strong hunting instinct and is definitely high energy.
We never expected to fall in love with a dog that looked like Toby, but in one fell swoop (which included kissing my daughter as she rolled on the floor and giggled), he had captured our hearts. Our golden retriever concurred, and Toby came home with us. While we can predict much of his behavior based upon his breed profiles, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the unconditional love he offers in return.
Do you have a shelter dog?Note: sponsored post. Opinions expressed are my own.
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