What Do You Want People to Know About Your Favorite Breed?

We’re all drawn to different types of dogs, whether it’s a certain breed like the German shepherd or a group of dogs like terriers. Or maybe it’s “giant breeds,” “mutts” or “rescue dogs.”

There’s something special about all these dogs, and those of us who live with them – whether it’s pitbulls, border collies or shelter dogs – know there’s something unique about them as a group.

So my question for you is:

What do you want people to know about “your” breed? Or your “type” of dog?

What misunderstandings are there around Australian shepherds or French bulldogs that you’d like people to know?

For example, I have a weimaraner and a black Lab mix.

Since buying a weimaraner I’ve heard and read a few comments about the breed that are not favorable.

Those comments are along the lines of:

“Weimaraners are neurotic.”

And, “Weims are cat killers.”

These are not comments I’ve read or heard once or twice. They’re generalizations about weimaraners that are repeated on blogs, forums, rescue sites, breeder sites and from professional trainers and veterinarians.

At least three professionals have said to me in an irritated voice, “Why did you get a weimaraner?” referring to my dog’s energy.

This made me feel bad about my dog, like there’s something wrong with him for having energy. Or that there’s something wrong with me for choosing the breed or for not “reeling in” his enthusiasm.

So … here’s what I’d like to say in defense of weimaraners:

1. Weimaraners are not “neurotic.”

In general, most weims have a lot of energy and they need to run every day. Some weims feel nervous or excited in public if they’re still in training, but they can be calm in the house. Some weimaraners can live in an apartment or small space with the right owner.

See my post: How to live with a hyper dog in an apartment

2. Weimaraners can be good with cats, just like any other breed.

Yes, some weimaraners can’t be trusted around small animals but it depends on the individual dog. This is true of all breeds.

My weim was raised around cats from 8 weeks old, and he seems to view them as awkward members of our family.

Some of the weimaraners in shelters or rescue groups can safely go to homes with cats and should be allowed by the adoption organizations to do so.

See my post: Can weimaraners live with cats?

And now I want to say something about my Lab mix.

Yes, my dog looks like a black Labrador.

Yes, many Labs are friendly, including mine.

But please don’t assume every Lab or Lab mix is good with kids, good with strangers or easy to train.

Not all Labs make a good family pet or a good first dog.

Some Labs are aggressive around strangers, afraid of children or challenging to train.

My black Lab mix is perfect in many ways and sets a good example for “Labs” everywhere, but sometimes people put too much trust in a dog’s breed. Kids come bounding up to my dog as their parents smile simply because they see a “Lab” and they assume he’s safe.

Labs and golden retrievers can be great, but they can also have a lot of energy, excitement and nervousness. They’re prone to jumping on people and just like weimaraners they also need plenty of training, rules and exercise.

See my posts:

How to piss off a Labrador owner

Why we need dog awareness, not pitbull awareness

Dogs are dogs, and of course there are consistencies among breeds or groups, but it’s not fair to make generalizations. Sometimes there are myths or stereotypes around certain breeds that are not helpful, especially for the dogs waiting in shelters or rescue groups.

Related posts:

Do you have a type of dog people are afraid of?

Do pitbull memes do more harm than good?

And so, what would you like people to know about your type of dog?

Let me know in the comments.

– Lindsay

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33 thoughts on “What Do You Want People to Know About Your Favorite Breed?”

  1. I prefer Hounds – bassets in particular. They are usually pretty laid back and are happy to sit around and adore you. I have had several who were pretty much “one man dogs” and a few who weren’t. My current mutt is Basset/Lab mix and was, apparently, a back yard lawn ornament. I got him from Animal Control at about a year old and he had had absolutely no training at all. Starting late can be done but it’s a lot more work.

      1. Our shepherd hasn’t got that ‘stoic’ look – everyone thinks he’s a bundle of fluff and fur and wants to touch – even at going on 6 years. Its the long hair and feathering around his face, A young child once called him a lion. People who know him – he melts them with his expressions! (He’s not as sweet as he looks mind)

  2. Every human is individual, and every dog is individual, Therefore there is a dog for everyone. We all live our lives differently, and we all live in varying accommodation (houses vs flats). Nobody has got the right to tell you what is right or not. I quote 3 words you said “The right owner” and that is all important. We were once told we couldn’t have a dog by the RSPCA because we didn’t have a garden:- we had a park just by us which was our ‘garden’. But blowing our trumpet – we are good owners and that (to me) is much more important than the environment. Research is needed into a breed that you wish to have to make sure it is suited to you and the way you live your life.

  3. We own a Belgian Malinois, and I once read that anyone purchasing one as a family pet must have a death wish. Our Mal definitely fits the typical high energy mouthy standard, but he’s far from being the killing machine this blog stereotyped them as. While he sometimes gets more in our cat’s face than the cat would prefer, our Mal has never been aggressive with him, and he’s incredibly patient with my 8-year-old nephew, who we regularly have to remind not to put the dog in a headlock.

  4. Chihuahuas get a bad rap! In fact, they’re the second most populous dog in shelters after put bulls. First, they’re not shivering toy dogs (even if they are a toy breed) — they can run with you like a lab would, play fetch, play a mean game of tug of war, solve food games with their intelligence, and consider themselves to be just as tough as big dogs… Which they definitely play fight with! And yes they can yap, but life is scary when you’re eight inches high and they want to protect their humans. They love their humans to death and are the most affectionate, sweetest pups… our chihuahua is snuggled with me constantly and sleeps under the covers. She makes me and my husband so happy with her ridiculous antics and because she loves us so much and constantly shows it. Give chis a chance. ❤️

  5. Paradise Layegh

    Weimaraners are not always child friendly. Mine tends to be mouthy (says hello with his teeth) with adults and or children.

  6. Border Collies rock! I have two smooth-coat females and they truly ARE the smartest dogs around! They even enjoy your lap ONCE THEY ARE FULLY EXERCISED.

  7. Pitbulls. *sigh* Where do I start? We have a pit mix and he is the sweetest guy you ever met. If anything, he is too friendly! And pretty much every pit I have met since adopting Lambeau has been lovely. But the breed prejudice persists:

    “You’ll see. One day, he will just attack for no reason at all. Pit bulls are like that.” Uh, he’s four and has shown no indication of aggressiveness at all. And no dog “just attacks” for no reason. There’s a reason, from people’s ignorance of dog body language, to prior abuse or mishandling, to medical issues.

    “Pit bulls can’t be trusted around children.” Lots of dogs can’t be trusted around children, especially children who haven’t been taught how to interact properly with a dog. And pit bulls were used as nanny dogs in the 1900s, so they can’t be that bad.

    “Pit bulls are fighting dogs.” No, pit bulls can be trained to fight, for sure. But they are not aggressive to other dogs, in general. Sure, some might be. But some shepherds, and some hounds, and some Labs, and some whatever, are also.

    And my favorite: Those “locking jaws”! Pit bull jaws are the same as any other dog’s jaws. There is no “locking” mechanism there. Some pit bulls were bred originally as bull or bear baiting dogs, and so were bred and trained to bite down and hold on, but that doesn’t mean they can lock their jaws so that they can’t be opened. And a lot of that determination still exists in the breed. Watch a pit go after a meaty bone or take apart a (supposed to be) extra tough toy and you will see that determination. Lambeau can destroy a toy that is advertised as nearly indestructible in less than a day. But he can’t lock his jaws!

  8. Giant breed puppies are still puppies even if they are as big as dogs. We have a 10 month old cane corso mastiff, and I feel like making her a sign that says “I’m still a puppy.” We are working with her but she isn’t going to be perfect. Also, that some dogs are shy just like people are shy and just because she growls hello and doesn’t come right over to be petted doesn’t mean she will attack it just means let her come to you in her own time.

  9. My flatcoated retriever is always happy and positive, and full of energy. She loves everyone; dogs and people alike. She’s very typical for the breed.

    But flatcoated retrievers are not for everyone. They need owners with active lifestyles.

  10. I have a lab/chi mix. I wish I had understood him better when I got him 4 years ago at 7 weeks. I didn’t know it then but he should have been with his mother longer. The other owner had him for a couple weeks before she got him to me. He “picked on” the other pup she adopted at the same time so she separated them. He does not like strangers, a lot of which comes from fear I believe. We do not get a lot of visitors. He is very good to me, my husband and daughter and her husband, whom he sees only for a short time once a month. My daughters Beagle lives with us also and he gets jealous at times if I pay attention to her but they exist together peacefully. He has known all of us since I got him. He is very hyper and very reactive I tell him he has a small lab body and a Chihuahua brain. Love him to pieces and we work hard at taking good care of him.

  11. I have 2 Chow Chows. I can’t begin to tell u how many times people have asked me if they’re aggressive. People tell me of Chows they have encountered that are aggressive. My Chows love people & get along well with other dogs. My male is untrusting of men. I adopted him when he was a year old & have no idea why he is skeptical of men.
    As with any breed Chows are not for everyone. You need to let them know u are in charge or else they will be in charge. They are excellent watch dogs. They never bark unless there is a reason, like someone in the yard. They are totally loyal. They love to play but can also be laid back.

  12. My miniature poodle is a great fetcher. We live in a condo with really long carpeted hallways and she plays “soccer” with the ball, complete with fancy footwork, as well as running the full length playing a focused game of fetch.

    She’s a great traveller too, goes everywhere with me, not at all yappy. Mini poos can be the perfect smart, playful, portable dog.

  13. I think it’s so silly to make assumptions that are purely based on what one has heard or read about a specific breed. Just a few days ago I heard someone make the statement that “all Dalmatians are aggressive and bullies”.

    Um…really?! I used to walk the sweetest Dalmatian girl in my capacity as a dog walker back in D.C. suburbia who didn’t have one aggressive bone in her body. She was deaf and sometimes a little skittish, but never aggressive. As you said in your post, it’s not fair to put any dog breed into a specific category, whether that be the “super friendly” or “aggressive” one. Any dog has the potential to act up under certain circumstances, just like any dog can be super loving and mellow around the right people.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I don’t have experience with Dalmatians but there is one in our building that seems like you average dog.

  14. I have a German Shepherd. How much time do you have?

    But my big #1 pet peeve is people who assume that GSDs all have bad hips because of their conformation. The rear angulation DOES NOT cause hip dysplasia! Seriously – look at the OFA statistics for the incidence hip dysplasia, ranked by breed. Over thirty breeds plus the Maine Coon cat have a higher incidence of hip dysplasia than the German Shepherd! And the GSD is unique in its angulated structure and three point stack. Clearly if the structure caused dysplasia, hip dysplasia would ONLY show up in conformation line GSDs – but as the numbers show, it occurs across a wide range of breeds, almost none of which have rear angulation.

  15. I have a beautiful GSD/Husky. When my previous dog passed I looked for a GSD or a Husky and got both. Had a DNA test and it returned that he is 50/50. He is Sable in color and resembles a Wolf. A number of kids have wanted to pet my Wolf!

    Because he has both I have had to read up on both. Like @KL I have heard about the Hip problem and it is supposed to be present in both breeds. However, my Dakotah has a straight back that drops of a 45 degrees just before his fluffy tail. He is 2 1/2 years old and no signs of Hip problems.

    He is loyal, like a GSD, but wants to run like a Husky. I was worried about the Husky escape artist tag but he doesn’t try to run away. In fact he tries, and does run home.

    As for cats, he was 5 1/2 weeks old when we brought him home to our almost 1 year old cat. Initial hissing and then playing cause they were about the same size. In fact the cat might have been a little bigger. They still play together even now. And he doesn’t really try to chase cats on our walks. Not to much anyway.

    He has the “Stranger Danger” nomenclature. IF he knows you, ok. But if not he tries to get away from the person, unless the person is about 3 ft tall. Unfortunately, he definitely does NOT like Mentally Challenged individuals. He will try to run the other way. Wants absolutely nothing to do with them. I tried to befriend one of them and could not.

    Both breeds are labeled “High Energy”. That is a definite yes. I have to walk him 3 or more miles per day…total. Morning and evening walks. Makes my heart doctor happy.:-)

    1. A level topline is not in any way an indicator of hip health. Genetics interacting with environment (e.g., letting your puppy jump from heights may be a risk factor) are what determine hip health. It drives me crazy when people make the assumption that a “straight” back is healthy and a sloping topline is not. (See my post above regarding OFA stats.) And this ubiquitous misconception is why I am constantly fielding nosy questions about my perfectly healthy dog’s hips from total strangers who know zero about the breed.

  16. I have adopted my second pitbull and she is a real sweetheart, well disciplined, and just full of hugs and kisses. She was a Bissell, “Clear the Shelters” dog and all I know about her that she came from Detroit. Pits are very smart, do not bark, bite or even growl, but she snores at night! Please rescue a pit today as the shelters are full of them!

    1. They don’t bark? That surprises me.

      But that would be a big old check in the “Con” column for me; I want my dog to bark and alert!

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Come to think of it, most of the “pitbulls” I’ve known are fairly quiet too. But all of these were most likely mixed breed dogs.

  17. We have our second Australian Labradoodle, and both are very different in their personalities the only things exactly the same are their intelligence, energy levels and love for us and anything in their world, be it human or dog. Most people think they are only a large breed but in fact we had a miniature lap dog (10kg) and our second is a medium size lap dog(only 6mths so still growing) she will be the size of a Border Collie. They don’t shed as long as your dog is minimum 3rd generation Oodle so I’m informed. You can get them in different types of colours and coats (fleece, wool or combination) they are brilliant for people with allergies, especially if you’re like me and are allergic to housecleaning No hair to sweep up!

  18. We adopted our lab at the age of 2 last November. He hadn’t been well socialised when younger (previously was a working dog) and therefore he now can be anxious and fearful, particularly of kids. He would never hurt a fly but does cower behind me a lot like a frightened toddler. He’s an incredibly handsome boy and because he’s a lab people love to come over and put their hands all over him, which doesn’t help his worries half the time (sometimes he’ll be nervous of people, sometimes he’ll adore them and love the attention – we haven’t yet worked out the signs of what he does/doesn’t feel comfy with). I wish people would be more courteous, and train their kids to be more courteous!

  19. Rescued is my families favorite breed. Currently we have a pit mix, Pomeranian chihuahua, and a Sheppard mutt all rescues. I wish people would watch us with our dogs to see that the Sheppard mix is the one to watch out for, she’ll react to about everything. The pit mix is a sweety that is still learning and the Pom mix is shy.
    I wish people would watch out for us and not their cell phone.

  20. Between mine, my brother’s and my dad’s I am very familiar with German Shepherds. Yet, they are all different and have different personalities.

    The most common factor in all GSD’s that I have been around is that they are extremely loving, loyal and protective BUT they need LOTS of exercise! My 1 year old is a sweetheart but he acts up if he does not get to expend some of his energy. Before someone chooses a GSD I would hope they understand how much work and care they need, but that it is worth every minute!

  21. I have two retired racing greyhounds. I would love to tell everyone in the world that they do NOT need a lot of exercise! I believe this misconception keeps some people from adopting them, and there are so many that need forever homes. Greys are lazy, laid back dogs. Some are good with kids; some not. Some are good with cats; some not. The rescue organization can help you find the perfect match for your situation.

    Greys make very good apartment dogs because they (literally) sleep 20 hours a day! They have little 5 minute play bursts sometimes, and a little tug or fetch with a squeaky toy will more than satisfy them. They require 20-40 minutes of walking a day, and/or a fenced yard. Some greys like other dogs and can be great in a dog park. There are groups that speak against the dog park for greys because of their lack of hair and thin skin, but my two enjoy it more than just about anything else in the world, except food!

    So the bottom line is, they are laid back and affectionate, they do NOT need to run, 2 20-minute walks a day or a fenced yard is enough. They make wonderful house pets and most are calm and cuddly.

  22. I don’t have a favorite breed. Of the 7 I have, all are mixed breeds except 2, and the other 5 were rescues out of shelters or off the streets. I love all dogs, and when there is more room I will probably go adopt a shelter dog, unless I see one on the street. But I also think people take in the dog breed they love whether it be a full breed or a mixed breed. And no matter what breed, they all mean doggie kisses and happy tails.

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