When it comes to choosing a dog, there are many factors to take into account.
We are all attracted to particular breeds because of the way they look (superficial people that we are! good thing dogs donâ€™t feel the same way about us!), but then there are other things we need to consider. How much room will a dog of this breed need, how much will he eat, and how much grooming does he require? Well, when considering all the pros and cons, breed vs. breed, donâ€™t forget to take into account the most important factor of all â€“ temperament. If you are an intense, high-energy person, there are many equally intense, equally energetic dog breeds you might do well with. But what if you are someone who needs a gentler, calmer companion? If you have kids, are or live with an older person or one who is disabled, or just have enough on your plate without needing a high-strung pet, there are some dog breeds that are known for their laid-back natures.
One of Americaâ€™s favorites, the Labrador Retriever, is always mentioned as a particularly good-natured breed of dog. They are friendly, loving, and very easy to train. They can be energetic, true, and are great at all kinds of doggie sports, but no-one could ever accuse the average lab of being temperamental. Another Retriever, the Golden, is also known for its good nature. Good-looking, loveable, easy to train and to care for, Goldens are all-around canine good citizens.
One of the largest breeds, the St. Bernard, is famous for its easy-going temperament as well as its sheer size. And itâ€™s a good thing, too, in a dog that can weigh up to a quarter ton! But if you have the room to house one and the budget to feed one (and you donâ€™t mind a little â€“ okay, a lot - of drooling), the St. Bernard can make a wonderful family companion. Other gentle giants include the Newfoundland, the Mastiff, the Bloodhound, the Scottish Deerhound, and even the Great Dane. One thing you must bear in mind, though, is that you should always purchase your dog from a reputable breeder or adopt from a breed rescue agency where the dogs have been temperament tested. Never, ever buy a dog from a pet store or a backyard breeder (as are many of the breeders who advertise dogs for sale in the newspaper classifieds) â€“ badly-bred dogs can often have temperament problems (not to mention health problems) atypical of their breeds, and this can be especially important when you are dealing with such large animals. You really donâ€™t want to be stuck with a rotten-tempered Great Dane!
Perhaps you donâ€™t want quite such a large animal, however well-tempered. Well, if you prefer something a bit smaller, how about a Bassett Hound? Loveable, slow-moving, and also a bit drooly, but, according to those who share their lives with Bassetts, one of the sweetest dogs imaginable.
Believe it or not, retired racing Greyhounds are also known as champion couch potatoes. Yes, these dogs can be super fast when they run, but they also like to spend a lot of time just relaxing and they are almost always extremely gentle, great with kids, and make excellent therapy dogs.
And finally, Iâ€™d like to put in a plug for my own personal favorite, the Keeshond. To my mind this is the almost-perfect dog. Almost, because they can be a bit difficult to groom. But they are the perfect medium size â€“ not too small, not too large, and just right for cuddling up next to in bed. They can be pretty lively in play, and they were bred as watchdogs so will bark to alert you when the mailmanâ€™s approaching â€“ but itâ€™s just an alert, not the â€śmust destroy the enemyâ€ť frenzy displayed by some (usually very tiny) breeds. All in all, though, this is an extremely friendly, good-natured, and of course spectacularly beautiful breed.
These breeds I have mentioned are just a few of the many hundreds of dog breeds out there, and if you do a little digging you can probably come up with a gentle, sweet- tempered dog breed that appeals to you. Again, though, you need to be sure you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopt an adult dog through breed rescue or at least from a humane agency that has temperament-tested its animals. Finally, with dogs, as with people, you reap what you sow. If you treat your dog gently and with kindness, chances are he will more than repay you in kind (and perhaps a little drool), and a lifetime of love and doggie devotion awaits.