Does Breed Determine Personality?

Does Breed Determine Personality?

August 14, 2018

    While scrolling through depths of the internet and social media, you’ve probably encountered articles relating to certain dog breeds being more aggressive than others. Humans tend to stereotype certain breeds resulting in legislative actions like the pit bull ban in Canada.  While Rottweilers, German shepherds and countless others have been labeled as “dangerous” by the media, is it true that a dog’s breed will determine its temperament and personality?  When shopping for your new furry friend, should the breed be the determining factor of your purchase? Will one be happy and cheerful while the others growl at strangers?

    Fortunately, there are only two factors that will determine your pets temperament and personality. Genetics and the surrounding environment are the only factors that will guide you towards finding and raising your future dog.

How Did All This Come About?

Believe it or not, dogs experience racial profiling that sadly gets them killed in police raids. The problem that we see today is people take traits such as a strong bite or incredible strength and use it to crate illegal dog fighting organizations for profit. Criminals from all around the world seek “dangerous” traits then breed only the vicious winners that over time create profitable killing machines. Some of these poor animals make it back to shelters with their vicious reputation, wreak havoc on the general population and unfortunately make the headlines.

Why They All Seem Scary?

 

  1. Bigger Dog = Bigger Bite: If you raise and abuse a Chihuahua, chances are that that “little” dog will become a vicious devil. No one fears a little cute Chihuahua when its angry but if you place that mindset into a large breed then you might lose a limb. Would rather have Mike Tyson, boxing heavyweight champion, or a youth trying to hurt you?
  2. Media: When an attack finally happens we love to point fingers at the scary looking breeds and further cementing the stereotype. Drug dealers that want their pets to be aggressive tend to adopt a Rottweiler or pit bull to keep other criminals off their turf. These dogs end up in music videos and all news networks around the nation further pushing the aggressive breed BS. You’ll never hear about the beagle that bit a child but the pit bull story will score headlines.
  3. History: German Shepherds are plastered all over history books as being the go to guard dog for dictators and soldiers. Some breeds have built a renowned reputation throughout the years because they were trained to be weapons in times of war. Hitler was famously a dog lover and his number one breed was the German Shepherd. Sadly, the victims of the Holocaust saw the aggressive side of the dog because it was trained to do so.

The Surrounding Environment

    Like humans, dogs are shaped by the word around them. Think of the misguided children out there and the common denominator that sets them on the wrong path. We often point fingers at bad parenting or simply hanging out with the wrong crowd and not their nationality. Whether you adopt a pit bull or a puddle, it’s up to the parent (that’s you) to ensure their new family member does not end up on the wrong side of the news. It’s the love and proper socialization that insures your pet is not aggressive. Visit your local dog park and witness just how many “scary” breeds are actually the friendliest. These owners understand the responsibility of owning a dog and treat them like family. If you choose to abuse a dog, expect a dark side just like the children that have a rough upbringing.

    Often people go to the shelter or pick out a puppy, assuming the personality they see right there and then is the dog they will have for life. We’ve all seen the dog that walks their owner instead of the other way around. Most dogs develop some kind of unwanted habit but the real problem is the owner. Generally speaking, dogs do not grow out of bad behaviors. In fact, left to their own devices they will get worse. Remember, these behaviors are only considered bad by us – your dog is self-rewarded by digging up the flowers, chasing the cat, and barking at the mailman. He’s not going to stop unless you give him a reason to through reinforcement. For some alien reason people think that dogs are the way they are just because.

Powerful Tools To Tame Any Dog:

 

  1. Training: We teach our children good manners and dogs are no different. If you let your dog do what it wants when it wants, chances are your pet will not see you as the authority. Correct bad behavior and implement positive reinforcement on a regular basis to ensure a loyal pet.
  2. Socialize: One of the biggest mistakes first time dog owners make is never allowing their pet to engage with other humans/dogs. These animals build an incredibly strong bond with us and if we keep them locked away from the world, they will see other humans as a threat. Take them to the dog park and family parties. Sasha, our German Shepherd was raised in the city and everyone loves to stop and pet her due to her friendliness.
  3. Exercise: This is a big one because most dogs turn stored energy into all kinds of unwanted behaviors. Some get bored and turn households into giant chew toys while others get ramped up when they see another dog on the street. Often people adopt high energy dogs that have been bred to work all day and simply cannot contain their energy. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog.

How Genetics Forge Character

    Genetics is the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in living organisms. It is generally considered a field of biology, but intersects frequently with many other life sciences and is strongly linked with the study of information systems. While genetics determine the way your puppy will look based on the parent’s dominant and recessive genes, it will also determine their temperament to a certain extent. When choosing a breeder, one must ask what kind of breeder I am looking for. Some focus on breeding pups for a certain look while others focus on breeding high energy work dogs for the military and law enforcement.

    Sasha was bred to be a show line dog, ready to hit the stage and not herd sheep. When visiting the litter, the pups looked incredible but one can easily spot the high energy dog from the calm and assertive. During the interview scheduled by the breeder, she determined that our work schedule and living conditions required a low to medium energy pup and we got just that. The one pup that was all over the place biting everything ended up working for the police department.  Genetics will determine eye color, energy levels, and learning skills but will not determine if your dog will be aggressive.

What Genetics Can Tell About The Dog:

  1. Specific Traits: Some dogs have been bred for specific traits like a stronger sense of smell. These traits are later exploited by humans in the workforce for sniffing out explosive materials etc. Some will be faster runners while others may bite harder due to jaw structure and muscle mass.
  2. More or Less Responsibility: At the end of the day, some dogs will require more of your time. Long hair breeds will require constant brushing, while others may be more prone to getting sick. For example, a French bull dog will be happy with a short walk where a Golden Retriever would need a hike in the woods.
  3. Medical Issues: Like humans, dogs have diseases that transfer genetically in the family. If a breed like the German Shepherd was bred incorrectly, they will experience horrible joint pain in their later years. Some may even require expensive special diets and medications for the rest of their life.

  Breed does not determine the dogs’ temperament and personality. In fact, it’s the individual that takes care of the animal that is responsible for their pet’s actions. Dogs have no thumbs and cannot feed themselves so they look to us for love and survival. Like children, dogs need to learn manners and be trained on how to behave out in the real world. Spoiled brats will end up causing trouble and dogs are no different. While a child will get a time out or possibly spend a month at the juvenile center, your big scary breed will end up getting euthanized. Choose the breed that fits your life style and remember that the only difference between a big dog and a small one is the bite.




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