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Seeing Past Cuteness When Selecting the Best Dog Breed For You: Part 3 of 3

Are there so many great dog breeds out there that you just can't decide where to begin? If so, let's break it down and sort through all the options. In Part 3, the final article in this three part series, we'll continue looking at the seven Groups of dogs that are acknowledged by the American Kennel Club. We'll learn what it is that brings various breeds together to form a Group. Learning about each Group will narrow down our search for the best Breed(s) for us.

How to Use this Guide: Highlight each piece of information that is most important to you and compare the number of highlighted traits when you have finished reading about each Group.

Group: Herding

Group Traits: Self-thinkers; anticipatory; fast moving, visually stimulated, high stamina

Likes: Need a job

Dislikes: Harsh reprimands; boredom

Behavior Indoors: Moderate to active

Behavior Outdoors: Active

Physicality: Moderate

Territoriality: High

Relations with Children: Good to very good

Relations with Strangers: Moderate to very good

Relations with Dogs: Moderate

Relations with Other Animals: May chase or herd

Guard dog inclinations: Low to moderate

Vocalizations: Moderate to high

Group: Non-Sporting

Group Traits: wide ranging and varied

Likes: this and that

Dislikes: a few here and there

Behavior Indoors: Inactive to active

Behavior Outdoors: Moderate to active

Physicality: wide ranging

Territoriality: wide ranging

Relations with Children: moderate to good

Relations with Strangers: moderate to good

Relations with Dogs: wide ranging

Relations with Other Animals: wide ranging

Guard dog inclinations: low to moderate

Vocalization: Low to high

You may feel that you know no more now about the Non-Sporting Group than you did before you read this. If so, you are correct. This poorly labeled Group of miscellaneous dog breeds must be researched one breed at a time, until the day that each dog is redistributed into a category that best suits its strongest attributes. If you have the opportunity, do the research, as there are some wonderful breeds in this vague category.

*Note: Use this information as a general guide at best. The most we can hope to offer is a stereotypical overview of what you might be able to expect, or what you may want to look for, in dogs in each Group. Breeds and individual dogs in each Group can vary greatly in traits and personalities.

Now that you have completed your introduction to each Dog Group, use your new found knowledge to read more about some of the individual breeds in the Groups that fit your family criteria the closest. Remember to consider blended (mixed) breeds from your favorite Group, as there are many homeless young and old dogs in shelters that could fill all of your wildest puppy dreams!

To ad-lib, remember to make the journey as much fun as the destination--it is well worth the leg work!

The author has worked with dogs and dog people for two decades, advocating for smart selections before a new dog is brought into a home and always stressing responsible selection and ownership for the good of the dog, the family and the community. She also makes dog and cat art available to the companion animal industry and to animal lovers at http://www.GreatandSmallGallery.com.

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