Have you ever wondered, “How will I choose my dog?” While thinking about adopting or purchasing a dog, you’ll want to consider the environment in which your dog will live. Certain breeds thrive in specific types of environments, so it’s imperative that your current environment is conducive to the needs of your dog. Let’s talk about the most common environments and why choosing the right dog is important for each setting.
Guardian dogs bred to watch over animal herds (like livestock for example) are much happier and healthier when they can run throughout many acres of land. The sheer size and strength of some of these breeds require that their dogs have ample room to not only grow and exercise but also to defend themselves from wild animals and travel along natural (albeit rough) landscapes without getting hurt.
They’re also very territorial, which makes crowded city living problematic. Consider, for example, the fact that guardian dogs are naturally inclined to protect — even when protection isn’t always necessary. As you can imagine, such behavior can initiate some rather uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) situations when a dog misinterprets a friendly neighbor’s motivations.
A word a caution if you plan on bringing a dog into a rural environment: Make sure your property is adequately fenced off. In some states, property owners may legally shoot any animal that harasses its livestock and that unfortunately includes guardian dogs.
If there’s anyone environment that’s well suited for almost any dog – this one is it. Suburbs provide yards that are large enough to run around in without dog owners having to worry about their pets running off or facing ungodly amounts of traffic (or dangerous creatures like wolves or wild cats).
The suburb environment is also complementary to dogs that have high grooming needs. Can you imagine a standard poodle with a saddle cut freely trotting about a farm? Neither can we! In nature, a dog’s coat will attract everything that’s undesirable: plant debris, small rocks, dirt, and insects. And yes — these things exist in the suburbs as well, but they’re somewhat controllable in the suburbs. Regular lawn care removes debris and rocks, and with the right kind of repellent, it will prevent insects from infiltrating a dog’s fur, ears, and skin.
Highly groomed dogs also fare well in the urban environment. But this environment is really best suited for companion dogs since the majority of them (1) are little enough to comfortably live in small homes or apartments, (2) have low activity levels, thus eliminating the need for a large yard, and (3) produce less waste due an appetite that’s much smaller than their larger suburb-living or rural-living counterparts.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all this is that there’s a dog in almost every single dog group that is suited for your environment. Choosing the right dog in this regard is then somewhat effortless. The Shih Tzu, a companion dog, would be just as happy in a small urban apartment as it would be in a 1/2 acre backyard. Another companion dog, the Dalmatian, would fare well in either a suburban setting or on a large ranch. Even some of the larger gun dogs would thrive living on mansion property. Still wondering, “How will I choose my dog?” Just remember — the key to making a successful environment-to-dog match is to consider the size and activity level of each breed first.