Here at the dog snobs, we aren’t just snobby about people. We do a whole lot of breed-wide judging. Not to be accused of kennel blindness or anything akin to it, we’ve decided to compile a list of pro and cons about our chosen breeds.
Chosen Breed(s): Pitbulls (yes, I realize that it is not technically a breed, but go with me….), pit mixes, bully types. For the sake of this blog I will be referring to “pitties” as a general type of dog that could include several breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, mixes of these breeds, etc).
Why I chose this breed: I admit that I entered the “pittie” world rather haphazardly after falling in love with Mr. T’s little puppy face at an adoption event. His personality shined at the adoption event–he was outgoing, brave, wiggly, and very people-focused, all things that I would eventually learn were hallmark traits of pitties. It wasn’t until getting him and doing extensive research (yes, I know, in a perfect world research should be done before getting a dog) that I realized I had inadvertently found the kind of dog that suits me rather well. Volunteering at the shelter and interacting with dozens of pitties has only reaffirmed that these are the dogs for me.
1) Across the board, the pitties I have met are incredibly happy, affectionate, cuddly, and eager to please. These dogs were born to love and they go about it with an incredible level of devotion and joy. These are dogs that want nothing more than to be with you (or in Mr. T’s case, on top of you) and find being with their people more rewarding than just about anything else. Although it can border on clingy (I call Mr. T a velcro dog), pitties will worship the ground you walk on and will let you know how much they love you at any given moment. There’s no guessing what these dogs are thinking–it’s written all over their wiggle butts and huge pittie grins.
2) Pitties are the consummate clown of the dog world. They approach life with such sheer joy that it’s almost impossible to not be happier when in the company of one. They are complete attention whores and love to soak up attention. It never fails that each pittie I meet has their own quirk that makes me laugh hysterically. These are dogs that are full of personality and know how to turn on the charm. Mr. T has become a celebrity amongst my friends and neighbors in part due to his silly antics and clownish approach towards life.
3) Enthusiasm is a pittie’s middle name. Most will chase Frisbees, fetch sticks, run after balls, tussle with their family members, and, generally play until they drop. These dogs are FUN. They are truly young-at-heart and never outgrow their fun-loving spirit. They are active dogs that will take on any challenge you give them and do so with a smile. I refer to Mr. T as my ‘adventure’ dog because he literally will try anything, and does so with reckless abandon.
1) If potential dog aggression/reactivity is a deal-breaker for you, then this is not your breed. That is not to say that all pittie/bully types will display this behavior, but you do have to acknowledge the possibility of it developing and take steps to prevent it from becoming an issue. Mr. T is actually rather dog social (getting more selective as he gets older), but I am always watching his body language and behavior in order to ensure that I am not missing any signs of discomfort/aggression. I don’t personally consider it a con, but owning one means you have to go above and beyond in terms of socialization, and many people do not want this extra work or responsibility.
2) The biggest downside to owning a pittie is quite frankly the stigma attached to them. You have to have (or develop, as I did) a thick skin when you owned a much-maligned breed. I was honestly not prepared when I first got Mr. T for the nasty comments, people avoiding us on the streets, and general reactions of people when they found out that I owned a pittie Because of the stigma associated with them, it is imperative that pittie owners and their dogs be ambassadors, which often means that our dogs have to be “better” than others just to not be seen as monsters. It’s a lot of responsibility and it’s understandable that a lot of people aren’t prepared for, or don’t want to deal with the issues that come along with owning a pittie.
Chosen Breed(s): While I plan to own many breeds in my lifetime, the breed I currently have is Standard Poodles.
Why I chose this breed: When I got my first standard, L, I had been in the company of border collies and a border collie/ australian cattle dog mix for way too long. L was given to me by a teacher that knew I worked for a groomer at the time. I was going to use L as a competition grooming dog and maybe dabble in a little agility with her. Now, I have two standards and can’t see myself going back to border collies.
1) Poodles have personality plus. They’re hilarious and really enjoy making you laugh. They are absolute attention hogs and their hijinks makes sure the attention stays on them. Both of mine have their little tricks and acts that make me laugh everyday. A poodle is a constantly happy dog, nothing can dampen that spirit.
2) If cleanliness is next to godliness, I’ll anxiously await my dog’s sainthood. They are tidy, no smell, no shedding. I hear people talk about having hair all over their clothes and I’m not completely unfamiliar with the concept thanks to my cattle dog mix. However, I’ve been shedding free lately thanks to the poodle. I’m pretty sure I shed more than they do.
3) Intelligence is a huge pro on the poodle. They are quite often proclaimed as the second smartest breed and I believe it. They pick up behaviours quick and really thrive off of pleasing their people.
1) All that hair. I mentioned above that poodles don’t shed? Yeah… the hair keeps growing. Forever. That means you either have to have the cash to get it cut, the inclination to do it yourself, or the patience to deal with cording. Even with cording, some parts of the dogs still have to be cut. Hair even grows out of poodles ears, and has to be plucked to keep the ear canal healthy.
2) They can be downright naughty. They get bored, just like any other dog, and have no issue destroying things. They will demand your attention, good or bad. They aren’t a traditional working breed, but they do have to be kept entertained.
Chosen Breed(s): I have four dogs in four different breeds but only two were deliberate acquisitions, so we’ll focus on my girly who’s an Australian Cattle Dog.
Why I chose this breed: I got my two bigger dogs for performance events. I deliberately chose driven, high energy dogs to be competitive in obedience, agility and whatever else happened to come my way. I grew up with Shelties (too much hair for me, thanks) had my Golden Retriever until late teenage years and then remained dogless through university mostly by circumstances. The cattle dog had been on my radar since high school and I toyed with the idea of one for a long time before emailing a rescue about a particular dog. They suit me perfectly and my house will never be without one.
1) Cattle dogs are pretty. They are truly a gorgeous dog albeit utilitarian. No two look exactly alike and their ticking and masks and Bentley marks (The white spot you’ll frequently see on the top of their heads) make a striking contrast. I do prefer the lighter boned dogs but the heavier conformation squareness has its own appeal.
2) Cattle dogs are owner oriented. These dogs love their people. They may not all show it the same way but they bond tightly to their humans and many times seem like mind-readers. They want to be with you and more importantly working with you. They are extremely sensitive to their handler’s emotions and are adept at reading a situation. Owner is probably not-accurate since these dogs are the ultimate team players, and would probably take offense at their opinions not being held in the same regard as another contributing member of a household.
3) Cattle dogs are incredibly intelligent. If your cattle dog doesn’t pick up something in short order, you’re doing something wrong and you need to try something else. Things are never boring with a cattle dog thinking through a problem.
1) Cattle dogs are incredibly intelligent. Theirs is an immensely trying version of intelligence however. It’s a practical and sneaky intelligence that can get them into immense trouble very easily. Leave a car window open? Your ACD has gotten in through the window and eaten all the groceries. Shut them in their crate in the bathroom? You’re coming home to a new dog tunnel through the drywall.
2) Cattle dogs are independent. As a dog who was originally bred for dangerous work, a cattle dog required a fair amount of independent thought. They’d need to problem solve on their feet in order to avoid trampling and as such have a decided streak of ‘I’ve got a better idea’ in most of their thought processes. A simple run through the agility course becomes “But it’s faster to the tunnel if I take these jumps” and an Open obedience run becomes “Let’s skip the middle-man, I’ll take the dumbbell to the judge for you!”. If you lack the sense of humor and willingness to ‘Just roll with it’ a cattle dog will never be for you.
3) Cattle dogs are the fun police. If it’s not explicitly written in the cattle dog handbook of ‘Things that are allowed to happen according to my Mama and Me too’, it will not be cool with a cattle dog. Aside from their general propensity towards dog aggression (Most cattle dogs are not dog-park friendly) cattle dogs are nitpickers. They don’t like it when things aren’t ordered, scheduled, stamped, and signed-off on in triplicate (You can keep the green form). They tend to approach life very seriously and that makes it difficult if you want to have a dog who just loves everybody… That’s not the norm for them and expecting it will leave you disappointed.
4) They will bite the crap out of you… That’s sorta important.