What’s your ancestry? Most of us know where are relatives came from, in large part.  I’m of German and Irish descent with maybe a sprinkling of English and who knows what else thrown in.  But what about your dog?  Did you know that all breeds were bred for a specific purpose? This fact has sadly gotten lost as canines have evolved to become our children.

I listened to radio talk show host and columnist Michael Smerconish recently talk about his miniature Dachshund, and he expressed amazement that his sweet little puppydog was a cold-blooded killer of any varmit that crosses its path!  Smerconish shouldn’t be surprised as Dachshunds were bred to hunt and kill badgers and other burrowing creatures. The name “dachshund” means “badger dog” in German!  These little dogs are fearless.  This disposition is instinctual and difficult to extinguish. 

Have you ever met a Lab or Golden retriever who will retrieve tennis balls for hours?  Or how about a Collie, Shepherd or Corgi who circles and nips to herd anything that moves?  Don’t overlook the hounds: Beagles, Bassetts and Bloods to name a few whose noses hit the ground with stubborn determination and bark incessantly.

A dog is not a dog; they are as individual as we are with ancestrial roots just like humans.  When we bring a dog into our lives, we owe it to them to understand their instincts and the needs that accompany them.  It will make for a happier dog and a better relationship. I wrote a a brief overview of breed characteristics on my web site: Breed Group Characteristics.  I also give a link in the article to the American Kennel Club’s web site which lists all AKC breeds with descriptions.