Many breeds of dogs have been selected for over many generations for a specific or series of traits. These traits serve a specific purpose, probably for the breed’s original purpose for example retrieving or herding. A lot of the time these traits have been bred for for so long that they become instinctive or innate to that particular breed. This means that even without training certain types of dog will exhibit certain types of behaviours.
Problems can arise when potential owners don’t research the breed of dog that they are going to be housing.
Take for example the retrievers such as the Labrador. It is suspected that the Labrador Retriever descended from dogs brought over from Fisherman in New Found-land. They were used to help fishermen catch game, and bring in the nets. They are good swimmers and love the water.
When the dogs were brought over from New Found-land they were bred with British hunting dogs therefore further reinforcing the retrieving behaviour. Labradors are a very active, energetic breed, as to be expected from a dog bred to be a hunting companion both in and out of the water. Those that do not receive enough exercise can quickly develop unwanted behaviours such as excessive chewing, tearing up household furniture, mouthiness and hyperactivity. The high energy trait and retrieval instinct that has been bred into them is not something that is going to just disappear.
Again, another example of breed traits can be seen in the Jack Russell. People sometimes assume a smaller dog is going to have a smaller exercise requirement but that is not always the case. Jack Russells love to chase, a characteristic needed when fox hunting, this is an instinctive behaviour that has been bred into them. They were born to hunt and this can cause owners problems. This is because when used for hunting they needed to be independent without the need for constant direction from their owners.
It is so important to research your breed before you decide on one. By doing this you not only have an idea of how your new dog may act but it also will help you decide if the breed is right for you.
By picking a breed without adequate research you’re going to be potentially causing problems for your household.
Getting a dog that has lots of energy such as a Malinois or a Border Collie because you like the look of them is going to be upsetting to you and the dog in the long run if you are not going to be able to give them the exercise and mental stimulation that they need.
Any breed of dog that is mentally and physically stimulated is going to be less likely to exhibit behaviour problems.
Dog breeds that aren’t given an appropriate outlet for their energy may start making their own ways to use their instinctive behaviours; in collies for example you may have a dog that starts trying to round up the children or the lawnmower, and a retriever may start picking up or chewing random household objects.
If you know your dog breeds original purpose you can help provide them with activities to help release that energy; playing fetch with your retriever and tracking scent games with your hound.