Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why Do We Choose The Breeds We Do?

According to psychological studies, there seems to be a close correlation between our personality and the breed of dog we are most likely to choose.

There also seems to be some evidence that links high risk breeds, such as Akitas, Dobermans, Pit Bulls or Rottweilers to high risk owners.

I am not debating the results of the studies. My question is whether these breeds truly are inherently high risk, or whether it is a result of negative social exposure and poor breeding practices?

The breeder we got our last Rottweiler puppy from wanted to know what kind of people we were, and mentioned that she had a number of people asking for the biggest and meanest dog she had. What destiny would those puppies be headed for if she sold them to those people? And could the dogs have been blamed for what they might have become?

Rottweilers are one of the breeds with a bad reputation and we would have never considered getting one, if it wasn't for Roxy.

It was a dreary day about 20 years ago. My husband, who was a truck driver at the time, pulled into a gas station in Emlenton, Pennsylvania. A guy approached him, trying to sell a Rottweiler puppy for gas money. With a rope tied around her neck, filthy, skin and bones, with milky eyes, she wouldn't even lift her head.

My husband spent most of his life in the truck and was not planning on getting a dog. But she looked so pitiful, he couldn't leave her to her destiny.

“Listen,” he said,
“I don't have the money you're asking. I have fifty dollars. Take the money and give me the dog.”
He grabbed the dog and wasn't going to argue about it.

She was about 4 moths old, severely under-nourished and full of parasites. The plan was to give her some immediate care and find a good home for her.

But by the time he got her back on her feet, they bonded so closely, that he decided to keep her after all. He named her Roxy, because she liked fetching rocks. And that was his first Rottweiler. She traveled with him everywhere he went.

When I met my husband, Roxy was 5 years old, and they were best friends. 

Before we started seriously dating, I had to undergo the 'dog approval test'. He told me he wanted me to meet his dog. But as I found out later, what he really wanted was her opinion of me.

I passed, and we have been married for 13 years now.

After we shared our lives with Roxy, we fell in love with the breed. 

She was a gentle, loyal and loving dog. We had Rottweilers ever since, and can't say enough good things about them.

They are great with kids. They are active and playful on their walks and calm and relaxed at home.They are great with other animals. Horses love them. And Jasmine has enough charm to prevent a skunk from spraying her--three times--in spite of her attempts to get him to play with her.

Would Rottweiler be our breed of choice if it wasn't for Roxy? 

Most likely not. But because of Roxy we learned that all these gentle giants really want is a loving family.

If you choose your breeder carefully and treat them well, there is no breed as gentle and loyal as a Rottweiler.


Related articles:

Don't Go Look At Puppies, Unless You Want To Have A Dog
Outsmarting a Smart Dog
The Many Reasons Why I Love Our Dogs: Loyalty


  1. Although I am a Golden person through and through. I fell in love with Rotties when I 1st read one of the 'Carl' books when my kids were small. I'm a groomer and do several Rotties. Sweet, lovable, mooshie dogs. So are the Pits I know. I always tell people judge the deed, not the breed. "Bad" dogs are always the owners fault.

  2. Hi! Thank you for reading.

    I totally agree. Owner's or breeder's fault. Shouldn't forget responsible breeding practices either. Studies have been done showing that genetic make-up has a lot to do not only with specific predispositions, such as hunting and herding, but also with personality traits.

    One can see it best when a specific breed becomes popular. Everybody starts breeding them and everything goes down the hill from there.

  3. Awhe. I would have never guessed that you weren't the one with the dog to start with, and that your hubby had to pass the dog-approval test!

    Wow. Sounds like it should be a book/movie! It would make for an adorable love story. =]

    13 years?! I wouldn't have put your age over 25-26 to be honest. o_o *feels like a baby* ;_;


    Anyway, wonderful blog post. I adore it. =]

  4. LOL I just arrived to the country ... among other things. Well, at least I passed ... ;-)

    Thank you for the age compliment, but clearly I am over 25-26 LOL *feels like an old bag* LOL

  5. What a sweet story...! I love ALL dog breeds, & have had my share of different types over the years, but I gravitate towards the tiny breeds, now. It's funny about passing the "Dog Approval Test"! Being single, I've got that up there on the top of my list of qualities that MUST be met for potential serious relationships! It's right up there with religious beliefs in my book. Taz, my Pomeranian, is a member of my family...just like my son. :)

    Great website & blog...really looking forward to reading more, Jana!

  6. Hi Donna! Thank you for reading and commenting! :-)

    Dog approval test makes perfect sense. There aren't many people are dogs really don't like, but there is a good reason for that. Gotta trust them, they know better than we do :-)

    Jasmine is like my daughter too.
    Woofs to Taz! :-)

  7. This is a beautiful story and illustrates a truth that dog people already know: when we rescue dogs, they rescue us. I know my sweet Cattle Dog Mia certainly did.

    Your description of your Rotties reminded me of one I knew in high school. She would purr when petted. :0)

    1. Thank you, Susanity. Give Mia a hug. (unless she doesn't like hugs)

      That's very cool that the Rottie would purr; Jasmine sometimes made a sound that could be described as purr too.