Selecting Ideal Breed and the best pup...

How many purebred breeds are there?
There are more than hundred purebred breeds that are registered with different kennel clubs in different countries. But this often does not include many local breed indigenous to different countries. For example, in India there are local breeds like Rajapalayam, Rampur Grey Hound, Combi, Chippiparai, Mudhole Hound etc.

How does one identify and recognise these breeds ?
There are many ways to do it, like visiting dog shows, recognised breeders, reading books with good photographs, listing breeds' distinct characters. A good 'Kennel Gazzette' will show different breeds and their breeders.

Is there a difference between a pedigreed dog and a registered dog?
The answer is both yes and no. A pedigreed dog will have a certificate listing its sire (father) and dam (mother) and it's four generation ancestors. All purebred will have pedigree. If a dog is to become eligible for registration with any good kennel club, the pup's dam and sire must already be registered. Even if it is not registered with the kennel club it can still be a good pet. In India, there are a few kennel clubs other than the old Kennel Club of India. There is often unhealthy competition between these clubs. This in turn leads to giving registration to pups even when refused by another kennel club. Major problem for an unregistered dog is that it's pup may not fetch the price as much of a registered or pedigreed dog will command. But an unregistered dog can be purchased for a bargain price. The only disadvantage - it may not be considered for breeding purpose by owner of a pedigreed dog. If the money spent on your dog is considered as an 'investment', ensure that you buy only a pedigreed dog. One word of caution is that make sure to see the pedigree certificate in advance as well as ensure that you will get it for sure before the deal is stuck.

What is the best breed to own and which will make an ideal pet?
Every owner who has good dog will vouch that his or her pet (dog breed) is the most ideal to own !  Please note that every breed has its own advantages and disadvantages apart from the individual nature.

Many people consider mongrel are better than the purebreds-- is it true?
Every dog is good if it is properly fed, immunised and trained properly. It is a fact that local breeds thrive better in their home country than many imported breeds. It is no wonder that Indian breeds thrive better in local climate than some of the imported breed. You can not expect the breed St.Bernard to do well in the Indian summer.

What all considerations are to be taken before deciding on the breed?
If the intention is only to have pet and not a dog to do some work like herding or hunting, a small sized breed is OK. This does not mean that a city dweller can never own a big breed. If you have time, convenience and above all willingness to exercise it by taking long walks you can own a large breed. In the case of small pet breed the consideration will be cost, availability, sex and coat. Dogs that shed the coat regularly will not be ideal as an indoor pet.

Small and medium sized dogs will not require that kind of exercise as mentioned earlier. So they are often the choice for city dweller. Cost of feeding is another point to be considered. The money you spent for feed for St. Barnard will be three times that of feeding a beagle. Regarding the choice for sex, many people say, either the male or female is good. If breeding is in mind, female will often be a better choice. Males are usually larger in size than females. We shall discuss the gender difference afterwards.

From practical point, dogs can be classified as - Small, Medium and Large.

Small Breeds: Chihuahua, Spitz, Pomeranian, Pug, Lhasa Apso, Cocker Spaniel, Dachshund, Pekingese, Poodle (toy), French Bulldog, Miniature Pincher and Papillon

Medium Breeds: Labrador, Boxer, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Whippet, Dalmatian, Basset Hound, Saluki and Beagle.

Large Breeds: German Shepherd (Alsatian), Doberman, Rottweiler, Great Dane, Golden Retriever, St Barnard, Bull Mastiff, Blood Hound, Afghan Hound, Collie, Tibetan Mastiff, Grey Hound and Newfoundland.

Apart from the space requirements ranging from an apartment to a farmhouse and expenses, the other points to be considered are:

1. A family with young children should prefer a friendly dog like Labrador or Cocker-spaniel.

2. Senior citizens should prefer small or medium sized dogs which are alert and good watch dogs. Breeds like Dachshund, Spitz, Dalmatians and Boxers.

3. Single owners should prefer dogs that are not only tractable but also that do not bother much if left alone, like Labrador or Cocker Spaniel.

4. Long haired dogs like Lhasa Apso, requires a lot of time for grooming. Also, Poodles will need a professional dresser to trim the coat periodically and properly.

5. As good watch dogs, German Shepherd, Doberman, Dalmatian and Boxers may be preferred.

6. For security of large farm house or isolated bungalows in a tea estate or other plantations, a small dog is kept indoor and a large dog like German Shepherd, Rottweiler and Doberman can be kept out-door in the compound.

What are the fundamental physiological differences between large and small breeds necessitating different types of food formulated?

1. Small breeds reach maturity much early. They mature by eight to twelve months while the large ones will take anything from 12-18 months to reach maturity.

2. The daily gain of body weight varies between the small breeds and the large breeds. A full grown small breed may gain twenty times their weight at birth. But large breed dog will ultimately reach weight a hundred times when they are born.

3. The energy requirement of small breeds also differ from that of large breed.The smaller dogs' requirement is almost double than that of the large breeds.

4. In small breeds, the weight of digestive tract is about seven percent of the body weight while in large breed it is only 2.5 percent. Though large breeds require 'large' quantity of food, they should not be fed a large single meal.

5. The life expectancy of these breed are inversly proportional to their size. That is to say, small breeds live longer while the large ones have a short life-span.

All these factors guide you in using the right food for dogs. Now, there are even breed-specific dog food. Hence, these food should ideally be preferred to the general food.

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