I have to admit, I have a thing for rare breed dogs. I think there is just something amazing about their look and uniqueness that I love. At the 2012 UKC Premier that is held every year in Kalamazoo there was no shortage of rare breed dogs. I almost ended up with a rare herding breed from France called a Berger Picard. I think they are the most adorable dogs ever! However, after meeting the breed at the UKC show I realized that this wasn’t a breed I could bring into my busy home with small children. Someday I really want one but now is not the time.
After seeing the Pondegos, I wanted one of those. I sent my husband a text and told him it was going to be our next breed. I watched as they showed and snapped pic after pic after pic and sent to my husband. I was sold! After researching the breed and talking with breeders I came quickly to the realization that this also wasn’t a breed for me. Pondegos are considered a “primitive hunting” dog. They are used in Mexico on hunts and despite being a “domesticated” dog are still quite “wild” for a domesticated dog. They require someone who knows dogs and you truly have to be pack alpha with them. Again, not a great breed for a family with young children.
There are plenty of dogs that look “cute” or like a dog you’d want to own, but you need to be extremely careful about what the breed is actually like. What were they bred for? What is their general temperament? Will they fit your lifestyle? Are there any special needs you should be aware of?
As with any dog, not just a rare breed, make sure you do your homework make sure you talk to multiple breeders. I cannot emphasis this enough. Do not talk to just one breeder. Many tend to be partial to their breed. The more responsible ones will be extremely straight forward with you and tell you the good and the bad traits of the breed. And do not let a breeder ever tell you that their particular breed doesn’t have a bad trait. If a breeder says that to you, run, don’t walk from that breeder.
Case in point. We have a Golden Retriever. Now, I love the breed (which goes against my whole rare breed thing I have going) and I think they are fantastic dogs, especially for families. My youngest daughter Braewyn will crawl all over him, she can sit on him, pull his fur and pretty much use him as a jungle gym if she wanted. He’s a mellow, perfect dog for my family and kids. However, Golden Retrievers are a needy breed. They want to be touched. They want to be in your face. They need you to pat attention to them. They are high energy and need a yard to run and plenty of exercise. They are smart! Oh, and let’s not forget the hair. Dog hair everywhere. If you get a Golden, don’t ever expect to eat something that hasn’t been seasoned in their hair. They really are a great breed, but they aren’t perfect and they aren’t for everyone.
Now, back to my rare breed love. I realized that when falling in love with a dog based on their looks and written description, you really need to dig so much deeper into the breed. The Berger Picard for example is (to me anyways) an awesome looking dog. They are absolutely adorable. However, when I met one for the first time it could care less about me. He didn’t want me to pet him and actively ignored me. Huh…I thought that maybe it was just that one dog. I then met about 6 of them, all hanging out together. There was even puppies! Surely puppies will want love and attention. Nope. Ignored. Someone’s dog even growled at me as I approached her after permission to do so. When I started talking to Berger owners they all absolutely loved their dogs. As I talked with them though they all gave hints to what they were really like. They were protective. They were aloof. They were single owner dogs. Not something I wanted in a family dog.
I got lucky. I was smart enough to research the breed. I still want a Berger Picard someday. Now is just not the time.
So remember to do your research and not just Internet research or one phone call to a breeder. Deciding on a breed needs to be an informed choice.
Now, I know many of you might be saying, “Don’t buy from a breeder. Breeders are bad. Rescue.” And while I agree, we have many many dogs that need a home I also don’t feel that a rescue dog is the right choice for everyone, nor do I feel that purebreed dogs should get the constant negative wrap they do. But that, dear readers is for another time…