Choosing the "Perfect Puppy"
If you are unsure which breed of dog is right for you, read this before making that
decision. Each breed was created for a purpose which shapes the breed's
temperament, characteristics, drives, trainability and adaptability. Just as size and
appearance are shaped by purpose, so are temperament and behavior tendencies.
Each group (Sporting, Herding, Toy, Terrier etc.) tends to have certain characteristics,
just as each breed does. Sporting breeds and Terriers for example, tend to be lively
and active due to that being useful for them to perform the work they were bred for.
The Informed Choice
Ideally, you should start your selection process with a suitable Group. It should be
noted that some breeds sound like they belong to a certain group but do not. For
example, the Boston "Terrier" is in the Non-Sporting Group, not the Terrier Group.
After deciding on the Group, then narrow down to which breed, then select the
breeder, or the parents that you want a puppy from, and finally, choose the individual
puppy. That's choosing by "the book". If you already bought a pup from a pet store or
because you saw a cute one in an ad, you have plenty of company, most pups are
bought on impulse. The family learns the pup's nature and breed characteristics
afterwards, sometime with regrets. Breed popularity is greatly influenced by movies
and TV shows. An appealing looking dog in a movie acts smart or cute, or a favorite
movie star has one, so people start wanting that breed. What you see and love on
screen is not what you get when you live with that breed! The dog in the movie has
been skillfully trained, even the appearance is sometimes altered. People are more
likely to give up a dog if the breed choice was solely on the basis of appearances.
Boston Terrier Advantages
Certain breeds were created basically for companionship only, so they are extremely
well suited for that purpose. Bostons have been bred just as wonderful pets for over
100 years. But..there is no perfect or "best" breed! Each person has different needs
and preferences and, like people, dogs within each breed are unique individuals too.
For many people, Bostons are among the best possible choices, and will bring great
joy and satisfaction. They are tremendously people-loving dogs, affectionate, tolerant,
forgiving, extremely playful, active and full of fun. This makes them very well suited for
families with children.
Bostons are good watch dogs, but not guard dogs. They are more likely to bark than
to ever bite. Although they do shed, it is minimal. Bostons are eager to please, alert
and very playful; training a Boston is fun! They are very food motivated so using treats
as an intermittent reward to reinforce desired behavior is very effective. Keeping a can
of cheez whiz nearby and treats in your pocket, comes in handy!
Boston Terrier Traits to be Aware of
Every breed has its weaknesses. Temperament problems that you might run into differ
from breed-to-breed. Although not a terrier, Bostons do have terrier in their
background. Consequently, some Bostons can be quarrelsome with other dogs,
especially over food. It's best to feed dogs separately anyway. More than one of the
same sex sometimes won't get along, especially males. That is true in many breeds.
Their heritage also predisposes them to chewing things; they can be somewhat
destructive if not given something to chew on. Keep toys and chewies in good supply,
and teach early what to chew on and what is forbidden. With the Bulldog influence they
can be a bit single-minded and determined sometimes. Bostons are a moderately
Choosing a Puppy~
There is so much that goes into making a good choice for your personality and
lifestyle. This is just a few highlights. If you are getting a pup shipped, you obviously
rely totally on the seller to give a picture of the pup's nature. Ask the right questions.
Without being asked, chances are the seller will not volunteer much about the
personality aside from being a "friendly, happy puppy". What are parents
temperaments? Has the breeder observed the pup's interaction with littermates?
Does the pup monopolize the food bowl and not let the other pups eat? Demanding to
get attention? Is the pup in the middle of lots of puppy squabbles? Or, is it the last to
eat, rolls on its back all the time? Are ears always folded back, comes hesitantly when
called? Has the pup ever snapped or bitten, (even if "provoked" this is important to
These questions help determine dominance or submission, passivity and aggression.
A very dominant puppy is a taxing handful for those without much training experience.
It will try to take control and as an adult, may become aggressive over food and
territory A very submissive pup will require encouragement, patience and may even
be a "pee dribbler", especially if friendly (it's part of doggy etiquette for the lowliest
members to pee when greeting their leaders!). For most families, middle-of-the road is
best. More submissive pups tend to accept leadership naturally and easily. High
energy pups usually attract people the most, they're fun and make you laugh. They
run and play with abandon. Submissive pups may be hesitant to move, appearing less
happy sometimes than their dominant littermates. Very submissive pups may cower
and appear to have been "abused" to those who don't understand doggy behavior
thoroughly. These different types each fit well with some people and not others. The
active, bold, dominant pup is suited for an active life with an experienced trainer, and
is inappropriate for children. A submissive pup is good for quiet, less active homes.
This type is good for a person with little training success or experience. Also the best
choice for someone who has never had a puppy.
If you want a lap dog, find out if the pup likes to be held, will be still in your arms and
lap, or does it wriggle to get down, run around, investigate and play..the latter will be
more independent and not be likely to be a lap dog as an adult either.
If noise is an issue in your life, ask the seller if pup barks/cries much compared to
others. Such pups usually become noisy adults. Most puppies tend to be a bit noisy,
especially when left alone. For puppy housetraining and ways to reduce stress for
both puppy (and therefore, person too!) when left alone,
WHY SO MANY DOG BREEDS?
About 60 million years ago a small weasel-like animal lived in many parts of Asia. This ancestor of all modern day canids
(dogs, jackals, wolves and foxes) was called Miacis. Cynodictis, the first true dog-like canids are thought to have
descended from Miacis about 30 million years ago. This line eventually split into two branches, one in Africa and the other
in Eurasia. The Eurasian branch was called Tomarctus and was, until recently, thought to be the progenitor of wolves,
dogs, and foxes. However, new research has called this theory into question with a recent paper indicating now that the
wolf is the domestic dog’s only direct ancestor and that a recently shared ancestry with the fox and jackal is unlikely. [i]
This somewhat controversial paper also asserts that the first domestication of wolves may have taken place as long as
100,000 years ago. The actual time that such domestication occurred, of course, cannot be settled based solely on
mtDNA analysis. Indeed, the new data does not clearly support that the dog is descended from the wolf. Neither do the
fossil remains. A case can still be made that they coevolved from a common ancestor.
[i] Vila, Charles et al “Multiple and Ancient Origins of the Domestic Dog,” Science, Vol. 276, No. 5319, June 13, 1997, p.