Behavior tendencies of different dog breeds

Remember that dogs are individuals; these are only general guidelines of behavior tendencies

Submitted by: Your Dog’s Friend, a non-profit that supports and educates dog owners

whippetSighthounds: Irish Wolfhound, Greyhound, Whippet…

  • Bred to hunt by seeing, following, and chasing prey for as long as they could see it, without direct instruction from people
  • Can be challenging to train because of their independence
  • Not reliable off-leash (If it moves, they’ll chase it. If in hot pursuit, few will listen.)
  • Usually good with other dogs, but cats may bring out high prey drive
  • Need to run very fast in short bursts a few times a week; otherwise, content to lie around the house
  • Seek a soft sleeping spot (furniture) because they have low body fat and are short coated

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Scent hounds (small and medium): Beagle, Dachshund, Foxhound…

  • Bred to track, follow and find prey in groups while telling each other and everyone else exactly where they are
  • Vocal
  • Medium energy level
  • Easily distracted by smells on the ground
  • Usually get along well with other dogs (unless food is involved)
  • Get along well with people, although pleasing them is not a priority
  • Live to eat; can be difficult to house train (beagle, basset, bloodhound)

bluetick-coonhound

Scent hounds (large): Basset Hound, Coonhound, Bloodhound…

  • Bred to track, follow and find prey singly or in pairs far ahead of their people, then alert their people
  • Low-energy, mellow
  • Will follow nose anywhere
  • Independent
  • Gentle and accepting of people

labrador

Sporting breeds: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Flat-coated Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, some less known spaniels and setters…

  • Bred to flush and retrieve birds under direction from their people
  • Friendly; normally tolerant of children’s behavior (although Chesapeake may be a one-person protective dog, as well as territorial and aggressive toward other dogs)
  • Enthusiastic and physical (mouthing, jumping, pulling, chewing)
    ● Willing to take direction from their people
    ● Though they may be quite active when young, they usually settle down as they mature (generally can’t handle unsupervised freedom in the house until after 2 yrs. old)
  • Need early training to help them find acceptable objects to carry around
  • Need a job to keep them busy (happy retrieving)

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Extremely enthusiastic sporting: Brittany, American Cocker Spaniel, English Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Dalmation, German Shorthaired and Wire-haired Pointers, English  Pointer, Irish Setter, Standard Poodle, Vizsla, Weimaraner, Curly-coated Retriever…

  • Bred to flush, point, retrieve under the direction of their people; each bred to work in a specific environment
  • Much higher energy levels (adolescents in shelters because “too much to handle”)
  • Need a job to keep them mentally and physically stimulated if the owner wants to avoid behavior issues, like escaping, destruction, barking
  • Pointers are strong, active, physical and directed, requiring early training and lots of activity
  • Irish Setters need several long runs daily and, even then, don’t look for long periods of calm
  • Good spaniels take well to training, but we are seeing increased aggression because of in-breeding

wysong

Terriers: Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Fox Terrier, Parsons Russell Terrier, Rat Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, Norwich Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Welsh Terrier, Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Wheaten Terrier…

  • Bred to find, follow, dig out and kill vermin without instructions from people; barked to help their people find them inside the hole they dug to get to what they were pursuing.
  • Feisty, high-energy, fearless
  • Quick to learn, but have little time to sit and stay
  • Hard to interrupt an excited terrier
  • Not always good with other pets
  • Prone to digging
  • BARK
  • High prey drive; difficult to trust off-lead
  • NOT lap dogs
  • Need a job that is mentally and physically stimulating to avoid behavior problems

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Herding dogs: Australian Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Collie, Shetland Sheepdog, Corgi…

  • Bred to manipulate stock as a partner with a person
  • Easy to train; very intelligent
  • Need lots of mental and physical stimulation to be happy (otherwise, expect pacing, spinning and circling)
  • May nip at heels of running children; chase anything that moves
  • May be particularly sensitive to noises
  • Some, like the sheltie or bearded collie, will bark when excited or frustrated

Akita_inu.jpeg

Asian dogs: Akita, Chinese Sharpei, Chow-Chow, Shiba Inu, Jindo, Basenji (not Asian, but shares physical and character traits)…

  • Confident and assertive
  • Not social with people (may be affectionate with their immediate family)
  • Not high-energy (except for basenji)
  • Need experienced owners willing to put a lot of effort into training

boxer-squareProtection dogs: Mastiff, Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Belgian Malinois, Giant Schnauzer, Boxer…

  • Bred to guard and protect; work closely with humans, but must also be willing to challenge humans. Bred to respond to threats with violence.
  • Confident and pushy (especially with their bodies)
  • People-focused (these dogs will give you their soul if they respect you.)
  • Lower-energy (except for those that also herd)
  • Often bark a lot when behind a fence; trying to keep everything away from their turf
  • Because the dogs are willing to challenge humans, they need an owner who will be a firm and consistent leader, willing to set rules and enforce them and willing to do positive obedience training. Not for the casual owner
  • Females in these breeds are sometimes less assertive than the males.

pitbullsmiles

Bully breeds: Bulldog, English Bulldog, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull, Staffordshire Bull Terrier…

  • Bred to fight other animals, but the English bulldog and bull terrier don’t fit as neatly in this category because their fighting origins are further in the past.
  • Tend to become highly aroused
  • May not get along well with other pets; dogs with strong jaws should not be left unattended with another pet
  • Assertive; tend to have their own agenda
  • Need experienced owners willing to obedience train them
  • Pit bulls need to be around people; can by affectionate, playful companions if properly raised and supervised

Ally

Northern breeds (spitzes): Norwegian Elkhound, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, American Eskimo, Samoyed, Keeshond…

  • Bred for various jobs (guarding, hunting, pulling, herding)
  • Independent-minded
  • Medium energy level (except for the husky, which has high energy levels and a tendency to roam)
  • May dig to stay cool
  • May not be good with smaller dogs, but generally okay with other dogs
  • Affectionate with their own people, but aloof with strangers
  • Thick coats that shed a great deal
  • Howlers/talkers
  • May be good for joggers and hikers

bernese

Flock/mountain dogs: Bernese Mountain dog, Great Pyrenees, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland…

  • Lower energy requirements
  • Gentle, friendly and easy going
  • Lots of coat and a tendency to drool

chihuahua-square

Lap dogs: bichon frise, cavalier King Charles spaniel, chihuahua, miniature dachshund, french bulldog, Italian greyhound, Japanese chin, lhasa apso, maltese, Manchester terrier, miniature pinscher, papillon, pekingese, pomeranian, miniature and toy poodle, pug, shih tzu, silky terrier, Tibetan spaniel, Yorkshire terrier…

  • Primary purpose now as human companion
  • Tend to be demanding
  • Health and behavior problems from being over-bred
  • Often trembly, fearful and snappy
  • Live much longer than the large breeds
  • Some have frequent grooming requirements
  • With a few exceptions, like the pug, many are too fragile for small children and some will be defensively nippy.
  • Humans tend to spoil them, leading to bad behavior
  • Can also be difficult to house train because of the relative size of confined areas

 

This page last updated 4-15-15