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Selecting the perfect dog for you and your family can be challenging. For example, we adopted a Pug mix two years ago from the pound. He is an adorable, friendly guy, with a mellow disposition, and he is a wonderful companion. Before we got him, however, we had a purebred Maltese that we could not stand. The Maltese was high maintenance, a real yelper, and always needed attention. He also nipped at the kids. We finally had to give him away. Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you not to get a Maltese. Maltese are beautiful dogs that can be fine companions. I personally know many people who are very happy with their Maltese. The particular Maltese we got, however, just was not right for our family. We initially bought him at a pet store because he was cute and my daughter really wanted a big white fur ball as a pet. But he turned out to be a snooty, demanding dog that refused to obey commands and barked incessantly when left alone. That did not go well in my home. It goes without saying that you should not acquire a dog just because it is cute or matches the color of your purse. Compatibility with your personality and lifestyle is very important. Some breeds may be more intelligent than others - an attribute you will definitely come to appreciate if you intend to train your dog. In addition, if a member of your family has allergies to dogs, consider getting a breed that does not shed, or get a different type of pet altogether. Also consider the background of the dog and the reputation of the breeder to ensure you are getting a mentally and physically healthy dog. Before adopting a dog, remember that it requires a commitment that should not be taken lightly. Here are some general characteristics of certain popular breeds: Beagle Beagles are friendly little critters who love to exercise and play. They enjoy companionship and will demand it from you. Many beagles are independent thinkers who are inclined to be stubborn. As a result, they may be difficult to house train. Beagles that are left outside may howl, dig holes, and find ways to escape from the yard. The Beagle is a shedder. Bishon Frise This small, white powder puff dog is friendly, enjoys playing games, and gets along with everyone, including other pets. The Bishon Frise has a curly coat that does not shed, and is one of the best breeds for those with allergies. They are good watchdogs, but are not aggressive. They can, however, be difficult to house train. They tend to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone, and could engage in excessive barking or chewing.


Bulldog (English) The English Bulldog is generally mild-mannered, sweet and friendly. Bulldogs rarely bark; instead, they are inclined to drool, snort, wheeze and snore loudly. They can be very stubborn when they set their mind on something. Their short coats are easy to care for. They don't need much of exercise, preferring to spend much of their day lounging. Many English Bulldogs suffer from heart and respiratory problems, and cannot run without struggling to breathe. They are also prone to becoming overheated. Chihuahua Chihuahuas are loyal little dogs with personalities that can vary quite a bit from dog to dog. They socialize well with other dogs, but seem to prefer to be with their own breed. They like warm places, so you might find them digging themselves under blankets. They are alert watchdogs, but may be too quick to bark. Some may exhibit high-strung and spoiled temperaments. Chihuahuas tend to be long-lived. Chow Chow Chow Chows are adorable dogs with bear-like faces. Chow Chows are good watch dogs and are generally quiet. However, they are strong willed, and may be difficult to train. They also can be territorial and aggressive (particularly with other animals of the same sex), and some insurance companies may increase your homeowner's insurance rate if you have this dog. They are prone to heavy shedding, and require brushing and combing. Cocker Spaniel (American) The Cocker Spaniel is a loving and gentle dog with a sweet disposition. Cocker Spaniels respond well to praise and are easy to train. They only need moderate exercise, and are friendly and peaceful with people and other pets. Some, however, suffer from anxiety when left alone, and may bark excessively or engage in destructive chewing. They shed a lot, and will require frequent brushing. They also suffer from numerous health issues, including hip and eye problems. German Shepherd German Shepherds are courageous, confident, and fearless. They are loyal and dedicated to their owners. German Shepherds are working dogs that need both mental and physical stimulation, including plenty of exercise. If they do not receive enough stimulation, they may turn to destruction when bored. They are highly intelligent and are easy to train. They are heavy shedders. Take care to search for a German Shepherd with a stable temperament, as some can be skittish, paranoid or aggressive. Note that some insurance companies may reject coverage or increase homeowners' insurance rates if you have this breed. Golden Retriever The Golden Retriever is a great family dog that is friendly with everyone, including other pets and strangers. They are cheerful, sweet, and gentle. They are eager to please and respond well to training. They do, however, require a good bit of exercise, and may be overly playful or


rambunctious when young. They are heavy shedders. Labrador Retriever Labradors make wonderful family dogs, as they get along well with everyone, including children. They are cheerful, sweet, and gentle. They are easy to train, but are a bit more independent than Golden Retrievers. They require a good amount of exercise, and may chew on objects. They have a short coat that is easy to take care of. However, they shed. Maltese The Maltese is a beautiful, energetic dog who wants to be your constant companion. Maltese are generally playful and bright, but can also be needy and stubborn. They are prone to separation anxiety, and could resort to destructiveness and barking when left alone. They shed very little and are a good choice for allergy sufferers. They may be difficult to housebreak. They are pack animals looking for someone to set the rules, and must be taught their place in the home. They may also be intolerant of small children or other dogs, and can resort to barking or even biting others. Pekingese The Pekingese is dignified, confident, and independent. However, they may be very strong-willed and difficult to house train. They are calm and quiet indoors, and do not need much exercise. They are also peaceful with other animals and strangers. They are loyal to their owners. They are prone to extreme shedding. Poodle (Standard) Poodles tend to be extremely bright, pay attention to their owners, and learn quickly. As such, they are generally easy to train. Most poodles are good watch dogs and are not aggressive. They need a lot of daily companionship and could exhibit separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. Some of these dogs could also be a bit neurotic and sensitive to stress. The poodle's coat does not shed, and is less likely to cause allergy symptoms. They have high energy and require frequent walks. Pug Pugs are sweet, charming and amiable dogs. They are usually nice to everyone, including other pets, but may possess a jealous streak. Although they can be stubborn, they rarely get into any real trouble. They are prone to snorting, wheezing and snoring, as well as frequent shedding.

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