Breed Differences -- How Do They Impact Temperament, Behavior, Aggression, Training?

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 4:56am PST 
Breed differences are one of my great interests. Of course, I'm known around here as a Sporting Group nut, specifically Golden Retrievers wink but I've found myself having to branch outside that group with my other dogs.

My 4 dogs are very different and have characteristics typical of their breeds, or predominant breed in their mix. This has led to quite a bit of new learning on my part!shock

I realize that individual differences play a part, but I'd like to hear what others think about breed differences in this regard.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 6:52am PST 
I have 2 opposites.

Sanka I'll bet is a hound. Kato I'll bet is more a mix of herding breeds. And they both act like it.laugh out loud

Sanka: Independent, good natured, dopey (in a good way!), great with everybody, goes where the wind takes him, extremely food motivated. Training Sanka is easy with food involved, but getting rid of the food for more "real life" scenarios is just tough as the nose rules all. I have never seen any aggression in Sanka...ever. And he has been in situations where I wouldn't blame him for lashing out. Never heard him growl. Never seen a lip curl. Never seen him get seriously stiff.

Kato: Clingy, wary of strangers but warms up to them after a bit, easy to train but more so with that eager to please mentality than food, easy to transfer that training to "real life", soft. When push comes to shove, Kato is more flight than fight.

And when I read up on breed tendencies and such, they both really fit in quite nicely to their prospective breeds. And having worked with and watched several dogs of all different breeds and mixes thereof, I definitely see breed tendencies as being a huge player in all those aspects. They may not tick every box, but they sure do have the majority.

too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 8:17am PST 
I'm one of those people who always says "NO, don't get a GSD unless you know what you're doing". The long adolescence is enough to try the patience of Job laugh out loud Training needs to be consistent, and you can never say "ok..just this once..." They take a perverse delight in pushing the limits..every day. But the drive level can be your friend during training. Tug, fetch..even a chance to sniff, can be a great reinforcer.
It rarely takes more than 4 reps for Squam to know exactly what is expected, but just because he *knows, does not mean he *will. For example..a few weeks back I took a turn on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride when da boyz saw a rabbit before I did. Almost yanked me off my feet as they took off after it. When I regained control..thanks to a fence & a well place bush...we had a come to jesus meeting. There was no physical punishment, but man I sounded like a sailor on leave with my salty language.."how dare you do that? you know better" Both dogs were put in a tight heel for the rest of the walk. Yesterday, the squirrels were out in force...but all it took was "remember last time? don't even think about it" & we were able to pass by 6 of the demons with a loose leash.cheer


I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 8:42am PST 
If they didn't, what would be the point of having so many different breeds?
I'm sure we all agree that dogs are individuals, but it's counter-productive and sometimes even dangerous to ignore breed traits.
I do believe many dogs are capable of behavior well outside the norm for their breed, but that may require extensive training, and if you're looking for specific qualities, why not opt for the breed more likely to naturally display them? Unless you just want the challengewink
My Lupi has a good buddy (Dogster Wookie) who is also a Dachshund. It's uncanny how alike they are. They play similarly, have the same expressions, both love burrowing under blankets to sleep, extremely food-motivated, good watch-dogs...but they have crucial differences too.
Lupi is more wary of strangers (a Doxie trait, but amplified by her fearfulness-which is NOT a Doxie trait). Wookie needed no special conditioning to make him generally friendly and accepting of strange adults. Lupi will always need reinforcement, although she is doing awesome lately.
However, Lupi has a soft spot for children, especially toddlers. And Wookie not so much. You would think socialization was the key here, but actually they got about the same amount of exposure to kids when they were pups. Now this is where Lupi deviates a bit from the Doxie standard. It's far more likely for a Doxie raised in a household without children to be intolerant of them.
Training is certainly a must with this breed as with most others. I can't tell you how many other Dachshund owners I've come across, who have not bothered to teach their dogs more than "sit" just because they believe the breed to be too stubborn. It's sad to me, because these dogs are SO food-motivated. But owners who think it's "bribery" to use food rewards lose out on so much fun with these little guys!
Other problems common to the breed such as excessive barking, house-training difficulties and pulling on the leash take patience, consistency and again, food!
I've never had issues with Lupi showing aggression to other dogs, but I've been taking her to the off-leash parks at least weekly, since she was a young pup. She does fine with big and small dogs. I think positive experiences with bigger dogs are important for Doxies, or they can be a bit snarky with them.
I would never trust Lupi to be alone with someone's pet hamster, bird, rabbit etc. Her prey drive is quite strong and I've encouraged it. That is definitely a breed trait she has!
I struggle with deciding on another Doxie for my next dog because some of the qualities I love in Lupi are not generally considered breed traits. However, I do love the breed and it's easy to stick with what's familiar.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 8:47am PST 
I've seen major differences in each of my dogs.. Granted, I also see differences between Charlie and other more a-typical Beagles too.

Charlie is eager to please, easy to train and handle outside, is extremely food motivated, loves everyone, clingy with me, etc. Charlie won't take crap from any dog, no matter the breed - which COULD get him into more trouble if it wasn't puppies that had a tendency for getting in his face. Unlike Sanka, Charlie's nose DOESN'T take him where the wind goes, however, if he were left on his own, it likely would. With me, he's happy to hold his head up high and be on a walk, and just prance along like a little horse. He's quieter than your typical hound too, and I've always found him less stubborn(although he is a little, lol).

Ria, on the other hand, is still very much a puppy, but you can see both her breed traits very clearly. She has that Border Collie 'stare' and drive for her ball and frisbee. She's got the bouncy-ness of the Lab, will splash in ANY water or mud she can, and at eight weeks old, when stopping on the four hour drive home by a river, the little brat tried to waltz right on in! She's both food and toy driven, extremely smart, but she also lacks impulse control and patience. I get impatient trying to train her sometimes, I'll admit. Charlie will offer behaviors right away to try to earn his reward. Ria is too impatient and will slam down into a sit or a down and stare at me, hoping I'll just hand it over. She's confident, fearless, and would excel at things like Rally or Agility if I worked with her more.

Maya was, well.. She was not an easily forgiving dog, of the training she was put through, or the abuse/neglect she was put through prior to me taking her. She was very much a Rottweiler in that she was intelligent, eager-to-please, loyal, and incredible at listening when you gave her something to do. Unfortunately, she became fear aggressive of strange people, due to the neglect, abuse and training prior to me, and it took me over a year of working on it with her, diligently, using positive reinforcement, to get her even remotely okay with strangers being invited into my home. And even then, it would take her a moment or two to assess them and figure out they were okay before she'd come investigate them. But she was a WONDERFUL dog, and the reason I would own Rottweilers again. When she was at deaths door, acting twenty years old at only seven, and I managed to bring her back from that brink to run around like a puppy again, it was one of the most rewarding feelings I ever had, and to see her begin to trust again was even better. She loved to work for me, loved to do anything I asked, no matter what it was, and was very, very affectionate and clingy with me and Charlie.

Maya was less into learning new tricks, commands, etc than Charlie is, and Ria is too impatient, lol.
Czarka, CGC- UJJ

Why walk when- you can run?
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 9:37am PST 
Squ'mey... darn that's GSD smile

I was trying to sort through the nature of GSD beyond an AKC write-up... high intelligence; high strength and (mental AND physical) endurance; willing and able to work independently... with a sprinkling of aloof and protective?

IMHO... training is mandatory. The GSD needs rules; the GSD needs jobs; the GSD needs confidence in their human as team member... and if you don't work out who will do what, GSD is perfectly happy to take intelligence, persistence, and independence to create a solution GSD likes... heck, this happens even where you work together thinking

I agree with Squ'mey that GSDs are not for everyone... but if you have the energy and the desire to have a creature that makes you really think... wow, what a blast!

I have a neighbor who tells a story of having a GSD and a terrier. He'd let them out and there was a squirrel that sat on top of their 6 ft fence... enjoying taunting the dogs. The terrier barked and jumped; the shepherd sat and watched. Finally, after a number days the shepherd launched itself at the fence... not at the top, but at the middle below the squirrel. The fence wobbled, sprang back and the squirrel fell into the yard. A chase followed and the squirrel escaped (but did NOT sit on top of the fence again). As GSD partner... _I_ believe his story. laugh out loud

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 10:25am PST 
Three dogs three different breeds all individuals

Misha-Siberian Husky. She was a champion escape artist and so spirited she failed obedience school three times. Extremely strong and strong willed. Yet VERY friendly, if we greeted her without my brother to control her she would pin you to the ground lovingly licking until someone got you up.

Ferdie-Border Collie. Most intelligent breed as a whole but Ferdie was as bright as a rock. Doggie ADHD, incredibly destructive with books, toys, plugged in appliances...absolute death wish with live wires. Even ran in her sleep.

Sophie-American Staffordshire. Muscular, great runner, perfect recall. The most patient and well behaved dog we've ever had. Fearful of many situations but has overcome so many of them over the years. Sweet with strangers and family and a social butterfly with most other dogs.

Poor Elliot-A bassett who was just not right for our family from the start. Older, cranky, couch potato-hated exercise...not the dog for a young active family. Rehomed with a senior citizen, a much better fit.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 10:49am PST 
While breed DNA tests are known to not really be totally reliable, I found Farley's to be pretty accurate. His came back as mostly Border Collie with some GSD/Collie/Lab. He definitely shows mostly herding breed traits. He gets along very well with other herders, and he goes nuts when he sees sheep/cows/horses. laugh out loud

He has a high prey drive, VERY food motivated, very territorial of his home/yard/car, and does not give a hoot about getting attention or affection from strangers, and is protective of me when strangers come close. He is not a physically affectionate dog, but will sometimes seek affection on his own terms. He prefers to bond with me through training, which we do a lot of. He learns things very fast, often I find myself trying to catch up with him. He doesn't like repetition and quickly gets frustrated and bored if I ask him to repeat tasks. He will let me know if I am doing something wrong, too laugh out loud He is very vocal and will make himself heard when he feels it is required.

He thinks all animals (including other dogs) must be chased/herded and barked at. That's pretty much what he is all about, and this is why agility classes with him are such a challenge for me. naughty

Q.E.D., baby,- Q.E.D.!
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 11:35am PST 
"Breed Differences -- How Do They Impact Temperament, Behavior, Aggression, Training?"

Significantly. laugh out loud
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 12:11pm PST 
Here's my favorite breed story, in terms of personal experience. Chester, my Am Cocker, had been in my home maybe two weeks as a then puppy, and one day a nightmare ensued. He had diarrhea then he started to throw up violently. He was head sunken, unresponsive, depressed. This was parvo! I mean...NIGHTMARE! So onto the phone I went. Shaking.

And this is what I got......"Get his favorite squeaky toy!"

I mean....say whaaaat? laugh out loud

"He's throwing up because he is upset about having diarrhea. Squeak his toy and get his mind off it!" Ok, so I got Mr. Carrot and WOW, that worked. In two minutes, he was bouncing around playing with Mr. Carrot! And THAT was my introduction to Cocker Spaniels. Lots of emotion and sensitivity, but all they want is to be happy and do supremely well with play distractions. And backed by someone who knows them, and saved me the stress and expense of the ER, let alone a terrible experience for a puppy in a fear imprint stage. Instead, it was all very bonding and beautiful, and to this day Ches seeks me out when he's not feeling up to par, and trusts me implicitly.

It's a good story, because it can show what breed knowledge does. The only ones who scoff at this have no deep experience with the purebred, or have but have not had a good breeder or mentor, for when you do, they seem PSYCHIC with their ability to read their breed. Breeds themselves are of focused genetics and this will play a role, along with the general "quirk" that seems to embody all breeds in very unique ways.

I have yet to be around a Giant puppy who at some point doesn't hook your ankle with his paw and leg and drag you onto the ground. They seem to come out of the womb knowing this strategy.

Edited by author Tue Nov 27, '12 12:12pm PST

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