Responsible soon-to-be pet parents research which dog breed is right for them. Whether adopting a shelter dog or buying a puppy from a reputable breeder, it’s important to know whether or not that dog will be a good fit. It’s no wonder, then, that people on the street make assumptions about owners based on the dog breed at the end of their leash.
Here is what your dog’s breed says about you!
No dog says “Middle America” like a Labrador Retriever! The American nuclear family is not complete without 2.5 kids, a minivan, and a Lab. The statistics bear this out: The Lab has been the most popular breed in the United States for 24 years, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Whether the type is black, yellow, or chocolate, the Lab is known for being friendly and intelligent — or hyperactive and goofy, depending on your point of view. And, for some reason, they are popular among hardware store owners who like to bring their dogs to work. (Am I the only one who has noticed that?)
With only the occasional Marley to portray them as disobedient, the Lab’s reputation as a tolerant, intelligent breed, who prefers snoozing by the fireplace to chasing squirrels, makes it the dog of choice for stressed-out parents and other people who want an “easy” dog. (This can backfire if the affable Lab gets bored and starts eating your couch or relentlessly demands a game of fetch, of course.)
People who aren’t Lab enthusiasts see the dogs a bit differently. Labs are the station wagon of dogs: Reliable and family friendly, but not very exciting. On the bright side, though, people will assume you are as friendly and approachable as your pooch.
Do you like your house to run with the precision of a Swiss watch? Do you want a dog who will not only protect your home, but clean it, too? Well, then the German Shepherd is the dog for you.
The second most popular breed in America, the German Shepherd is known for being especially intelligent and loyal, and for working in … well, almost every profession. From guiding the blind to taking down criminals, the Shepherd does it all. It has often been said that the Shepherd’s original breeders were literally trying to make the perfect dog, capable of doing any task. So don’t be surprised if your neighbors think you’re a bit of a perfectionist.
Alternately, this versatile dog can often be seen as the canine equivalent of a gate at the end of your driveway, warning strangers not to approach your house or your family. They may even assume you don a bite suit on a regular basis to train your dog to go all K-9 on intruders! Long story short, people won’t want to mess with you.
The Bulldog’s popularity is soaring. The dog is now the third most popular breed in the U.S., according to the AKC. This is mystifying to many, as the dogs are known for being stubborn, hard to train, and riddled with health problems. They are also adorable, and make strangers want to pinch their cheeks. As such, these are the perfect dogs for bachelors!
If there’s a Bulldog in your house, I’m willing to bet you’re a relatively young, single man — or at least you were when you first got your dog. Breathing problems keep this breed from demanding much in the way of exercise, but still get you plenty of attention from the ladies in the park! Am I right, fellas?
And let’s not forget just how cute they look on game day in your favorite team’s jersey! If you need a buddy who will hang out on the couch, help you pick up women, and won’t demand long runs on the weekends, then you’re probably a Bulldog fan.
When you bring home your Australian Cattle Dog, you need to be prepared for a number of reactions from your neighbors. First and foremost, people are wondering, “What is that?” In many parts of the country — and the globe — these dogs are virtually unknown, so when people see someone walking these spotted, big-eared, Dingo-like dogs down a suburban street, they may think you are some sort of post-apocalyptic road warrior traveling the world with his dog (a la Mel Gibson in Mad Max).
People who are more familiar with the breed — and who realize you are probably not a cattle rancher — may assume that you spend most of your weekends traversing rugged terrain with your dog by your side. Your neighbor thinks that every time you load the dog into the back of your car, you are heading off to summit a mountain or whitewater raft down a river.
Of course, people who really know the breed know that ACDs tend to love order in their world. They’re known for putting their toys away and enforcing house rules on everyone from the kids to the other animals. So if you’ve chosen this particular breed to share your life, there’s a good chance you’re as Type A as your dog.
It’s hard to make generalizations about people who love mutts. After all, the beauty of mutts is that each one is unique. A Retriever mix is different than a Chihuahua mix. A Border Collie mix is different than a Terrier mix. But here’s one thing people are thinking about you whenever you walk down the street with that mystery mutt: “What a saint!”
The more unidentifiable your dog’s breed is, the more easygoing and good-hearted you are! You probably spend all your spare time volunteering! After all, no one but a do-gooder would take in a dog with an unknown background and no information about breed traits to fall back on, right?
Of course, other mutt lovers know that isn’t true. They know that you’re just sensible. If you want a dog that is even-tempered, long-lived, and won’t break the bank, it’s hard to do better than a good ol’ mutt. You probably also wear sensible shoes, clip coupons, and drive a Prius because that just makes sense.
Tell us all about your dogs and how they do or do not defy the stereotypes in the comments!
Read more by Theresa Cramer:
About the author: Theresa Cramer is a journalist and editor by trade, an NPR addict, and an avid gardener. She blogs at Writer on the Prowl, where you will find pictures of her garden, her pets, and musings about whatever is on her mind. She is working on a book about content marketing and how to make the transition from journalist to brand journalist.