I LOVE rescue dogs. They can be amazing creatures – full of love and gratitude. Dogs are incredible resilient, so they can often overcome early life trauma with the right guidance and benevolent care from their new pet parents.

THAT BEING SAID…. it is important to consider breed when selecting a new best friend. Many breeds and mixes of breeds make excellent pets with little consideration needed as far as breed traits go. Labs, goldens, “pit” types, boxers, toy breeds, and countless others make great house or apartment dogs. These guys have often been bred for decades to live closely with people as companions. Some of these breeds initially started as working dogs, but in the last 20 years have transitioned to being bred as “couch” dogs! Definitely take your time meeting a new potential family member, but you have little to worry about as far as breed traits go with most dogs at the shelter.

There are still several breeds of working dogs that I advise the general public to steer clear of. A working dog breed is a breed that has been bred for a specific purpose. Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherds, and Maremmas have been bred to guard livestock, often without humans nearby. This means they are low energy, independent, and bark. A LOT. They are also often very wary of new things. They can still make good pets, but expect to have to do a lot more socialization when your dog is young, and be prepared to live with the barking. Border collies, Australian Shepherds, Mini Aussies, and similar breed have been bred to herd livestock for hours and hours on end. They have ENDLESS amounts of energy. They love to chase and bite. These guys are crazy smart and make excellent agility dogs or sport dogs. But be prepared to have to be hands on most of the day, just to keep them out of trouble. German Shepherds and Belgian shepherds (including Malinois) have been bred as herding dogs, personal protection dogs, police dogs, or military dogs. Again, these guys are highly intelligent, and high energy!

Given time and appropriate training, ANY breed can be a great part of your family. But before you sign the adoption papers or purchase contract, be sure to really investigate the breed of the dog you’re considering, and make sure they’ll fit your lifestyle. Every individual dog is different, so be sure to spend some time in a Meet and Greet, too!

Here’s an excellent video showing the difference in breed traits. She also talks about just why you wouldn’t want to cross these two. Can you imagine?