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DBI Frequently Asked Questions

A drawn hound dog is holding a magnifying glass. Inside the Magnifying glass is the words - Frequent Q & A

How do I find out what kind of breed is right for my family?

You need to take a hard look at your family’s personality and energy level and pick a dog with the same level or lower than your own. If you are the passive type, do not pick a dog with a higher dominancy level. If you do not know where to start in your search, try taking the Breed Selector quiz. It is set up just for that, to give you a jump start in your search to find that special dog. Also try the Search Categories Section. Make sure you understand what makes a dog tick. Learn proper canine to human communication and realize that a dog is not human and should not be treated like one.

Why do I need to research? A dog is a dog, right?

No, all breeds of dogs are very different. Even dogs within the same litter have different dominancy and energy levels. It is very important to do your homework before you choose your dog. Researching can make the difference. There are many different breeds with many different needs. Getting a dog can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience or it could be your worst nightmare. To find out more read Are you ready for a dog?

What type of dog would do well left home alone for six or more hours a day?

There is no breed or type of dog that does well left alone for long periods of time. Dogs are pack animals, meaning they have an instinct to live in a group. When humans bring a dog into their family, in the dogs’ eyes, there has to be a pack leader. Humans need to be that leader, and it is that social structure that the dog longs for. If you have your heart set on adopting a dog, but know the dog will be left alone for long periods of time on a regular basis, it is suggested you take the dog for a nice long walk before you leave for the day and again after you get back. Not a "go to the bathroom" walk, but a "pack walk" where the dog has to concentrate on following his human. Do not allow the dog to walk out in front as pack leader goes first and the humans need to be the leaders. Leaders are allowed to leave the followers, however followers are not allowed to leave the leaders. If you allow your dog to believe he is your leader, the dog will be very stressed watching his followers leave him. After a dog has exercised in the form of a migration walk he goes into a natural rest mode and will happily sleep while you are gone. In addition, you can also consider adopting a second dog. While you are gone the two dogs will keep each other company. Keep in mind that will mean you will need to walk both dogs every morning before you leave. Both dogs will wait for you to return each day, but their days will be less stressful, as they will know they still have each other; their instinct will be satisfied.

I have a Shetland Sheepdog/terrier mix. All my friends have told me they would like to have a puppy just like her. What would I need to look for in a mate to get puppies that look like her?

Purebreds are created after generations of selective breeding. Painstaking care is taken to achieve a desired look and temperament. In most cases a standard is written that dictates what a given breed should look like. When breeding two purebreds together, you can basically guarantee that the offspring will look like the parents (i.e. the offspring of two black Toy Poodles will most likely be black Toy Poodles). This is called "breeding true." The exception to this rule is if a genetic defect is present in one or both of the parents. This is why testing for hereditary disease is mandatory before breeding any purebred dog.

When crossing two different purebreds, or breeding a purebred to a mixed breed, or breeding two mixed breeds, you are dealing with a wider array of genes, which decreases the predictability of the outcome. While you may be able to have a rough estimate of what the offspring will look like, it is really all conjecture. So, let's say you have a Shetland Sheepdog/Airedale Terrier cross and her potential mate is a Shetland Sheepdog/West Highland Terrier cross. The offspring could have erect ears, long fur and white coats, or folded ears, a wire coat and be white with black spots, or one ear erect, one ear folded, long fur on the tail and legs, wiry fur on the body, and a black and brown coat, or... There is just no way to be sure.

I have seen a known Greyhound/Great Dane cross that looked very close to a purebred Dalmatian. Had that dog been bred to a Dalmatian, the puppies could have been leggy, deep-chested dogs with long muzzles and solid-colored coats.

It is a common and understandable sentiment to want a "carbon copy" of your beloved pet. But when it comes to mixed-breed dogs, you most likely will not achieve that through breeding. If you want another dog just like yours, visit your local animal shelter often. You might be surprised how many dogs look like yours.

Written by Melissa Klett, The Anti-Cruelty Society

My dog is growling at me. Why? What can I do about it?

To answer these questions, read the articles on this page:

Understanding Dog Behavior

I heard that most toy dogs are often snippy and attack other dogs. Is this true?

No, this is not the norm. While some toy dogs are this way, there is always a reason for it. People tend to pamper and baby toy dogs. Toy dogs should be raised like big dogs. If they are raised like "big" dogs, they will be fine. When they are babies there is a fine line between pampering and protecting them and you have to find the right way to do it to ensure an emotionally healthy dog. For more info please read Small Dogs vs. Medium and Large Dogs.

How can I stop my dog from jumping?

Dogs that jump on people are showing canine to human disrespect and can be very annoying. How can you get your dog to stop? Pushing down on the bridge of the nose when they start to jump up and saying "No" or raising your knee into their chest and saying "No" are two ways you can train your dog to stay down. If you use the knee method, do not bash the dog with your knee. If you bash into the dog too hard you can rupture its spleen and/or other internal organs. If a dog running at full tilt, slamming into a knee could be quite dangerous. Only use the knee method to "block" the dog from your body if the dog is jumping from a standing position. Use caution if you choose this method of training. Please read Stop a Jumping Dog for more info.

Where can I find care, training and housebreaking information along with other useful articles?

You can find all kinds of training and care articles and more in the section called Everything you need to know (and then some).

At what age does a puppy need to be before it can be fully housebroken?

A puppy is not physically able to control the muscle that allows him to "hold it" until he is about 12 weeks of age. Before this time, good housebreaking routines should be practiced to avoid having your puppy urinate and defecate all over your house. Watch for signs of urination or defecation, such as turning in circles. Take your puppy out often. Using a crate or confining your puppy to a small part of the house that has easy cleanup floors are some ways to ensure your puppy does not urinate all over your house. It is much harder to housebreak a puppy if he smells is urine in places you do not wish him to relief himself.

Why do some dogs eat their own poop?

Some vets think that this is due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency. I hate to think that they may just like it. Yuck!! But, they do like some stuff that is pretty gross to us. Apes eat their own poop as well. Scientists are not sure why. A quote from an ape research paper stated that they may be "getting extra nutrients or just looking for a warm meal on a cold day." There is a product called Deter that keeps a dog from eating its own poop, but you can't give the all the neighborhood dogs Deter. Or, maybe you can A yellow smiley face

I have purchased a 13-week-old pup and she eats her poop at times. What should I do?

Poop eating is common enough that they have a name for it: coprography. It is obviously a nasty habit that is easily formed when the pup watches momma keep the nest area clean by eating the feces and the pups willingly follow this example. If you try to "compete" with the pup to clean it up it creates a challenge to the pup with greater motivation resulting in a pup that will "eat as it goes," so to speak. It is a good idea to remove the pup from the potty area prior to cleanup. I have found it may return through boredom or even through a desire to vary the diet. Our recommendation is to increase fiber through carrots, apples or other fruits and vegetables. Your pup may not be this picky and would love to nose through your compost bin. This would result in a decrease in the diarrhea caused by the poop eating and kind of "reset" the correct levels of bacteria in the bowels. If you purchase one of the products to deter this practice, such as Forbid, this habit can be discouraged or even stopped. I use Accent sparingly sprinkled over the food (too much can cause vomiting) and it makes the poop really a turn-off. If it is their choice not to do something they learn so much faster. How about a puppy kiss now?

This FAQ brought to you by VOM HAUS DRAGE KENNEL & PET RESORT.

I have a German Shepherd puppy whose ears both went up at 11 weeks but now at 14 weeks one of the ears is floppy. Anything to worry about?

First check for infection, which could be deep. Then laugh and love and enjoy the camera shots as it is perfectly normal for them to sway until 6 months of age, at which time teething is over and unless there are some problems, such as a tooth that didn't fall out, the ears should be up. ( This is related to the pain in the mouth; when you do not feel good you droop!) Some extra-large dogs take longer (more bone and cartilage developing—I like to give them a big knuckle bone to add nutrition and exercise to the area) and ears can be broken. Unless advised by someone you trust I would leave them alone. Taped ears are susceptible to infection. Show lines tend to tape often so if there is a history of weak ears they may wish to follow the breeder’s recommendation.


Where can I find a list of breeds considered good for allergy sufferers? Are there any other category lists?

You can find a list of breeds considered good for allergy sufferers on this page: Allergy You can also find many more categories listed on this page: Search Categories

What is the recommended age for spaying or neutering my dog?

This is controversial. Some vets believe in waiting until the dog is finished growing, allowing the dog to grow up with its natural hormones in tact, while others stick to the standard of—Females: 5 to 8 months and Males: 5 to 8 months

Some say a female dog should have an ovariohysterectomy (spay) at about six months of age and before her first estrus (heat) stating that when you spay a female dog before its first heat, you greatly reduce the chance of breast cancer. A spay female no longer produces estrogen, a hormone produced by the ovary which causes the dog to go in heat. However, when I took my own female in to get spayed by a specialist I was told to wait until she went through at least one heat and waiting for a second heat was even better. She told me that she, being a surgeon, sees many health related issues linked to females being spayed before they have a chance to develop. They never fully develop if you cut off their hormones before they are finished growing. It is best to contact your own vet to get their opinion on the issue.

The same holds true for the male dog. While some vets recommend castrating a male dog as a puppy, other vets state a male dog should be castrated (neutered) after it has had a chance to grow, allowing it to grow up with its natural hormones. Testosterone plays a vital role in the development of a young male.. If a dog is neutered while it is growing, its sex organs and other body parts do not get a chance to fully develop. A male dog should be neutered after it is done growing, but before it starts displaying other behaviors such as humping and marking. As soon as you see these behaviors it is time to think about getting your male fixed.

For a family pet, a neutered male is better. A domestic animal does not need all those hormones that make him want to be dominant. An unneutered male is harder to train. Altering a male usually lowers a dogs’ dominancy level and makes it much, much easier for him to live with his human family and for you to live with him. In the wild he would need those extra hormones, but the family dog does not, and should not be, under these primitive hormonal influences. Read more about Spaying and Neutering.

Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

A Dog is sitting in front of a dresser and it is wearing a cone. Its mouth is open.

There are many behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering a dog, in addition to not having to worry about unwanted puppies that would contribute to the already epidemic cat and dog overpopulation.

55,000 pets are born every hour in the United States.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, half of the animals brought to most kill shelters are euthanized. There are four to six thousand animal shelters in the United States. Eight to 12 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year and four to six million of those animals are euthanized (killed) each year.

25% of all dogs in these shelters are purebreds. Why are there more mixed breeds in the shelters? Because the majority of purebred dogs in the shelters get transferred or sought out by purebred rescue groups. This would indicate that the pet homeless population is even higher than this study shows.

The average fertile cat can produce three litters of four to six kittens a year. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats.

The average fertile dog can produce two litters of six to ten puppies a year. In six years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs.

About seven dogs are killed every minute in animal shelters, according to the Humane Society of the United States in Washington D.C.
It cost the shelter an average of $100 for each animal they handle.

How long does a dog stay in heat?

Generally five to nine days. But some have been known to stay in heat for ten to 14 days.

How long is a pregnancy term for a dog?

About 58 to 62 days.

If a dog is to be bred, at what age should it be done?

Dogs should not be bred until they are at least 2 years old and no more than every two years after that up until they are 8 years old.

How do I stop my puppy from biting my hands and feet?

Read: Puppy Biting

If a female dog is called a "bitch", what is the male dog called?

A male dog of any breed is called a 'Dog'. A female dog of any breed is called a 'Bitch

What kind of dog was in the movie/TV show...?

Please note: Just because a dog looks like the perfect dog in the movies does not mean it will make the perfect pet for you. Keep in mind that the dogs on TV shows and movies are worked with and trained daily. There are many trainers and handlers hired to get the dog to act as the director wishes. In a lot of cases a producer will have more than one dog play the role of a single dog-character. If one dog is not doing a particular scene to the director’s expectations or is not listening on a particular day, the doggie double is brought in to finish the scene. Some of these dogs require mega attention and exercise, making them difficult to keep as regular house pets. The time and attention movie and TV life give are exactly what some of these dogs need to be happy. If you are attracted to a breed that you see in the movies or on TV, please research the breed thoroughly. Hollywood makes it look easy, but we do not see what goes on behind the scenes.

What are the top ten and last five AKC registered breeds for 1999?

AKC 1999 Top-Ten Breeds in Registration Numbers

  1. Labrador Retrievers: 154,897 registered
  2. Golden Retrievers: 62,652 registered
  3. German Shepherd Dogs: 57, 256 registered
  4. Dachshunds: 50,772 registered
  5. Beagles: 49,080 registered
  6. Poodles
  7. Chihuahuas
  8. Rottweilers
  9. Yorkshire Terriers
  10. Boxers

Just for Comparison—the last five breeds:

  1. Polish Lowland Sheepdogs: 54 (newly accepted into the AKC Miscellaneous Class)
  2. American Foxhounds: 49
  3. English Foxhounds: 40
  4. Harriers: 24
  5. Otterhounds: 17

(Please note, this is just the AKC and does not take into consideration dogs registered in other registries that are NOT dual-registered with the AKC, or puppies born that will not be registered with a kennel club.)

The more popular a breed, the higher the chances of there being health problems amongst the dogs within that breed, due to careless over-breeding. Before you buy, be sure to ask the breeder about their policies and the steps they take to ensure you are getting a healthy pet.

Does Dog Breed Info sell dogs?

No, Dog Breed Info does not sell dogs or recommend breeders. This is strictly a general information site designed to help you find a dog that fits your lifestyle.

How do I get my photos onto Dog Breed Info?

It is impossible for Dog Breed Info to post every photo that is sent in. Because of this, Dog Breed info will only post the best, most unique and most needed photos sent in. If you have a photo that you feel is unique in some way or one that is needed, you can submit it by going to this page: Post your Photo

Amazing Dog Photos and Amazing Cat Photos are always welcome.

Dog Breed Info would like to thank everyone who sends in photos. Even if they are not posted they are still enjoy.

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