Survey Results – Breed recommendations

Results on recommending your dog – what did it show?

Last week I wrote about recommending your dog and decided to create a short survey to see how people rate their own dog.  I used Survey Monkey to produce the survey.  It’s quick and relatively easy to use, and free for a basic version.  Unfortunately this makes it a bit limited.  This mainly meant that I couldn’t have questions where multiple answers could be chosen.  Anyway, here are the results.

I posted the survey into the agilitynet Facebook group which has thousands of members.  I explained that I wasn’t looking for collie owners to reply and thankfully people did read that.  Within an hour I had over 100 replies to my survey.  Another limitation of the free service is that you can only see a hundred responses.  Still, it gives us a fair amount of information.

NB: This survey was completed by genuine dog lovers who actively participate in dog sports with their dogs.

surveyWhat breed of dog do you have?

Of the one hundred responses, 15 owned cocker spaniels (a good agility alternative to a collie).  There were 11 German Shepherds or Belgian Shepherds and 10 crossbreeds.  Other popular breeds were Labrador/Retrievers, Jack Russells, Lurchers (a crossbreed), Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Poodles.

There were a wide range of other breeds, including Chinese Crested Powderpuff, Tibetan Terrier, Basset Fauve de Bretagne, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Munsterlander, Pomeranian and Corgi.  Forty different breeds are represented.

How did you choose your dog?

Apparently, 57% of the respondents chose their dogs for its character.  9% chose on looks alone, 10% on size, 6% on ease of purchase and a couple of people talked about hair (non-shedding).  No-one considered cost – very interesting!

Has your dog been what you expected?

An overwhelming 69% said it had been much better than they expected – isn’t that lovely?  Only 6% said it had been much harder than they expected.   The breeds that were found to be harder were:

  • Spaniel x 2
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • GSDxBC
  • Kelpie
  • Belgian Shepherd Tervueren

surveyHow well does your dog fit your lifestyle?

Again, the vast majority said it was easy to manage their dog and no-one said they struggled sometimes.   Breeds whose owners said they had had to make adjustments included:

  • Cocker spaniels
  • Kelpie
  • Terriers
  • Labradors
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Basset
  • JRT x German Spitz
  • Rottweiler
  • Miniature American Shepherd
  • German Shepherd

The conclusion I draw from this (and my own experience) is that agility people go from Border Collies to Working Cocker Spaniels because they are smaller.  They are different dogs and can be harder work!  Demanding yet not as easy to train.  I do know many lovely Working Cockers though..

What are the best features of your dog?

Great companion 36
Easy to train (not a lurcher!)
Fun to play with 7
Laid back nature 7
Lovely to cuddle 2
Rewarding (improvement since rescue) 1
Ability to connect and communicate with me 1
All (or most) of the above 17

What are the hardest things about owning your dog?

They are very demanding!  A third of the responses put this as their answer.  Other issues included being hard to train (Working Cockers again!), barks too much, doesn’t like other dogs, sensitive, hunting instinct, guarding, can’t be let off lead, escape artist, finding care when going on holiday and so on.  Six people said there was nothing hard about owning a dog 🙂

surveyWould you buy this type of dog again?

Three quarters of the respondents said “yes definitely, already have”.  Almost everyone else said yes probably.

Who do you think would be the best home for your dog?

60% of those responding (perhaps not surprisingly) said that an experienced dog owner would be the best home for their dog.  Of course in an ideal world, we want people not to take on a dog unless they know what they are doing.  It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation though, as if you have never owned a dog, how are you supposed to learn?  ‘Any home’ was chosen for a retriever, a poodle and a lurcher.  A whippet owner thought they would be good for a novice owner – I agree with that.

How much exercise and/or training do you do with your dog each week?

A whopping 87% said they do ‘regular walks every day, with some training classes each week’.

Remember, my respondents were drawn from a group who are active with their dogs and compete in dog sports – great result!

And finally..

surveyIf you were buying a dog again, what is the best advice you would give yourself?

Look for a responsible breeder who does health checks and socialisation 9
Research the health of the breed – be prepared for health issues 9
Meet as many of the breed as possible and get to know them 3
Take note of the downsides of the breed – does it fit your lifestyle.

Pay attention to temperament, energy level, intelligence. Not all dogs are cuddly

Make sure you can see the mother and rest of litter, spend time talking to the breeder 4
It’s not all about the breed – dogs are individuals

There can be variation within the breed as to temperament, drive and trainability

Go for it/trust your instinct – or not! 5
You get out what you put in 3
Find a breeder who cares and wants to keep in touch
Make sure new dogs will fit in with existing dogs
Don’t choose on colour
Don’t choose the smallest puppy
Have a rescue 3
The first few weeks are the worst
Be patient and relax and enjoy the ride, even if everything doesn’t go to plan first time
Never compare what you had
Don’t do it! Go on holiday instead!  Are you sure? 2
Don’t end up with 8!

Hope you have found my results interesting?

Ask for help?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice.  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my new service.

If you are a breeder, you can talk to me about how I vet my puppy owners, together with advice on the information I provide to my puppy homes. CONTACT ME for more information?

Please let me know if you have found this post helpful?


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