AYWYP: Week 45 – Breed traits

Different breed temperament traits

It might seem strange to talk about breed traits now, when you have had your puppy for so long. But I think that until you really get to know your dog, it’s sometimes hard to understand what their character is like. How much of this is down to their breed? What will you be able to fix or what will you have to live with?

bit nervous

Traits in popular breeds

Someone recently said to me that they found their dog could be quite nervous in new situations and was often quite shaky. It was a poodle, so I said ‘yes poodles tend to do that’. She was so surprised, because she wasn’t aware that it was one of that breed’s traits. So what other traits can we identify? How much is your puppy typical of its breed?

Easy going

If you have a Labrador, you will know that they are laid back, easy-going and generally hoover up all food (and often non-food items) lying around. They are so lovable, which is why they remain one of the most popular breeds. But Labradors are also perfectly trainable and can hold down responsible jobs, most notably as Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Which group of breeds?

When considering what type of breed traits, or characteristics you would like in your dog, start off by thinking about the different dog breed groups. These are best described on the Kennel Club website, along with breed descriptions for all 222 breeds recognised by them. There are 7 breed groups:

  • hounds
  • toys
  • pastoral
  • utility
  • terriers
  • working
  • gundogs
Parson Russel traits
cheeky terrier

Each of these groups of breeds will have different breed traits. If you have a terrier, such as a Parson Russell, or Jack Russell, you should expect them to be tenacious, lively and demanding. A bit of an awkward sod in other words! Or officially “Bold and friendly; a confident, energetic and happy dog that has the ability and conformation to go to ground.” That means they will disappear down a rabbit hole, given the chance!

Easy to live with?

If you want your dog to be easy to live with, you need to pay attention to these breed traits. Many small dogs are much more inclined to bark at everything! Whereas bigger dogs can be more placid and less reactive.

couch potato

All dogs need walking and time off lead to explore with their noses, at their own pace. Some breeds will be far more energetic and demanding than others though. So you need to account for that when you consider the breed traits. If you want a couch potato, a greyhound is a great option!

What traits can you change?

I’ve already talked in detail about temperament and how this can be a mix of nature and nurture. You need to think about what you have achieved so far and how much you will be able to change.

Border Collie traits
my barking boy

With Quin, I know he is a typical Border Collie. So I know that he won’t change much now. Like many of his breed, he can be anxious around other dogs, which makes him bark. I’m probably stuck with that now. So we just have to manage that and make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Mixed breed, mixed traits

I will just say, as I always do, that if you have a combination of breeds, you will have a combination of traits. So you won’t know exactly what sort of dog you are getting and it probably won’t be until you’ve had them a year that you can start to recognise which bits are from which parent (or grandparent).

lovely Spaniel

For example, if you have a cockerpoo, you may get a bright dog, that is a bit shaky and clingy, but also full of energy and very demanding. Actually, it’s pretty likely that that is what you’ve got! What do you think, is that ideal? It might look like a teddy bear, but is it confident and outgoing, easy to take out and about? Or does it bark and run off?

Weekly Focus Challenge

Is your dog typical of its breed?  Are they what you were expecting? How well do they match up to your lifestyle?  What do you wish you’d done differently in choosing your dog?  Would you get another one of the same breed? 

Please share your thoughts and a photo? You can do this in the AYWYP Facebook group, or buy the workbook to keep your own record. Details below.

Buy the Workbook

The Workbook – A Year With Your Puppy is available to buy. It was written and designed to be a hands-on, interactive book for you. It will help you survive the first year with your puppy, but also act as a memento of that time and the journey you have been on. You can write notes and stick in pictures of your puppy throughout the year. Lovely!


Please CONTACT ME if you want to know more about me and my dogs?  And feel free to COMMENT if you want to tell me what you think.  If you want to know more, why not FOLLOW ME, by filling in your email address below?  Then you will receive an email when there is a new post.


NB: I am not a dog trainer, or a dog behaviourist, just a dog breeder and owner. I can only offer my opinion, based on my experience.

Leave a Reply