Building the perfect dog

Source: Erin Vey

A dog who has the “ideal” temperament.

Is there such a thing? I doubt it. Dogs, like people, have distinct personalities and like people, dogs don’t always behave like angels. But I think there is truth in the notion that dogs possess naturally distinct temperaments. I’ve met dogs who, despite their difficult circumstances, were overwhelmingly joyful. I have also met dogs who seem inherently grumpy, the equivalent of a canine Mr. Scrooge. I also know that breed is not destiny or prophecy. Background does not always require the same outcome. Every dog is different.

I know all of this, but lately I’ve been thinking about the qualities that are important to me to have in a future dog. I know this is an unrealistic exercise, but it is helpful for me to think about the things I really want in a dog. I also know that most of the things I list below cannot be controlled or, alternately, can be trained into a dog. This is just my detached-from-reality future dog wish list.

So. If I could build my dream dog, these are the qualities that would be most important to me, ranked in order of most important to least important:

  1. A happy, playful personality.
  2. Patient and kind toward people, children, and other dogs.
  3. Intelligent and highly trainable.
  4. Fundamentally calm (meaning he or she is willing and able to achieve a resting state!).
  5. Not excessively vocal.
  6. Athletic, always up for a romp in the woods.
  7. Longer coat.
  8. Medium to large size (50 to 100 lbs.).
  9. Ideally from the herding group (in the future, though, I want to adopt a greyhound).

The rest, I think, will work itself out. Specifically, I want to avoid dogs that exhibit: Excessive solemness, short tempers toward people and other animals, little to no interest in people, hyperactivity, and shyness. Too much to ask for? Probably. I know my already beloved future dog will have problems. I know this. I’m just dreaming on the sunny side of the clouds today…

What quality or trait do you think is most important in a dog? What kind of temperament does your dog have?


5 thoughts on “Building the perfect dog

  1. I think that’s a good set of qualities to look for in a dog! I can’t, however, think of a breed that necessarily meets all of the criteria, or at least not one that I’ve met. There are the two Corgi variants, but they’re rather smaller than what you’re looking for. It’s an interesting thought exercise, at the very least!

  2. Many herding dogs have a difficult time acheiving a “resting state” – unless they’ve spent the last 2 hours running their tails off. As they get older, they relax a little more, but that old saying, a tired dog is a happy/good dog – so very true for the herding breeds.

    For us, the most important trait is that the dog is interested in us/wants to be with us. The dog doesn’t have to be stuck to either of us like velcro, but when we first meet at the kennel, we need to be at least as interesting as that smell over there.
    After that, we only have one other requirement- the new dog has to be able to get along with the current dog.

  3. With my previous dogs coming from the shelter, I kinda took what came to me. I loved each of my dogs very much. But they had shortcomings I really wanted to avoid with a future dog.

    A big one was the inability to cope with strange dogs in public. I got a Golden Retriever because they tend towards many of the characteristics you’re looking for. But as you so eloquently wrote, breeding isn’t destiny. For instance, my Golden Retriever doesn’t care for the water?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s