Not so much breed love

dachshund
This is Katie, my Denver landlord's anxious dachshund. Source: Me

As I’m thinking about the dogs that I’d love to have one day, I’m also making a mental list of the dogs I know I wouldn’t enjoy living with. As Stanley Coren points out in his book Why We Love the Dogs We Do, not every human personality is suited to every breed personality. There does seem to be a innate, temperamental reason why some people keep buying golden retrievers or Boston terriers or akitas again and again.

I don’t make this list to say that certain breeds are bad or unlovable, but rather that my personality is not especially keen on their personalities–and I just don’t think we’d live well together.

Yorkshire terrier ♥
A Yorkshire terrier. I add them noting an exception, my friend Emily's giant Yorkie, Oscar, who is precious. Source: Flickr, click photo to see user page.

That said, here is a list of the breeds I’m fairly certain I have no interest in ever owning…

  • Dachshunds.
  • All terriers. Yes, all.
  • Almost all toy breeds (Exceptions: papillon, pomeranian, Cavalier King Charles spaniel).
  • All brachycephalic breeds (pugs, bulldogs, pekingese, etc.).
  • All scent hounds.
  • Dalmatians.
  • Chows.
  • Labs. I KNOW. So un-American! I just don’t love labs. There it is.

What about you? Any breeds you’re pretty sure you don’t want?

Breed Love: Shiba inu

Shiba inu
Shiba in the grass. Source: Flickr

I have been studying Japanese since I was about 10 years old and so, naturally, I developed an interest in Japanese dogs. There are two Japanese breeds who have become quite popular in America lately, the akita and the shiba (the “inu” suffix that you see is the Japanese word for “dog”). Akitas burgeoned in popularity in the 1980s, along with rottweilers, dobermans, and other “masculine” dogs to complete your tough-guy image. Shibas, however, are adorable, foxy little dogs who have been making their own rapid rise in popularity (no thanks in part to the live Shiba puppy cam).

Shiba Inu 柴犬 Daitan 大胆 ("Hiroshi" 浩)
Oh, baby shiba. Your little fox face is irresistible. Source: Flickr, user pjen

In 2008, I had the opportunity to live and study in Tokyo for the summer. Naturally, one of my favorite facets of living there was observing the life of the Japanese dog. The Japanese are very serious about their dogs. Per their national industry of kawaii (cute), the dogs there are always very cute. The shiba is no exception, as you can see. Shibas were extremely popular in Tokyo. For a comparison, the shiba is to Japan what the lab is to the United States: they’re extremely ubiquitous. (The Japanese also appeared very partial to dachshunds and Shetland sheepdogs.)

on the path
This is a (not great) photo from my time in Tokyo. Shibas were everywhere! Source: Me

I’ve seen a handful of shibas in Charlottesville, actually, but have not spent a ton of time with them. From what I know about the breed, shibas–like other northern dogs–tend to be independent and standoffish. For this reason, they can be rather difficult to train. Shibas are often quiet and clean and therefore often get the moniker of being “cat-like.” Their precious faces and portability ensure their ascension to popularity in America. I’m not sure if I’d ever get a shiba myself, but I think I ought to spend more quality time with one before I make a solid decision. Thankfully, there are a lot of great shiba blogs around to fill the void for now.

Shiba links: