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?