When planning a dog-friendly garden you really should think about your individual dog’s personality and breed characteristics. Dogs have strong natural instincts you should be in tune with before turning them loose in your yard…
Do you have a high energy dog who needs a lot of exercise? Or is your pooch a couch potato? Some canines are scent driven and others are sight driven…things to consider before designing a backyard enjoyable and functional for both you and your four-legged friends.
The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes seven breed categories. Knowing the basic traits of your dog’s breed will help you to create a dog friendly oasis in your space.
The Hound Group:
Most of the hounds share the common trait of being used for hunting. Some use their super-sensitive scenting powers to follow a trail. Others can be super athletic and demonstrate an excellent gift of stamina as they effortlessly climb sand dunes. This group of dogs encompasses quite a diverse lot. Some hounds share the distinct ability to produce a unique sound known as baying.
Beagles, coonhounds, bloodhounds and bassets are all members of the Hound Group for instance. Hounds love to use their nose so a hide-and-go-seek game involving treats or toys they can sniff out is a lot of fun for these breeds. Since hounds love to hunt and chase, invisible fencing systems are not usually the best choice. I’ve seen beagles blast right through them while chasing a rabbit. A traditional fence will keep your pet in the yard and out of harm’s way.
The Terrier Group: Terriers, such as the Jack Russell, love to dig and if left unattended (and not exercised enough) can turn your garden upside down. Be sure to give them lots of walks, exercise, attention and toys to chew on to keep excavation to a minimum.
People familiar with this Group of dogs invariably comment on the “distinctive terrier personality”. These are energetic and feisty dogs whose sizes range from fairly small (Cairn terrier) to the large Airedale. Terriers quite typically have little tolerance for other animals, including other dogs. Many seem to project the attitude that they’re always eager for a spirited argument. In general, they make engaging pets, but require owners with the determination to match their dogs’ lively characteristics. American Staffordshire Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Rat Terrier and Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier are all part of this Group.
The Sporting Group:
Naturally active and alert, Sporting dogs make likable, well-rounded and fun-loving companions. Remarkable for their instincts in water and woods, many of these breeds love to actively participate in hunting and other field-related activities. Potential owners of Sporting dogs need to realize that most require regular, invigorating exercise to wear them out and minimize the mischief making. The German Short-Haired Pointer, Weimaraner, Golden Retriever, and Brittany Spaniel are all a part of this group.
Non-Sporting Group: Non-sporting dogs are a really diverse group. Here are some sturdy animals with as different personalities and appearances as the Chow Chow, Dalmatian, French Bulldog, Poodle and Keeshond. Talk about differences in size, coat, and appearance! Many have a large following, and some are relatively rare. The breeds in this Group are a varied hodgepodge in terms of stature and personality. For specifics, google your individual breed’s characteristics.
The Herding Group: The Herding Group is the newest AKC classification…members were formerly classified in the Working Group. All these breeds share the amazing ability to control the movement of other animals. One remarkable example is the low-to-the-ground Corgi, that can drive a herd of cows many times its size by leaping and nipping at their heels to move them. Since most household pets never cross paths with a farm animal, nevertheless, pure instinct prompts these dog breeds to gently herd their owners. Generally, these very intelligent dogs make excellent companions and respond beautifully to training exercises and agility work. Border Collies, Old English Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs are part of this group.
The Working Group:
Dogs of the Working Group were bred to perform such jobs as guarding property, pulling sleds, and executing water rescues. The Doberman Pinscher, Siberian Husky, Boxer, Great Dane, and Bernese Mountain Dog are included in this Group, to name just a few. Quick to learn, these intelligent, capable animals make solid companions. By virtue of their size and strength…it’s imperative these dogs are properly trained. Obedience training, regular routines, and lots of exercise make these dogs well-behaved and controlled pets.
The Toy Group: The diminutive size and charming expressions of the dogs in the Toy Group illustrates the main function of these pups…to be loyal and entertaining companions for their owners. Toy dogs will always be popular with city dwellers and people without much living space. They make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap cuddlers. By the way, small breeds may be found in every Group, not just exclusive to the Toy Group. The Chihuahua, Havanese, Pekingese and Pug are part of this Group.
Looking for a new family member? We encourage you to look at your local humane society (you can save the life of a perfectly lovable mutt!) or try a breed specific rescue group. We’ve always had mixed breed pooches. The best strategy when choosing is to pick a dog whose temperament and energy level suit your lifestyle.