Lady Smarts: How to Pick a Dog Breed

Written by Meredith Russo on . Posted in NY Press Exclusive.


Photo via Flickr / Outlier Dogs

Now that you know how to prepare for a puppy in the city – your fingers should be frozen but strong and your squats impressively stable – it’s time to talk dog breeds. Choosing the right breed can take years of research and careful contemplation, but I’m here to save you the trouble with one simple tip.

Adopt. Now, I’m sorry if you were expecting some sort of dog breed personality matcher with a fun infographic and questions like “Your ideal Sunday afternoon is spent: a) sleeping b) going to the park or c) chewing on things.” Definitely c, by the way. While I know it sounds preachy, I promise that I encourage you to adopt for PURELY SELFISH REASONS.

Now do I have your attention? Good.

So, puppies are cute. Of course they are. Everybody loves a puppy, like a wide-eyed, fluffy-tailed freshman girl at her first college party. But, also like the freshman girl, they can’t handle what they drink and just don’t have much to contribute yet. Sure, sometimes they look really sleepy and fall over cutely, but I’ll take a mellow, grey bearded dog that would give its right front paw for me any day. Just like an older, grey bearded lady – eh, let’s leave that metaphor for now.

Puppies are vapid. They’re fuzzy arm candy. If you want fuzzy arm candy, go buy one of those feather pens from the 90s, or a furry purse or something. They will not shit on your carpet or keep you up all night. Even your future dog will look back on its puppy years with embarrassment. “Ugh, I did what to that Collie?!” “I peed where?! How humiliating.” Adopting an older dog is like skipping directly to the main course when all the appetizers involve labor-intensive truffle-scented foams that only leave you hungrier. Skip the fluff, and the puppy fuzz.

Rescues are also grateful. That entitled purebred bitch knows you paid top dollar for her, and she will never forget it. Moreover, as far as I’m concerned “purebred” means “inbred,” and just like most plates of “raw, mushy beef” would be left untouched while those of “steak tartare” are polished clean, most people would not proudly state that they “only buy inbred dogs.” Again, moral and ick issues aside – we do not inbreed for selfish reasons: it produces fucked up offspring. And medical bills add up fast.

Your dog may look like the one you have dreamt of since childhood – he has been bred to, after all – but what you don’t see are the impending stomach, heart, and allergy problems. You won’t find those problems in the scrappy survivors at the shelter. Obviously you’re not going to let a high maintenance puppy die a Darwinian death, so when you make the initial decision regarding the dog you bring home, choose a survivor. You want the dog that has survived months on the streets eating garbage, not the one who needs boiled chicken and pureed pumpkin with half a Zyrtec served in a stainless steel bowl.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when someone at the dog run asks what kind of dog yours is, don’t you want to be able to say with a smug smile: “Oh! Darwin? We don’t know, he’s a rescue.” Game. Set. Match.

 

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