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Every dog in our home has descended from the grey wolf and was originally bred for a specific purpose. Small dogs such as Jack Russells were bred specifically to fit down holes to catch rabbits. Huskies were bred strong with thick coats so they could pull sleds and survive in freezing temperatures. Most dogs now however are bred for aesthetics and no longer work. So what does this mean for dogs in our home? Does this affect their behaviour?

Does having a certain breed of dog act as a psychological barrier with regards to training?

Too often I hear that certain breeds of dogs cannot be trained. When the truth is that they were bred for a specific purpose over a period of time, this time scale was very small in comparison of their history. So has this had such an effect on their DNA and personality that it has been passed down through generations? I appreciate certain breeds of dogs tend to be better at certain things e.g. border collies are generally the experts when rounding up sheep, there bodies are designed to do the job and there breed has had much work and attention in doing this that it has become natural. However they are all not capable of rounding up sheep.

All dogs have different personalities

Dogs all have an individual personality; some are born shy, courageous, pushy, soft or even jokers. So can we stereotype a whole breed? We can’t with people! It will be wrong to say that all English people are hooligans and all French people wear berets. Using Staffy’s as an example the answers are found behind the distorted human perception. Is it coincidence that Staffy’s are involved in tragic cases? Or is it more the type of people that wants such a naturally strong and potentially tenacious dog? There are thousands of responsible Staffy owners out there and then there are a minority of people on the street who want to look hard who lack in the downstairs department. It is not coincidence that on a recent trip to Battersea I saw that Staffy’s made up 75% of abandoned dogs, so what does this say?

There are many considering factors to take into account

To me this says, people’s perceptions are responsible again for creating hype to specific breeds, it a combination of the media, irresponsible owners and anthropomorphising, I say that a Staffy and a Yorkshire Terrier do not think any different like a black person or a white person doesn’t.  By stereotyping  breed of dog it becomes a limiting belief regarding training. If you think it is in the dogs nature for a Beagle to always run off or a Terrier will always be aggressive then the chances are you will not address it.  The truth is it is down to a mixture of nature, nurture and environment.  The main difference with the breeds of dog is when one of them bites you, it is about the size of the hole it leaves in your skin.

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