Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to selecting a type of dog. Some people prefer large over small, short hair over long hair, wrinkles over a smooth face, curly tails over straight… The list could be endless! And luckily for us, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with all sorts of different traits and temperaments. What I want to focus on in this blog is the so-called “power breed.”
What is a Power Breed?
When referring to a power breed, I am talking about those breeds that are just that – powerful. They are typically a larger breed of dog, with a lot of defined musculature. These would be your Rottweilers, Presa Canarios, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs, Cane Corsos, etc. These dogs can be extremely loyal and loving, and we have quite a few that come into our clinic that are complete delight – sloppy kisses and all!
Another noteworthy attribute of many of these power breeds is that their original “jobs” were to be watch/guard dogs, hunters, and in some cases, even fighting dogs. Therefore, certain traits have been selected and emphasized over many, many years of breeding. Characteristics such as an imposing or intimidating appearance, a reservation towards strangers, brute strength and high intelligence have become instinctual within these types of dogs.
Battling Preconceived Notions
A few years ago, my husband and I welcomed a Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue into our home. His name was Troy and he was only the second dog I had ever adopted. I had been a fan of the breed since I first met a group of them about a decade earlier. Unfortunately, I was not in the least bit prepared for the difficulties I encountered when I was out with him. In fact, the thought had not even crossed my mind when we were considering adopting him… To me, he was a sweet soul that had endured a life of neglect and wanted nothing more than to snuggle up and be part of a family. To others, he was large and scary, and he had a big mouth with lots of teeth and a loud bark. I would go for walks with him and people would cross the street so they would not have to go near us. It broke my heart. This was a dog that literally ran away from a 5-pound Maltese in the waiting room of the clinic one day and hid behind me! The realization that he, and other breeds like him, would be met with fear and misunderstanding was a bitter pill for me to swallow, especially after having gotten to know Troy and experiencing first-hand the issues faced by those who have these types of dogs in their lives.
Ending the Stigma
Power breeds have had to endure a bad reputation that has been developed within our society and has stuck to them like glue. Their nature has too often been referred to as dangerous or aggressive. And while there is no denying that these dogs do have the potential to do harm, many of them are not deserving of the discrimination that they face.
Luckily, there is a way for lovers of these breeds to help repair the damage that has been done. And that is by showing the world the amazing, goofy, loving side of these dogs. The temperament of a dog can often be contributed to the time and effort their family puts into training them, as well as the boundaries that are set out for them. When one commits to adopting a power breed, they are taking on not only the responsibility of pet ownership, but also the responsibility of meeting the needs of a very special type of dog. It is critical for all dogs to be well socialized from a young age and given strict guidelines on what is proper behaviour. However, this becomes an especially important consideration for prospective pet parents when accepting power breeds into the family.
Considerations for Prospective Owners
If you are thinking about adopting a dog, please also look into training and consider going to puppy classes. It is essential to do your research and make sure that you understand exactly what sort of discipline and structure is required for the welfare and happiness of your new family member. Power breeds can be very strong-willed, so it is important to take a step back and evaluate yourself as an owner before taking on the responsibility of accepting these types of breeds into your family. An unprepared or unsuitable owner can result in an out of control pup, which only serves to harm the reputation of these breeds even further.
Take your time, do your research and select a breed that is appropriate to your lifestyle. Your future fur baby will thank you for it ten-fold, and the bond you two will develop will last a lifetime!
Thank you for reading,