Our dog choice is based on fashion

How did you choose your dog?

You may not consider yourself fashionable but many owners have chosen their dog based on looks or popularity.

A study in the US has recently examined fashion versus function in dog breed popularity by:

  • bernese puppytaking data from US Kennel Club from between 1926 and 2005
  • examining data from C-BARQ behavioural questionnaires
  • veterinary hospital records on longevity
  • published data on inherited disorders


Some interesting results were found, including…

  • The top 10 most popular breeds and their behaviour issues…
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  • The popularity of dog breeds shows “apparently whimsical fluctuations”, representing fashions of the times. For instance Irish setters climbed from about 2,500 in 1961 to over 60,000 in 1974, only to drop to about 3,000 by 1986. (Anyone own an Irish Setter or an Afghan in the 70s?!)
  • People were not choosing their dogs based on behavioural issues. The most popular breeds did not necessarily have fewer behaviour problems.
  • While we might expect people to choose dogs that were easy to live with, this did not seem to be the case. Easily trainable dogs were not the most popular, nor were dogs that were likely to suffer from behavioural issues such as separation anxiety, dog fears or aggression towards owners.
  • People were not choosing dogs based on health as dogs with inherited disorders were actually more popular than those without. http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24093488
  • People may be choosing their pets based on fashion. This may be selecting dogs that are most popular of particular breeds that are associated with prestigious individuals (Paris Hilton & Chihuahuas!) or with those of similar ages as ourselves. Interesting!

Read complete study

So, are Australians any different?

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Since no study has been conducted on Australian data, we can only guess. There is little to suggest that we are any different.

When Dalmatians were popular after the movie 101 Dalmatians, Dalmatian breeders here in Australia did not breed to match the demand. The integrity (health and behavioural temperament) of the breed should, therefore, remain excellent. We cannot say this of all other breeds, We know there are still puppy farmers breeding purely for looks and demand and not necessarily for temperament.

I think that when we take on a puppy, we don’t imagine the types of behaviour or even health issues that we may encounter. We, perhaps naively, believe that this will not happen to us. Perhaps our friends with similar dogs do not disclose all their issues.

How did you choose your dog? Did you copy your friends? Did you choose a fashionable breed?

For those of us who may like to educate ourselves prior to acquiring a pet, here are some resources that may help in this decision…

Choosing a dog Dr Jo’s website

Choosing the right dog for you Purina Australia

Inherited disorders in dogs University of Sydney LIDA

Pet shops and puppy farms Dr Jo’s blog

Buy Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs. Shop all dog flea & tick collars online.

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  1. we needed a guard dog and one that was easy to maintain and ended up rescuing a Shar pei male and female. The best dogs I have ever owned and I have owned tea cup through to large breeds. Just luv em

  2. Ours chose us. We actually went to the pound to enquire about a rottweiler names Brutus, lol, but when we got there he was just way too big for our yard to what we envisaged & had a very deep loud bark so we continued on our way. Walked along the rows of cages awwing & ahhhing, then all of the sudden this little white terrier sprung up from his cage & nuzzled up to us against the wire.

  3. I had narrowed down to a few suitable breeds, Jack Russel being one of them. Fudge (in my current profile pic.) was supposedly a “JR cross” …it wasn’t evident there was kelpie in him until probably about 8 – 10 months (he got me when he was 8 weeks old). I NEVER would’ve chosen a kelpie or kelpie cross – knowing my environment & lifestyle wasn’t suited to that. He’s now almost 11, my life has changed in a lot of ways – thanks to him, and I absolutely adore the classic kelpie traits in him. I know I’m not the right person to have a kelpie in the future, but I wouldn’t hesitate adopting an older kelpie that has slowed down a bit. I’ve just fallen in love with the breed! My other dog, Merlot, is a pure jack russel, because it was my original choice, and I thought a good match for Fudge’s energy. They’re a great pair!

  4. Tickety-boo was in a milk crate in a bar in a shearers’ pub. The shearer was going to “knock them on the head in the morning” if they weren’t taken. The crate tipped over and Boo crawled into my lap.

  5. Our 12 year old (rescue) Silky Terrier suffered a stroke and passed away in my arms at 2.05am 25/09/2007 the following morning I took my beloved Jessie to Wauchope to have cremated. Some 5 weeks passed and my husband myself and 2 children were travelling up the coast to Yamba on holidays and stopped in at Wauchope for a cuppa and some lunch. We spotted an advert for schnauzer puppies on a local farm for sale and thought why not take a look, although my husband was dead against getting another dog. It was love at first sight but hubby was still against it. So off we went on holidays. A week later I decided to contact the lady with the puppies and asked her if the particular puppy Shona was still available, I enquired what date the puppies were born and Vickie replied 2:30am 25/09/2007 so this was within 25 minutes of our Jessie passing over. Hubby came around and so Shona was renamed Molly Goldie and is now my gorgeous best friend in the world. 🙂

  6. I am getting an amstaff later this year (waiting impatiently for him to be born) and there was a lot of thought put into what breed and breeder to get him from.

  7. No always on temperament & character if I stayed where we’re used to it would be a Rottweiler as there is so much fear over them, didn’t want the poor hound to feel the bad vibes, have chose more appropriate for a hamlet..

  8. My son was the one who wanted a dog, not me or my Husband, and as Chris has severe allergies it had to be a Toy Poodle. Well, I fell like Nelson, didn’t I, now we have three. Affectionatly known as The Toddlers, x

  9. i saw my brothers pups just as they were very young and i said id like one i got a malteze cross from a friend which has since passed away but my brother surprised me with my current dog teneisha as a Christmas present oh what a wonderful gift she was i couldn’t imagine life without her now

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