You guys know what I’m talking about?
You’ve probably seen articles like these floating around the internet:
Top 10 Guard Dogs
Top 10 Watch Dogs
Top 10 Smartest Dogs
Top 10 Healthiest Dogs
Top 10 Family Dogs
…and the even more ridiculous, Top 10 Cutest Dogs and Top 10 Dumbest Dogs.
I want to talk about why
data publications like these are a bunch of baloney and why it’s wrong to put a number on things like this.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s wrong to put numbers on breeds. I’m OK with lists, but not numbered lists 1-10, for many reasons.
Dogs are individuals. They’re not products. They are not manufactured and accounted for by a quality control group before they hit the shelves like normal consumables. They don’t have engineering specs; they aren’t mathematically precise in construction.
I know I may be coming off ignorant to all my breeder friends, just know, I know traits and temperaments are important; the importance of preserving traits in certain breeds is important, obviously. But even breeders know dogs are individuals and can attest that a puppy sold cannot be guaranteed to be The Best “[insert stupid title here].” Dogs are however born with guaranteed potential, due to traits.
Dogs, have their own personalities with preferences, behaviors and characteristics that remain throughout life.
Traits and temperaments are potential factors. For example, acquiring a German Shepherd from a long line of good nerves and high drive will increase the chances of producing the perfect police dog. But at the end of the day, it’s the dog’s personality who’ll get ruled out. And in the end, he may only be good enough to be a family pet.
Why not change the dog’s personality? Why not motivate the dog to focus on the task at hand a little better? He’s on the top ten guard dog list!
Because you can’t!
Dogs, like humans, are individuals. “Sorry mom, but I don’t want to be big and scary.”
Lists like these also make people unimaginative and lazy. Narrowing or numbering a list like this makes people want a dog who made the cut. If it’s not on the list, everything else is sub par in their mind. Nothing else is worthy; it’s not the best. So they go and track down breeders in search of those who made the list. People who are not educated about dogs are likely to fall victim to these lists.
People always want the best. That’s the problem. And how convenient when there are online publications written by household networks that tell you “this” particular list of dog breeds are best for these “things.”
What we need to learn to do
There are plenty of organizations that adopt dogs–purebreds and mutts that were unwanted or abandoned–in shelters and turn them into therapy dogs, drug sniffing dogs, obedience champions, flyball champions, agility champions, surfing champions, herding champions, and most importantly, wonderful family companions.
I can keep going with the accolades, but just know, there is every kind of dog for every kind of person in a dog shelter.
It’s possible for anyone to go into a dog shelter, walk down the aisles and find an awesome
top ten list dog for any role.