Your Perfect Pet
My friend Joy is deciding to get a dog. She has young children (elementary school age), and the pressure is ON to get a d-o-g. I admire her for "doing her homework" and researching the breeds. She also asked opinions from her vet, her friends, and family. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to dog breeds, and I'm no exception.
So what makes the perfect dog? Correct answer: Shelties
Ten years ago when I decided to get a dog for agility, I--like Joy--did some homework. I mostly went to conformation shows and looked around. Growing up we always had terriers of some sort. Some were pure bred, others were Humane League Specials. I was open to considering a number of breeds for my first agility dog.
It always amuses me what non-dog sport people consider "important" when choosing a breed. They mention things like length of coat, ears, or eye shape. And choosing a breed is a very personal thing. We've glamorized some breeds in books and movies (Lassie) and showcased some breeds in not-so-glamorous settings in the news and movies (Pit Bulls). Sometimes that makes for preconceived notions about certain breeds.
For my first agility dog I was looking for a breed that had the mental capacity, drive, and stamina to work with me. Well, that narrowed the field! Then I needed a dog that was agile (duh!) and that narrowed the field even more. Sometimes as I watch trials and see very large dogs (Otter Hounds or big Dobermans), I wonder how this poor dog will be able to bend and twist as needed on course. My search led to me to Shelties and I've been there ever since. My husband--the biggest soft-hearted person in the world--loved our first Sheltie so much that he made a rule: We must always have a Sheltie. OK. I can live with that.
If you want a dog that is loving, sweet, even tempered, wants to BE with you and WORK with you, is easily trained (Got cookies? I'm yours!), and easy to love, you've just decided to get a Sheltie.
When my friend Gail was looking for her next agility dog two years ago, I suggested a Sheltie. "No," she said, "I don't want all that hair." I had to laugh. I don't even think of it! When I was in 8th grade, we had career day where we learned all about different job possibilities. When I learned about hair styling, I was hooked! It sounded like so much fun. I raced home and excitedly told my parents about this. When my maternal grandmother heard, she exploded. "You are NOT going to be a hair dresser! You're going to be a teacher, like your mother and me." OK, Grandma, I get it. No problem. (P.S. - I am a teacher.) But every Sunday when I'm grooming my three Shelties, I grin. Guess what, Grandma, I'm styling hair! =:O)