Dog Breeds II: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. My Neighbor has one of those.

6 Jan

Back, by popular demand, is the Dog Breed Profile. This time around, we thought we’d hit the big three. That is, the breeds AKC declares most popular every year circa 2011 (Shhh, we like to pretend Goldens don’t exist sometimes. Then we go to obedience trials and cry a little bit). This is, of course, according to their registration and has very little to do with what dogs are actually sitting (More like humping) at the popular table, but we’ll ignore that.

Pretty much.

Labrador Retriever

Eww. They’re recessive…

We’ve been harsh on labs in the past, we can admit that. We may have called them dumb, over friendly, oafish. There is no denying it though, America loves them. They’ve been the number one breed in America for… a long long time. We don’t do actual research for these blogs so we don’t know how long. It’s been a while, just stick with us.

The Good:

1. Labs are genuinely nice dogs. The vast majority of the time, they’re pleasant to be around. They’re that iconic bro dog, sort of easy going but ready to go when you are. They make great exercise partners, love to play fetch and they can be great family dogs. They’re pretty much the dog everyone thinks about when you hear “I want a puppy” from the mouths of children. For an active family or individual there is a labrador for all seasons from the heftier plough horse Labradors to the sleek seal-like field-breds.

i gots a buuurd.

2. If you want a general bird retrieving buddy, there’s no reason to look any farther than a good lab. Even the worst bred among them still has that instinct, even if he’s destroying what passes for his hips doing it. We’re kidding. Labs actually have better hips than a lot of breeds, but given the sheer number of them out there… Good luck telling that to your vet. There’s a reason the go to dog for most hunters is a Lab. They do the job, they do it well and they do it with a good attitude.

The Bad:

1. Popularity comes with a price. See above mentioned lousy excuse for hips. Also, do us a favor. Open a new tab. Go to your local shelters page. Now look at the breeds. How many of those are lab mixes? Hell, how many of those are purebred labs? The shelter is overrun with black labs and mixes. Indiscriminate breeding has been hell on the breed. If you just want a companion, please do not pay $300 via Paypal for a ‘purebread silver lAbrader’.

2. We did call them dumb, yes. Really though… it’s more… oafish. Herding dog people may find this particular quality more obnoxious than others. Labs assume everyone is their best friend and it can get them in trouble most notably with other dogs but also with cows, vehicles, electric fences and car interiors.

The Ugly:

1. This is the part where we talk about breed splits again. Labs are the original split breed. You have your blubbery show line labs that can sort of waddle around the ring, you have you crazy high as a kite field line labs that are like living with a border collie with an oral fixation, and then you have something in between that is mostly produced by BYBs and that’s the lab that lives in most of America’s living room.

If you put it down , it’s fair game.

2. There’s a solid chance your lab will eat your house in the first two years of his life. Seriously, they are notoriously naughty puppies who must taste everything… and we mean everything. .


Beagles are one of the most recognizable breeds out there, and it’s been our experience that people either love them…or hate them.  Beagles tend to be amiable little fellows with a lot of character and it certainly can’t be said that they are boring.  This breed is known for its irresistible floppy ears, expressive eyes and merry, happy-go- lucky character that transmits happiness and joy.  Plus…Snoopy.  Everyone loves Snoopy.

Still not cuter than Uno.

The Good:

1.  They love their people.  Beagles tend to be people-oriented and can make great family pets.

2.  They’re a small dog that isn’t fragile.  Beagles are kind of like crossover SUVs.  Slightly lower to the ground, sturdy, and good for many purposes.

3.  Beagles are awfully cute.  Their big brown eyes are incredibly soulful and expressive and seemingly get them out of a lot of trouble.  Beagle owners will tell you that they are hard to stay mad at.

The Bad:

1.  As a general rule (and yes, we know there are exceptions) Beagles are not great off-leash dogs.  They are scent-hounds after all.  When a Beagle catches a scent, their nose will hit the ground and they will go after with the intensity of a fat kid trying to find a cupcake.

2. To a Beagle, your home is nothing more than a giant buffet.   Don’t be surprised if you find your Beagle “shopping” in your home to find their next snack.  Trash, food, that old sock..nothing is sacred to a Beagle. And that pizza you left on the counter while you answered the phone?  Forget about it.  Just be glad if the plate wasn’t consumed too.

3.  Beagles are very intelligent dogs, but they’re not necessarily eager to please, which makes them more of a training challenge. In fact, Beagles can be downright ornery if his priorities conflict with yours.

The Ugly:

1.  Arooooooooooo.  While many owners of Beagles find their distinctive voice charming, rest assured that most of your neighbors will not.  Especially at 6 am when they spot a squirrel in the backyard or just want to let you know how happy they are that it’s breakfast time.

2.  Beagle Stank.  To be fair it’s more of a collective hound-breed stank. It’s a real thing.  Beagles, despite having short fur, are known for being both high-shedding and rather odorous. It’s a stank that just don’t come out.

3. Their “The world is my oyster… Let’s eat it” attitude makes them more than a little prone to obesity. They have the ‘Fat and happy’ mindset down to a science and keeping them thin is a science unto itself.

German Shepherd

How badly do you want this ball back?

How badly do you want this ball back?

America’s favorite since Strongheart (Pre-Rin Tin Tin. Look it up.) graced the silent movie screen, German Shepherds are still the perennial “Protective Dog” for the masses. Theoretically every German Shepherd should be brave, protective, active family companions with the brains and the power to do just about any task set forth. In practice… well… let’s just get to the list.

The Good:

1. They are hard working. No one can say your GSD is really a dummy. While they may not be the smartest brains of the class when only compared to Border Collies and Poodles, they’re certainly willing to put in the effort and the hard work to get that ‘A’. What they don’t have in raw brain power, they make up for in worth ethic. Even then, the brain power can be pretty impressive….

2. Well-bred, well-socialized shepherds with training are wonderful active companions and all the better with a job. They crave work and a purpose. It’s always a little surprising German Shepherds aren’t more popular in the obedience ring. Unsurprising is that they have their own sport (IPO) that showcases the qualities of a good German Shepherd.

3. Eager to please doesn’t even begin to cover it. Not only has the good GSD read the rulebook, they keep a copy handy in case you need to change some rules and they can be prepared for other rule changes in the future.

4. They do make for an imposing picture. Not that we recommend walking through a meth-lab with them and expecting no harm to come to you, but the fact remains that many people will cross the road to avoid “Police Dogs”

The Bad:

1. Health issues abound in the popular breeds. From allergies to dysplasias, DM to chronic ear infections, German Shepherds do not have the best track record in terms of overall health. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not awesome either. Thankfully a lot of it can be avoided through careful breeding and research.

2. German Shepherds are going to make you prove it. “What is this ‘it’” you ask. ‘It’ is everything. if you lack consistency or the ability to lay down rules with fairness and authority this is not a dog for you. Adolescence with a German Shepherd is hell. German Shepherd puppies can be incredibly trying to raise. Aside from the “fear periods” (Which seem absurdly out of proportion to other breeds) at a certain point the “I don’t want to you can’t make me AAHAHHHHHHHHH! *bite* *snap* *hiss*” of sexual maturity begins, and everything you did as a puppy is seemingly forgotten as some hell-monster comes to live where your reasonably okay GSD puppy once resided. If you aren’t prepared to handle that with dignity, calmness and tequila, this will not be the breed for you. Also, be totally prepared for strangers to think you’ve been beaten by your spouse…Bruises, scrapes, black-eyes (No we’re not kidding). If Malinois are Maligators, than GSDs are the Landsharks.

3. Oh my Sweet baby Jesus the shedding. German Shedders is a not-funny or remotely amusing “joke” that merely describes the sheer horror of 70lbs of undercoat all coming out all the time.

4. Every asshole has had one. “It was 300lbs, vicious but rescued a kitten from a tree.” These people are incredibly annoying.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

The black and tan bandersnatch! Wait no, sorry. GSD.

5. If you have anything but a Black and Tan with the saddle marking, be prepared to be asked about your ‘Coydog’/’Wolf/Husky/Mutt at regular intervals. Your “No, he’s a German Shepherd” will be met with weird looks, snorts of derision and even people calling you a moron not-so-under their breath. If you don’t love the irony, stick to a different breed.

6. Much like labs, these dogs should have a working temperament which is not conducive to spending all day, every day in a crate. They are physical dogs who can have the youthful ‘Bull in a China Shop’ mentality. These are not appropriate dogs for your 90 year old Nana.

7. Do you like having insurance? Well your premium probably just went up. GSDs are frequently included in BSL which can make owning one a headache.

The Ugly:

1) Want to get yelled at in multiple languages from ten different directions by strangers on the internet? Start talking about German Shepherds. German Shepherds are at the heart of every dog debate that exists ever. Structure? Bloodlines? Work Ethic? German? Dutch? Czech? Showlines? We won’t go into details, just wander onto a dog forum and you’ll see pages from both sides. It is equal parts understandable and ridiculous.

2) You know how we called Labs the ‘original breed split’? Well, we lied. This is the big one folks and it’s a doozy. In layman’s’ terms, there are functionally three factions, four if you count useless BYB type. The first faction is the American Show Lines. The second are the High Lines, so think German show dogs. The third are the working line dogs. Each of these have further subdivisions and so on and so forth until each side only support one dog at one kennel ever, but you get the gist. Each side criticizes the other for temperament, health, angulation, “true working ability” etc and if you are unfamiliar with pedigrees or general faction alliances you can get yourself tangled up in an argument you didn’t even know you started. We have no vested interest in who you pick or why, but do yourself a favor and really really do your research. You can be burned badly if you don;t.

3) Finding a breeder who is A) Quality and B) Will give you a nice pup is a huge undertaking. See Ugly Section 2 for details.

4) Lastly, and most glaring is the total lack of consistency in the breed as a whole. We can not conclusively say that the average German Shepherd you run across won’t be a bundle of nerves, insecurities and teeth willing to bite the hand that passes by, nor can we guarantee they won’t be so bold and social their interest in other people borders on labrador-like.. The best you can really hope for is finding a type that appeals to you and researching the snot out of it. Mentors in this breed are worth their weight in gold, but make sure to keep an open mind to what characteristics you want, not just what someone tells you to want.

As always we highly recommend looking into performance oriented clubs and sports to help guide you to someone who may have the dog for you. If they have to see you every day, it’s not likely they’ll give you a crappy one. As always, you’re welcome.

58 Responses to “Dog Breeds II: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly e.g. My Neighbor has one of those.”

  1. Emily January 6, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    I am a lab person-I have a yellow lab and I can say that you hit the nail on the head! I love her oafishness though, you can’t insult a lab. 🙂

    • Hans Dutchie February 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      “… can’t insult a lab…..”
      Sorry to burst your bubble , but yes you can…..ask CM with his now famous Lab bite with Holly..;-)

  2. crystalpegasus1 January 6, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    My black GSD Panzer (oh I’m sorry, my lab/shepard mix) thanks you for recognizing his ugly. He likes his ugly and he likes his ball so if you are a stranger and you like your hand, cross to the other side of the road like a good chicken and stay away. Joking, sort of.

  3. Mufaasa's Mum January 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    Yes, everything yes. Your GSD post is so dead on it hurts. Literally, I have the scratch marks on my arms right now to prove it. My GSD mix is (hopefully) hitting the end of his adolescent period, and right now cannot hear the sound of people tobogganing out of sight without curling into a tiny ball of terror. This stemming from a single incident that happened over a year ago and has never been repeated. This same dog will fly off an a-frame at Mach 3 speeds without a second thought.
    I wish to DEATH they were less popular, since most people who get them have no idea they just potentially adopted a loaded gun. And if shelters are filled with Lab mixes, they are next filled with GSD mixes, and both categories of dogs are probably in their adolescent period when they are hardest to deal with and least adoptable. I love my guy but the thought of him in the hands of an inexperienced owner fills me with a deep and unabiding terror.

  4. kenknudson January 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    My favorite dogs are the ones that say “duh” a lot. And are goofy. Goofy is good.

  5. Kristen January 6, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    This is all so true! Beagle bark drives me bonkers.
    I remember searching petfinder for my first dog. It was 2001. My thought was “will a Lab have sex with anything? Wait.. Does that say Dacsu

  6. Janis January 6, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Great post. I currently have two Humane Society dogs. One a lab/shep mix that was seven years old and had heartworms. She is a jewel (wants to please, never uses her mouth on you, etc.) She does have attachment issues, however, but is okay when we leave the house. Our other dog is a 10 year old beagle. You nailed that one. In fact, he’s snoring on the floor, stinking up my office as I write this!!! I also have to convince him that what I want him to do is really his idea. Very different from the first dog. Love them both and wanted to take older dogs out of the kennel. They got along great but, I must admit, not a lot of thought went into picking them by their breed, just temperament.

    • Melinda January 7, 2014 at 12:11 am #

      A friend I work with just got a Lab/Beagle mix and was wondering why it was eating everything in sight and they didn’t have a kennel for him. I really wanted to laugh and point at her and say she was an idiot, but I refrained. Instead I told her she just got the garbage disposal of the dog world and that she really needed to crate train her puppy and to prepare for 2 years of hell, but that after that it would be a really great dog.

  7. Kristen January 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    My husband grew up living next door to a Beagle. His family called him “No” in conversation. When he would bark it sounded like he was yelling “Nooooo!”

    I remember using Petfinder to search for my first dog. Will a Lab have sex with anything? I had to blink as a read one of the breed descriptions “dachshund/ Lab”.
    All I wanted to know was how that balancing act occurred. Everything was mixed with lab that day.

  8. sammylou1 January 6, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    I’m a Lab person – I’ve have collies and I grew up with GSD’s – but I would only have Labs and English Springers (WORKING lines, always UK working, field trial lines) now. They aren’t dumb by any stretch of the imagination but they they do lack the natural awareness when it comes to a polite distance to keep and it needs to be a big lesson from day one (but no more than border collies need to have the ‘you don’t need to herd everything that moves’ lesson or the ‘for doG’s sake settle down and go to sleep you’ve had four hours walk today’)

    I did laugh at the ‘border collie with an oral fixation’ that perfectly describes my pup!

  9. robyn January 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    you want bad? I have a Lab/Shepherd mix -_- shelter pup, sheds like there is no tomorrow, big giant dope of a dog. bless her heart, her hips were starting to go bad at 4 months old… too stupid to know better, too protective to understand friend lol

  10. Shanna Stichler January 6, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    You’ve described my GSD pretty much dead on. Her adolescence was really a special time, and I’m so glad we both got through it mostly intact. 😀 She’s one of those that thrives on work, so I can’t imagine her living in a typical novice or pet home. She’s definitely one who believes authority must be earned, so would’ve been a terror for an inexperienced owner, I think.

    One thing about GSDS that I didn’t see mentioned was that they bond really strongly to their humans, almost to a fault. My dog needed to work pretty hard at being left alone without screaming her pretty head off, or my personal favorite attempting to climb out of a ground-floor window in order to look for me. She is a really nice dog after all the puppy antics, and I just love the breed.

  11. Melanie January 6, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    Perfect, perfect, perfect. This minion loves your posts and wants to be a Dog Snob when i grow up! I have a GSD, healthy, balanced temperament, nice energy level. Oh, and gorgeous- tho he is a black faced plush coat so we do get a lot of idiots wanting to call him something else. I actually tell asshats-when he has absolutely no interest in their no doubtedly fascinating selves and is completely ignoring them- that’s why I did not get a lab…or golden. GSD’s have taste and discretion. So bugger off.

  12. Doranna January 6, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    I find myself in an absurd conundrum. I…yes, I am a Beagle person. My Beagles do not stink. They don’t make an excessive amount of noise (relative to the other dogs in this neighborhood? No contest)–and the noisiest is a girl I took in as a 5yo less than a year ago. They have a work ethic, long strings of titles, and they are fit and healthy. I find them pretty refreshing to work with on the whole. (For context, I’ve never worked with a Golden. But I did have Cardigans for over 15 years, as well as a variety of earlier dogs).

    However, it’s an inescapable fact that I’ve never seen a pet Beagle who wasn’t fat, unless it was just really REALLY fat. (I tend to think that they handle kibble crap carbs less successfully than some breeds, which applies to shedding and stank, too.) And that most people consider them stupid without realizing that their brilliant strategy is “the world’s dumbest empty-eyed gaze.” They do this with amazing success because the family then says, “You’re too stupid to figure this out, so forget it.” And the Beagle is doing a little paw-pump. “Yes–! It worked AGAIN!”

    So in my experience–and in the experience of my Beagle-handling performance buddies–none of what’s said about Beagles is true. Except for other peoples’ Beagles, when it usually is true.

    (They do have a pretty big BYB/breeder dichotomy, though, with BYBs having a completely different headpiece and often crookedy legs. And I can have mine off-lead any time I want…as long as I’m actively working with them. On their own, they’ll do exactly what they’re bred for, which is to chase what needs to be chased. This is a surprise? But I’m cool with that because I don’t let my dogs off-lead in public places where they shouldn’t be off-lead, anyway.)

    • TheDogSnobs January 7, 2014 at 12:40 am #

      I personally know three super-awesome Beagles, unfortunately you nearly never see three super awesome Beagles anywhere ever… And one is actually an adorable Uno relative (Same breeder and possibly a half brother? I don’t remember the details). They are of course with people who know what the hell they’re doing, which in and of itself is a novelty.

      All of them heel better than my Malinois… and one either has or is working on her UD.

      • Doranna January 7, 2014 at 2:07 am #

        I have three super awesome Beagles! <= poking fun at complete lack of self objectivity

        When they're trained according to their needs and not by imposing training that works with other dog groups (working, herding), Beagles can really do a fine job–reliable and usually very honest. (Not my youngest, whose brilliance/impulse control failure combo often causes his mind to slide around on black ice during key moments–but when he's "on," he's a blast.) But their motivation isn't built in. Once you establish that, then you've got a dog to work with. I suspect that's the crux point between the Beags who Do Stuff and the ones who successfully employ "dumb-face."

      • ThePayferPack January 7, 2014 at 2:45 am #

        Along these same lines, I actually have a customer/training student who went out and got a beagle. They actually went and talked to breeders and went to some shows to watch and ended up with a really nice little boy. He is amazing and they do say that his cuteness gets him out of a lot of trouble 😉 His recall is also coming along really well for a beagle (he started classes with me when they got him (I think he was 11 weeks at the time). And… they are intentionally keeping him fit and staying aware of his weight!!!! I have a rare gem in this student and puppy! These are the ones who give me hope for humanity; although these types of folks are few and far between. But a nicely bred beagle in the right home is awesome!

    • Jen Robinson January 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

      I have BYB / hunting beagle people down the street. They are noisy and they probably stink, but far enough down the road that they’re no bother. Given that they have at least a dozen dogs, they’re not bad at all. If you keep your dogs in a pack and don’t bring them inside, you’ll get that. At least, they’re harmless, friendly little critters. Snoopy beagles are almost a different breed.

    • Bree February 4, 2014 at 3:33 am #

      I loved my Beagle, he most definitely was brilliant, especially if I had a handful of chicken 😉 Super stubborn, but clean and no doggy-odor, I do wonder if it was relative to the higher quality food? Worst part was his gas though 😉

  13. Cain January 7, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    A good German Shepherd dog is …. poetry in motion, security against all evils, and the best friend you’ll ever have. A good German Shepherd dog will TEACH you how to train, so throw out the “I know what I’m doing” nonsense when you get one, and be open to what they are teaching. Can they be trying? Absolutely – but, assuming you’ve got a good stable dog, it will be the best use of time you’ve ever spent in your life. I have always had working lines – Czech, specifically, and I’ve never had better partners, regardless of what the task was. The worst thing? When you lose them – when they die, for whatever reason, be it health, accident, whatever – you feel – no, you ARE diminished. A bit of light & joy leaves you, and although you may have other good dogs, it is never the same. Are they worth it? A good German Shepherd dog is worth every bit of heartache, every tear that you will shed when they die – they are just that good – and more.

    • Cain January 7, 2014 at 1:57 am #

      Sorry, lol – total buzz kill.

    • Cyndi January 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      This is a perfect description of the GSDs with whom I have been lucky enough to share my home. Now, as I struggle with health issues of my own I am fighting the urge to find another good one. I’m not sure I can keep up and I am not sure any other breed will do.

      • Terry January 30, 2014 at 3:38 am #

        Rescue an older senior GSD from a pound. Or look at a GSD rescue for an older dog.

    • Robyn February 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      I agree completely. I have trained many different breeds and combos in my lifetime, but “got hooked” on GSDs when I rescued my first from a friend’s driveway. She was 10 and I had her only 1.5 years, but Sadie was special. I now have 2 more, both rescues, and they are also amazing. They are smart, loyal, flexible, stable and just beautiful dogs. I know I will die a little each time I lose one, but I can’t imagine ever being without a GSD again in my life.

  14. Mountain Poodle January 7, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    Once again you guys nailed it! ‘purebread silver lAbrader’? Hahahahahaha!

    RE the perfect family dog… I’d like to see more families consider the Beagle when they are looking for a family dog. Beagles are a great size and they are generally happy and forgiving dogs. The fact that they are off-the-chart food motivated makes them fairly easy to train. As far as “following their nose”… Most families don’t train off-leash skills well anyway, so I think it is actually a plus to have a breed that really needs to stay on a leash.

  15. Jane January 7, 2014 at 3:48 am #

    Not sure if this is a “bad” or an “ugly” about Labs, but the breed seems be plagued with allergies, which often lead to constant ear infections. Seems like everyone I’ve met with a Lab in the past 5 years has had to deal with expensive allergy issues.

    • northern belle January 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      I think a lot of Lab allergies have to do with 2 things: fleas and crappy carb-heavy food. JMHO

    • Jen Robinson January 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      If you’ve had this problem with Labs, look for a good breeder, and ask questions about allergies before you buy a pup. As a minor breeder, I’ve produced a bit over 100 pups and owned more than a dozen Labs. My puppy buyers all have my contact details, and I’ve never had a question or complaint about allergies; nor have any of my Labs had allergies. Not even flea allergies.
      I ran a boarding kennel for five years (in Australia). The big breed for skin allergies there was the Staffie.

  16. Merciel January 7, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Ahahahaaaa you guys nailed this one. I love the Dog Breed Profiles so much. ❤

    Chalk me down for another person who knows a couple of really awesome performance Beagles and a lot of derpy pet Beagles. Not too many obese ones in my neighborhood, at least.

    And thanks for continuing to fan the flames of my GSD obsession. Someday! Someday! When I'm ready for a real true Actual Performance Dog! 😉

  17. Lydia January 7, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    Loving the breed profiles, they are hysterical! I have a BC/ Lab mix (read obsessive retriever) who I love dearly, but her lab moments can be trying… Also people should never mix those two breeds again. She has, um, issues. Amazing sports dog, though.

    You guys should do the Northern breeds (and those of us insane enough to own one)!

  18. E. Bailey January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    I take issue with the “hound stank” thing. I live with two breeds of hounds (11 dogs in all) and you can not smell dogs in my house. Seriously. Ridgebacks and Basenjis are about as clean and non-odorous as a dog gets and they are both hounds.

    • Diane January 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      IMHO there are enough major differences between scenthounds and sighthounds that they should be in different groups. I’ve got 3 wolfhounds and a greyhound in the house, I’ll never earn the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, and there’s virtually no odor in my house. And they get bathed maybe once a year. They also eat raw, and that contributes to lack of stank.

    • TheDogSnobs January 10, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

      Hound Stank is 100% a scenthound thing. Sighthounds need not apply.

      • dorannadurgin January 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

        Bah! I still think it’s got to do with what they’re being fed. Given that I’m living with three and the house, it don’t smell. Nor did my blue tick/beagle boy of my heart smell, nor the leopard cur of years ago (but clearly I am addicted to hounds).

        When I first talked about getting a beagle while mostly having my cardis, a friend made noises about the smell. I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. So I guess I still don’t know! Except that somewhere, someone else’s beagles must smell…

  19. All Things Collie January 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    I love your blog! Wish I had discovered it sooner! 🙂

  20. Steve January 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    That was well written and thorough. I look forward to more of these about other breeds.

  21. Anni January 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    German Shepherds only shed once a year… it just lasts for 365 days! Do your research, and only go for a reputable vacuum cleaner. GSD loyalty also extends to accompanying their owner to the bathroom. Every Time. Once you go German you never go back… Look into the eyes of a GSD and more than a dog looks back at you 🙂

  22. Sarah January 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    This is great and you made me laugh out loud quite a few times. “BRO DOG”, Bol. #truth. I’ll keep my $300 adoption fee pit bull mutts.

  23. Owned by a Teenage GSD January 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    PERFECT GSD Description!
    we are owned by a 11 month old GSD and you got it. It can be hell!
    Our Q is a great dog, but ONE visit to my brother, his gf and her son (Team inconsistent table feeders) and (80 pound) Baby Q spirals into an undisciplined Teenage Monster that rests his head lovingly on the kitchen table when we eat.
    I LOVE GSDs, but what can they be a PAIN!

    (And yes, EVERYBODY had one or has a story about one at one point in their lives!)

  24. agilitycreatures January 10, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    The beagle stank is so accurate! A friend has one and they’re definitely not for me, but they are fun little dogs. I have a lab mix and the dare I say it border collie (oh no I got him just for agility!1!1! Oops. Not really of course 😉 ). But you pretty much hit them all on the head! There are many different variations within the breeds but you were pretty on in general.

  25. Jen Robinson January 12, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Lab person here. In my experience the splits in the Lab community aren’t all that ugly. The tradition of honoring dual champions goes back to Lady Howe, and you’ll find some tank-built Labs who win big in conformation and go on to hunting titles…or their progeny do (think Dickendal Arnold). Sure, there are serious hunters who don’t give a damn if their dog is rangy and lacks a block head. And show people think the hunting Labs are ugly. And lots of people bitching about BYB’s. But no real dogfights. Maybe it’s that Lab people tend to be nice, like their dogs.
    Also, the hips issue is a myth. Go to the breed rankings for hip dysplasia at the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ( website. Labs rank 88th, meaning 87 breeds have worse hip statistics than Labs.

    • TheDogSnobs January 12, 2014 at 3:10 am #

      “We’re kidding. Labs actually have better hips than a lot of breeds, but given the sheer number of them out there… Good luck telling that to your vet.”

      We know about the hip thing. You’re fighting numbers on the perception there though. e.g. The vet on NPR who cited labs as having terrible hips and a breeder set him straight very quickly. The vet had a quick reply about numbers, which in his defense… totally true. 🙂

      • Jen Robinson January 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

        Widespread, demonstrably false perceptions are fun to fight.

        If the NPR show was Animal Airways (out of our local university), that was me calling in 😉 I didn’t realize that they syndicated it. I thought the vet’s answer was fine. I’ll bet he went and checked the data on HD, and will never again use the Lab as poster-boy for HD.

        If you go by numbers rather than incidence, Labs are #1 for a lot of things, including epilepsy, diabetes, skin conditions, elbow dysplasia, who knows, maybe even bloat. They certainly take the cake for numbers of diseases that have been observed in the breed. But if you want to know how likely it is that your dog will have a condition, incidence (%) is the relevant statistic.

        Your local mechanic probably does a lot of work on Ford F150’s too . . . simply because they are the best selling American vehicle. Labs are like the F150s of the dog world.

        As for Lab X, they are common but there are a lot of counterfeits. In rescue, all medium size black dogs seem to turn into LabX’s, irrespective of genetics. I love this poster done by the NCRC

  26. Greta January 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    I grew up with a Beagle, yes the whole neighborhood was his buffet. He would tunnel underneath our fence, escape then raid all of our neighbor’s garbage cans. In the morning on my walk to school I would see trash strewn next to many homes and I knew my beagle was out that night.

    I now have a German Shepherd. Wow, so many things are right on! I’m so glad my daughter was out of high school when we got our puppy. Her arms we so bruised, I think the school would have called CPS. Our GSD is so smart, she thinks we are boring. We used to play hide and seek with our previous GSD mix and she loved it. Our 100% GSD acts like, duh, I know you are hiding behind that tree, I can smell you from 100′ away, I can track you, I can hear you. I’m not going to pretend I’m all excited about finding you because I knew where you were the whole time.

  27. rescuedrover January 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on rescuedrover and commented:
    Great blog regarding the ‘most popular breeds’!

  28. rescuedrover January 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    I’ve dealt with all of the GSD issues.. my 60lb, 3 year old, bicolor working line female has proven that nobody knows what a shepherd is or what they are ‘supposed’ to act like. She still acts like she is 6 months old, has more drive than I ever could have imagined, and I’ve been lectured by so many that there is NOOOO way she is purebred (despite having her pedigree go back further than my own!). I also own a BYB black lab, and he is a really pretty home ornament but that is about it. Tries to be a fat, lazy couch potato with no goals or dreams in life except eating pizza off the counter and being pet.

  29. Sabi January 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

    You totally nailed the GSD’s. I was laughing so hard I spilled my Tequila. I think you missed the part about the very long adolescence though. My 3 year old female is still bouncing between ‘look I’m all grown up’ and ‘Sooo you have issues with me knocking you on your ass?’.
    My male didn’t show any sign of brain activity until almost 5.
    We name the DustBunny/Furballs around here, and the rule is if you have issues with drool, hair, soggy tennis balls, or being searched/inspect upon entry, leave now!
    However according to the local ass clowns, my male(east German) is a Boxer or PB or Mastiff cross (square head), my old female was to big to be a female was I sure she was( umm yes), but my young female is to small to be a real GSD (65lbs).

  30. WesMantooth January 29, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    lol. does anyone on this site actually have human children?

  31. Julia January 30, 2014 at 12:43 am #

    Ok if its a ” Lab Shepherd mix, you CAN’T call it a GSD. Or a Labrador retriever. it is neither and not both. Its a mutt. If I have one more person tell me about the
    ” German shepherd” they had that was half husky or Lab or Catahoula…. I’ll scream. Ifits not purebred ITS NOT A GSD. Must say you got most of it right, except the not as smart as a poodle part. I have trained a lot of both, and maybe the difference is the poodle knows the answer, but the GSD can stay focused long enough to give it to you.

  32. tide-eyed February 19, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    I didn’t have the patience to read the 862 comments above me, so pardon me if this has already been said but… Snoopy was not a Beagle. That is what everyone somehow believes, but the creator said that Snoopy was based on his childhood dog, which was a Border Collie cross.

  33. Ann Schnerre March 13, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    I love this blog! And yes, you nailed the GSD-#2 in “The Bad” had me laughing/shaking my head at memories of adolescents…old dopey me is getting another pup just for the joy and pleasure of living it again plus the moments when I look at my dog’s oh-so-innocent face and ask “who’s training who in this relationship?!??” Can’t wait 🙂

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  35. Morgan Love June 14, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    Great read! I got absolutely hooked on GSDs when I got my first purebred from a BYB. Yup. BYB. Who had decent dogs, nothing that would impress true GSD enthusiasts, but when looking for a pet, I was very overwhelmed with the breed splits. Working lines seemed like way more dog than I was ready for, wasn’t crazy about looks of either showline types. I was fairly novice but was active did tons of reading and had done great with my shepherd mix from a shelter. I wanted a hiking companion Plus I was completely swept off my feet by the looks of the darker sables and bicolors and solid blacks!
    Brought home Dasher at 16 weeks, Black and Tan saddle boy with very nice black markings. Oh and my daughter was almost two! I sound like someone you would hesitate to hand a dog to right?? I had scoured rescue sites and was intimidated by their restrictions.
    Anyhow, this was almost seven years ago! And he is absolutely everything I ever dreamed of in a dog! Very handsome, rugged, always up for anything,lawful, regal, protective, gentle, athletic, imposing, capable, trustworthy. He is very people oriented and responsive. Excellent with my daughter and other visiting children. I often take him hiking off leash with no issues. He is intact but has always been steady enough to be sociable with other dogs. No aggression towards other males.
    Having just turned seven, he has held up fantastically. People are routinely amazed at how great he looks when I say his age. Plus they are impressed that a GSD can be so friendly! He borders on lab-like friendliness towards people. Especially children. But he is gentle, he does not knock them over or lick them. Just says hi and let’s them pet then goes on his way. Very solid and sensible.
    I adopted from a county shelter a female long coated GSD a couple years later and she is very bit as awesome as him! Perfectly behaved and soft tempered, she would be an ideal dog for anyone wanting a shepherd but intimidated by their reputation. She is very special to our family. We absolutely adore her in every way!
    So naturally we needed a pup again this year and went with a Shiloh shepherd from a nearby breeder. An excellent breeder who does extensive testing and showing. Very highly recommended for this breed. His is a total land shark! But so smart and willing to please. And he is a long coated grey sable, so look out ladies.
    I haven’t experienced any serious negatives to these guys! I can definitely see how they aren’t for everyone though. Dasher would be a lot of dog for someone who didn’t spend time training or exercising. I can see how he could easily have become dog aggressive and leash reactive if I hadn’t spent so much time working through these issues. But the shedding is unreal! I bought a big shop vac to deal with the hair. Great investment.

  36. Marcelisima (@Marcelisima1) July 23, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Just found this blog and am COMPLETELY ENAMORED!! Hilarious and informative! [Incidentally, I also love “Best in Show” and wish they’d make a mockumentary with the Dog Park Characters you guys created….and Owner Profiles too. 😀 ]

    My husband and I found ourselves being the “In Over Their Heads Ignoramuses” last October, when we brought home a very sick GSD from the local animal control shelter (the pound) as our first family dog. Our new 9-month-old dog had upper respiratory and staph infections, and was so severely emaciated (he had been picked up as a stray) he could barely walk around. Total emo-impulse decision, and the worst way to do it, (but since I was a dyed in the wool IOTHI, I had seen his pathetic “someone help me” mug shot online and HAD to have him.) Between emailing local GSD rescue organizations for advice, getting the opinions of various vets, and constantly asking “the Google” for tips on nourishing a starved dog, the experience was more a crash course in animal rehabilitation than your average “novice family gets a pet”… and then we had to shift gears again by January, when he was a big, newly healthy one-year-old who needed hours of vigorous daily exercise and some training classes.

    OMG. OMFG. Not a project for the faint-hearted. It’s sort of been a case of “assess and evaluate, add something new” to meet his changing needs. I definitely understand now that the only reason we n00bs didn’t fail (definitely bit off more than we could chew, even though we were “all in” committed to him), is that once he was healthy again and we could see his true personality, our GSD had a solid gold temperament: loving, bright, enthusiastic about training, friendly, and nice steady nerves (even with fireworks and thunderstorms). My family lucked out big time. BIG TIME.

    We’re 9 months into GSD ownership and still learning everything we can about the breed and about owning a dog in general. Whew! I definitely see myself in IOTHI and also a nervous dog park mom (although now that he weighs more than 80 lbs, it’s ridiculous to fret that some random pooch will “hurt my baby dog.”) Anyway, it’s awesome to read your entertaining (and helpful!) blog posts, as well as the great conversation threads in the comments section.

    I’ve only just stumble across this blog, but do you have any posts about getting a dog from an animal shelter, a.k.a. “the pound”? I see you had one about buying from a breeder and adopting from a rescue. I feel like more people should be aware of the differences between shelters and rescues, especially getting more demanding breeds like the GSD. I have absolutely NO regrets, but, looking back, I realize that given all the factors, I was a total idiot and it was only seriously dumb luck that we got such a sweetheart.

    This blog ROCKS. It’s the of the dog community!

  37. Nadja July 29, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    Scenthounds stink. My Walker Coonhound stank. My neighbor’s beagle stank. The guy down the road had a Plott, a redbone, and a black and tan that all stank. The guy whose bloodhounds were used for tracking in Benton County had very large, stinking hounds. The basset down the street when I was a little kid stank.

    If you’re a hound person you learn to live with it. Your friends and relatives may not appreciate it. The stink is so distinctive that when I found a rather odd, friendly dog roaming our street I found myself reminiscing about almost all the hounds I had known – I realized the dog smelled like every hound I had ever known. When I finally located the owners, it turned out the dog was about half Treeing Walker. Which explains why I went on the mental nostalgia tour.

    Hounds are not so much unintelligent as they are a platform for a nose. They don’t really care about other things – like “heel”, “come” “sit”, etc. They also are stubborn and very good at getting what they want. I tried to keep Sasha, the Walker Hound, out of my bed. The fact that she was in the house at all caused people to drive out of their way to see her because a lot of older houndsmen didn’t think they could be housebroken. She would wait until I was in my deepest sleep, climb into bed between me in the wall, and then stretch her legs to get as much room for the hound as possible, shoving me over. I would wake up if she overdid and pushed me right out of the bed, or if she piled on and I wound up with an ear or a foot in my mouth. They’re hounds. They sleep in piles.

    How do you housebreak a hound puppy? My fool proof method is to borrow an older house trained dog, say a nice poodle, retriever, or Labrador who will have patience with a hound puppy. The puppy will copy the large dog, and you just praise it to the skies and give it a bit of dog treat. Eventually the hound will be so eager to get that dog treat that it will “lie” about needing to go outside.

  38. AD December 23, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    Too many gsd’s I come across seem to have the protective thing down but not the brave part. Almost everyone of them I come across barks non stop even the gsd service dog leading the blind man at the opera! Then seeing them walk with those wonky back legs of theirs. I have no clue how they are even able to walk. I’ve seen too many that were trained but not socialized. That altogether with my boyfriends aunt who ended up in the hospital for going into the yard to dog sit. Labs may be oafish but at least you (generally) don’t have to worry about the safety of your other family members.

  39. Anion September 4, 2015 at 12:12 am #

    Psst… Those “lab mixes” overfilling shelters generally aren’t labs. They’re pit bulls that the shelters are trying to foist on unsuspecting people.

    There’s a reason I refuse to adopt from a shelter these days, and that’s it.

    • AD September 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      who cares what the shelter labels it? Many of the “lab mix” and “shepherd mix” dogs in shelters are pure street mutts. The ones with floppy ears are lab mixes. The ones with pointy ears are shepherd mixes. Anything small is a chi or jack russell mix. Anything with a blocky head and somewhat short nose is a boxer mix, pit mix, or terrier mix. If you want to go into a shelter knowing exactly what breed of dog is in that cage, well you are going to the wrong place (and probably should not have a dog anyway). News Flash: shelters have to put SOMETHING on the “breed” line. They can’t put “mutt”. They can I guess technically but they don’t. So they guess. For those people who get shelter mutts and actually take that shelter guess seriously, well they should not have a dog either. The benefit of adopting an adult dog is IF you are smart about it you can find a dog that matches your lifestyle no matter the breed better than taking a chance at a puppy

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