dogChoosing a Dog

Objective: Students will investigate dog breeds and their temperaments to determine what breed would be best for them. They will also search a database to find dogs available at their local shelter.

Background: When your family decides to get a dog, doing research into breeds and requirements is necessary. Often people buy particular breeds because of the way they look and don’t look into the temperament of the species. Because of this, many of these dogs end up in shelters or abandoned. Before you get a dog, be a responsible person and investigate the needs and requirements of that dog.

I. How much do you know about dog breeds? Go to and take the dog breed quiz. What was your final score? ____________

II. Go to Animal Planet (
-- click on Pets 101 -- click on Dog Breed Selector

1. What were Basenji's used for? __________________
Where did the Basenji originate from? ______________________
What is the one thing that a Basenji cannot do that other dogs can? ________

2. Go to the Beagle's page. Notice that it has a rank of 3, which means it has the 3rd most registrations from the previous year. (Basically, its a popular dog). What is the beagle's original function? ______________________
How much do beagles weigh? ___________________
What are two temperment issues that might cause problems with owning the beagle as a family pet? _______________________________

3. What is the Bulldog's AKC rank? __________
What was the original purpose of the bulldog? _________________
Are bulldogs good with children? ________
What are some issues with upkeep for the bulldog? ___________________

4. Where does the cairn terrier originate from? ______________
What movie increased the popularity of the Cairn terrier? _________________

5. What is the Labrador Retriever's AKC rank? _______ What does this mean? ___________________________________
What are the three colors of these dogs? ________________________________
What might cause a normally good labrador to get into trouble? _________________

6. What was the original function of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier? ______________
In England, this dog was known as the ________ Dog.
Do these dogs get along with other dogs? ________

7. Pick 3 dogs from the breed list to complete the table below. Choose dogs you may be interested in owning in the future. Try to summarize the information.

Name of Breed ->

Dog Breed 1


Dog Breed 2


Dog Breed 3


Where does it originate from?      
What kind of temperament does it have?      
How much grooming does it need?      
How easy it it to train?      
How much exercise does it need?      
AKC Ranking      
Original Function of the breed      

III. Use the Dog Breed Selector to find the best dog for you. What were the top three the selector found for you?

IV. Choose your Dog

Based on the comparisons, write a short paragraph that explains which dog breed would be the best for you and your lifestyle.




Now you’re ready to buy your dog. But wait! What about a mixed breed puppy? You can get those for free at your local shelter and sometimes local shelters even have dogs of the breed of your choice. An online resource compiles all the dogs in area shelters for adoptions. Go to

Go to the “Quick Pet Search” and enter the data for your dog and zip code
Find a dog that fits your criteria and breed choices - it does not need to be a purebred:

Name of the dog: _______________________ Organization ____________________
Age of the dog _________ Adoption fees: _____________
Additional Information about dog: __________________________________________

Why would a person choose to adopt a dog rather than buy one if the initial cost is similar?