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Choosing the Right Dog

Home » Choosing the Right Dog
September 05, 2017
Edward Smith

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Choosing the Right Dog

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento dog bite lawyer. I have extensive experience helping people who have suffered attacks by dogs. This allows me to examine some of the risks associated with owning a pet and the legal extent of a dog owner’s liability. It also makes me uniquely qualified to discuss and point out the numerous factors which should be considered before deciding to own a dog.

Important to Know Where Dog is from

There are very reputable sources which have information on the “best” breeds of dogs to consider when buying a pet. I thought it might be interesting to look at one additional criterion: where pet dogs come from. Here is some useful information on California law and the sale of puppies in the state.

Local Adoption

Nearly one and a half million shelter animals are euthanized every year. The decision to bring a pet into the home should include adopting from a local, bona fide agency or nonprofit organization. Many of these charitable organizations offer spay and neutering, immunization and behavioral training programs to help pets and owners build healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationships. Check out the Sacramento SPCA for more information about classes, training, and adoption. Keep in mind, no organization can address all the concerns which might arise when considering a dog rescue or adoption.

Lack of Complete History on an Animal

If there is a downside to pet adoption, it is the lack of an available, complete history for every animal. Agencies can’t be expected to have an extensive history for each dog up for placement. Dogs who may have been subjected to abuse, abandonment and other forms of cruelty might not be obvious to even the most skilled dog rescuer and animal control officers. Mixed breeds confound the facts, as “breed specific” information won’t necessarily be applicable.

No Available “Rap Sheet”

Dogs taken into a facility without tags or license may make it impossible to determine if the dog has a “rap sheet” for biting or attacking. These organizations do make certain the animal has been seen by a veterinarian and is fully immunized. Fees may be assessed for having the dog spayed or neutered, a highly recommended procedure to control overpopulation and aggressive behavior.

Local Breeders

Probably one of the best sources for dogs is local breeders in your area. In addition to tracking bloodlines, you can talk to other owners and get a good sense of the lineage, the health of previous litters and desired behavioral traits. Most local breeders deal in small numbers of puppies and are interested in where the dog is placed.

The disadvantage is the limited breed selection. Local breeders may simply not be plentiful enough or have available the type of dog you ultimately select. It is also advisable to research the local breeder’s reputation with veterinarians and area agencies for licensing and complaints. It may be necessary to go outside the area for a specific dog breed, but the process of checking on the breeder should be the same. The American Kennel Club, as one example, keeps extensive records of breeders who comply with their standards for raising and selling dogs.

Breed Characteristics

There are a number of sources which have data for different breeds, including information on size, common medical issues, life expectancy, reputation with children/families and, of course, aggressive behavior. A number of these sources are listed at the end of this article. You may also consider a search of the internet and your social media platforms for firsthand accounts and additional information.

Aggressive behavior is certainly one of the most common concerns in selecting a pet dog. Certain breeds have been documented to have been involved in dog bites and attacks at a far greater rate than others. There is consensus in most major surveys as to the top 5 dog breeds most likely to be reported as engaging in aggressive behavior, including biting, fighting and attacks on people and other pets.

California Notes

Many states, including California, have outlawed the sale of puppies (with certain medical exceptions) before the age of 8 weeks, while also setting breeder standards for the care of animals raised for sale. Additionally, California has considered legislation which would prohibit the sale of puppies from so-called “puppy mills”.

Additional Information:

Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer with over three decades of experience handling dog bite injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits throughout California. If you or someone you love has been attacked by a dog, please call me anytime for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. I can also be reached online here.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, take a minute to read some of my settlements and verdicts.

More helpful reviews written by my many valued clients can be found on Avvo, Yelp, and Google.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Air Force Photo by Josh Plueger. Public Domain.

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