It goes without saying that all dogs have their strengths and they all are wonderful companions and show unconditional love without complaint. Crossbreeds have a broad variety of traits and characters.
𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗿
When searching for a breed which you have your heart set on, contact a rescue specialising in your favoured breed. However when you go to a breeder try to authenticate them by communicating with the breed association as backyard breeders also have access to dogs who are registered.
It is illegal to crop a dog’s ears and or dock a dog’s tail for cosmetic purposes in South Africa. This may only be done for medical purposes and by a veterinarian.
𝗔 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗵𝘆𝗰𝗲𝗽𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗰 𝗗𝗼𝗴 𝗕𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Dogs are normally able to thermo-regulate through their noses, but essentially having no nose to speak of impairs this ability, leaving brachycephalic dogs susceptible to overheating and heat stroke in hot weather. Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs often also goes hand in hand with obesity due to a limited exercise capacity. Brachycephalic dog breeds do often have shorter lifespans than other dogs and are more likely to pass away due to an inability to breathe.
𝗔𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀 – proudly African, it is the dog of Africa
The Africanis is unique in that the breed, which is accepted by Crufts as a unique breed, has developed its characteristics naturally over thousands of years rather than having been bred specifically for them. They are intelligent, tough, athletic, affectionate and have a need for space and companionship and are to be found close to humans, livestock and other domestic animals.
The Belgian Malinois originally bred for sheep herding is highly intelligent and is reputed by their owners to be able to assess a situation and think of their next moves faster than humans, making them ideal for police work as well as search-and-rescue and other challenging tasks. The Malinois is an energetic dog requiring an owner who is also highly energetic, interactive and prepared to put the time and effort into training as they are excellent at agility and easily teachable. They are protective and prefer the company of their human families.
The Boerbul, bred originally for protecting livestock from predators. This South African dog (also known as a South African Mastiff) is strong, sturdy and obedient. It is however a gentle dog which is protective of the family, wonderful with children and prefers to be with them. Like the Belgian Malinois they should have experienced dog owners who can spend time interacting with and being firm with them if necessary.
Bred for sheep herding the Border Collie is extremely intelligent, very playful and is great with families and their kids. Herding is bred into them to the extent that it comes naturally to them. They are also extremely agile and are happiest when being worked or at play with their owners. However, this is not a breed for a person who is not going to spend time interacting, playing and working with them.
𝗕𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿 – also known affectionately as Bossies
If you want a fun, crazy dog always up for a game with a sweet character who lives in the present and gets on with others the Bossie is your choice. They are affectionate and love their families, great with children and win others over with their amiability. Full of the joys of Spring and as long as they have you they are happy.
Boxers were bred for hunting and working in Germany. Many of us know them as lovable pooches who bounce around seemingly with springs in their legs when happy. They are patient with children, protective of their families, athletic and extremely intelligent requiring a great deal of exercise bearing in mind though Boxers are Brachycephalic. They are no slouches when it comes to taking over your couch but the snuggling makes up for it.
𝗕𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿 – also known affectionately as Bullies or Vark (Afrikaans for Pig) Dogs
This delightful clown is a powerful, loyal and courageous dog and is an ideal family pet. They are tough and being hard on them is received simply as play, so one needs to be gentle with them. They are reputed to be clumsy but they’re not, they are smart and can figure things out for themselves. Be aware though that they don’t always get on with cats or other dogs.
𝗗𝗮𝗰𝗵𝘀𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱 / 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝗰𝗵𝘀𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱 / 𝗪𝗶𝗿𝗲-𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗗𝗮𝗰𝗵𝘀𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱 – also known as Daxies
Daxies are very popular at the moment as they are full of character. They are courageous and like all dogs, don’t realise how small they are. Their short legs carry them far and do not phase their love for digging with enthusiasm. Well, they do everything with enthusiasm including chasing small animals such as rabbits or squirrels. Despite the Daxies size they are protective and alert and love the time they have with their owners.
𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗵 𝗕𝘂𝗹𝗹𝗱𝗼𝗴 – also known as Frenchies
Frenchies are energetic, quick fun-loving dogs with an easy-going even temperament and adaptability, making them ideal companions for children. They do need mental as well as physical stimulation but can be wilful and ignore you when something catches their attention. They thrive with human contact and despite their size, they are protective.
𝗚𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗦𝗵𝗲𝗽𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗱 𝗗𝗼𝗴 – also known as GSDs or Alsatians
As the breed’s name says, the GSD was originally bred as a herding dog. The GSD is easily teachable, highly intelligent, affectionate, obedient and protective. This makes them ideal as family pets as well as service dogs for the police, search-and-rescue and other tasks. They require an energetic owner who is prepared to put the time and effort into meeting their behavioural requirements including both physical and mental stimulation.
The Great Dane is commonly known as a gentle giant. They are goofy, intelligent, have super-sized barks, love dozing in comfort and despite needing exercise don’t necessarily need large gardens. They also do not know their size and are prone to considering themselves small enough to sit on one’s lap. It is advisable to ensure that they have at least basic obedience training otherwise you may well find yourself being dragged behind a small pony on your walks.
Greyhounds were bred for hunting, coursing and dog racing with bursts of speed but little endurance and are laid back sleeping 18 hours out of 24. It is a gentle, intelligent, fiercely loyal dog with a quiet disposition, non-aggressive and tolerant of children (preferably not under 12). Their thin skin tears easily and their front legs break easily so no road running. However, being a sighthound it is a prey dog so one should be wary of having cats or other small pets such as rabbits. Greyhounds do not need as much exercise as one might expect and are ideal for small gardens if walked regularly.
𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗥𝘂𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿
Who hasn’t come into contact with these charming, energetic little dogs with boundless energy and absolutely no fear (they will taunt animals many times their size and then run back to Mom or Dad for safety). They love to play and are ideal for families with children. The are brave little souls and are not only alert but will protect their owners with all their courage. They are terriers however and as such come from hunting stock so be aware of this if you have a cat.
The Labrador Retriever is a companion to everyone and a bundle of fun. They are gentle, affectionate, kind-natured, want to please, lively, teachable and very smart as well as protective. They are ideal for families with children and will happily go where the family goes. It is, however, important to keep them from being bored otherwise they will keep themselves occupied and this can be quite destructive as what they consider fun, might not be your idea of fun.
There is some uncertainty about the origin of the breed which is thought to go back several thousands of years. However, this fearless little dog is ideal for small homes. They are affectionate, playful, gentle and intelligent and make wonderful pets in families with older children (as they can be snappy with excitable younger children). They do however enjoy being taught tricks and responding to positive reinforcement training.
Miniature Schnauzers were originally bred to hunt rats and other vermin yet they are wonderful family pets being smart, energetic, alert, good-natured and ideal companions for children. Their looks belie their sturdy toughness. However, as they are of the Terrier family they might chase wildlife and do need to be kept under control in this respect.
If ever there was a dog breed which has been ruined by humans the Pit Bull represents that abuse having been bred originally to be aggressive to other animals but not to humans, making them ideal for illegal dog fighting. The Pit Bull is a loyal, affectionate and often gentle dog yet also powerful and tenacious. One should exercise caution with cats and other small animals as some may not get on too well with them.
The Pit Bull breed, unfortunately, comes with a cautionary warning label resulting from backyard breeding and irresponsible owners and is often in the news for the wrong reasons. Owners should have a breaking stick to force the jaw open as once a Pit Bull’s jaws clamp onto another animal or human it is a vice grip. In the words of one expert “Buying a Pit Bull from a backyard breeder is having a loaded gun without a safety catch. Buying a Pit Bull from a breeder registered with a breed association is having a loaded gun with a safety catch.”
There are Standard, Toy and Miniature Poodles with our focus being on the Toy Poodle. Poodles are ideal as pets for first-time owners as they are friendly, smart and love playing and their look of fragility denies the toughness of this breed, despite which prefer a peaceful environment. They are known for being extroverts and getting on with other dogs. Poodles will also take up much time with their energy and need for challenging activities so ensure that these behavioural requirements are met.
One cannot deny the cuteness of this breed with a huge personality which is believed to have originated in China. These cuties are loyal, courageous, love to lie on their backs, alert, affectionate, vocal and ideal family pets. Due to the flatness of his face, the Pug is Brachycephalic and caution with exercise and play is warranted (refer to the section near the beginning of this article). Once in your heart, a Pug will be there forever.
𝗥𝗵𝗼𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗥𝗶𝗱𝗴𝗲𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 – proudly South African, also known as a Ridgeback
The Ridgeback is a powerful, strong-willed breed and requires mentally strong owners who will appreciate and put in the time with obedience training. However, they have a gentle temperament, affectionate, don’t bark often and are very protective of their families. They do need exercise as they are energetic dogs.
(The Rhodesian ridgeback, often referred to as the African Lion Hound, is a native of South Africa. The first Europeans exploring the interior of the Cape of Good Hope discovered the Hottentot tribes. They had a dog that had hair along his spine – growing backwards now referred to as the “ridge.” In 1922 a group of breeders in the then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, took it upon themselves to set up the standard for the Rhodesian Ridgeback.)
Rottweilers are good family dogs and enjoy being around people and other dogs. They are strong and smart, sometimes learn faster than their owners and need both physical training and mental stimulation. They are loving and patient with children, usually only barking when necessary. Like many other large dogs, they think they are small enough to be lapdogs. They also make eye contact which many other dogs don’t do. Unfortunately, Rottweilers also gained an unwarranted negative reputation in South Africa due to backyard breeding and irresponsible owners.
The Siberian Husky is a working dog bred in Siberia as a sled dog and companion. What sets this cheerful, spirited dog apart? The Siberian Husky is mischievous, playful, active and talkative. They howl and love interacting with their owners. They get along well with other animals but take care with cats and other animals. They do need exercise but with being strong-willed, they also need suitable owners. They are also intelligent but can be independent and stubborn.
𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗕𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿 – also known as a Staffy and “the nanny dog”
Despite being plucky the Staffy is a gentle dog, which is known for being good with children, loyal and loves being with their family. However, be careful with cats and other small animals. Being sturdy, the Staffy tolerates and enjoys rough play with kids. They are intelligent and require patient, positive reinforcement training.
𝗬𝗼𝗿𝗸𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗿 – also known as a Yorkie
Yorkies’ origins were as hunters of rats and mice and they originated in Scottish mines. They are highly intelligent, can be stubborn, have different quirks, are courageous, fiercely loyal, alert and love being with their families but don’t always mix well with children. However, they are playful and enjoy short walks on their little legs as well as adapt to any size home in the city or the country.
This article is produced by SAVetshops, in the interest of informing people and sharing information. It is not considered a reference article or a definitive medical reference. Source references are listed below and any person wishing to know more should consult these references, their local vet, state health service or doctor.