Introduction to the Bull Terrier

The character of the Bull Terrier is probably the outstanding feature which draws prospective owners to the breed. A typical Bull terrier is active, interested, playful and clownish. It is also extremely attached to its owners or family. These all sound like attributes of the perfect dog, however, there are drawbacks to these characteristics which do not suit every prospective owner or every situation.

Activity is a characteristic which is present in nearly every young Bull terrier. The young Bull Terrier is, in fact almost indistinguishable from a three-year-old child in a dog suit. All puppies are extremely "busy" and many Bull Terriers continue to be active and playful until well into middle age (5-6 years). Bull terriers like to be doing something. For this reason they fit very well into active families where they receive a great deal of companionship and supervision. They also adapt well to quieter situations such as homes of elderly (but active) retired persons who have a great deal of time to spend with their dog. Bull Terriers do not do well in situations where they are expected to remain alone in the home or yard for long periods of time or where their physical activity is very restricted. In these situations, very much like a three-year-old child, Bull Terriers become bored and destructive. They will often chew and destroy, are difficult or impossible to housebreak, and develop unpleasant habits such as incessant barking, tail chasing and peculiar personality quirks. It would make just as much sense to leave a little boy alone in an apartment for eight or nine hours as to do this with a Bull Terrier.

Bull Terriers become very attached to their owners and their families. This usually makes them very good natural guard dogs, but care must be taken that they are not encouraged to become possessive and jealous. While this would seem a desirable attribute for someone who wants a dog to protect his wife and family, it can be a nuisance if the dog does not distinguish between acceptable strangers and malevolent ones. Bull Terriers can also become involved in the presence of violent physical activity such as children's fist fights or exceptionally rough play activity where they see no reason not to join in, either to play roughly (which, with Bull Terriers, often includes nipping and knocking) or to guard the family against the physical assaults of outsiders.

Bull Terriers like to join family activity and for this reason require constant and firm discipline. They can be wonderful with children if handled with common sense, both by the adults and the children. Bull Terriers will tolerate a large range of children's behavior but they will not tolerate being teased and can be rough if constantly provoked. In their formative years, as do children, Bull Terriers require large amounts of supervision. They are tireless playmates and will chase balls, follow the children and watch their games for hours on end.

Many Bull Terriers can and do enjoy the company of other dogs with certain exceptions. Male Bull terriers who have not been altered do not, as a rule, get along with other male dogs. There comes a time when one of the males must dominate, and there is inevitably an unpleasant fight after which the two must live entirely separately for life. A male and female Bull Terrier can live together quite happily, and two females can sometimes share the same home. Again, care must be taken that jealousies do not arise. It is not fair to expect an older Bull Terrier who has enjoyed the full attentions of the family to want to share with another dog. This again is very similar to a young child who suddenly finds himself confronted with a baby sibling - some care must be taken to assure the older one that the youngster belongs to the whole family.

Bull Terriers, as a breed, are quite fortunate in being generally free of disabling genetic diseases. A puppy should be checked for deafness as this does occasionally occur and is difficult for the breeder to notice especially in a relatively young puppy. One problem common to many Bull Terriers is a propensity to skin allergies. Certain insect bites, such as fleas, and sometimes mosquitoes and mites produce a generalized allergic response of hives, rash and itching. This can be controlled by keeping the dog free of contact with these insects, but this is definitely a consideration in climates or circumstances where exposure to these insects is inevitable.

Puppies up to a year of age are also susceptible to sudden and severe lameness. This is due to a combination of the weight and density of the muscle, rapid growth rate and the active character of the breed. Great leaps, sudden changes of direction or sudden stops at high speeds produce a great deal of strain on the immature joints and ligaments of the very muscular breed. The joints are simply not "set" enough to resist the torque applied by the weight and musculature of the young dog. For this reason young dogs should not be encouraged in this type of activity until they are fully mature.

Bull Terriers shed their coats twice a year. The loose hair can be removed by a daily rubdown with a special rubber glove. The hair does shed during these periods and the white hairs are more noticeable than the colored ones on furniture and clothes.

Old age brings on the usual battery of infirmities to which Bull Terriers are not immune. A Bull Terrier may well live an active and healthy life until he is eleven or twelve which is about the normal life span of this breed.

Males and females vary only slight in temperament. The unaltered males tend not to tolerate prolonged association with other unaltered males as previously noted. Undesirable tendencies based on the sex drive can be remarkably reduced by spaying and neutering females as well as males. There can be more difference in the temperament of families of Bull Terriers than in general between the sexes. Some families tend to be more possessive and less tolerant of other dogs than others, and some families have a tendency to some shyness and apprehension with strangers and in strange places. Some families are very bright and innovative (which can be a mixed blessing) and some are less intellectual and more placid.

A Bull Terrier which is acquired with future breeding in mind should be selected for qualities of conformation and temperament which will produce top quality puppies. The responsibilities of breeding a litter of Bull Terriers must be assumed by the owner of the mother and it is very important that they be adhered to faithfully if the breed is to continue to be as temperamentally and physically sound as it is today.

The breeder of the litter should select a mate for his bitch which has excellent physical properties as well as a good temperament. The puppies must be placed in homes suitable to the special needs and requirements of this breed. This often means keeping puppies for months until suitable homes are found. Puppy buyers should be encouraged to have their animals assessed by an authority before they breed them, and all females which are not up to breeding quality should be kept as pets and not be bred. Breeders should also be prepared to either take back dogs which they have sold to homes which don't work out, or help the owners of their Bull Terriers place them in another suitable home.

Bull Terriers are unique in the spectrum of dogs. They have been carefully selected and bred largely by responsible and caring people who understand the legacy of their chosen breed. They can give tremendous joy or wreak havoc, depending on the time and effort spent by their owners to control and develop their special character.

The Bull and Terrier Family Tree

The Breeds Illustrated here were developed over a century ago by dog breeders interested in perpetuating the desirable physical and personality traits of the old fashioned English Bulldog and various small terriers of the time. As you can see, each of the Bull & Terrier Breeds has some traits in common with it's cousins, but there are also some very definite differences as well. To help you understand these subtle differences, we have described each breed briefly.

The old fashioned bulldog was crossed with several types of small, smooth-coated terriers.

American Pit Bull Terrier - This medium sized (40lbs approx.) breed has the physique of an athlete; in fact, many Pit Bulls are prize winners in canine weight pulling competitions. Originally bred in the 19th century for dog fighting, this endearing breed can today claim an ardent following of breeders and pet owners who love their dogs and train them to be good canine citizens. The Pit Bull comes in a variety of colors and his ears may be cropped or left to fold naturally. He is a robust, intelligent fellow who makes an excellent pet when treated with kindness and responsibility. This breed was developed in North America.

Boston Terrier - This is a small breed weighing an average of 17 lbs. Nicknamed the "Boston Gentleman", this breed excells both as a family pet and a companion for the elderly. It's coat is short and usually a very dark black-brindle with a white blase, collar and feet. The ears are sometimes cropped but show dogs usually have naturally upright ears. The typical Boston Terrier has the "pushed in" face of his Bulldog ancestors. This breed was developed in the United States.

Bull Terriers - The 19th century dog breeder who developed the White Bull Terrier wanted to create a "better fighting dog", but for the ost part, his creation was a flop as a fighter. Instead, the breed's shining white coat earned it the admiration of the gentry of the day and the White Bull Terrier became a fashionable pet. Later, a colored variety of Bull Terrier was developed. This Colored Bull Terrier should not be confused with the Staffordshires or the Pit Bull, for he is every inch a Bull Terrier! Today, White and Colored Bull Terriers are bred for the show ring and the "living room couch." The comedian of the Bull and Terrier family, the Bull Terrier is quite the unique in appearance. No other breed of dog has the exotic, "Roman Nose" profile or the tiny triangular eyes of the Bull Terrier. The White Bull Terrier is ideally all white as the body, but sometimes has colored head marks. The Colored Bull Terrier comes in several colors, with red, brindle, black-brindle, or tri color being the most common. His average weight is 45 to 55 lbs, but may vary considerably. Bull Terrier's ears are never cropped and most stand up naturally, although an occasional Bull Terrier will have one or both ears flopping, primarily due to immaturity or injury. Bull Terriers are of English origin.

American Staffordshire Terrier - Slightly larger than most of his cousins (50 - 60lbs approx), the American Staffordshire is a handsome dog. Although he, too, has roots in the fighting pits of the 19th century, for the past 50 years or more, he has been deve3loped solely as a show dog and family pet. This breed has proven its ability in obedience work and weight-pulling competition as well. "Am Staffs", come in a variety of colors, but red, brindle, and fawn with or without white markings are the most common colors. Ears are usually cropped for the show ring, but many pets have natural, uncropped ears. This breed was developed in North America.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier - Developed by 19th century English miners, this rather rare breed snares the unfortunate dog fighting roots of the American Pit Bull Terrier. He is a small (30 lbs approx.), but sturdy fellow of lovable disposition. He comes in a variety of colors and his ears are never cropped. Like all of the Bull and Terrier Breeds, "Staffords" love children and will tolerate a great deal of rough play. This breed was developed in England.

The History of the Bull Terrier

Purpose:

Bull Terriers arose from a family called "bull and terrier" dogs during the 19th century. Bull terriers were bred for companionship and the sport of conformation, not for fighting. It is true that during the creation of this breed, the sport of dog fighting was prevalent, but the creator of this breed created bull terriers for the purpose of selling a dog to the general public that was beautiful to the eye. For the past 136 years, this breed sole purpose is that of companionship.

Creation:

The modern bull terrier is believed to be created with the now extinct English White Terrier, the Bulldog, the Dalmatian, several terrier crosses, and some believe the Spanish Pointer, Greyhound, and Foxhound. There is even some evidence to suggest that the Borzoi and Collie were used to help elongate the head.

Color:

Another interesting fact of Bull Terrier history is the development of color in Bull Terriers. James Hinks, the one of the founding fathers of Bull Terriers, bred a strain of all white bull terrier dogs. With popularity, only white bull terriers were shown. This is where the term "White Cavalier" originated. The all white dogs were seen with occasional patches of color found mostly on the head.

During the redevelopment of the breed after the ear cropping ban, and the movement to the downward head we now see in today's Bull Terriers, the acceptance of color on the head arrived in the show ring. And due to a few determined breeders, the dogs were outcrossed to the older styled colored terriers. The man who is known for the development and acceptance of colored bull terriers in the ring is Ted Lyon, whose preferred color was brindle.

Today there is no such dog of a pure white Bull Terrier. All Bull terriers, including those who appear all white in color are colored bull terriers. The white bull terriers of today are a result of a white masking factor that masks the color of the dog. Even today, with all things being equal the preferred color for colored Bull Terriers is brindle, due to the fact that brindle can be easily lost.

Ears:

One interesting fact about the breed is the development of the natural tulip ear shape. In 1895, King Edward VII expressed his opinion to stop ear cropping to the Kennel Club, in turn they declared the ban of ear cropping which did set the breed back several years. This forced English Bull Terrier fanciers to redesign the ear.
The person most credited with the development of the tulip ear is Harry Monk. The United States did not accept the change as quickly. It wasn't until 1956 until the standard was finally rewritten calling for an erect ear. The standard had called for a cropped ear up until the early 30s.

Head:

The original designer of the down faced head is Harry Monk. The dog who created the foundation of the modern bull terrier head is Bloomsbury Charlwood, who is noted to have possessed an excellent head and ear placement.

The person responsible for the carrying on this head and improving the egg shaped face is Billie Tuck. Breeders over the years have carried on the tradition to improve the Bull Terrier head and strive to come as close to the standard as possible.

Famous Bullies:

Great dogs and their owners have brought attention to the breed and it's popularity. There are many great sires and bitches who have contributed to the breed. The dogs we wish to mention are the who brought the general public's attention.

Some of these dogs are Sir Walter's dog, Camp, General Patton's dog, Willie, Alaska's Juneau dog, Patsy Ann ~who is deemed as the Greeter of Juneau and a statue remains in her memory, and of course today's everyone loving party animal, Spuds MacKenzie.

We hope this brief explanation of the history of Bull Terriers provided you some enjoyment. There are many well written books who expand on this topic in much further detail.

10 Common Questions About the Bull Terrier:

1. ARE ALL BULL TERRIERS WHITE?

No. There are two varieties: Pure white, with markings on the head acceptable. Any color other than white (brindle, black brindle, red, fawn and tricolor) with white markings acceptable.

2. HOW BIG DO THEY GET?

There is some variance in weight and height between Bull terriers. It might be said that generally the average male would weigh between 55 and 65 pounds, and the average female between 45 and 55 pounds.

3. WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?

The Bull Terrier was originally bred for combat with other dogs, a sport which was permissible in England in the 1800's. Today the Bull Terrier is a companion dog. His keen intelligence, an almost uncanny sense of judgment, coupled with a delightful sense of humor and a sincere craving for human affection, make him one of the most loved pets.

4. ARE THEY GOOD WITH KIDS?

Generally yes, and particularly so when raised with them. A Bull Terrier is a gay, playful dog, always ready for anything a child cares to do. Because of his great strength and endurance, the Bull Terrier has what seems to be endless patience with children. He has been known to suffer great abuse from a child without losing his cheerfulness. However, it should be noted here that a Bull terrier puppy is a most energetic and vigorous dog - and might well have to be directed or curbed in his playing with a very young child or toddler, or he might unintentionally hurt or frighten the child.

5. DO THEY MAKE GOOD WATCH DOGS?

The formidable appearance of the Bull Terrier with his look of inscrutable watchfulness and poised dignity, make him a natural in this area. Bull Terriers are not inclined to be malicious and an unprovoked attack is almost unknown. Rarely a barker, he seems to sense when a situation calls for action. Rest assured that if protect you he must, he will do so until he can no longer move.

6. HOW MUCH EXERCISE DO THEY REQUIRE? CAN I KEEP ONE IN A HOME OR IN AN APARTMENT?

Where a bull Terrier lives, be it an efficiency apartment or a thousand acre ranch, matters very little as long as he is with you. A Bull terrier does not need fields in which to run, but to have a happy dog, an owner must spend some time exercising and playing with him. This benefits both dog and owner, and the resulting affection is well worth the time spent. It would be unfair not to mention that a Bull Terrier must never be allowed to run unsupervised. Not only is the dog's safety involved, but his natural curiosity and impetuousness might well result in mischief with a neighbor's cat or dog.

7. WHAT ABOUT THIS FIGHTING? CAN I KEEP ANOTHER DOG OR CAT WITH HIM?

Bull Terriers are natural pugilists. Fighting was the original use of these dogs, and nature provided them with all the necessary equipment with which to fight: muscle, a fantastically strong jaw, tight skin, and an indifference to pain. This does NOT mean that they MUST fight, but caution must be taken to prevent them from becoming involved in a dispute. They seldom seek a fight, but if provoked, will rarely disdain engagement. Bull Terriers usually get along well with dogs of the opposite sex, and if raised from puppy-hood with cats or other animals, may be very companionable.

8. ARE BULL TERRIERS EASILY TRAINED?

As far as intelligence is concerned, the Bull Terrier compares favorably with any other breed. They have been shown successfully in obedience trials, many obtaining C.D., C.D.X. and U.D. degrees. They were used with great success during World War II as Military Police dogs, hunting snipers and guarding restricted areas. The British named the Bull Terrier among the top three breeds in this work. Training your Bull Terrier pet is easily accomplished if you are willing to spend the time to teach him what is expected of him with a patient but firm hand. DO NOT permit your Bull Terrier to develop a habit as a puppy that you do not wish him to have as an adult dog, for the lessons he learns, he learns well. Use to full advantage the dog's great affection for you and the Bull Terrier will be a pet that will be a joy.

9. WELL, YOU DON'T SEE MANY OF THESE DOGS. ARE THEY TERRIBLY EXPENSIVE?

Actually, they cost no more than any other purebred dog. The cost may vary according to the potential of the dog. Most breeders of Bull Terriers have attempted to breed with great selectivity and have not been concerned with the mere production of numbers. The emergence of a dog of sound temperament and handsome appearance attests their success, as does the steady increase in interest in the Bull Terrier.

10. SHOULD I GET A BULL TERRIER?

That is a question that only you can answer. We have tried to show you that the Bull Terrier is one of the most delightful dogs, but also one that requires restraint. In return for his loyalty and affection, he will demand a fair measure of your time and attention. With his curiosity and exuberance, a Bull Terrier will make his presence in the house known, often to your amusement and sometimes to your chagrin. He will love you, comfort you and guard you.
If, after careful consideration, you decide to purchase a Bull Terrier, be prepared for a lifelong addiction. You may well be like the man who said so sincerely, "Bull Terriers, I guess I do know them. Why, I was ten years old before I found out that old dog wasn't my brother."

TRAINING

CRATE TRAINING is absolutely, without exception, the best way to housebreak a puppy. The "crate" is actually a wire or fiberglass kennel, which becomes the pup's own little home.

Dogs that are crate-trained have less behavior problems, are more secure and confident, easier to obedience train and stay clam when they must be boarded. They are less susceptible to nervousness and anxiety, which cause behavior problems.

Giving Your Puppy A "Den" Of His Own

Dogs in the wild live in dens. Dens offer protection from the cold, the heat, and predators. It vies the wild dog a sense of security and well being. Domestic dogs also have a strong natural tendency to seek out a "den", a small place to curl up and get their backs up against something in order to feel safe and secure. Using a crate, we can actually simulate the dog's den.

In nature, a dog does not defecate or urinate in its den. Therefore, a puppy will try to keep his "den" clean. He will naturally hold his bowels and bladder while his is in his crate.

In most homes, it is difficult for a dog to find a place of his own where he can retreat to be by himself, out of the traffic and activity of the home.

By giving a dog his own "den" in your home, you can take advantage of mother nature to quickly housebreak a puppy, control destructive puppy problems, and raise a more well-adjusted dog.

Once a dog is an adult, the door to his crate can be left open and h e can have access to his crate whenever he is tired or wants to be alone.

What Kind of Crate

Buy a crate that is large enough so that the puppy will be able to stand up and turn around when he is adult-sized, roughly 1½ times the size of the dog as an adult.
It is a mistake to buy too big of a crate because the puppy may fail to see it as a "den". However, when buying a crate for a Bull Terrier, it will be necessary to buy a fairly large crate. The crate can be partitioned off while the puppy is very small and then opened up as the puppy gets larger.

A wire crate is strongly recommended, rather than a fiberglass travel-type kennel because a puppy can see out of a wire crate easily and won't feel isolated. It's just like putting a human baby in a playpen. The crate should have some soft, washable bedding to make it warm and comfortable.

Introducing the Puppy to the Crate

Start from the beginning having your puppy sleep and rest in his crate. Without any training, he will naturally begin to seek the security and safety of his little "dog room" when he is sleepy or wants to be off by himself.

When first introducing the puppy to the crate, toss in a little treat to get the puppy to go inside, don't force him in. Coax him with food and reward him with praise. At first, he may back quickly out, that's normal. Take it slow and encourage him to go in on his own.

The puppy should be allowed to get used to his new home slowly, never just put in the crate and left. It's best to put the pup in his crate for very short periods of time at first, gradually increasing the time as the pup gets used to being in it.

How to Crate Train

The puppy should be in his crate during all unsupervised times. The crate should be placed where the pup can see you: in the kitchen during meals and in the bedroom for the night. This way, your puppy won't feel lonely and when he needs to "go", you can hear the whimper and take him out.

During times when you can watch him carefully, let him out to play and explore, but keep your eye on him. The goal is to prevent any accidents, but owners need to be realistic and realize that some accidents will happen.

Watch for sniffing and circling. This is an indication that your puppy is about to "go". Quickly and gently guide him to the door, praise him at the door and take him outside to the chosen spot. Stay with your puppy until he goes. When he does, it is important to get very excited and really praise your puppy. This is the only way he knows that he has pleased you by "going" outside. Give him time to defecate as well as urinate. He will probably walk around a little and pick another spot.

Accidents in the Crate

Your puppy may have an accident or two in the crate at first, especially if you are not good about taking him out often enough. The puppy should not be scolded for eliminating in the crate. These accidents should be ignored, cleaned up, and closer attention paid to the puppy's schedule for the next few days.

Schedule Schedule is vital in housetraining. At first, your puppy should be taken out every 2 hours. Young puppies, 6-7 weeks old, have to empty their bladders at least every 2 hours. Puppies 8-10 weeks old still need to "go" about every 3-4 hours. As the pup gets older and is able to "hold it longer", the time intervals between going out can be gradually increased. There are certain times that your puppy will always need an opportunity to eliminate.

Your puppy will need to "go":
· Just a few minutes after eating and drinking
· After vigorous playing and chewing
· After waking up

By following a strict schedule, your puppy learns to hold his bowels and bladder until he is taken outside. This schedule will stay with him his whole life.

How Long Can Your Puppy Stay in his Crate?

By the time your puppy is 6-8 months old, he will probably be able to hold his bowels and bladder for eight hours. That is a long time, however for a puppy to be in a crate.

If you work during the day, I recommend someone come home at lunch and let the puppy out to give him some attention as well as letting him eliminate. If you can't do that yourself, try to get a neighbor or friend to go over once during the day to let him out.

If you have a safe, enclosed yard, I recommend letting the pup be in the yard during the day while you're gone. That way he can eliminate as he needs to and can be inside with the family in the evening and can sleep in his crate at night.

Crate Training to Prevent Chewing Problems

Crate training is also the best way to prevent destructive chewing problems and to focus a puppy's chewing on approved objects.

When you can't supervise your puppy, he should be in his crate and should always have a couple of chew toys. Not only can your pup not destroy shoes and furniture while in his crate, he will feel more secure in his little "doggie den" while you are gone and so will have less anxiety.

When out of the kennel, the puppy should be watched carefully so that you will be able to interrupt, and redirect, any unapproved chewing before your puppy does any damage.

When Can Your Puppy Be Left Free In the House Alone?

By about 6 months of age, most puppies, who have been crate trained, are reliably trained enough to be left in the house unattended.

This should be done gradually, leaving the dog alone for only 5 minutes at first and praising good behavior when you return. The time the pup is left alone should be gradually increased.

If the pup does any "unapproved chewing" or has any accidents, while you are gone, go back to kennel training and try again in a couple of weeks. A puppy or dog should never be punished for any accidents or chewing done while the owner is gone. The dog will not understand why he is being punished and it will on increase his anxiety the next time he is left alone.

TOP 10 REASONS TO ADOPT A RESCUE DOG

10) In a Word--Housebroken. With most family members gone during the work week for 8 hours or more, housetraining a puppy and its small bladder can take awhile. Puppies need a consistent schedule with frequent opportunities to eliminate where you want them to. They can't wait for the boss to finish his meeting or the kids to come home from after school activities. An older dog can "hold it" much more reliably for longer time periods, and usually the Rescue has him housebroken before he is adopted.

9) Intact Underwear. With a chewy puppy, you can count on at least 10 mismatched pairs of socks and a variety of unmentionables rendered to the "rag bag" before he cuts every tooth. And don't even think about shoes! Also, you can expect holes in your carpet (along with the urine stains), pages missing from books, stuffing exposed from couches, and at least one dead remote control. No matter how well you watch them, it will happen--this is a puppy's job! An older dog can usually have the run of the house without destroying it.

8) A Good Night's Sleep. Forget the alarm clocks and hot water bottles, a puppy can be very demanding at 2am and 4am and 6am. He misses his littermates, and that stuffed animal will not make a puppy pile with him. If you have children, you've been there and done that. How about a little peace and quiet? How about an older rescue dog??

7) Finish the Newspaper. With a puppy running amok in your house, do you think you will be able to relax when you get home from work? Do you think your kids will really feed him, clean up the messes, take him for a walk in the pouring rain every hour to get him housetrained? With an adult dog, it will only be the kids running amok, because your dog will be sitting calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and your blood pressure lowers as you pet him.

6) Easier Vet Trips. Those puppies need their series of puppy shots and fecals, then their rabies shot, then a trip to be altered, maybe an emergency trip or two if they've chewed something dangerous. Those puppy visits can add up (on top of what you paid for the dog!). Your donation to the rescue when adopting an older pup should get you a dog with all shots current, already altered, heartworm negative and on preventative at the minimum.

5) What You See Is What You Get. How big will that puppy be? What kind of temperament will he have? Will he be easily trained? Will his personality be what you were hoping for? How active will he be? When adopting an older dog from a rescue, all of those questions are easily answered. You can pick large or small; active or couch potato; goofy or brilliant; sweet or sassy. The rescue and its foster homes can guide you to pick the right match. (Rescues are full of puppies who became the wrong match as they got older!)

4) Unscarred Children (and Adults). When the puppy isn't teething on your possessions, he will be teething on your children and yourself. Rescues routinely get calls from panicked parents who are sure their dog is biting the children. Since biting implies hostile intent and would be a consideration whether to accept a "give-up", Rescue Groups ask questions and usually find out the dog is being nippy. Parents are often too emotional to see the difference; but a growing puppy is going to put everything from food to clothes to hands in their mouths, and as they get older and bigger it definitely hurts (and will get worse, if they aren't being corrected properly.) Most older dogs have "been there, done that, moved on."

3) Matchmaker Make Me a Match. Puppy love is often no more than an attachment to a look or a color. It is not much of a basis on which to make a decision that will hopefully last 15+ years. While that puppy may have been the cutest of the litter; he may grow up to be superactive (when what you wanted was a couch buddy); she may be a couch princess (when what you wanted was a tireless hiking companion); he may want to spend every waking moment in the water (while you're a landlubber); or she may want to be an only child (while you are intending to have kids or more animals). Pet mis-matches are one of the top reasons Rescues get "give-up" phone calls. Good rescues do extensive evaluating of both their dogs and their applicants to be sure that both dog and family will be happy with each other until death do them part.

2) Instant Companion. With an older dog, you automatically have a buddy that can go everywhere and do everything with you NOW. There's no waiting for a puppy to grow up (and then hope he will like to do what you enjoy.) You will have been able to select the most compatible dog: one that travels well; one that loves to play with your friends' dogs; one with excellent house manners that you can take to your parents' new home with the new carpet and the new couch. You can come home after a long day's work and spend your time on a relaxing walk, ride or swim with your new best friend (rather than cleaning up after a small puppy.)

1) Bond--Rescue Dog Bond. Dogs who have been uprooted from their happy homes or have not had the best start in life are more likely to bond very completely and deeply with their new people. Those who have lost their families through death, divorce or lifestyle change go through a terrible mourning process. But, once attached to a new loving family, they seem to want to please as much as possible to make sure they are never homeless again. Those dogs that are just learning about the good life and good people seem to bond even deeper. They know what life on the streets, life on the end of a chain, or worse is all about, and they revel and blossom in a nurturing, loving environment. Most rescues make exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions.

Unfortunately, many folks think dogs that end up in rescue are all genetically and behaviorally inferior. But, it is not uncommon for Rescue to get $500 dogs that have either outlived their usefulness or their novelty with impulsive owners who considered their dog a possession rather than a friend or member of the family; or simply did not really consider the time, effort and expense needed to be a dog owner. Not all breeders will accept "returns", so choices for giving up dogs can be limited to animal welfare organizations, such as Rescues, or the owners trying to place their own dogs. Good Rescues will evaluate the dog before accepting him/her (medically, behaviorally, and for breed confirmation), rehabilitate if necessary, and adopt the animal only when he/she is ready and to a home that matches and is realistic about the commitment necessary to provide the dog with the best home possible.

Choosing a rescue dog over a purchased pup will not solve the pet overpopulation problem (only responsible pet owners and breeders can do that), but it does give many of them a chance they otherwise would not have. But, beyond doing a "good deed", adopting a rescue dog can be the best decision and addition to the family you ever made. Rescue a dog and get a devoted friend for life!