Three B's: The Beagle, Boxer and Bulldog are up next in the top ten most popular breeds of 2009!
(All photos courtesy of www.AKC.org)
#5. Beagle by Tory
The Beagle is a highly sociable, friendly, playful, clever, merry, and good natured little Hound. They generally get along well with everyone and everything, seeing as they were bred to live and hunt in large packs of other hounds. That social nature is wired into them, and can be seen as a positive or a negative depending on your lifestyle. Beagles do best with people who are home during the day or who are able to take their dog with them when they go places. A family with children that includes their dog(s) in outdoor activities would be a Beagle's dream home.
Beagles come in two sizes, 13" and 15". They have a short, easy to care for coat, but it does shed. Their tails are thick, carried high, and have a white tip on the end. It acted as a "flag" for hunters to easily spot them when out hunting. They also have a very loud, "baying" bark and like to express themselves vocally, especially when excited. This was a very helpful trait when hunting; hunters always knew where they were and could tell by their bark if they were on a trail. However, it might not be the best thing if you have sensitive neighbors! Although social, they have an independent mindset. It's not that they aren't trainable, you just have to convince them that they want to do what you're telling them.
As mentioned earlier, they are clever, and if not given enough exercise, they will make up their own games as an outlet for that energy. (Digging, chewing, stealing food and other items for example). Most Beagles would eat until they explode, so it's important not to let them get overweight. Beagle people joke that this breed is "a nose with legs". Their curiosity combined with their excellent sense of smell means that a fenced yard is a must.
The Beagle is overall a hardy breed, but they can be prone to disc disease, several eye conditions (glaucoma, cherry eye, cataracts, PRA) and various other problems. Overall they make fun, extraordinarily cute, compact sized pets and it's easy to see why they are so popular.
#6. Boxer by Tory
Boxers are one of my favorite large breed dogs. They are striking just to look at, but I also love their playful energy, their sense of humor, their wash and wear coats, and the fact that I know I would feel safe walking one! Although willing and capable of defending their owners from danger, most Boxers are anything but aggressive! (But shh...don't let the bad guys know that.)
Boxers were developed in Germany and are so called because of their tendency to play standing on their hind legs while using their front legs to "box", similar to that of a boxer in the ring.
This is a determined, courageous, energetic, intelligent, happy dog that is known for its love of children. They make excellent pets for active families and playful, protective, patient friends for kids. The boxer needs an owner capable of showing strong leadership from the beginning. If a Boxer can't take you seriously, he will find ways to outsmart you. Boxers should be socialized from puppyhood to help prevent dog aggression. They are protective of home and family, bond closely with those they love and are highly trainable, as long as they are treated fairly. They are strong, both in body and spirit, so maybe not the best dog for the timid. This is not a dog to sit at home all day or tied up in the back yard. They crave human companionship and should be included in daily activities.
Because of their pushed in muzzle, care needs to be taken that they do not overheat. They also snore and sometimes drool.
Boxers are prone to bloat, various eye problems, cancer, skin allergies, and hip dysplasia. It is a good idea to meet the parents of your potential Boxer puppy to make sure they have stable temperaments and are free of health problems.
#7. Bulldog by Becca
Whether they own one or not, I'm not sure there is a more popular dog amongst guys in their 20's than the English Bulldog. Maybe it's because of the priceless, goofy face of this breed. Maybe it's because of their happy, playful Bulldog personalities. Maybe it's because they give off some kind of manly image, often serve as the mascot for sports teams, or are owned by numerous celebrities. I personally find the Bulldog's short, compact stature to be very endearing and provoking of hugs. Whatever it is that gives the Bulldog its popular reputation, they have come a long way from the reason they were first bred - to bait bulls in a brutal gambling sport of the past. Today, that sport has thankfully been abolished and the aggressive streaks have been bred out of Bulldogs (although be aware that their stubborn tenacity still prevails, which can make training one of these guys quite the adventure).
They are now most commonly found as household pets. Their medium size and amiable disposition make them a good choice as a companion, but believe me when I say that a Bulldog is not for everyone. First and foremost, Bulldogs are one of the most expensive dogs to purchase as a general rule. This is partly because a female Bulldog rarely delivers her puppies naturally. Due to the aforementioned structure of a Bulldog's body, puppies often have to be delivered by Cesarean section (meaning extra vet bills and risk of the dog's health, etc.). Even if you are able to pay the costs up front for a Bulldog, also be prepared to spend a chunk of change throughout his or her lifetime. They top the list of breeds prone to hip dysplasia, with over half of all Bulldogs suffering from it (and many dogs facing a hip replacement at some point in their life). Allergies, respiratory problems, skin infections (if their wrinkles are not cleaned regularly) and protrusion of the inner eyelid (or 'cherry eye', as it's commonly referred to) are all frequent, if not typical, health issues that can affect a Bulldog. They are also prone to putting on extra weight if not exercised enough, which can lead to other health problems as well. Bulldog owners must also be vigilant about making sure their dogs do not overheat due to their compact facial structure (the official term being brachycephalic).
If you are still confident a Bulldog is what you want after reading the above information, rest assured that not everything about them is negative! They are a popular breed for a reason, and are known for being some of the most loyal companions in the dog world. As you should with any other breed, just do your homework before bringing one home, and support breeders who do the best they can in preserving the health and welfare of their dogs.