MUTTerings With Nikki Moustaki: What’s Your Dog Type?

Posted: March 18, 2012, 3 p.m. EST

It always takes me a little by surprise when I see someone who has a set of dogs of vastly different breeds. It would turn my head to see someone walking a Husky and a Pug, or an Afghan Hound and a Fox Terrier. This is because I am certain that all dog people have a “dog type,” choosing their dogs nearly the same way people choose a mate. Sure, there are millions of years of evolution behind why we choose mates, but a lot of why we like certain people and don’t like others has to do with upbringing and memories, and those things fall into why we like a “type.” I assert that it’s the same way we choose our dogs.

From what I’ve observed, “type” doesn’t have to do with breed or size, or even group, such as sporting or herding. Certainly, there are people who like little dogs or big dogs, but given different circumstances – such as a person from a farm moving to an apartment in the city – that person would likely have to choose a different sized dog, but it would still be the same “type” – maybe they’d go from a Doberman to a Min Pin, or from a Husky to a Pomeranian.

I’m breaking “type” roughly into the following categories:

Brachycephalic versus long snout:

This one is obvious. It’s very common to see people with multiple brachycephalic breeds – the Boston Terrier, English Bulldog, and Shih-Tzu, for example. It would not be uncommon for someone with a Pug to love Frenchies as well. People who fancy dogs with a longer snout tend to stick with that type of dog. I haven’t seen a lot of people go from a Collie to a Pug. The brachycephalic dogs remind us of babies, with their big eyes and flat faces – it’s not hard to see the draw.

Griffy coat versus silky coat:

I’m a sucker for “griffy” dogs – dogs with scruffy faces and wiry fur, such as the Brussels Griffon, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, the Otterhound, and the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen. I think it’s part of why I like Schnauzers so much – grow their hair out and they can certainly qualify as “griffy.” Dogs with silky coats, such as the Lhasa Apso, the Yorkie, and the Saluki have a lot of fans too – people that have time to brush, brush, brush.

Long versus proportionate:

It’s not uncommon to see someone with a Dachshund and a Basset Hound – or even a Corgi. People who are tickled by “long” dogs tend to stick with them. People who like proportioned dogs would rarely run off and get a Swedish Vallhund (even if they could find one).

Spitzy versus everything else:

Fans of the Nordic dogs, the “Spitz” type – such as the American Eskimo, the Chow, the Husky, the Finnish Spitz, and the Pomeranian – fall in love with this dog’s independent nature. This “type” of dog is characterized by its curly tail, its thick, weather-proof double coat, and its intelligence. There’s nothing that will put your in your place faster than trying to train a spitzy dog. People like that these dogs can think for themselves and are as close to being wolves as any of our domestic dogs can be.

Sloped back versus swayback:

I might be reaching here, but I think there’s something to this one. Some dogs have sloped backs that start at the shoulders and slope downward toward the floor – some of these dogs even have backs that are slightly curved upward. Examples are the coonhounds, the Xoloitzcuintli, and the Whippet. Other dogs have swaybacks, like a horse, such as the Spinone Italiano, the Kerry Blue Terrier, and the Shar-Pei. The difference can be very subtle, but I believe that people are attracted to either one type or the other.

Flat ears versus prick ears:

I think that ears carry less weight than some of the other “types,” but people do tend to be drawn toward dogs that have either floppy ears, such as the Cocker Spaniel, or pricked ears, such as the Norwich Terrier.

Girl dogs and guy dogs:

I don’t think that there are really “girl dogs” and “guy dogs” these days, but the gender stereotypes still exist, unfortunately, making it less likely to see a macho man walking a Poodle than it would be to see him walking a Rottie. Girls seem to be able to get away with walking any type of dog, from a Pit Bull to a Chihuahua, but there is definitely a draw toward little dogs that fit into bags.

What’s your “type?” Do you know why you are attracted to certain dogs? Do you have vastly different dogs?

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Sheri   Omaha, NE

3/23/2012 8:06:17 AM

My 'type' has nothing to do with looks. I love all different shapes and sizes. I lean towards dogs that are quick thinkers with a little spark in their personality and a desire to do anything with the owner. My current dog,a Bouvier des Flandres is much different than her sister. She has an extra spark of mischief

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Vicki   Cheyenne, WY

3/22/2012 9:09:05 PM

definatley a Boston terrier for me! no questions asked they are so versatile and little and fun and I go could go on and on

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Carol   Blue Hill, NE

3/22/2012 8:50:16 PM

I am one of those people Nikki wonders about! I have fluffy dogs, short and long-snouters, water dogs, small, medium, large & giant dogs. My type is: rescue dog! I seem to find them everywhere & them I foster them & then I fall in love. I am a renowned Foster Failure.

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Jennifer   Calabasas, CA

3/20/2012 4:59:28 PM

Nikki, I think that you're extremely wrong here. People (well, smart people) don't get dogs because of their appearance. It is how the specific breed fits one's lifestyle. For example, I have 3 longhaired dachshunds, a short-haired border collie, and a weimaraner - all very different "types".

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