Adopting A New Dog? 6 Types Of Dog You Don’t Want To Overlook
hen adopting a new dog, a lot of us already have our dream dog in mind and we imagine it being love at first sight. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Though when you’re choosing a best friend that you’re going to have for 10-15+ years, it’s important to take your time. We believe every dog is adoptable, but there are dogs that get adopted more quickly than others. We refer to them as “highly adoptable.” These are purebreds, designer breeds, puppies, small dogs, or just dogs that look really unique. They, like all dogs at any shelter, have great personalities unique to them with the added bonus of being a more desirable breed or age.
It is estimated that 25% of all dogs in shelters across the United States are purebred. This is not including designer breeds, small mutts, or really unique-looking dogs. That’s a big chunk of the approximately 3.9 million dogs that enter shelter each year. So understand, we are not saying that highly adoptable dogs are less of a rescue. We are also not saying that if you want a highly adoptable dog that there is something wrong with that. What we aim to do is to make sure that you are looking at all your options and understanding the pros of dogs not included in the “highly adoptable” category. These dogs are overlooked sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. Expand your idea of your dream dog, and you never know what kind of love you’ll find.
6 Types Of Dog You Don’t Want To Overlook
1. Well… mutts!
You may have no idea what breeds are in your mutt but they all add up to cute, and let’s face it… it’s fun to guess! With mutts, your dog has physical characteristics that are unique to them. Beyond having an adorable combination of traits, it is believed by many experts that dogs with a diverse gene pool have less health issues that are common in purebreds. 75% of the dogs in shelters are mutts, so you have a lot of options and in the end will have a dog that’s unlike any other!
2. Dogs that are nervous in the shelter environment
A lot dogs are anxious when they come to the shelter and show it in many different ways. Some of these nervous behaviors go away with time and some stay with them until they are adopted, others may need additional training in the home. However, it’s worth the work and patience when your dog becomes comfortable enough and confident enough to be themselves. Here are some examples of how a dog may show they are nervous in the shelter:
- They don’t trust new people and need more time to open up
- They show badly in their cage- sometimes growling, barking, or lunging
- They are anxious-excited and can’t focus on anyone or anything
- They are totally shut down- can’t even move
All these dogs typically need is patience. Go on a long walk together. Feed them treats if they’ll take them. Be understanding, but don’t nurse their anxieties either. Take for instance Moomey, a dog that was marked as “Go Slow” at Summit County Animal Control because she was scared. Moomey cowered, wouldn’t take treats, and was just plain nervous. Check out this video of her just after spending only 15 minutes of quality time with her:
Now had we wrote her off, we would have never seen this side of Moomey. You don’t want to miss out on a great dog who doesn’t show well at first!
3. Senior dogs
A lot of people think that older dogs at the shelter are problem dogs. Truth is most of the time they are there through no fault of their own. We’ve seen senior dogs be surrendered simply because their “owner” doesn’t want them now that they are old. After years of giving everything they have to their family, older dogs deserve comfort and security not a cold shelter floor. Senior dogs come with all sorts of benefits! Usually they are already potty-trained and know their basic commands. Though they love a good walk as much as the next dog, they won’t need as much exercise as a puppy or young dog. In general, older dogs are calmer and less energetic which makes for less “needy” behaviors like chewing furniture or constantly shoving a toy in your face. If you want a chill dog who goes with the flow, a senior dog might be just for you!
4. Dogs with disabilities
Unfortunately dogs with disabilities are considered less desirable whether they are young or old. Dogs that are deaf, blind, or missing a body part are viewed as different in a bad way, but they want what every other dog out there wants: to give unconditional love to a family. Dogs don’t see themselves as different. A three-legged dog will chase after balls and sometimes fall but get right back up like nothing happened. A blind dog will wag his tail when you talk to him or take him for a walk. They just want your love. Yes, certain disabilities may require specific needs, for example: a deaf dog will need to learn signs for commands or you may have to avoid rearranging furniture for a blind dog. You want to do your research on their needs, but a dog with a disability doesn’t feel sorry for themselves and you shouldn’t either… adopt them instead!
5. Pit bull type dogs
Pit bull is a label for many different breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Every dog is an individual with a personality unique to them. However, here’s a little interesting fact:
The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS) tested 870 American Pit Bull Terriers and 86.8% of them passed. That means they did slightly better than one of America’s most beloved family dogs, the Golden Retriever whose pass rate was 85.2%.
Here’s a few myths about pit bull type dogs:
-Pit bulls have locking jaws. Fact: When compared to any other dog’s jaw, the jaw bone of a pit bull does not have any different or special characteristics that make it able to lock his or her jaw.
-Pit bulls are born aggressive. Fact: See above statistic.
-It is dangerous to adopt a pit bull from a shelter because you don’t know his or her background. Fact: You rarely know any dog’s background when adopting because they were either found as a stray or their owners didn’t bother leaving any info. Either way any dog, no matter the breed, should be judged based on their current personality and behavior. If a great dog is standing right in front of you, why do you need to know their history?
Pit bulls are one of the most loving, fun, loyal “breeds” around. You may not adopt a pit bull, but do yourself a favor and meet one on your next trip to the shelter!
6. Big Black Dogs
Black dogs matter too! It may sound strange, but Black Dog Syndrome is real. Big, black dogs actually sit longer in the shelter than other dogs. This is due to a few things: size, indistinguishable facial features, poor lighting in shelters or photos, and negative portrayals of big, black dogs in books and movies. Most people aren’t even aware if they are prejudice against black dogs, their eye just automatically goes to a more interesting-looking dog. But now that you know, make sure you don’t make the mistake of overlooking a black dog at the shelter.
Now that you know what causes a dog to be “less adoptable,” don’t make the mistake of overlooking them! When it comes to the needs of your family, personality should be number one on your list of requirements in a new dog. You may find your dream dog’s personality in a senior, or a mutt, or a dog with a disability, or a shy dog, or a pit bull, or a black dog. They may not have the physical appearance you first imagined in your head, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The last thing you want to do when making a visit to the shelter is rule out dogs based on looks. Every dog in the world is perfect in their own way. They all deserve a chance to show a family unconditional love. If you plan on adopting in the future (which uh, you totally should!), keep in mind these pets that are more often overlooked. You don’t want to miss out on your dream dog because they fall under one of these categories.