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Kids, dogs and all others

One can't find a better tutor who can teach how to be human than a dog. Every fifth of those who have a dog gets a dog for the sake of his children. Indeed he does right, 'cause a dog is a friend, a nurse, an uncle, an elder brother and sometimes a strict inspector.

And everything looks splendid but about one fifth of owners confess that their dogs growl at and sometimes bite the young members of their family. So when a person thinks to grow kids and dogs in one garden he must answer two questions: WHAT breed to take and WHEN to start?

I'd prefer not to impose my own advice, since it would be based on a quite limited experience: dogs are many, life is single. I know one family where an English Cocker keeps everybody in awe, while in another family a female of Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a real four-footed nurse-maid. What should I say? One man can say nothing, but what if we look at the public knowledge, a summed knowledge of all us? It's rather attractive to use this, isn't it?

It is thought that the best time to take a puppy is when your child is almost one year old. This fits on the assumption that you are going to raise both. If you want your child to be engaged wait till he is fourteen. Now that you have a baby and a dog, your previous experience of dog keeping would be of great use. If you have no such, try to fill spaces by means of literature. By the way, strangely enough but grandmas and grandpas are bad helpers for dog raising: they pamper puppies in the same way as they pamper kids.

As for a breed, I would recommend to turn to that very public knowledge rather than to get bumps stumbling on the stones others have stumbled before. To find out the truth I asked 230 respondents from Moscow - owners and non-owners, living near the dogs to answer two questions: "What is the best breed for a family with a child?" and "What is the best breed to foster a teenager?"

Of course, respondents mainly named popular, widespread varieties. The inquiry showed that out of 27 breeds recommended for fostering a teenager top ten represent German Shepherd Dog, East-European Shepherd, Airedale, Collie, Giant Schnauzer, Boxer, Standard Schnauzer, Dobermann, Spaniels and various pooches. Among the rest are Dalmatian, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, Poodles, Setters and Dachshunds. The breeds recommended for a family with a child, but not for teenagers are: Afghan, Berner Sennenhund, Bloodhound, Kerry Blue Terrier, Pekingese, Scottish Terrier, French Bulldog, Maltese, Irish Wolfhound, Chihuahua, Black Russian Terrier, Bullterrier, Pug, Miniature Schnauzer, Chow Chow, Moscow Watch Dog, Bobtail, Saint Bernard.

Nice to see, that the public opinion is fastidious regarding to choosing a breed appropriate for young people. In fact a wrong choice made by a grown-up may entail problems mostly for his own family solely, while a wrong dog in the arms of a teenager may be a danger for many other people on the street. So for a family with a child respondents offered a menu of as many as 42 "dishes", thinking there are no bad dogs. And this is fair, since if an adult person raises the dog properly, the dog gets on well with the family regardless of the breed. Anyway, the top ten for this category consists of the following breeds (in descending order of the frequency of mentioning): Collie, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Spaniels, German Shepherd Dog, Poodles, Standard Schnauzer, Giant Schnauzer, Boxer, Airedale. Bobtail, Labrador Retriever, Great Dane, Dachshund, Moscow Watchdog, Chow Chow, Miniature Schnauzer, Rottweiler, Pug, Bullterrier and Setters were more seldom. Some answers pointed onto Sheltie, Black Russian Terrier, Chihuahua, Central Asian Sheepdog, Irish Wolfdog, pooches, East-European Shepherd, Maltese, Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Whippet, Scottish Terrier, Pug, Irish Terrier, Dobermann, Bloodhound, Berner Sennenhund, Afghan.

None of answers to both questions include English Bulldog, Bedlington Terrier, Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, Komondor, Italian Greyhound, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Puli, Borzoi, Toy Terrier, South Russian Sheepdog, Jagdterrier, Japanese Chin.

The best breeds "for kids" mentioned most frequently were Collie, German Shepherd Dog, Airedale and East-European Shepherd.

by Vladimir Gritsenko, Translated by Tatiana Karpova (Moscow)
(MSU, Biology faculture, Dep. zoology and ecology).