1. First, it’s not really about breed, but about dog. While some breeds are more inclined toward specific behavior traits, it’s not always a given. For example, shepherds and pits have pretty high prey drives typically, but not all shepherds and pits are going to go after other smaller prey animals (i.e. chickens, cats). I’ve found that pits can be some of the most loving dogs around! It’s only in recent times that they’ve become these horrible attack dogs. Go for the individual dog, not the breed! Pointers and labs tend to be very hyper the first few (3-4) years then settle down. Huskies love to escape! We get 90% of our huskies and husky mixes as strays or because the continuously escaped. Herding dogs (http://www.akc.org/breeds/herding_group.cfm) love to chase things (kids, chickens, I’ve even heard of them rounding up loose furniture to the center of the room!). Shepherds and huskies are big shedders.
2. In my experience, opposite sex, smaller, and younger dogs are often more accepted in a new home. Puppies can be nice in that they are usually more submissive, but they are also more annoying to an adult dog. Puppies want to play, play, play and adult dogs generally don’t. But the nice thing about having an adult dog already when getting a puppy is that the existing dog can help train! They help with basic good doggie manners, house training, etc.
3. At my shelter we do allow prospective adopters to bring in their own dogs, but we have found that it often does not give an accurate idea of how the two dogs will get along at home. Your dog can be extremely stressed by coming to the shelter. It will be filled with smells, sounds, and sights that s/he won’t be ready for. I know a lot of dogs get really freaked out by the floors in our shelter. Also the smell of a shelter often is similar to that of a vet’s office – and many dogs don’t like the vet! So keep in mind that your dog (and the shelter dog) will not act the same at the shelter as they would in a real-life environment (home). We often encourage adopters to introduce the new dogs outside. You’ll definitely need to introduce them outside the home before bringing a new friend home – that way your dog can get to know the dog before bringing it straight into his/her territory where s/he will be defensive immediately – walks are great for this too! Leash up both dogs, allow them to sniff each other and give them time. You’ll need to keep them separated when you’re not there to supervise (this includes night time!) and you might want to think about keeping leashes on one or both of them – that way, in case they do get into a scuffle, they’ll be easier to pull apart. There will be some growling and some snapping, but that’s normal; they have to figure out the hierarchy with the new friend.
Good luck on your new family member! In my opinion, shelter dogs are the best!]]>