There is an ages long debate about animals and how much their behavior is determined by their genetics, and how much is determined by their environment. On one side there are hardliners that insist that no breed is inherently more aggressive or dangerous than other breeds, and that the only determining factor is the environment that they are raised in. On the other side are those who believe that each dogs behavior is determined by some parts their genetics, and some parts by how they were raised (I have not ever seen someone advocate that a dog’s behavior is determined only by their genetics).
In talking with dog professionals and reading online discussions and opinions, there is a marked disconnect between those thinking that a dogs behavior is determined only by how they were raised. I have had almost hundreds of conversations that go almost exactly as follows (usually the person i’m talking to states how breed X is misunderstood),
“Why do you think that X breed has such a high rate of biting people, including their owners?”
“Stereotypes and the way they were raised. X breed are actually very sweet and gentle, it [only] depends on how they were raised.”
“So you don’t think some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others?”
“Do you think that some breeds are more athletic than others? Or more intelligent than others?”
In these conversations I’m not trying to play “gotcha” with anyone, it's mainly to see if they can recognize the disconnect in their thinking. Breed traits are a real thing. Most European Doberman Pinschers are more intelligent than Bulldogs. Most Blood Hounds are better trackers than Chihuahuas. Most Pomeranians like being held and cuddled more than Springer Spaniels. Most Siberian Huskies pull more and harder than Great Pyreneeses. Most Pit Bull Terriers are more hyper than Great Danes. Obviously each dog is an individual, but as a group there are obviously distinct breed traits that are part of what makes a breed what it is. I'm not saying that a certain breed should go extinct because of certain traits and tendencies as a product of its breed.
We breed our European Doberman puppies to have a certain temperament that is an excellent base for their owners to build off of. All of our puppies are born intelligent, loyal, protective family dogs. From that great genetic base, you can then raise the puppy to be what you want it to be. Working dog that does bite work? Train and work with them and they’ll love doing it with you. Want a pure family dog that fetches, cuddles on the couch, and loves swimming? Our European Doberman puppies will love all of it.
There are things that certain breeds due to their traits are not suitable for. Our European Dobermans need to be house dogs with the family. They’re called velcro dogs for a reason, and they’re not bred to live outside and be happy and healthy. Our European Dobermans also need adequate exercise. They’re an energetic breed! They need to run, jump and get mental stimulation. These aspects are in their nature, and cannot be bred out. Some Dobermans are smarter than others, some are more energetic than others, and some are more suited for bite work than others! However, overall there are natural traits that all Dobermans have regardless of how you raise them.
Laid out plainly as written above, I don’t think any reasonable person could disagree with the key point that certain breeds have distinguishable traits. We chose and love Dobermans because of their distinguishable traits. They make the worlds best family dogs because of their inherent characteristics. So, when choosing which breed you want to add to your family, beware of anyone that tells you that “its only about how you raise them!”, or “X breed is misunderstood!”. As I said above though, not all dogs in the same breed are the same. Talk to whatever breeder you think is worth reaching out to and ask them about their dogs. If they simply spout off the dam and sires weight, height, and foot set, move on. Those are just numbers and don’t tell you anything about the dogs. The breeder should talk about their dogs personality and disposition. We see specific things that our puppies do, and say to each other “they get that from great grandpa Leo, or from great grandma Novella".
Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below! We would love to hear from you!