What makes a “good” dog?

This is an interesting question to me, mainly, because the answers seem to vary dramatically.  I was at the home of a new client whose dogs were literally jumping all over me.  These were large dogs and there were two of them.  There was no aggression in the act, simply an over-exuberant greeting, and today I have the scratches on my arms to prove it.

But what struck me when talking about training was how the man of the house was very intent to tell me that they were “good” dogs.  I wouldn’t even disagree, but what exactly makes a “good” dog?

One of the things we encourage people who are attempting to find the right dog for their lifestyle to do is research into breed types.  When Nick and I settled on Leonbergers for our home it was because they fit a certain profile.  (They had low prey drive, were content to be lazy while we were at work, they were large dogs that did not drool, and they had an outgoing and friendly personality)  But some people find the idea of sharing their living space with an adult human sized furry companion that sheds nonstop horrifying.  That’s ok.  Maybe we don’t want to share Leonbergers with everyone, anyways.  Perhaps a toy poodle would be more appropriate for other people.

So, I thought it might spark an interesting discussion, trying to figure out what qualities and attributes really make a good dog.  I would venture to guess that different people have different ideas, and that is why there are so many different breeds of dogs in the first place.  Here is my criteria for a good dog:

  • Obedience (obviously, given my profession, this is a must)
  • Willingness to be a part of family activities
  • Affectionate, likes to be loved on and petted
  • A good traveler (we go to dog shows and in general love to take our dogs with us everywhere)

So, these would be my top four qualities for a good dog….what are yours?

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