Which dog breed fits you best?
What dog breed makes for a good companion? Which breed demands low maintenance? Which one takes to cuddling better?
Such considerations in choosing a dog may matter little to some people, who find that falling in love becomes the main criterion when they see the dog meant for them.
Take Mona Consunji and Poptart. “Poptartito” was a stray dog rescued by the Consunji couple nine years ago.
“We rescued him from getting run over outside Marines Gate 3 in Nichols,” Mona recounted. Since then, Poptart has become a road warrior who travel with the couple all over Metro Manila, and in the mountains and beaches up north.
“The best part of having an askal (asong kalye or mongrel) is that he is always and forever healthy,” Mona said.
Veterinary fees are almost “next to nothing because he does not get sick. (We spend) just for the annual vaccination requirement and monthly ivermectin or parasite treatment,” she added.
Mongrels also easily adapt to any weather, although Poptart especially loves the Baguio weather “at 9 degrees Celsius. He also loves hanging out in rooms with air-conditioning,” Mona said.
Long drives are a favorite as well of Poptart, “as he does not get motion sickness,” Mona said. “He has been to Casiguran and Baler, Quezon; Baguio, La Union, and Zambales. He is always in Pampanga and Tagaytay.”
Erika Garcia, on the other hand, loves small dogs because they demand low maintenance.
So when she was gifted with a French bulldog (usually priced at P25,000), she immediately fell in love with the pup she named Killian.
Erika treats Killian, now 3, like her child and calls him “my boy” on social media. The public relations practitioner also posts photos of them together, among the latest showing Killian in a cute blue-and-red outfit.
“Frenchies (another name for French bulldogs) are usually friendly with everyone,” Erika explained. “I love how expressive Killian’s big eyes are. Plus his coat is very fluffy and soft to touch, which makes him a great cuddle buddy.”
But while Frenchies are friendly and frisky, they can also be stubborn, said Erika, who personally takes care of Killian except for the monthly vet visits “when we buy his toiletries and familiarize him with the place.”
With his size and the thickness of his fur, Chowchow Ponti is the complete opposite of French bulldogs. In fact, Althea Joyce Aragon regards him as a “miniature bear.”
“I love that Chowchows can look as cute and cuddly as a stuffed bear, and still be as regal and daunting as a mountain lion!” she said.
Taking care of Ponti da Pogi can be challenging though, Althea admitted, because of the thickness of his fur and his size. She usually takes care of his grooming herself.
“I usually give him a bath myself because I find that it’s a good bonding activity between us,” Althea said. “It’s also a great workout for me because that’s a solid 25-kilogram weight that I need to carry and roll over and push and turn on all sides for at least an hour,” she added.
The Chowchow’s fur is so incredibly thick that it can be difficult for this breed to bear the country’s tropical climate. But Althea did her homework and found an apartment whose floor tiles helped Ponti deal with the weather. “He also has this tiny electric fan, which I leave on all day. I leave ice cubes in his water container as well,” she said.
The “little bear” also gets a regular 40-minute walk every morning and evening, during which he does his business. “But I clean up after him all the time, otherwise I’ll get fined P1,000 by the village association.”
While taking care of Ponti has its rewards, there are also challenges that come with the breed, Althea admitted. “Chowchows tend to be a little aloof and wary of strangers, so they can’t really be fussed over by just anyone,” she explained. “Ponti has never been aggressive, but I still tell people we encounter in the streets, particularly those who just swoop in and attempt to pet him, that they can’t do that because he could react negatively.”
Just as big but friendlier are golden and labrador retrievers. Take it from Michelle Elaine Velete, who said her love for dogs started with the movie, “Airbud.”
“Labradors are known to be quite reliable as they are hardworking, smart, easily trained, high-spirited and fun-loving. They’re also very sweet and good-natured, and big and huggable that you just want to bury yourself in their warmth forever,” Michelle said.
The breed is popular for search-and-rescue operations as well, she added.
But, Michelle admitted, the excessive shedding of fur can be a problem especially since she lives in a condo and doesn’t have house help.
She recalled how, for only P6,000, she picked the shy, quiet, and “almost indifferent” Marco over his hyperactive siblings from a licensed breeder in Bulacan. In August, Marco turned two.
The short-haired breed doesn’t need much professional grooming, except when it’s time to trim his nails because Michelle wasn’t trained to do it and might hurt her “boy.”
But Marco is high-maintenance when it comes to food, Michelle said.
“I read somewhere that Labradors tend to be bottomless pits so it is in their nature to overeat. That’s why it is also important to watch their weight so they always stay healthy,” she added.
Marco, whom Michelle regularly takes out of town so he could enjoy a dip in the beach, is more than a pet to her. He had proven to be a reassuring companion, who helped her cope with the loss of her 9-year-old dog Gimli who had died of an unknown illness.
In this sense, Marco is like other dogs, no matter their breed—a comforting presence that offers so much while demanding so little.
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