It will surprise you not one bit that we have never met a dog we didn’t love, or a cat for that matter, though occasionally we have been met with indifference by a cat. But as is the case with sports and styles of pizza, we have found that some dogs are particularly suited to particular people and places. There are no hard and fast rules - hey, we’ve had deep dish in NYC that was more than passable - but for those considering a new addition to their household, we've compiled a handy guide to distinguish (some of) the lap dogs from (some of) the working dogs and help you pick the perfect pup*.
*all pups are perfect. But you knew that!
1. Golden Retriever
Who among us does not know and love these beautiful, gentle creatures? There are fewer dogs who are better suited to family life than Retrievers, since they combine kindness with intelligence and respond well to training, typically being both calm and affable. These qualities mean that they are also, in general, great with kids as well as adults, though as with all pets, training and socializing is essential. What you may not know is that the 3rd most popular breed in America has its origins in Scotland, and was the work of the incredibly named Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, later Baron Tweedmouth. Having considered and rejected a career as a cartoon character, Sir Dudley found his true calling when he crossed Flat Coated Retrievers with Tweed Water Spaniels. Prototypes included Nous, Belle, Topsy, Sampson, and Cowslip, and indeed all the world's Golden Retrievers descend from scions of this group, Nous II and Queenie. Amazing!
For the Golden Retriever in your life, may we recommend these natty plaid bandanas, which come in 3 colors, each a nod to her Highlands heritage, and each a study in style and panache!
Speaking of queens, Queen Victoria had a pet Pomeranian, and thanks to her preference for particularly small examples of the breed, the stage was set for downsizing. In her lifetime - admittedly, pretty long - the breed halved in size, creating the small fluff-balls we continue to know and love today. Thank you, ma’am! As smart as they are willful, Poms typically have extroverted personalities and love to be the center of attention, making them very entertaining to be around. With sufficient training, they can be great family pets, though as with all small dogs, they are at risk of injury if handled without sufficient care. As such, those with very young kids may consider them less than ideal.
For the Pomeranian in your life, may we recommend these Zippy Paws toys, the squeakiest of the squeaky, which will ensure they are seen, heard, and the center of all attention, as they should be!
Technically not a breed, these delightful doggo crosses were first made right here in the US of A! Derived from Cocker Spaniels and Poodles in the 1960s, Cockapoos were created to be the perfect family companion. Affectionate, rambunctious, and extremely eager to please, they are among the easiest dogs to train, so they make great pets in all sorts of circumstances. Whether you live in an apartment or a house, in the middle of the city or far out in the country, alone or with a huge family, Cockapoos will be right at home and as happy as clams. Their fun, goofy personalities, as well as their adaptability, have made them the most popular dog in New York City; this makes sense to us because if you are going to have a city sidekick, you need one who a) gets on with everyone, b) doesn’t, for the most part, bark excessively (though we know an NYC cockapoo named Steve who is the exception to this particular rule 😂), and c) is smart enough to know that sidewalks and dog runs are just as awesome as beaches and vast expanses of parks. So yes, whoever you are, and wherever you live, run, don’t walk to get yourself a Cockapoo!
For the Cockapoo in your life, what better way to toast his health than with a plush “Cock(a)tail” squeaker! Hey, it’s fun to pun, and while you sip a martini, your best friend can enjoy not one but three drink specials. Bottoms up!
Of all the things that this breed loves, running is at the top of the list! Originally bred as gun dogs, these majestic creatures accompanied their royal owners - the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Karl August, was a fan - as they hunted for wild boar, deer, and even bears. These days, they are just as happy working alongside energetic humans, either as companion dogs for hunters, or as training partners for runners. They love their humans just as much as they love the outdoors, but their strong tracking instinct means they do not do well with cats, regarding them as prey 😳. They equally apt to hunt any small animals who might enter their territory, so squirrels, chipmunks, and mice beware. As with all dogs, training is essential, but in the case of Weimaraners, it is particularly important to mitigate their potential for separation anxiety and attendant behaviors. Loving and loyal, these regal dogs really need you to be around, like, all the time, so are great for those who work from home or are otherwise able to hang out with them. Sounds like a fantastic deal to us, and may explain their popularity with royalty, who, let's face it, tend to have fewer work pressures than most.
For the Weimaraner in your life, look no further than this brilliant walking-jogging-running harness from Dolan’s Dog Doodads. It’ll take you further!
Known as the gentle giant, this incredible breed is famed - and treasured - for its sweet nature. So much so, in fact, that sweetness is listed as a breed standard, and thanks to this quality, it is, with proper training, one of the very best family dogs around. Immortalized by JM Barrie in his novel, Peter Pan, Nana is perhaps the most famous of the breed, but other notable Newfoundlands in include an anonymous heroine who helped rescue Napoleon Bonaparte from rough seas, and, much more recently, Boo, who spontaneously rescued a hearing-impaired man from drowning in the Yuba River. Most amazing of all, Boo had never been trained in water rescue, but was acting entirely on instinct. Just wow! In keeping with their devoted nature, these dogs don’t like to be left alone for too long, making them great companions or therapy dogs. Besides, with a dog so kind, who would ever want to be separated?
For the Newfoundland in your life, may we present Sadie the Bear! Sadie is 20” of soft and cuddly love, who will cherish your gentle giant as sweetly as he cherishes you. *Sigh* 😍🥰😘
6. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Something of a “hometown hero”, this is one of the most popular breeds in the Pacific northwest, indeed no.1 in Seattle, no. 2 in Portland, and we can’t say we’re the least bit surprised. One of the most affable and agreeable of the smaller breeds, Corgis bring big dog energy in compact dog form. They are smart and respond exceptionally well to training, and, given sufficient exercise and stimulation are loyal and dedicated pets. Originally bred as cattle herders, they are tough and independent and vigilantly ensure their human charges are in the right place at the right time. Anyone who has spent time with a corgi will recall being chivvied along and rounded up, and we can't say it isn’t a helpful quality in a family dog, though early training is essential to discourage too much “human herding” and instead satisfy the instinct with fun games such as tug. A favorite of Queen Elizabeth II, who has bred corgis all her life, these small but mighty dogs make any home a castle.
For the Pembroke Welsh Corgi in your life, show some Pacific Northwest love with the Goldpaw Portland Pullover Redux! Okay, we know it’s almost June, but it won’t be forever, and this stylish sweater will keep your Corgi warm and cozy. Buy now or freeze later. You know it makes sense.
7. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
From the Queen’s choice to a dog named after her great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandfather, King Charles II, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a dog with a bearing as regal as its pedigree. With a docile, gentle nature, these dogs tend to follow their owners’ lead. In a home full of kids and energy, they are playful and rambunctious; with quieter folk, they can be shameless couch potatoes. Early training will help your dog set his course, whether it’s to be a family dog, a therapy dog, or something else entirely. It is said that King Charles II was more interested in breeding his Cavs than ruling Britain, so we can assume his dogs were either relatively down to earth or regarded themselves as akin to rulers. Either way, we can thank him - and them - for the beautiful Blenheim color pattern of chestnut markings on a white background which he particularly loved.
For the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in your life, you need a regal reward in the shape of these delicious Crown to Tail treats! Fit for a king - or queen - these tasty morsels are made locally with the finest ingredients. Anything less and it’s off with your head. You have been warned. 😳
8. The Glorious Mutt
No article about dogs would be complete with the planet’s most popular dog, the MUTT! These wonderful creatures come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and temperaments, and are sources of incredible joy and love. Thanks to their huge gene pool, mutts are often more affable and easy going than their purebred cousins, and as such can be remarkably adaptable. As with any dog, it’s essential to research the background of a mutt you are considering bringing into your home, and since rescues are often mixed breeds, make sure you speak to the shelter staff to learn about the dog's temperament and particular needs.
For the mutt in your life, show her how special she is with her very own LavaSox summer boots! The rubber soles give grip-able protection from hot concrete, while the mesh upper ensures cool paws; dare we say it, she’ll be hot to trot in these babies!🐕
So now you’ve met some of our favorite dogs, the question is where to find them. At King Dukes, we are huge champions and supporters of both rescue organizations, and reputable breeders - both are fantastic ways of finding the right dog for you. If you are local to Beaverton, OR, we can help you find a breeder to work with, so why not give us a call or stop by. We’d love to give you the benefit of our experience! But near or far, the most important thing with any and all animals is knowing the commitment and time it takes to care for them and ensure they flourish; give them what they need, and you will be rewarded one hundredfold!
Until next month, pack, that’s a wrap! 🐾🐈🐶🐩🐾
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No matter how small your pup or how large your pack, there is nothing better than a road trip! To help make sure you end up on the happy hound highway rather than the Boulevard of Broken dog Dreams (shout out to my fellow Gen Xers!), we have a ton of tips; so many in fact, that this guide is a two parter! In this first installment, we’ll cover what you need for the car and the trail, and next time we’ll do all you need for everything else, including eating, drinking, and sleeping. The open road awaits…