What dogs should people not own in urban areas – Part ONE
This list is of course subjective, but it is based on the needs of the dog breeds as well as the ability to of owners to control. Discipline and adequately exercise these dogs.
People have very definite likes when it comes to dogs. Sometimes its from memories from their childhood, because they look like their dog or because they think the dog will fit some kind of need, such as a companion, a guard dog etc. But some people end up buying impractical dogs for their situation.
Just because it is legal to own a breed of dog does not mean that you ought to own it or that you can satisfy its needs.
The number one thing to realize is that all dogs require a long daily walk, if not two walks. All dogs enjoy life better in a large back yard, but some breeds have made do in a smaller yard and some even survive living most of their life inside of an apartment. This is not recommended unless you get a ‘teacup’ dog, and even then it is really removing them from enjoying a natural outside environment.
So what dogs should not be in an urban environment? Those that cannot have their natural instincts reasonably met. You see I say ‘reasonably’ because many people think that by meeting the bare minimum requirement of one walk per day will satisfy their dog. But as you will see it takes far more than that.
The number one dog group not advisable to be kept in urban environments are any wild/ ancient dogs. These are dogs that are by the nature of their minimal domestication, are not very easy to satisfy or keep safe in off lead environments. In fact the off lead test applies to all breeds that are not recommended for urban environments. Examples of these dogs are ones such as huskies and malamutes. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen many dedicated husky owners. However in a city environment it is virtually impossible for owners to give these dogs sufficient exercise and socialisation that they need. This is why you will often see these dogs walked short distances on lead, even in off lead areas. There will to play hard and their sheer jaw pressure makes it too risky for untrained dogs of this nature ever to be let off lead or be in situations where they may break free.
These are two of the most ancient dogs that were taught to keep their survival instinct and keep themselves and their owner alive. They are built to pull sleds long distances in extreme conditions and keep wild animals away from their owners. Clearly they are purpose built dogs that are extremely out of place in an urban environment. Not only are these environments usually not cold enough, they are very unlikely to get the exercise they need and will have to be social with many other breeds of dogs that they normally would rather chase away from their owners. To force dogs like these to our built environments generally borders on being cruel. Unless these dogs are serving the purpose they were bred for, owning one is generally an aesthetic option related to ego.
The next breed of dog that should really be reconsidered is inherently violent dogs bred for hunting and killing other animals. These are dogs are sometimes called ‘fighting dogs’ and include such breeds as pig dogs, pit bulls are they generally do not do well in urban environments.
These dogs were primarily bred to kill other animals and still have this instinct deeply etched in their psyche. The only way to really fulfil these types of animals is to let them regularly fight or hunt and kill other animals, but once you do so, you can not readily allow them to mix with domesticated dogs or humans and expect them not to exhibit anti social behaviour.
Having a dog that you can not risk being around other dogs or people is never going to give it the socialization that it needs to become a balanced dog.
Working dogs are one of the most common owned and inappropriate dogs in many city situations. These include the border collie and kelpie. Don’t get me wrong, these are often beautiful very smart animals. However the issue with keeping these dogs is that they were bred for specific tasks such as round up sheep and expect to run many miles each day. They are often above average intellegient and single focus animals. Some people have tried to satisfy these dogs with several long walks per day and hours of ball fetching, however for such intelligent dogs, ball chasing is a very secondary activity compared with the brain usage needed to strategies how to keep a whole flock rounded in one place or moving to another area.
In fact it has been shown that prolonged activities such as ball fetching can cause much more stress in dogs and create large amounts of residual cortisone in their bodies that negatively affect many of their systems. While you can put these dogs on treadmills and have them run along side your bike, this will not provide the mental stimulation that these smart dogs crave.
Unless you are willing to become a dog behaviourist and spend very long hours in helping divert the working dogs energies, you are going to end up with dogs with behavioural problems.
I appreciated that many of these dogs have become very acceptable members of our community. They have dedicated owners who spend much time and money trying to satisfy every one of their dogs urges. The problem is that often inherent in these dogs are urges that can not easily be satisfied. If owners decide to go on holiday will people looking after these dogs give them the same care?
Then there are the owners who spend much less time and have much less skill in providing dogs these high energy high maintenance dogs with what they need. These dogs then became a danger to themselves and society. If you happen to own such a dog, I hope for everyone’s sake that you have the skills of a dog trainer and dog behaviourist and can devote the many hours per day to satisfying your dogs needs.
Bruce, the author of this article is a dog walker. Besides walks, I ensure that the dog treats that my dogs eat are real meat and are healthy for them. Hence why I am the