Karen B. London
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A Beagle Is a Nose With Paws
How would you describe your favorite breed?

Capturing the essence of a breed in a short phrase is a challenge, and there are downsides even if you manage it. When an entire breed is described briefly, there’s the risk of missing the mark for many individuals. There’s the chance of explaining only a part of who these dogs are, and that doesn’t do them any favors. And, just as important, it’s easy to offend people who love a particular breed and don’t see them quite the same way.

That said, attempting to distill a breed’s fundamental nature down to a short phrase is just so fun that I can’t resist it. Here are some phrases that make me smile and refer to a few breeds I adore.

A Beagle is a nose with paws.

The Bichon Frise is mindlessly happy.

My Border Collie is smarter than your honors student.

The Labrador Retriever is the most willing play partner the world has ever known.

The Greyhound has two speeds: fast as a speeding bullet and fast asleep.

There are hundreds more breeds and so many ways to describe them as well as the few I’ve mentioned above. I find dogs’ personalities charming and I love hearing what other people have to say about the dogs they know best. How would you describe your favorite breed?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

iStock photo

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Submitted by Anonymous | October 25 2011 |

Newfoundland: The Gentle Giant

Submitted by Robin | October 25 2011 |

Dalmatian - Lots and lots of spots!

Submitted by Anonymous | October 26 2011 |

My newfoundland is the kindness couch potatoes I've ever seen...

Submitted by Basil Brown | October 26 2011 |

A belgian Malinois is a nose, ears, eyes and a brain.

Submitted by Anonymous | October 26 2011 |

Dachshund- stubborn, don't know they are a dog

Submitted by Lisa | October 27 2011 |

Shar Peis are as wise as their wrinkles.

Love that beagle comment - I have a beagle mix and she is indeed all nose (well, OK, nose and mouth - actually I think the nose is just an extension of the mouth, serving only to support the eating function of the mouth.)

On walks, my beagle mix has her nose glued to the ground, while my Shar Pei has her head in the air, looking for squirrels and rabbits to chase.

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