Your Dog’s Breed Character

A recent post on corded Poodles prompted a lot of comments (posts on corded Poodles always do) and they ranged from awe to dislike. One comment we got privately, however, struggled to describe the mixed emotions of the writer, and she settled on, “A corded Poodle just doesn’t look like a Poodle.” We think we have the word the commenter was trying to find: Poodley.  It’s the immediate impression a dog makes on you as soon as you set eyes on it.

You’d be forgiven for wondering what the difference is between what we just described (breed character) and type, and admittedly, it can be nuanced. As we see it, however, “type” is what makes a Poodle look like a Poodle, and not a Whippet, while breed character is the essence of that breed type in shorthand. It’s as much an impression – a feeling, if you will –  as it is an instant assessment that what you see before you is a dog. Poodles are Poodley, Akitas are dignified, Chow Chows are lordly, Australian Terriers are plucky, Papillons are spritely, and so on. In Solving the Mysteries of Breed Type, author Richard Beauchamp describes breed character as being about attitude, demeanor and carriage. It’s not just about a Poodle not being a Whippet. It’s about the Poodle being all Poodle.  Let’s put this in visual terms: It’s like “candy apple red” not being the same as “rose red,” even though both are red. One is simply more red. 

We challenge you to name the one word breed characteristic of your breed!

“Nikita” by James W Johnson is available as a print, poster, yoga mat, mug, and much more here


10 thoughts on “Your Dog’s Breed Character”

  1. My Little Guy is probably a puppy mill product. Irregardless, he has great personality. Jaunty is the word I choose. He looks like a small PBGV. Seriously & I am not the only person to think so. The other person was the town animal control gal. I would be very surprised to find PBGV in a puppy mill. Who knows? All that maters is I love him & he is healthy & happy. & yes, he’s a rescue.

  2. Karen, if a substandard breeder thinks there’s money to be made in a breed, they’ll crank it out, so no, we’re not surprised if your Little Guy is a small PBGV. We never thought we’d see our own breed on a mill auction block, but some years back, there were several of them! Sigh.

  3. Well, since you brought it up, we DO sometimes use Whippety to describe the typey look of our breed (as opposed to Greyhoundy or IG-ish to describe those whose type verges on that of a similar breed)!

    Karen Lee–AWC

  4. I have Pembroke Welsh corgis and my one word description is “cheeky”. If I could add more words it would be “cheeky as h**l”, lol.

  5. Our pembroke welsh corgis have attitude.Thanks to our breeder we knew what we were getting into,but after many years of collies quite the adventure

  6. Australian Shepherd – velcro. They stick to their “flock” like glue, especially whoever they bond with. You can see the love and devotion in their eyes!

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