by Laurie Bogart Wiles
I have been owned by many dogs throughout my life and though there are no truly women-specific breeds, there are most certainly breed characteristics that conform to you and your lifestyle. For example, if you love the outdoors, you want a breed that’s energetic and bred to run. If you live in an apartment, a small breed is best, of course. If you have young children or grandchildren, then you probably don’t want a one-woman dog, as some breeds are; though they are devoted, they are also possessive of their owner. Obviously, if you have allergies, you want a dog that doesn’t shed; conversely, if you love long-haired dogs then you have to have a good vacuum cleaner. Whichever breed you choose, there’s one rule—and one rule only: Live in the moment—because you’ll know she’s the dog for you, and she’ll know you’re her human, the moment you look into her eyes.
Here are some breeds that appeal to women
- For more than two decades, the LABRADOR RETRIEVER has been the most popular breed in America, according to the AKC. Affectionate, utterly devoted, and even-tempered, this energetic breed is best suited to women who love the outdoors and can give their Lab plenty of exercise. The same can be said for the GOLDEN RETRIEVER.
- Another breed that appeals to women who love the outdoors is the AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD. This handsome, medium-sized dog is extremely intelligent and therefore easily trainable; but like the Lab and Golden, this breed is energetic and requires exercise. This is not an apartment dog, nor is she a dog you’d leave alone in a fenced-in yard. The same goes for the BORDER COLLIE—another candidate for agility trials.
- For apartment dwellers, especially if you suffer from allergies, the non-shedding toy or miniature POODLE is a great canine companion. Poodles are considered one of the most intelligent breeds. They love a long walk but be careful: these are one-women dogs and can be skittish around strangers. For that reason, you need to properly socialize any dog—that means, introduce them gradually to strangers, and be especially careful with unfamiliar children who may be apt to want to pet or cuddle with your dog. Standard Poodles are so elegant, but they were bred to hunt ducks and require outdoor exercise.
- The PUG is pure affection. Unlike the Poodle, a Pug welcomes meeting new people. Not so much other dogs, however. A Pug can be jealous. Pugs tend to over-eat so be strict with her diet. And—no, don’t give in to her when she begs for more food. Even though she’s utterly adorable. Also in this category is the precious FRENCH BULLDOG, the dog of choice of celebrities such as Lady Gaga.
- The BASSET HOUND is generally considered a man’s dog, especially a man who’s from The South. Just look into her big, loving eyes and you’ll see one of the gentlest, most patient, most devoted dogs. Bred to hunt, this breed has a powerful sense of smell—which means, they must always be in your control outdoors lest they scent a squirrel or rabbit. This breed needs to be bathed more frequently than others, especially her long, velvety ears.
- The CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL was known as “the Comforter” in Georgian times because ladies would hold them on their lap, while being driven in a carriage, to keep them warm. Adored by Queen Victoria, this is a marvelous breed full of personality, loving, and kind. A real addition to your life, and your family’s. So devoted is the Cavalier to her owner that she will suffer separation anxiety if kept apart from her people for too long. Interestingly, the Cavalier was originally bred as a sporting dog. Small, close-to-the-ground, but amazingly fast, she would kick up pheasants and ground-nesting game.
- You don’t see many of them around anymore, but the COLLIE is a splendid, elegant breed. The Collie was famous from the first “Lassie” movies—the first two of which starred a young Elizabeth Taylor (who didn’t even get a screen credit in the first, Lassie Come Home, 1943, but headlined the second, Courage of Lassie, 1946)—through the popular television series, which lasted an amazing 20 years, from 1954-1974. A country dog, this is long-haired beauty sheds and requires daily grooming.
- The CORGI has been the favorite breed of Queen Elizabeth II of England since childhood. Short-legged and long, with dense, soft fur, this is a delightful dog, full of energy, and always happy. She loves a good walk, her food, and is a constant and loving companion. You may remember those opening moments of the London Summer Olympics when James Bond went to Buckingham Palace and was met by Her Majesty’s Corgis before escorting her to The Games in one of the greatest entrances over staged: James Bond and The Queen London 2012 Performance
Simon & Schuster published THE GIANT BOOK OF DOG NAMES, “the most comprehensive book” of its kind with over 5,000 names. By the time I got to “Z”, I was mentally exhausted, but it’s with pride that I admit that I not only wrote the book but enjoyed coming up with all those names and their meanings. I make a comment in the Introduction to my book that many dogs must think their name is “Commere” or “Dammit” because new owners cry out “come here” when they call to their untrained dog and “damn it” when the dog doesn’t. If you are owned by a dog, you know that’s true. But as you come to learn one another’s language, it’s amazing how in-tune you are to one another—no words needed when you have the unconditional love of a dog.
Here are a few that are popular today for female dogs
ABBY Joy, rejoice. Great name for a Corgi.
AGATHA Greek for “great,” this is a lovely name for a Great Dane.
BAILEY Sweet, tiny, like a berry. Perfect for a Toy Poodle or Maltese.
BISCUIT A cracker. What a great name for a biscuit-colored, crackerjack Yellow Lab?
BUTTONS Small, like a button. A delightful name for a Pug or French Bulldog.
CHANEL Like Coco. An elegant name for an elegant dog, like a Collie or Afghan hound.
DAKOTA Appropriate for any outdoor-loving breed, like any of the Shepherds.
DEMI What better name for a Chihuahua?
EMBER A smoldering coal—apt for a Black Lab.
GIGI The quintessential name for a Poodle.
HERSHEY What better name for a chocolate Lab, a Boykin Spaniel, or any chocolate-colored dog?
JINXY Means charming, fun—a swell name for a dog with real personality, like a Corgi.
LADY The classic Disney name, but so perfect for a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
MIMI An adorable name for any small breed, such as a Bichon Frise
NOODLE This might just be the right name for a Bassett Hound…
PIPPA Dogs with names that begin with hard sounds, like “p” are said to be more responsive to come when their name is called. Poppy would also fit the bill.
ROSIE Is just right for a dog with a happy disposition, such as a Golden Retriever, especially ones with red tones to her golden fur.
SHADOW Such a lovely name for a Black Lab.
TWINKLE Too cute for a Maltese or other small breeds.
ZELDA Like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, a little zany, a bit precocious—how about Zelda for Yorkshire Terrier?