Saint Bernard breeder and American Kennel Club (AKC) judge Joan Zielinski, of Auburn, discusses the temperament of purebred dogs.

joanz.jpgSaint Bernard breeder and American Kennel Club (AKC) judge Joan Zielinski, of Auburn, discusses the temperament of purebred dogs.

I’ve been asked to comment on the expected temperaments of purebred dogs. My husband, Stan, and I have loved, owned and bred Saint Bernards since 1965 so we have had much experience in our own breed along with most other breeds of purebred dogs.

However, I’d like to invite all readers to attend an AKC dog show. They are held on most weekends across the country. You will see up to 3,000 dogs among thousands of adults and children all enjoying the spectacle.

What does this have to do with temperament?

It has volumes to say about that virtue in well-bred purebred dogs. You will neither hear nor see any bad actors among these dogs — no barking, no aggressive behavior.

The reason is that the breeders focus on creating dogs who meet the requirements of the AKC. On the rare occasions that a dog in a show ring would exhibit any poor behavior, such as biting a human, the dog is disqualified from ever being shown again.

If a dog attempts to attack or threaten another dog, the action is stopped immediately by the handlers of the two dogs. The dogs are only disqualified and cannot be shown again if attempting to attack a human. (Some Terriers are bred to have feisty temperaments and they are supposed to be alert and keen but never aggressive to other dogs or humans.)

So, it is of primary importance to purebred dog breeders to only deal with good examples of temperament when planning their breedings.