The GP is not for everyone.
For starters - they are very sharp, quick and intelligent thinkers who are often smarter then some of the people who own or want to own them. They are problem solvers like no other breed I've been around. They have an independent nature so require a firm, strong but never harsh Alpha (all the humans in your family) leaders.
They were bred to be vermin killers and still has a strong prey-drive for all things small, furry and squeaky (and can dig to get to them). That's why consistent obedience training and socialization is required to have a happy dog and happy owner.
The bred is a "trotting dog" so rarely move at a walk. They have good endurance and enjoy a good romp along the pathways. They need regular exercise to channel their energy. They groom themselves like a cat, especially after coming in from wet grass. (Mine examines each foot, counts all her toes and cleans them to her satisfaction.) Just about every GP owner is glad they don't have thumbs as they use their paws like hands too much as it is. They may or may not be particularly fond of water but can learn to enjoy swimming. A quick wipe down with a damp towel usually is all it takes to keep them clean. Even scooping the backyard is a breeze - if you feed a high quality dog food or a RAW diet, they are very efficient eaters with minimum output.
They can be and are successfully raised with children, other dogs and cats IF all are taught to respect each other and are expected to be well behaved with each other. These dogs have long memories and do not forget injustices from humans or other animals. They will not tolerate psychical abuse as a form of correction. Firm voice, shake can, squirt bottle or a quick pop on the lead works very well. They are very loyal and affectionate with their owners but can be can aloof to strangers. My dog is very friendly but if she is stand-offish with someone new, then I trust her instincts and avoid them.
They do best when they can be with you in the house. Most tend to be "blanket-babies" and love to cuddle under the covers on the bed or couch with you. They have been known to bring around a non dog person to enjoy the pleasures of owning a smart dog with an expressive face.
Don't let the size fool you. Pound for pound they are one tough, strong dog who will not back off from a fight. They can be very focused and determined. What they lack in weight, size or intensity of bite they make for easily with speed and agility.
The bred, as a rule, is very healthy and durable. The GP gene pool is small enough we can hopefully avoid genetic mistakes while increasing the size of the genetic pool.
There are several sites that detail the history if you want specific details, but basically the breed was near extinction by the end of World War II.
The dogs available now are the result of the careful breeding of the remaining dogs. The Breeders / owners I've had contact with want to make sure their dogs go to homes suitable for the breed. No one wants a good dog ruined by a bad owner or a child bitten by an unsuitable dog. Like every other living thing, most GPs have great temperaments, a few can be down right nasty! If you get a dog and find out it temperament doesn't fit your family, please return it to the breeder and don't take it to the pound!
GPs are compact enough to be a lap dog but big enough to be protection, easy to feed, easy to care for, great to travel with, intelligent, loyal and affectionate. I've owned and been around a lot of other pure bred dogs and mixed breeds dogs. They all have good points but for us the GP is THE dog we prefer.
Edited with kind permission of the original author: Marcia
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