THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- Mega Bites: During the Dog Days of Summer, ranking the best canine breeds to love and cherish

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Baby Cane Corso

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

I was recently informed that the “Dog Days of Summer” have actual dates. 

The son of a groomer, I should have known years ago that July 3 to Aug. 11 are the time we designate for the period. The phrase is actually a reference to the fact that during this time, the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius.

The brightest star visible from any part of Earth and part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater Dog. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

Most of us think the dog days as the hottest period of the year. That answer is still acceptable in my book. That five-week period is normally very hot in the Memphis area. 

It’s also the second busiest time of the year for my mom Alma Sellers grooming days. By the way call (901) 219-0655 for the best cut, clip and clean in the industry. Marie’s Grooming has been all over the city of Memphis for nearly 40 years. 

After that shameless son’s plug, back to my column, several dog owners will bring their babies to my mom right before the Fourth of July and throughout August. 

They want their doggies neat looking and with less hair during the triple digit temperatures. 

The busiest time for a groomer is usually the Christmas holiday season with the need of pictures and guests coming over to the house. Who wants a homeless looking dog running up to the door to greet friends and family.

Being are dogs my whole life from the ones we owned to the clients of my mom, I’ve seen a variety of breeds. 

Dogs have amazing personalities and bring joy to your life. Canines can be crazy and unpredictable, but most dogs take on the characteristics of their owners. 

Key reasons dogs are so awesome are loyalty, service, devotion, athleticism and companionship. 

It’s long overdue, but now is the perfect time of the year to rank the best dog breeds with a few honorable mentions: Beagle, Rottweiler, Pug, Jack Russell Terrier, Sheltie, English Springer Spaniel, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Pit Bull, Alaskan Malamute, English Cocker Spaniel, Bull Terrier, Greyhound and Shiba Inu.

10. Basset Hound

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 15 inches

Weight: 40-65 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

I grew up loving a cartoon character called Droopy Dog. That Basset Hound face accompanied by that sad voice made me fall in love with the breed. Those cartoons portrayed the Basset as a steady and patient dog. Then in the end the hound would be victorious. 

Droopy was stubborn in his efforts to win and would have luck fall on his side. In real life the Basset Hounds I’ve met are similar to the character. 

Although hard-headed, the Basset is still a charming dog and great visual to any home. 

This dog’s strengths are it’s nose and endurance. If you take care of the Basset, it will be deeply loyal to you. This is a great hunting dog but don’t expect him to go fetch the target. 

9. Shih Tzu

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 9-10.5 inches

Weight: 9-16 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-18 years

I had to feature at least one “girly dog” on my list. The Shih Tzu appears to be high-maintenance from the signature groom to its walk. But actually this dog is playful, affectionate and adventurous. Every week I get a visit from a Shih Tzu named Queenie. She is owned by my Godparents Gerald and Claudette. With all their children grown, Queenie is the child of their home. 

They have spoiled this dog but in return she has spoiled them. Queenie makes sure to accompany her mother on errands and keep her focus on all her tasks. Then Queenie will make sure her dad gets his exercise and has a stress release after all his daily challenges. 

The Shih Tzu including Queenie is also loving toward children. They have great memories and once you earn their trust, the Shih Tzu will make you a part of its “pet-me routine.” The ideal lap dog. 

8. Bichon Frise

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 9.5-11.5 inches

Weight: 12-18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 14-15 years

OK, this breed is on the smaller side too but it gives off the appearance and vibe of a big dog. The Bichon is adventurous and willing to explore. This dog is fun outside but once it has the puffy, afro cut, it goes through a diva phase for a few days. 

Bichons are a beautiful breed and they know it. They won’t get into a dogfight and they are willing to give just about anybody a chance. They are not the best guard dogs but they make solid watchdogs. 

For the most part a Bichon likes to chill but if you engage one, it knows how to have a little fun. 

7. Golden Retriever

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 21.5-24 inches

Weight: 55-75 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

The Golden Retriever is a movie star. This breed is no stranger to the cover of dog food boxes or canine magazines. They have earned the recognition and standing as one of the America’s most popular dogs. 

The dog with Scottish origin is sturdy, strong and not too large. They can live inside the house and will make any backyard their playground. 

The Golden Retriever is a great service dog and partner for hunting. Goldens are trustworthy and loyal to all members of the family. They are fun to train because once they learn your tendencies, you have a best friend. 

6. Cane Corso

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 23-28 inches

Weight: 88-110 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

The first dog on my list that looks like it will beat you up in a street fight. This breed has a physical presence of pure intimidation. But if you are lucky enough to be the owner of one, it is sweet, kind and very smart. The Cane Corso is the best of all worlds. You have a great guard dog and companion. Corso’s lineage goes back to ancient Roman. Eventually the breed made its way over to the United States and now is one of the best dogs to own. The dog is great to train, is powerful while eager to please. 

The main reason I rank this dog so high on my countdown is the majestic physical appearance. This dog looks like a great gym buddy. 

5. Siberian Husky

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Height: 20-23.5 inches

Weight: 35-60 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-14 years

Old blue eyes makes my top 5. If I lived in a colder climate with at least 8 months of winter, I would own a Siberian Husky. 

This breed is simply breathtaking. The thick coat and two-tone pattern is so beautiful. The textbook sled dog, I love photos of this breed. 

The graceful Siberian Husky is a medium-sized dog with almond-shaped eyes that are usually a piercing brown or blue. This gorgeous dog is also athletic and active. They are energetic dogs that love to chase small animals and just roam around.  

4. Dachshund

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Height: 5-9 inches

Weight: 10-32 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-16 years

The wiener dog is easy to recognize from a mile away. The Dachshund’s silhouette is unique and makes its a favorite among children. As you get older you realize this dog is good to own because it is spunky and friendly. It’s a sweetheart of a breed. They come in more than just brown. They have a pattern coat and can be blonde. 

Not the most active dog in the world, a Dachshund is ideal for home life or if you live in an apartment. 

Packing a mean bark, the Dachshund is smart and vigilant. Not built for the role, they are good watchdogs. The breed is stubborn but eventually they will do what you want them to do.

3. Boxer

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 21.5-25 inches

Weight: 65-80 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

I’ve met a few people who own Boxers. And they all have something in common, they are cool. I guess chill people gravitate toward this dog. The Boxer is known to be loyalty, affection, intelligence, good work ethic and is a lean muscular machine. 

The Boxer is the total package of dogs. They look good running next to a man and on the leech of a woman. Children get along with them as well. A Boxer can be the life of the party or just chill in the background waiting for its cue. 

Boxers are natural athletes and move smoothly, gracefully. That is bad news for an intruder. With their devotion to family, a Boxer will kill for the ones they love. A Boxer will welcome you to a party and have lots of fun. Just don’t make an unexpected visit alone in the dark. It might be the last thing you do. 

2. Bulldogs

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Height: 14-15 inches

Weight: 40-50 pounds

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

Since I was about 14-years-old, I fancy myself as a Bulldog. I am ugly but over time I grow on you and become cute. I have big shoulder and a large head. And I am bowlegged. Then I am known to be friendly. My characteristics line up with a Bulldog. 

The Bulldog is a thick, muscled bruiser. The face is typically smashed in and it appears not to have a care in the world. His loose skin makes the dog fun to pet and play with. But they do get tired first. 

You have to give a Bulldog a focused diet and the dog does enjoy moderate exercise. Keep them active because Bulldogs are great in front of cameras. Besides photos, they can steal a scene in any movie. Bulldogs are just simply lovable. 

1. Black Labrador

TALE OF THE TAPE

Height: 22-24.5 inches

Weight: 60-70 pounds

Life Expectancy: 8-10 years

For 13 years I was privileged and blessed to be one of the owners of Misty. Our family dog from 1995 to 2008, simply the smartest, strongest, fastest, loving, loyal, devoted, graceful, funny, kind, vicious, protecting canine ever. 

Misty fits into the category of the Flat-Coated Retriever. With her black coat, she was called a black labrador. There are countless stories of Misty’s greatness. From her protecting our home to her teaching my nephew how to walk as she led him around the house with her tail. 

She would play in the water and mud. Misty loved chasing game and occasionally brought back a fresh kill. She was obedient and I swear could understand everything we were saying. 

We could leave food on the table and say Misty don’t touch it, hours later it could be right where we left it. But she would could to you and place her paw on your knee. With a tilt of her head, Misty would whimper to request for that article of food. 

Dependable and just an all-around joy, Misty made me fall in love with the Black Lab. And whenever I see one today, I smile and remember when I had the chance to be the owner of the best dog ever. All the other Black Lab do something to remind of Misty but there was only one full-service Flat-Coated Retriever. And she’s in Heaven now. 

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas@magicvalleypublishing.com.