It’s important to recognize that there is a great deal of commonality in dogs in general. At some base level they are all the same – just like at some base level all humans are the same.
A dog is certainly not just it’s breed, but it’s breed is definitely a part of it and should be considered when adopting, buying, or training a dog. To ignore it is to miss a lot of who your dog is and what they are capable of.
I like to tell people to imagine a world where we made several islands.
On one island we put just UFC fighters. On another island, we put the world’s best poets and creative writers. And on yet another island, we take the best mathematical minds in the world.
Of course, every island would be filled with people who have a shared personhood. But some would be super athletes who enjoy fighting as a hobby and others would enjoy quietly talking and writing. There would be outliers and anomalies on each island, but as a whole we could start to quickly see some traits bubble to the top in each population.
This is exactly what we have with done with dog breeds. Which is how we have toy Poodles, Pit Bulls, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Great Danes and everything in between.
As Cesar Millan likes to say, always view your dog in it’s different layers: Animal, Dog, Breed, Name – in that order. But also don’t forget, breed is a tool you can use to understand where your dog came from, where you can take him, and HOW you should help fulfill her potential.