Hello everyone. My first time on these forums, but not my first foray into the world of dogs. However, I've become a little stumped, and in my quest for knowledge I've gotten conflicting information from a combination of books, online resources, and breed forums, so I was directed here by a friend of mine who often lurks your boards. According to her, there's a wide variety of folks from all walks of life, and I'm hoping that perhaps I can get some input. Having acquired an apartment of my own several years ago - along with two cats - I've found myself missing the excitement of my old dog. I previously owned a Chihuahua/Corgi mix who was remarkably calm and well-behaved while being a joy to train - truly the very thing I'm looking for - but whom I tragically lost last year to heart failure. The apartment hasn't quite been the same without his presence so I'm looking to get another dog; however, he is the third I've experienced in my lifetime with health issues (previous two were family dogs from my youth) and as all three came from the shelter with little to no medical background, I am unwilling to put myself through that gauntlet again. I have seen in the time I've spent clicking around that folks are often referred to the shelter but I truly hope you will understand when I say I am just not going to put myself through that surprise pain again; I would rather dance with the devil I know than the devil I don't, so purebred I shall go. That is to say, I would rather purchase a dog knowing the possible health issues that could come along for the ride than have a Pandora's box of issues that I'm not prepared for. Again, I truly hope that you understand the reasons behind my decision and think no worse of me because of it. <3 Having said that, I suppose this is the part where I explain a bit about myself, so folks have an idea of who I am and what exactly it is that I'm looking for. I am currently a full-time university student who works from home part-time and I am at present remarkably withdrawn from society, so my routine rarely varies between school and home. My classes are the same each year, and I have breaks of a few hours in between most classes - at the shortest part, I'm away from home for two and a half hours. Essentially, I am a homebody, but I do enjoy my freedom to go out when needed for a few hours. My old dog was ten months old at the time he passed and he was able to sit comfortably at home for several hours if necessary, so I'm looking for a breed who could replicate that. This is perhaps my most important criterion - a breed with a reputation that is suitable to be left for a few hours without developing separation anxiety. As mentioned, I live in an apartment, and whilst I wish it were large it sadly is not. That isn't to say that it's tiny - well, my kitchen is a hole in the wall, but considering I'm rarely there that's beside the point - but it's suitably snug. I'm not looking for a large breed, or even a medium, really - I'd prefer if the breed were no more than 20-25lbs, but the smaller the better, honestly. My Chi/Corgi cross was about 20lbs and our vet considered him fully grown at that weight and that was a good size. I have cats, so a breed that isn't prone to a hunt-kill-FEAST! instinct is preferable. I have minor experience training the urge to chase my cats out of a dog, but I wouldn't by any means consider myself a pro. I enjoy teaching tricks, but that's the extent of it, as I've never had a dog with behavioural problems that weren't fixed by extra exercise or socialization work. I am ridiculously lazy, and I'll be the first person to admit it. However, even I can manage to rustle my rear up for a 20 minute walk twice daily, and this suited both myself and my dog just fine. In finer weather, the walks were increased to 30 minutes twice daily along the riverfront. I never took my dog to a dog park due to the local crowd having a penchant for "it's only a flesh wound" and my own desire to have positive-only experiences with my boy. We did bi-weekly doggy playdates at a local field with friendly dogs, but that was about it. Basically - the lower the exercise threshold, the happier I will be. But I am capable of mustering 40-60 minutes per day. I have sensitive skin, and for some unknown reason, short or coarse hair tends to agitate it. The only dogs my family has owned have been Chinese Cresteds (one hairless, one powderpuff) that I did fine with, and my Chi/Corgi was long-haired. I'd prefer a breed with longer coat, or at least a coat that's softer to the touch. No terrier coats or short coats, if at all possible. I'm a sheer novice when it comes to training, really. My family's dogs were trained by a pro (I was but a wee little lass) and my Chi/Corgi was trained with clicker training step-by-steps I got out of a Karen Pryor book. They worked alright - the dog saw the clicker come up and had a spazz attack with joy - but I guess what I'm trying to say is, breeds that don't really want to work for their person probably won't go over well with me. I'm not a very confident person (I feel like that bit is obvious even through my typing, heh heh) so my dog's calmer and ready-to-please nature worked better for me as it made me feel more confident, and I feel like this is what I need. Now, you may be wondering why I'm asking about it, as those seem like pretty straightforward needs. My main issue is that I'm getting a different picture of a breed from every single source I've checked. Since all three of the dogs in my life have been from shelters, we inherited an absolute bricksack of issues (the Cresteds had teeth, hip, eye, and skin health problems, as well as dog aggression and separation anxiety; my Chi/Corgi was a huge barker and it took a tonne of training to get past that) so I don't consider my personal experiences to be "the norm". However, taking the Crested for example - books say they're Velcro dogs; online resources say they're aloof and high energy; and breed forums say they're barkers and lazy. The same went for breeders I contacted - same said livewire, others said needy. Every dog's an individual, but I'm not finding any common ground to base an idea on. I'm really not sure who to believe, so I figured some additional input on any breed that came to someone's mind - not necessarily a specific one - would help me out. If you made it this far, kudos! You're awesome in my books. Any advice or experience that can be offered will be appreciated. Thanks guys!