what breed for me?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by artstudent, Oct 19, 2004.

  1. artstudent

    artstudent New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I've been doing some research into dog breeds lately, trying to find the right breed (or possibly mix-breed) for me. Since I can't own a dog until I move off-campus (which will be in a couple of years), I've been putting my time to good use by doing some research, but it's hard to gather much info from breed descriptions, so I come to your forum in search of personal experiences and opinions on which breed would work best in my situation.

    Basically what I'm looking for in a dog is that it should be affectionate, easily trained, protective, easily groomed, possibly get along with cats, not be dog agressive, and not be too hyper or dominant. The dog/breed in question should also be able to happily live in a suburban setting, hopefully a house with a yard. That said, the breeds that I'm currently most interested in (have done a good amount of research on) are boxers, dobermans, cane corso, and greyhounds, although I am also interested in most molossur breeds, or mixes of any of these breeds.

    The main problems that I'm running into (as far as research goes), is that the breeds I like are either reccomended for only experienced dog owners ( like the doberman or cane corso, or any molossur breed for that matter) apparently due to dominance, tend to be very active, or have a need to be with their people all the time.

    The reason that these issues are problems for me, is that I wouldn't classify myself as a very "experienced" dog owner...my family does have a dog which I trained in all the basic obedience commands, but he is not a particularly dominant dog (he's a boxer/lab/chow mix) and since they keep him outside, I have not had to deal with many of the issues faced by keeping a dog indoors.
    The activity level and possible clinginess of the dog could be a problem considering that when I graduate from school and get a job, I'll be working from 8-5, so won't be able to spend time during working hours with the dog. Although I'd spend most of my time before and after work with the dog and probably take him/her on 2 walks a day and have play time, I'm not sure if this would provide enough attention for a very clingy dog or exercize for a very active breed.

    I am also unsure whether adoption or buying from a breeder would be the best track for me. I assume that because of my future work situation, it would be easier to get an adult dog (in terms of crate/house training), but am not sure. I think the main advantage of buying from a reputable breeder would be knowing that the parents of the pup were health screened and having a general idea of what the pup's future temperment might be. If I get an adult dog from a breed-specific rescue, the dog would be temperment tested and I'd know in advance how well he/she gets along with other dogs, cats, etc, but wouldn't have any guarentees as to the dog's likelihood of getting hip-dysplasia, or other genetic-based diseases. Of the breeds I'm currently interested in, I know of 2 greyhound rescues, 1 doberman, and 1 boxer resuce that are near by. There is also the option of getting a dog or puppy (mix or purebreed) from the local pound, but here again, there would be no guarentee as to the dog's health or temperment if I went with a puppy and the prospects of getting an adult of one of the breeds I'm interested in would probably be low.

    So, I guess I really have 3 questions for you folks, what breed would work for me, should I buy from a breeder or get a rescue, and what age, puppy or adult?

    Thanks for all of your help, and I apologize for the very long post :)
    Artstudent
     
  2. bogolove

    bogolove New Member

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    Wow, you have done some impressive research. People can recommend dogs all day to you, but you need to figure out some other things before you decide on a breed, or a mix, or whatever. How much extra time do you want to spend exercising the dog? i know you want one easily trained, and there are many breeds out there like that, but then there are also breeds that are VERY smart, but need an experienced handler in order to bring out their maximum capabilities. Also, how much do plan on socializing your dog?

    I love the big dogs too. I would love to have a Bernese Mountain dog or a greater swiss, but they are not ideal for my area I live in.

    I think it is so great that you have done so much research on your types of dogs and have figured out what you want out of your dog. Are you leaning towards a bigger dog, or does the size necessarily matter?

    I wanted a German shepherd for so long, and I did a lot of research on them and checked out different breeders, and then somehow there were these sweet little puppies that were going to be taken to the shelter and I took one, and he is my heart now. I still would Like a GSD one day, but really when it comes to the dog, you will love it no matter what, and that is important too.

    Also, you can go to different reputable breeders in your area and discuss that particular breed with them and get their input, that may help you too. Good Luck. i am sure you will get a lot more more help from this site. Everyone has been so helpful to me.
     
  3. chazhound

    chazhound Alpha Dog Staff Member

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    Congrats on researching and doing your homework before you get a dog :)

    I agree with Bogolove, nobody can tell you what dog you will really like. What I would do is backwards. Select the dogs that you most likely won't match with and discount them. That way you will end up with a large number of breeds left to select from. Rescue or breeders are both good sources. If you are not interested in the labor of showing or breeding the dog, then rescue would be an excellent choice as you can see the dog and spend some time with it.

    Chazhound
     
  4. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I've ended up with some of the best companions just by going to the humane society and going home with the dog that "belonged" to me, and my Bimmer came to me after being abandoned on a couple's rural property with his three siblings.

    And you're being wise to consider an adult dog rather than a puppy. Puppies are wonderful, but they can be a handful sometimes (is that the understatement of the century?), and when you adopt an adult - or nearly adult - dog you've got a good idea of the disposition, and a very good idea of the size the dog. If you're not an experienced dog owner, those factors can be a huge plus. And the ones that you rescue just seem to have a special bond.
     
  5. artstudent

    artstudent New Member

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    I'd like to thank all of you for replying to my post. I am really leaning towards either going to a general shelter or a breed rescue and going with an adult, or atleast 1yr old dog and your posts just confirmed what I was thinking.

    What I've really been confused about, is whether any of the breeds I'm interested in would (generally speaking) be able to stand being alone for the duration of my forseeen workday (i.e. ~7:30-5:00). Some of the breeds I like, like boxers or dobes are supposedly very high-energy and owner oriented... would they generally be less-suitable to my schedule than, say, a "lower energy" breed like a mastiff mix?

    Thanks again for all of your advice!
    Artstudent
     
  6. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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    I would say to look for 'independence' as a breed characteristic. An independent dog can stay at home by himself and not go to pieces, while a friendly dog like a boxer or doberman would have a harder time being left alone.
    Unfortunately not too many of the breeds you listed would fit very well in your environment, save maybe the Greyhound. (most retired racing greys are sedate and adaptable.)
    I've met some very independent Boxers, but they are extremely high-energy and unless you kept them crated when you left, the dog would be destructive, because he would be so bored and lonely.

    Have you considered adopting two dogs? Sometimes getting two is the answer for a person who isn't home much..
     
  7. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Rip's Girl is right. I'll add, too, that a Mastiff/Mastiff mix isn't necessarily a good choice on two counts: one, these are dogs for people experienced with dominant, strong willed and very large dogs; and two, Mastiffs are extremely owner oriented. They want to be with you. And don't let the couch potato reputation fool you. They may be quiet and look very sedate, but they get lonely and bored all by themselves and are large enough to quietly disassemble the sofa if not handled properly and taught to be self-reliant enough to amuse themselves safely while you're gone. A lonely, insecure or bored Mastiff can be a real roller coaster ride!

    Going into a shelter with an open heart is often the best way to end up with the perfect companion.
     
  8. artstudent

    artstudent New Member

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    Thanks again for your replies,
    rip's girl- Having 2 dogs would be great, but wouldn't adopting 2 at once make it more difficult to bond with/house train/train each of the dogs? Would adopting one first, getting it settled in (house trained etc) then adding a second dog be a better option? Also, do you think getting 2 different breeds/personalities of dogs would work (say, adopting a greyhound, then adding a boxer or dobe later)?

    renee750il- I understand your points about owner-attachment and mastiff/mixes being for owners that are experienced with large/dominant/stubborn dogs. But what I really want to know, is how does someone become "experienced" enough to own a mastiff/mix? I am willing to put in the extra time/effort in socializing, obedience, and exercise that is required, and I do have some experince with a larger dog...My family's dog Max (which I trained in basic obedience) is a 90lb boxer/lab/chow mix that is pretty stubborn, but not very dominant.

    I know that having worked with my family dog doesn't qualify me as experienced...and I also know that I may not be pepaired to handle a 100lb dominant mastiff mix at this point in time, but since I really love the personalities of the mastiff breeds and would like to work towards being a capable owner for a mastiff mix, what should I do? Could adopting a large, non-dominant dog or a medium-sized dominant dog help prepair me for eventually owning a mastiff breed? Are there "inbetween" breeds that you'd reccomend looking at?

    I've been doing more research and read some material on rotties and thought that I'd ask if they might work for my situation... Although they are known to be dominant and large, most of the material I read also said that they can be independent and are not as energetic as, say, a dobe or boxer. Would a not-so-dominant, rottie or rottie mix possibly fit my situation better?

    I know that I might end up going to a general shelter and falling in love with a dog there that might not even be of any of the breeds I've mentioned here...but since I'm considering going to a breed-specific rescue, I want to know as much about whether a breed might work for me (actually whether my situation would work for a breed) as possible.

    Thanks again for all of your advice, and I apologize for the long post.
    Art
     
  9. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner. A great way to get experience as well as obtaining some knowledge about different dogs is to volunteer at a local shelter. You'll find that it's not just experience that counts with some breeds, but the personality, intuitiveness and "nerves" of a person that help determine what type of dog is the most serendipitous match.

    Oddly enough, as far as handling a large, dominant dog, one of the Terriers, like the Fox, Rat or even Jack Russell is a good start. With a Terrier or Terrier mix, you get a large dog in a compact body that's marginally easier to deal with and theoretically can't wreak quite so much havoc if they get out of hand and you have to re-think your training and handling techniques. If you can mentally deal with a Terrier - and it does have to be mental since you can't realistically bully a Terrier into submission (they get even with you) - you've got a good idea of what would be in store for you with one of the more demanding big'uns. And of course, the bottom line is - No Fear. They know, and they'll take full advantage. The only emotion there is room for in the human/dog relationship to have a good, well adjusted, trustworthy companion dog is complete love. Your dog will trust you with his/hers, and it's up to you to return in kind.
     
  10. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    Great idea! I volunteer to walk the dogs at the local humane society. (Although I tend to only go when I know there's a Doberman there. ;)) I went there one day and there were so many dogs I wanted to walk. There were two Dobes, a Llaso Apso mix, and a pit puppy. I went with Cedric the Doberman first and stayed out there forever with him. He was the best dog, and so comical. He was making all kinds of fuss in his cage, barking like a mad man, but he was great outside. He was rolling all over the grass, running around, and then he'd just stare at me. What a sweetie. :)

    Just a quick point on Dobermans before I go since you seem to be leaning more towards them and Boxers. The females tend to be more independent than the males. Duke is extremely velcro, always wanting to be with me. But I'm gone from 7 to 3:30, so he can handle being alone. He usually sleeps during the day (at least I think he does) and then he's charged when I get home. I can say some more if there's anything else you need to know. :)
     
  11. artstudent

    artstudent New Member

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    Thanks again for your replies,
    renee750il- Terriers are fun dogs and I've been around a few in the past, but aren't they prone to disliking other (furry) animals? I was considering having a cat as well as a dog, so cat-aggression would definately be a deal-breaker.

    redhotdobe-
    Thanks for your post, I really like dobes and my main concern about getting one would be whether it would be able to stay home alone while I'm at work, so the fact that your "velcro" dobe is ok when you're at work is good news for me. I do have two more questions about dobes though that I haven't found much info on...

    Do they tend to bark a lot, like constant barking? or are they generally quiet and bark just to alarm you when there's someone/something near your house etc?
    Would a first-time dobe owner (and someone who has had limited dog experience) be better off with a rescued adult or raising a puppy?

    Thanks again for your help!
    Artstudent
     
  12. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

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    Compared to all the barking I hear while I'm outside, I'd consider Duke a mild barker. He usually barks at the doorbell, almost always barks when he sees someone outside, and goes nuts when there's someone on his property that he doesn't know. There was the time where he was barking at every window and door, which completely freaked me out, but that was probably the most he barked at one time. I'd describe him as a mild barker, and an avid whiner. ;) When compared to other Dobermans though, he'd probably rank in the middle somewhere. They aren't nearly as noisy as some of the other breeds.

    Now that's something you would have to decide. I got a rescue, and I can tell you that I do have limited dog experience. I would personally say get a rescue. Puppies need a lot more time than an adult dog. There is a picture that someone took of a Dobe pup, out of his crate, with only one ear still posted, and the background is a disaster. It seems to me that most people that get a puppy, do have some previous dog experience. Rescue would definitely be a good option. You could do a search on www.petfinder.com to find some available Dobes in your area.

    And if you have any more questions, I'll be glad to answer them. :)
     
  13. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I never had a problem with my Terriers and my cats; everyone understood who was "family" and who wasn't, and it probably helped that my cats were rather large and enormously self-confident (lol). And it probably helped that even at four years old when I got my first Terrier, I was more stubborn than the Terrier. :eek:

    But my sister's Jack Russell gets along well with her very temperamental cat, and after my Mom chewed him our for chasing her tiny little Gracie cat (she kept him for about a year and a half), he left Gracie alone, except for trying to get her to play with him - to no avail. Gracie holds a real grudge.

    Redhotdobe's given you some good advice. I'll second her vote on rescuing an adult Dobe. A good breed rescue will put good effort into matching you with the right dog.
     
  14. *metalmorphosis*

    *metalmorphosis* New Member

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    I agree about Cane Corsos perhaps not being a great first dog. I used to live with one. She did not take kindly to strangers, especially if they tried to give her commands. She wasn't very clear when giving warning signals so it could be difficult to judge her mood at first. Canes (and other Mastiff breeds) can adopt the role as the dominant one if you should leave the room, so if you have friends round it's a good idea to take the dog with you. Saying this they are an excellent breed, but only consider getting one if you know what you are taking on, and have someone that can give you full support if you should need it.
     
  15. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I personally haven't had a problem with the Terriers I've dealt with and cats together, but then, I used to have a Terrier, a 20 pound Mutt of Indeterminate Origins, a German Shepherd, a ginger Tom, two white ducks and two banty hens and a rooster - and they all got along famously. So far I haven't had the issues with animals getting along together that other people seem to have. But my animals have probably decided it's just better to humor me; me being so stubborn and all . . . :D ROFL!
     
  16. an5gel99

    an5gel99 Guest

    U should get a Chichua or a daushaund or even an italian grey hound
     

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