What dog breed is right for us?

Discussion in 'The Dog Breeds' started by nwfn, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    I just registered so I could pick your knowledgeable brains about a dog breed that would be right for my family.

    - Almost any size: A dog from small to large would be great, but not super-small (<10 lbs) or super-large (>80lbs).

    - Low exercise needs: Our family has a BIG fenced-in backyard for a dog to run around in, but walking a dog on a leash regularly is unlikely to happen. This is probably our hardest constraint to fulfill in terms of which breed to get.

    - People-friendly: We'd like an affectionate dog who enjoys being around the family. There's almost always someone home, so he probably won't be too lonely. People often come to visit, so a breed that isn't aggressive with strangers is important. There aren't any small children in the household, nor will there be in the foreseeable future, so no worries about being kid-friendly.

    - Cat-friendly: We have three cats.

    - Not dominant: A stubborn dog is fine, but an aggressive dog is not. My mother is one of the most non-dominant people you will ever meet, so a dog that requires dominance is a complete no-go.

    - Not destructive: We aren't the best dog trainers in the world, but we don't demand much obedience either :rolleyes: All we ask is for the dog to not poop inside and to not mess up the furniture. I know that puppies will always have their slips, but a dog that's easy to train on the basics and not naturally inclined to eat the furniture is important.

    - (Somewhat) cold and heat tolerant: Temperatures range from humid mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celcius) in the summer to below 0 Fahrenheit in the winter (around -20 Celcius - believe it or not, the attached picture was taken in March). I know dogs are not particularly heat tolerant in general, but it would probably be best if we avoided breeds known particularly for their temperature issues.

    - Not a barker: Our neighbourhood is full of retirees, and a yappy dog would NOT go down well here.

    - Any kind of grooming needs: Preferably not expensive grooming needs, but extensive brushing is fine. And we already have three cats, so we're resigned to a house covered in pet hair - shedding is just a fact of life.

    - (Probably) not a rare breed: We aren't the sort of people who like to have our dog air mailed to us; we'd like to meet him or her first, so we'd have to find a breeder within a day's drive. I know that limits our breed options.

    Your advice is much appreciated. My mother has mentioned before that she likes pugs and shih tsus, but I worry about both those breeds because I know they aren't heat tolerant, and I think both are reputed to be yappy.

    P.S. I should also mention that our bulldog passed away very recently, so it will be a while before we get another dog. I'm just investigating for the Christmas season - I'll probably get my mom a dog as a Christmas present, and depending on the breed I'll have to save up for a few months to afford it.

    [​IMG]
    RIP Loompa
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  2. Picklepaige

    Picklepaige Active Member

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    What about a basset hound? Those seem to meet all of your requirements.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Have you looked into sight hounds at all? Because what you are looking for and what you are able to provide sounds about perfect for one.

    Quiet (my dog has barked 10 times in his life)

    Exercise: Your large fenced in yard may actually be adequate because the kind of exercise they need most is a large fenced area to sprint around in for 5 minutes before they pass out.

    People friendly: They love their families, are intensely loyal and love being petted and love on. They are not aggressive with strangers. Most will ignore strangers but some like my dog are weirdos and greet guests to get their ears rubbed.

    Not Dominant/destructive: As a whole, they tend to be on the sensitive and passive side. When they aren't "working" they are content to lay about the house and yard and soak up attention from their humans when possible. Not like many of the working breeds, who will make up jobs for themselves (like turning your sofa into bite sized foam bits) if you don't provide mental and physical stimulation. They can be motivated to do obedience stuff, but most won't do silly things like sit 40 times in a row just because you said to.

    Grooming: Most are wash and wear. The afghans need to be clipped and brushed more.

    Weather tolerance: Most do fine in hot and cold weather. The short coated breeds may need a jacket in the colder months, and any dog would need to be brought inside during weather extremes.

    Cat friendliness: This could be an issue, with the wrong dog. You should be safe however, if you got an adult known to be good with cats, or a puppy and raised it with the cats.

    For specific breeds in this group, I'd suggest looking at a whippet, greyhound, borzoi (females tend to be in the smaller end of the size spectrum) or silken windhound. You may be surprised to find what breeders of rare breeds may live near you. The breed clubs should have contact information for reputable breeders around the country.
     
  4. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    A basset hound sounds like a good possibility.

    I hadn't considered sight hounds because I thought they would need too much exercise. But since we can provide a dog with a big space to roam/sprint freely, that could work. And we wouldn't have the dog living outside anyway, so that's fine as long as he/she would be okay with running around in several inches of snow in the (looong) winters.
     
  5. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Sight hound are actually pretty sluggish most of the time. We had to force Strider to get up and move around when he was a puppy, otherwise he would have just laid around on the couch all day and had no muscles whatsoever. Their days go kind of like this:

    Sleep for 11 hours

    Go outside and potty

    Sprint around at 35 mph for 5 minutes

    Go inside and eat breakfast

    Lay around, making sad eyes at family in attempt to get petted

    Sleep and lounge until the night, and then sleep some more with one last sprint in there somewhere.

    They generally enjoy walks if you are inclined to take them, but most of their joy comes from sprinting around a few minutes.
     
  6. corgi_love

    corgi_love New Member

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    Please consider not getting a puppy. It reaqlly sounds like you should go with an older puppy or adult dog. I would be careful with sight hounds as I've read they can actually go after or "hunt" you cats, as it was what they were orginally bred to do.

    You might want to consider a corgi. I have a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They are very laid back, Regis was easy to train, in fact he was extremely easy to potty train. They aren't destructive. Regis has a bit of a problem, but it's getting better, and it was because we didn't leave him alone as a puppy so he developed Seperation Anxiety.

    If you want to learn more about Cardigans feel free to PM me. I don't think anyone else here owns one. However, if you want to know about Pembroke Welsh Corgi's(the ones without tails), there are a couple people there who own them. They are more well known and probably easier to find and less expensive :)
     
  7. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    my honest opinion, get another cat

    all breeds need a walk. few dogs will self excercise. Getting them out is not always for their physical excercise but their mental excercise. You will end up with a destructive, over the top dog if you do not get it out atleast 3 times a week.

    plus it contradicts this point

    You will most likley end up with a bored dog if it is expected to sit in the backyard all day. A bored dog will entertain itself through other means.
    Every dog should be trained in the basics, if you havn't got time to teach a recall, a stay, a sit and a down. Don't get a dog. A reliable recall is vitally important should your dog ever get away from you.

    All dogs require leadership, if your mother is "non dominant" do you think she would be a good leader? A dog wihtout rules in place will run wild, no matter the breed. Dogs like boundries, it makes their life easier when they don't have to try to fill the leader position.

    I don't want to seem harsh but some of the things your offering this dog are less than ideal. The work in keeping a dog is mainly the excercise and training, these things qare vitally important to have a happy and well adjusted dog, you cannot skip on them imo.
    Sure some people like to take it further (dog sports and tricktraining) but if you arn't ready to do that basic, please reconsider.
     
  8. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    A slightly older hound, like a bluetick around 3 years old, might fit your needs pretty well. They're pretty lazy dogs for the most part and get along well with other animals from what I hear. If you get one from a shelter or breed rescue, they will have tested the dog with other animals, so you'll have an idea of what to expect.
     
  9. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    So far I'm still interested in the basset hound. There are a couple sight hounds I've looked into that seem a little more cat-friendly than the others, so they're a possibility, though I'd still have to know their history with cats before I considered any individual dog.

    I completely agree that we'd be better off without a puppy. Puppies are cute pains in the ass. Unfortunately the rest of my family will possibly be a tough sell on not getting a puppy, but I'll try. I'll also look up the corgi.

    mrose, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of our situation (though I should add that I'm really thankful for your honesty). We've owned a dog in the past, and I believe that dog had a happy life. He only required one or two short (15-30 min) play sessions in the back yard every day to exhaust him, not a long walk on a leash like, say, a dalmatian would need, which I know my family couldn't commit to doing. I'm also not sure where you got the idea that we would keep the dog in the back yard all day; given the climate I described, that would in all likelihood kill almost any dog.

    I understand that many dogs are destructive when they are bored and not properly exercised, but in my admittedly limited experience, some dogs are more likely to chew the furniture when left unoccupied than others. I don't know if that has any relation to the breed of the dog, but if it does, I'd appreciate having a breed that's more likely to sleep off its boredom than take it out on the couch! I don't expect frequent boredom, though; as I said, there's almost always someone in the house, so a social dog would usually have a companion to hang out with.

    I agree that all dogs should come when you call them. I consider that part of the "basic" stuff, because that's necessary for the dog's safety. That and "sit" are all I've ever had to use - but then my dog was a slow mover, so if he "sat" he'd be pretty much guaranteed to "stay" where he was for a good long while ;)

    On the subject of leadership, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. All I know is my own experience, and my mother and our dog had a very good relationship despite her not having a dominant personality. I think that's because he wasn't the sort of dog to try very hard to assert dominance anyway. I don't think she could handle a dog with a dominant and/or aggressive personality, but she was definitely able to have a functioning relationship with our previous dog, so I know that it's possible.
     
  10. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    I do have to say that your statement about never taking the dog for a walk bothers me quite a bit. Walks are not just for exercise. They are for socialization as well, which is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of owning a dog, outside of feeding it. An unsocialized dog is an unsafe dog and a dog that is kept home it's whole life is one who never learns how to cope with outside stressors such as vet visits or boarding situations. Why do you say your family can't/won't take the dog for a walk? :confused:

    I rather fear that by having an English Bulldog as your last dog, you have a rather unrealistic view of what most dogs are like. Bulldogs generally are quite lazy, because their body/face shape makes it hard to be otherwise (before I get flamed I've met my fair share of active bulldogs, they're just few and far inbetween).

    Really, though, I think the dog you're looking for is going to be a specific induvidual and not a general breed. I would scour the shelters and local rescues, that's going to be your best bet for finding the lazy, laidback, minimal maintenence dog you're after.
     
  11. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Have you considered a retired greyhound? Rescues will cat-test the dogs before sending them home with someone. If you are worried about them harassing the cats outside, you could let the rescue folks know. Once in a while the track will turn a dog into rescue that never raced because it just had zero prey drive and wouldn't chase the lure. A dog like that would be a good candidate for living in a household of indoor/outdoor cats, and they are typically young, 1-2 years instead of 4-5 years like most retirees. Also, they sometimes get in dogs who suffered from a sports injury that prevents them from racing. Depending on the nature of the injury, some of those dogs need homes with more limited activity.

    Track greyhounds grow up in an extremely structured environment where they are crated most hours of the day, and then let our for exercise/bathrooming for 1/2 hour to 1 hour increments in an exercise yard. When going into a foster home, they tend to adapt very quickly, viewing the house as kind of a giant crate. They are also very sensitive to correction, so your mother shouldn't have a hard time giving it the kind of leadership it would need. I think that, given your requirements, a retired racer would adapt wonderfully to your home.

    Zoom's suggestion of an older scent hound is a great one too!

    Something older than a puppy would probably be good for your situation anyway, because of the lack of walks. Puppies, in order to grow up and become happy well adjusted adults need a lot of socialization. That means taking them out and away from the house and exposing them to new sounds, new smells, new people, people in hats, people with sunglasses, differently aged people, other dogs, etc. every single day. Going for walks is a big part of socialization. A puppy training class would be another option. More for the socialization than the training, but it's really important to do to get the kind of results you are asking for.
     
  12. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    If someone is home all day why can't the dog get a walk? Heck 20 minutes would be fine if you get a low energy dog, but the experience is really good for them. Same with training, no they don't *need* to learn all those command but it's great mental stimulation for them and if you are using positive reinforcement it's quite fun for them, I clicker train my cats even, not because they need to know to sit or turn in a circle but because it's good to make them think, it keeps them healthy. You are thinking more along the lines of what to do to have a physically healthy dog, which is great, but you seem to miss a lot of the how to keep him mentally healthy. He will need to go out and meet people and other dogs. Bring him to a park on a long line so he can run around or invite your friend who has a dog over to have the dogs play in the yard.

    An older hound could be good, remember though many of them are barkers.
     
  13. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    It would be fine taking the dog for a walk in the summers on a reasonable day. In the winters, however, it can be extremely unpleasant to be walking around; it is really cold and miserable. Thus a dog who needs long walks every day to be happy would not suit us. We prefer backyard play in general, but walking the dog around on a leash occasionally, when it's warm enough that we don't need three layers of clothes to go outside, is not a problem. I'm not saying the dog would NEVER be walked on a leash, just that if it requires that on a daily basis to be content, that wouldn't fit our lifestyle.

    Perhaps I'm worrying more about this than I should be because we had a really rough winter last year, but I was definitely glad at the time to have a dog who didn't need prolonged exercise in that stuff! Also, the people exercising the dog will usually be my parents (especially my mom) - my brother is a lazy teenager and I'm not often at home. They aren't going to drop dead any time soon, but they also aren't the fittest people in the world. They wouldn't enjoy taking a dog on an hour long walk.

    Oh no, I've been around "normal" dogs enough to know that most dogs are NOT like that, which is exactly why I'm here wondering what other breeds could be suitable. I really like bulldogs, but we were lucky where we used to live to have a good breeder living five minutes' walk away from us. Here there is only one bulldog breeder I can find nearby (by which I mean a four hour drive), and their operation feels dicey to me. And besides, if we got another bulldog so soon, we'd always be comparing him to our deceased one, which wouldn't be fair to the dog, IMO.

    Individual personalities are important, I agree - our bulldog was a sweetheart, but I've met some nasty ones - but aren't we more likely to find what we're looking for in some breeds/mixes of dogs than others? Like I said, meeting the dog before we get him is still a necessity.
     
  14. CharlieDog

    CharlieDog Rude and Not Ginger

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    I have to second the retired racer thought. That really sounds like the best option.
     
  15. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    I don't see how a walk on a leash would be more mentally stimulating than a romp in the backyard off-leash. Maybe it would be if we were in an urban setting with lots of people and dogs to sniff, but around our place there aren't a lot of either.

    Learning tricks isn't the way that we would choose to keep our dog mentally healthy (if you do, great - different strokes for different folks). We did play with our dog a lot, though it was in short bursts because of his low energy level. We have a big house, so a lot of playing can and does take place indoors. I'm not worried about mental health because I feel we can provide that kind of stimulation, thus I'm not putting as much emphasis on it as the exercise.

    Sometimes a friend will bring their dog over to play or vice versa, but not too often (it's a LONG way to travel). There are plenty of people coming and going, though, at least in the spring/summer/fall months, so I'm not worried about people exposure.

    I like the retired racing dog idea, at least if the cat thing can be sorted out. *sigh* But despite all this, my mom will probably want a goddamn Shih Tsu, which I think is totally wrong for our family *headdesk*
     

  16. Shih Tzu.

    And is that kind of profanity really necessary?
     
  17. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Why? Other than the size and potential grooming costs, a ShihTzu would probably be fine. Doesn't require a lot of exercise, most are pretty laid back little cuddlers and they get along great with cats. I'm not a ShihTzu fan by far, most that I've met have been little furry demons IMO, but a good friend of mine got a puppy over the winter and he's a pretty awesome little dog.

    I also think you're underestimating the importance of mental stimulation for dogs. Not only does it tire them out quicker than a walk does, it helps to form a bond between you and the dog and just makes life easier.
     
  18. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    Jeez, sorry.

    No, it's not necessary, but it's also not a big deal if I choose to use it unless you choose to let it offend you.
     
  19. nwfn

    nwfn New Member

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    I find that Shih Tzus tend to annoy me in general. I find it hard to put my finger on what it is I don't like about them, but I still don't like them.

    As I've said, I feel confident we can provide mental stimulation, which is why I haven't been talking about it here.
     
  20. Buddy'sParents

    Buddy'sParents *Finding My Inner Fila*

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    I like the idea of a retired greyhound. I think finding a good, reputable rescue in your area and working with them on what your family needs are is going to be the best way to go. We have some excellent rescues in our area that really work hard to make the best family-canine matches. If I were looking to add a dog (when I didnt know the breed) this is most likely the way I would go.

    I also want to mention that dominance, in my mind, does not equal aggression. That actually bothered me a bit. I have a dominant male and he is far from aggressive. Perhaps we are using different connotations of the words, but blanket generalizations like that do not do well for many dogs.

    And, our three do not get walked routinely. And while I think walks are important, they just can't happen at all times in our area, so I do the best I can to make sure all three of my dogs get the mental stimulation necessary for them to be healthy. BUT, we do go places, we go to the beach, the park, the dog park, pet stores, etc.. They are always going, going, going. We do training sessions, play sessions, you name it, constantly, they are always interacting when they are not sleeping. :p

    And, the foul language is really not necessary. I do believe people may take offense to the "goddamn <insert breed>". I, for one, do not like all breeds, but would never resort to such language to describe a breed, except for my own individual dogs of course. ;)
     

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