Looking for a very placid, docile and affectionate breed - first time dog owner, need advice please

(83 Posts)
LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 08:28:15

I am a first time prospective dog owner and I need advice. We live in right in a forest, have a medium garden and a smallish house. DS is 13 and DP had a dog when he was a kid.

I have a bit of a dog phobia, but I do like very placid, docile and affectionate dogs. I want to get a pure breed from a reputable breeder, as I feel I would have more of an idea of what I'm getting. Because I'm a bit scared of dogs, I don't want a large breed, as I'm a soft touch and worry that I might not be confident with it. I don't like small dogs that much and find them a bit annoying.

I work from home, and would like company during the day and an excuse/motivation to actually take a break and go out for walks. I've been doing some research and Basset hounds are in first place so far. A friend of my parents has one and I think I have fallen in love. However, I have read that they are very stubborn and maybe not so good for a first time owner.

I really don't want a hyper, sharp or nervous breed. Does anyone have any suggestions ir advice please?

Sorry for long post, but I want to make an informed decision before I get my own dog.

PoppadomPreach Sat 06-Oct-12 08:36:27

Would you consider a rescue greyhound? They are very placid and affectionate (in an understated way!) and contrary to what a lot of people think, don't need lots and lots of exercise - they like their walks, but are also very happy to snuggle up in a comfy place and snooze for a large part of the day! I also understand they are quite intelligent dogs.

The main thing to be aware of with greyhounds however is their very acute "prey-drive" which means they will chase anything small that moves.

Will have a think about other breeds......

PoppadomPreach Sat 06-Oct-12 08:37:56

I missed the bit about large breed - I realise greyhounds are quite large, but you can get ones on the smaller side (and its quite amazing how small they become when they curl up to have a sleep!!). They are gorgeous dogs!

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 08:43:05

Thanks PoppadomPreach. I have thought about greyhounds and they are definitely an option, I've know a few and they were all very chilled out. I don't mind taking a dog for walks, I just don't like the ones that are a bit sharp iyswim. Sorry, I can't explain it any better than that. In fact, I love going out walking.

Had a nasty experience with a couple of border collies as a kid and can't stand hyper dogs. Being Docile and having a nice, friendly, affectionate temperament the most important thing to me.

I am dubious about getting a rescue dog, purely because I'm worried that they could have 'issues', and I don't feel confident enough to deal with that. I could be wrong though.

Again, a large breed, but have you considered a labrador? They are such affectionate dogs - they love being with their people, and are great company. The black and yellow labs are very bright, which makes them easy to train, and all labs are very food motivated, which again helps with training. Browns are less bright (as someone said to me, have you ever seen a brown guide dog?), but still respond very well to training - we have a brown lab who we had from a puppy, and she is the most laid back dog you can imagine. We also have a black lab cross who is much more bouncy and bright - but they both equally enjoy snuggling up for a cuddle.

I have a friend who has some sort of miniature collie - so a smaller dog than a lab - and she is utterly beautiful, and very affectionate too.

I understand what you are saying but please don't discount rescue dogs, I have one pedigree from a reputable breeder and 2 rescues dogs. I have to say everything about the rescue dogs is much more straight foward. I am not saying my pedigree wasn't but he was hard work for the first 3 years of his life. I have done far more with the two rescues as they are so much easier, some say it is because they are grateful to me for rescuing! I believe they are just different temperaments. My rescue lurcher is the best dog I could ask for. He has done agility and is now competing in flyball.

ToffeeWhirl Sat 06-Oct-12 08:51:10

Border Terrier, maybe? We dog-sat a neighbour's Border Terrier over the summer and she was the most placid, sweet-natured and affectionate dog I have ever met. Everyone in my family fell in love with her, including my mother, who is definitely not a 'doggy' person grin. From what I have read and heard since, this is fairly typical for a Border Terrier.

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 08:52:10

My gran had a lovely labrador, but I met one as a child who was a bit funny. I was left in a room with it and it started growling at me, it was used to children too. shock

I realise that I probably sound like a right wet blanket and a bit of a funny fucker too. Sorry. blush

It's true that my pedigree that we have had since 9 weeks old is very laid back and docile and he gets the most attention whilst out, he loves people mor Ethan anything else.

ThePlatypusAlwaysTriumphs Sat 06-Oct-12 08:54:52

I'd definitely second a retired greyhound (don't let "retired" put you off- these guys retire at around 3 or 4) They are very very docile, and I'm always amazed that some of them don't have issues after some of the horrific stories they come with sad.

I have a beagle (did have two) and they are lovely dogs, but crazy- hard hard work. I think if I'm honest I would probably steer clear of pedigree dogs in the future!

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 08:59:34

Greyhounds are funny dogs grin. A friend of mine had a retired one. She used to seek out dandelions and eat them. She would eat pretty much anything. They all seem to be like that. When they got her, they were told she was house trained, but she had clearly spent all of her life in kennels and wasn't house trained at all. She was a total space cadet, but very nice with it.

CheerfulYank Sat 06-Oct-12 09:02:53

I have a mixed breed (mostly golden retriever) and he is amazingly sweet. I can't stress enough what a lovely boy he is...he's been perfect with DS since the day he was born and loves walks. We adore him. smile

He does chase squirrels and he chewed things as a very young puppy, but other than that he is perfect. smile

Bloody hell, Bassets are really stubborn. And wilful. I wouldn't recommend one for a nervous first timer.

I would also advise you to avoid a puppy. I can't think of a single breed of dog which is calm, placid and docile as a pup. Puppies nip, race around, chew things, wee everywhere and generally behave badly. They are very loveable, but they don't behave well out of the tin, if you like. They need to grow up, and they need to be taught what is acceptable and how you want them to behave. It takes about 3 years for a puppy to become a calm adult dog, IME.

Having said that, I don't want to put you off! An adult rescue dog would be a really good solution for you - one which comes from a good rescue which carefully assess dogs and owners before they are re-homed.

I am very biased, but an older, rescue Labrador would be a good breed to consider. They are affectionate, calm, bright and responsive and very definitely not a nervous/hyper breed. Take a look at Jake or scoobie.

If you do decide to consider a labrador - you could let me know roughly which area of the country you are in and may be able to put you in touch with someone.

CheerfulYank Sat 06-Oct-12 09:06:44

Posted too soon! smile I meant to say I have heard lovely things about golden retriever/poodle crosses.

tabulahrasa Sat 06-Oct-12 09:11:39

Retired greyhounds are rehomed because they've finished racing, not because someone's had an issue with them.

Labradors and border terriers are typically very bouncy high energy dogs and while you do get calm ones you can't count on it.

If greyhounds are definitely too big (and bearing in mind they come in different sizes) whippets are essentially mini greyhounds - they do have differences in personality, but they share all the good traits.

I hear cavalier king Charles spaniels are nice chilled wee dogs, but they're a bit on the small side for me, so I don't know much about them.

Bear in mind as well that puppies of any breed aren't placid and docile, they're hyper manic wee bundles of trouble and while there are breed traits - dogs haven't read the descriptions and might be nothing like what they're supposed to be. An older dog might actually suit you better - you know what they behave like as they're already doing it.

follyfoot Sat 06-Oct-12 09:11:45

Just to add we have had two labradors from one of the rescues linked by Daisy. They would do a fantastic job at matching you up to the right dog and provide lots of support afterwards should you need it. Adult Labs are wonderful gentle kind dogs. The growling one you met would have been extremely unusual.

All of those rescue labs are gorgeous - if I had enough space and energy, I'd adopt them all!

I think daisydotandgertie is spot on to recommend a rescue lab. For you, the good thing will be that their nature will already be fairly settled, so the rescue will be able to tell you if he or she is placid or high strung etc etc.

My choc lab is so placid that she has been able to help a couple of nervous little local girls get over their fear of dogs - they now even come to the house to ask to take her for a walk, either just round the cul de sac, or further if dh goes with them.

tabulahrasa Sat 06-Oct-12 09:13:08

Crossposted with everyone else there

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 09:13:24

Thanks. I don't mind the puppy training part, it's what they're like when they grow up that concerns me. I have met some lovely labradors though apart from the weird one when I was little.

OK, maybe Basset hounds aren't such a good idea. I've only met one and I've not seen the stubborn side.

daisydotandgertie I'm carefull considering your offer of putting me in touch with someone.

I am liking the idea of a dog more and more as I get older, especially after meeting more nice ones. Maybe I should go to some rescue centres. Although I'm have reservations, I do like the idea of giving a rescue dog a loving home. I think I could do that. I work from home and live in a lovely place in a forest. Also, I'm desperately broody and DP doesn't want to oblige. I feel as though I need an object for my affectionate maternal instincts. Is that a bad thing?

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 09:15:23

Sorry about my dodgy writing today. I have a nasty chest infection, coughed myself awake at 3 this morning and I'm feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.

LisaMWill Sat 06-Oct-12 09:19:02

I have a 2 year old basset hound, like u nervous first time dog owner. He really is the most placid dog, never seen any aggression. He's amazing with my children (and my kitten who tortures him). In the house he is extremely lazy and just sleeps at my husbands feet all day (works from home). He is a lovely thing and full of character. Down sides, he can get a bit stinky (hound smell) and he sheds a lot of hair all year round. Like u said he is extremely stubborn, It's difficult to take him for a walk some days as he just wants to laze on sofa! Recommended not to leave them off lead as they will follow their noses and become 'deaf' when u call them. However he is amazing and wouldn't be without him - coming from someone who has always been scared of dogs. Biggest problem is he has made me want to get another one!

Have a look on the New puppy thread for mine and 8hours ongoing exploits with Border Terrier puppies. I agree that adult Borders do seem to make good dogs but we've got this stage to negotiate first. I'm confident around dogs and animals in general but he's worried me a couple of times with his bids for dominance terrier type behaviour. I think if you were nervous he'd terrify you.

I know he's a baby and trying it on and we've made good in roads last night and this morning after a telephone chat to the behaviourist last night who just gave me the reassurance I needed that I'm doing the right things. I'd avoid a terrier puppy if you're nervous though.

tabulahrasa Sat 06-Oct-12 09:19:21

Don't underestimate how hard the puppy stage is...I've always had dogs, including fairly young (under a year) rescue ones with fairly major issues. I've currently got a nearly 12 week old puppy and I for the first time understand why people get rid of puppies after a few weeks, lol

I spend every minute he's awake just about, dealing with him, it's pretty full on and you don't even get the good bits yet because he's not staying still long enough to cuddle.

hzgreen Sat 06-Oct-12 09:19:23

for an inexperienced dog owner i would def recommend a grey hound, they are gentle affectionate and very low maintanence. they are quite large but they don't have a lot of weight behind them and i think it is not the size of the dog that is the issue, it's the size of it's attitude. my Aunt had a yorkie and it was evil and genuinely scary.

i have had rescue and pedigree dogs (that were in fact rescues from a young age if that makes sense) and they have all been high maintance although totally worth it! i think it is as much about the how you handle them and their breed as their history.

whether you get a rescue or a pedigree i would recommend some training classes as a way to become more confident with your dog and to bond with him/her.

speaking of which IMHO bitches are easier to handle.

Chocolate labradors aren't ALL thick! Don't like to pick - but that's such a sweeping statement and it just isn't true. There are a lot of chocolates who are assistance dogs - certainly with Dogs for the Disabled and Canine Partners. There are also a few very, very successful working chocolate labradors too.

Temperament is mostly a result of breeding - and chocolate labradors in particular have suffered badly from poor breeding. For a time, they were very fashionable and a certain money spinner for puppy farms and bad breeders where little thought or care went into the matings - except to keep churning out dogs of the money spinning colour. And of course, a poorly bred dog is not a good example of the breed - a dog which should be bright, alert, agile, affectionate, adaptable and devoted.

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