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.

Missmuffet28 Sat 06-Oct-12 09:21:34

I only have 1 suggestion cocker spaniel! Won't mind your small house as long as you let it love the forest which it will!! I am bias as I have one of the working variety but it ticks all your boxes from what I can see smile

Personally I wouldn't consider getting a dog if I was broody. Dogs are very different to children and I have seen too many dogs ruined by owners who get a dog because they were broody but their partners didn't want any more children. There is so much emotion put Into the dogs that are got under these circumstances that 9 times out of 10 it ends badly for the dog.

Not at all, and dogs are very affectionate creatures, and will return your affection tenfold.

I wasn't a dog person until pretty recently. My parents had cats when I was growing up, and I had no experience of dogs whatsoever. When dh and I married, we got cats (rescue cats), even though dh was a dog person and had never had cats - where we were living wasn't suitable for a lab, which was what he'd have chosen.

About 5 years ago, we moved to Scotland, and are now in a far more suitable situation to have a big dog, and after a lot of thought, we got our lab puppy - and I can honestly say that there has clearly been a dog-shaped hole in my life that is now filled, and I am as much of a dog person as a cat person. In fact, it was my idea to get a second dog - our lab cross - who came from Dogs Trust, Glasgow. She is harder work, but I wouldn't be without either of them. Dh is away at the moment, and last night I was sitting on the couch, watching tv, and the two of them took it in turns to curl up next to me, with their heads on my lap.

If you are going to get a puppy, I would recommend going via the Kennel Club or the specific breed club - that's how we found our puppy. And look carefully for any signs that they might be puppy farms - things like not being able to see the mother with the puppies, and make sure you know any specific health issues to look for. For example, labs are prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems, but a good breeder will have test results for both mother and father, and you should look to have a puppy from parents with good hip and eye scores (the parents are assessed, and hips, eyes, and sometimes knees, are given a score - the lower the score, the better, and puppies from parents with a low combined score have less risk of developing these problems in later life).

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 09:26:16

Personally I wouldn't consider getting a dog if I was broody. Dogs are very different to children and I have seen too many dogs ruined by owners who get a dog because they were broody but their partners didn't want any more children. There is so much emotion put Into the dogs that are got under these circumstances that 9 times out of 10 it ends badly for the dog.

Oh. sad

Cavalier King Charles spaniel - very easy and friendly little dogs

I was justgiving my opinion Lesley, only you know the circumstances in which you have reached the decision to get a dog. It is just something to be aware off. I feel for the dogs, especially the ones who are PTs because their owners treated them like children. I currently have one curled on my lap, she was purchase as a substitute baby and ruined, then she was given to a rescue who put her on death row, then on to another rescue then rehomed with us. She has her issues still but she is overcoming them slowly. She could have been killed and that was down to the original owners.

Junebugjr Sat 06-Oct-12 09:40:32

I've had pedigrees and rescues, they've mostly been a mixed bag of temperments. Puppies are much harder work than adults, and don't calm down for a few years, it can also be luck of the draw with pups as you can't be sure of what their temperment will end up like as an adult. Even my bitch, who is extremely lazy now, was bonkers as a pup. Between myself and my DP, we've had a fair few breeds. Greyhounds have been the most calm, and cavalier king Charles have been the most 'bouncy'! I thought the cavaliers were supposed to be lapdogs, but our last three have been quite excitable. Mixed breeds can be a good choice, from a rescue centre. Bulldogs although stubborn, are gentle and have a bit of character also.

FairPhyllis Sat 06-Oct-12 09:43:12

A rescue lab or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel? Cavs are very gentle and affectionate, love being around people, are very eager to please, and like going for walks and being snuggly. The only problems I can think of with them is that they are impossible to keep off sofas if you don't want them on them, and they love food and will try to manipulate you with their big eyes into getting extra food!

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 09:47:34

morethanyoubargainfor. Could have been killed? That's terrible. What does PT mean btw?

Tbh I think you're right. I feel very strongly about animal welfare, and don't want to rush into getting a dog, because it's another sentient being. My main motivaton isn't the broody thing, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a factor. Having a companion and just owning a dog for the first time is my main motivation. I've not had a pet since I was little and that was a cat. I see people with their dogs and I would really like one of my own.

I might wait until I'm not broody and have another serious think about it then. Also, visiting some animal rescue places and having a chat with them would be a good idea. There are training classes and obedience round here too.

PTs is put to sleep, and yes my dog was hours away from death before the next rescue found her. She has been with us for 5 months, is 17 months old and has already been through so much. I have known more than a few dogs that have been PTs because of their behaviour and it has all come from the owners. It is sad but it is also a consideration when getting any animal, especially dogs.

Don't worry too much about the dogs and broody thing.

Treating a dog like a baby is a clueless thing to do - but I honestly don't think your posts sound as though you are clueless! A dog is a fabulous thing to love, cherish and enjoy.

I adore my 4 labradors and refer to them as my labradaughters BUT as much as they are loved, spoiled, allowed to snooze on our bed on some very special mornings and sit on our laps on the sofa they are DOGS and are treated as such (albeit much cherished).

Assuming that someone who wants something as a loveable companion will automatically ruin it because they're feeling broody is another pretty big sweeping statement. At least 2 of mine have been bought pretty close to M/Cs I've had and although of course I have been broody, I am bright enough to be able to spot the difference between a dog and a baby and I am quite sure you are too.

WitchityBroom Sat 06-Oct-12 10:16:30

Another vote for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Just make sure you get one from a reputable breeder.

My parents have always had them so I grew up around them from age 3. In 30 years of being around them (that's around 6 dogs, altogether) I have never once even heard them growl (other than when playing tug). They don't need a lot of exercise (although no exercise at all is obviously not an option for any dog) and they are incredibly affectionate.

Also, I would not recommend a terrier as a first dog. I personally adore terriers, but they are headstrong and therefore perhaps better for more experienced dog owners. A lot of people are drawn in by how cute they are, but it's not fair on either party, IMO.

HTH smile

Mmmm I'll freely admit that I struggled with broodiness for ages but dh only wanted one child. I no longer want a real baby but still felt our family needed another dimension. That doesn't mean I'm irresponsible and am going to indulge my dog like a 'ruined' baby. I know he's a dog and want him to behave as such.

He's only 10 weeks old and we're working hard with him to try and instill doggy manners and have sought advice from the vets surgery to help arrange puppy socialisation and training classes. I want a well behaved dog (in the end when we've battled through crazy puppy) to join our family. I am fully aware achieving this means both hard work and all of us treating him as a dog and not a plaything.

As long as you are aware of the fact that you are taking on a dog and not a child I don't see the problem.

happierhigherstrongerwheezing Sat 06-Oct-12 10:32:49

We had a Bassett when I was little. She lived to a ripe age too and then mum and dad had a rescue Bassett.

They are lovely dogs, very lazy but reliable. Docile.yes they are stubborn and because they are hounds, tend to go off on a wander, if aloud.

I think they are lovely dogs and Bassett rescue found the second dog for my mum, so you could get a rescue Bassett.

My lovely bulldog died last January and I think that they are perfect although not placid. But such characters!

tabulahrasa Sat 06-Oct-12 11:25:26

I've had pets partly because I've been a bit broody - I don't see that it's an issue in itself, of course they're nothing like babies and you can't treat them like babies, but as long as you know that it's not a problem.

LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 12:33:10

I no longer want a real baby but still felt our family needed another dimension

I feel just like this in regards to the broodiness ^ I don't want to treat a dog like a baby, it's more about looking after it and having that pet/owner bond. My Gran had a Yorkie that was spoiled rotten and it wasn't a very nice dog I'm afraid.

Thanks for the suggestions. Interesting that Spaniels came up quite a bit. The dog I have felt most comfortable was some sort of Spaniel, I think it might have been a cross. I used to dog sit and have her over to my house, sometimes over night. She was an absolute joy to be around.

I'm 35 and I think my hormones are just telling me to have another one before it's too late. We can't afford one, DS is a teenager now and my health isn't great. I don't really want a baby, just feeling by biological clock ticking I think.

tovetove Sat 06-Oct-12 12:39:42

My friend has a King Charles Spaniel and she is the most laid back and easy dog I;ve ever met! We have labs and terriers, border terriers are lovely dogs but can be a bit manic.

My dog is a baby substitute. That doesn't mean I treat him like a baby, though, it just means I have a focus for all that 'need to be needed' feeling. He sleeps downstairs in the kitchen, he eats dog food, he is walked twice a day, he is cuddled and fussed. I'm not sure what is meant by 'ruined' in this context. Could you explain please?

tovetove Sat 06-Oct-12 13:19:23

i have four children and two dogs, I love one of my dogs immensely, can totally understand a dog being a baby substitute (I love the other dog too but just not as much although I haven't told him this grin)

OP, I have a spaniel and he is a wonderful dog. He is bouncy and excitable, but adores cuddles and is forever rolling on his back wanting a belly scratch. He plays with my DC, loves rowdy wrestling games but is also equally happy to lay next to them while they draw.

chipstick10 Sat 06-Oct-12 13:49:05

We rehomed a rescue dog sometime back (our second rescue dog). He is a staffie greyhound cross. He is so quiet (never ever barks) and very very very docile. Please dont discount rescue dogs or only look at pure breeds.

MagratGarlik Sat 06-Oct-12 14:10:58

I'd recommend looking at a Whippet. Lazy, like greyhounds, but smaller. Very placid, gentle dogs.

Take a look on the Scruples Whippet rescue site. They use foster homes, so have a good idea about how the dogs are in a home environment.

Whippets are really great for first time owners and are not overbearing like some breeds can be.

I would not recommend any type of collie for first time owners, as mentioned up thread. They are very demanding dogs and can be a bit nervy.

Cuebill Sat 06-Oct-12 16:44:22

I would go to a reputable rescue and tell them just what you have told us.

They will find you a "beginner" dog you can try him/her out before you buy (eg you can see all their traits and find out if you will fall in love with each other).

It may end up a cross breed or a pedigree but I bet you will find the perfect match.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 06-Oct-12 19:58:34

My first though on reading your OP was, ah, greyhound. A smaller version is an Italian greyhound. Whippets are small too. All are sighthounds. I don't know about their defining characteristics. Greyhounds are fab. We have collies on the basis that we can get a recall. ha ha. (the oldies who could win prizes have forgotten how to hear, and the youngster runs for running sometimes). I would keep another collie, but I would be happy to cosy up with a greyhound. You may find a lurcher a good companion too.

GupX Sat 06-Oct-12 20:04:22

We got a rescue greyhound after 2 years of trying for a baby

Then we got another after 4 years of trying for a baby.

4 years later, we have 2 very loved, very chilled, very happy rescue greyhounds.

...and 3 year old twins.

grin

Greyhounds are gorgeous, and so many need homes.

As long as you have properly thought it through, I see ne problem with getting a dog while waiting to have a baby.

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