We have been thinking of getting a dog for over a year and now seriously looking into it.
Our background: 2 dc - 7 and 5 2 cats, 2 guinea pigs Large garden I am a sahm so around a lot in the daytime.
I ideally like small dogs : pugs (dh says def no), cockerpoo (dh says def no), shitzu (dh says def no) cavalier king Charles (dh not keen!) you get the idea
He wants a retriever / lab type (grew up with these kinds of family dogs)
I have never had a dog before and although I Absolutely adore lots of our friends dogs and know I will love ours, I am aware I get very nervous of strange dogs and am nervous of how I will find meeting other dogs whilst walking ours, esp if it is some huge bouncy thing. I will Definately be signing upto puppy classes etc to socialise both of us!
Can anyone point me in the direction of any other breeds that might be suitable.
I was going to put up a comment about cocker spaniels but then thought better of it, as loads of people have said on here that they're highly energetic and bonkers. You could register your interest at several rescues in your area, go and see them a few times, get to know the staff and they'll keep a look out for you...which bit of UK are you in? They DO get younger dogs and puppies, more than you think, so would be worth starting to look and getting a home check done as well. Could also ask friends with dogs about how they got theirs.
Cocker spaniels aren't bonkers! Working cocker spaniels have high energy levels and need a fair amount of stimulation, but show type ones are generally pretty docile and easy-to-train. There is a big distinction between the two strains and I think show type cockers have got a bad name because of people who've bought working dogs without knowing the difference and then finding that they're unable to cope (as would be expected by getting a dog that is bred to work).
It's excellent that you're giving it so much thought and that so many people are recommending you look at rescue centres. There are specific breed rescues as well, and many of the poodle crosses need re-homing because people didn't research properly and found instead of a ball of cuddly fluff, suddenly they had a dog that needed to be trained, walked and looked after. I've had spaniels, border collie crosses, mongrels and currently have a labradoodle and a cockapoo. I love the poodle crosses, they are clever, trainable and affectionate - but, hard work so not for the fainthearted. Like your OH mine wanted a large dog, he adores the doodle, and she adores him. Hope you finally decide on the dog that's right for you - it's so good for children to grow up with dogs I believe