Pedigree or rescue?

(22 Posts)
MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 09-Jul-13 22:27:34

Two greyhounds (one large one small) who are retired racers here and both are lovely family pets and love our young DSs (6 and 4). Our large boy is very, very still and calm. He's often found hanging around with me on the edge of playgrounds and we've been approached several times by parents with their dog scared children asking if they can have a stroke. One woman (we were on holiday and went into Brighton for the day) nearly cried as it was the first time her DD had ever touched a dog.

higgle Tue 09-Jul-13 16:57:51

We have had two rescue dogs (Staffies, but I sense that would not be your dog of first choice) Both came to us fully trained, walked beautifully to heel, friendly, polite and respectful. Whoever trained them in their original homes did a rather better job than we did with the two we had from puppies. ( Dachshund + PBGV who lived through their noses and cared little for my directions about what to do and not to do)

If you can find a rescue who fosters I always think that is the 'safest' way of getting a dog (in terms of knowing what you are getting and being less likely to end up with a dog with 'issues') - look how much information Dooin has about her grey - whoever takes him on can pretty much guarantee that he will behave similarly in their house (once settled in).

Please go for a rescue! We have a lovely year-old rescue who came to us via a foster home and he's been exactly the same as his assessment by the foster carer.

LadyTurmoil Mon 08-Jul-13 23:59:07

As puffin said, Many Tears has many cavaliers but most are ex-breeding dogs who need a resident dog already in the house to give them confidence, show them how "normal" dogs live in a home but, at the moment, they have Carey who might be ok as a single dog. He looks very sweet smile

puffinnuffin Mon 08-Jul-13 23:19:37

I have been fostering a King Charles Cavalier. He is such a lovely gentle dog. He was a little nervous of my 3 year old but now they love each other as I have taught my son to be gentle with the dog.

Many Tears is full of KCKS dogs (nad other breeds). Puppies do come up on their website too. They are not all ex breeding dogs from what I have seen. However you will probably have to wait a long time to get the right one for you and the dog.

tabulahrasa Mon 08-Jul-13 22:31:23

I've had rescue dogs with issues, one with dog aggression, one with seperation anxiety, chewers and resource guarders...while they required work and training, not a single one of them has been as hard going as this one who I got as a puppy straight from the breeder, lol.

Vibbe Mon 08-Jul-13 22:21:34

I've heard of several rescue centres that have not informed new owners of the severity of the dog's problems. Naturally, there are centres where they are brilliant at providing all information, but there are also some that don't.

I'm not saying not to get a rescue dog, but that sometimes they will not be perfectly trained dogs without issues - which is maybe what some people expect.

My point is not that a pedigree dog, bought as a puppy from a good breeder is better than a rescue. That is not what I'm saying at all. But my point is that a puppy is hard work - most people would agree with that. And that a rescue dog potentially is just as much work - and my impression is that a lot of people don't expect that.

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 08-Jul-13 21:21:41

I have this gorgeous boy with me atm who needs a home

He is very family friendly and super calm. Even for a Greyhound he is lazy. My nieces and nephews are frightened of dogs but they're fine with him because of how slow and gentle he is. He walks fairly well on his lead, is toilet trained, doesn't chew, doesn't bark or whine and doesn't suffer SA when he sleeps alone at night. He's small furry friendly too. In fact if he were any calmer or more laid back he'd be permantly asleep, as it is he doesn't wake much now grin

I would say the only issue you might have with him is that when you offer treats he gets a bit excited and can take your hand in his mouth as well as the treat, he does not bite down and this it doesn't hurt a bit, but if your dd is nervous it might be better to get her to throw treats onto the floor instead of feeding him from her hand.

He's with GRACE but they rehome country wide and Tracy would bring him to you.

I'm sorry your friends have had bad experiences Vibbe, but I would have to flatly disagree with your assertion that the majority have (or have had) issues. I know masses of rescue dogs that are successful in things like Pets as Therapy, Flyball, obedience, agility, HTM, Cani X, Rally O, etc and do brilliantly at all these, as well as many more who are simply happy to be much loved family pets.

I am currently doing dog training classes with one of our much loved elderly rescue greyhounds - the other two in the class are both not rescues - one is a hooligan lab puppy who started out by demolishing the church hall, towing his owner across the room and generally being like a well meaning wrecking ball. The other is a Lab X, bred by a neighbour of the owner, who is very similar - completely bonkers, very, very strong (the female owner ahs fallen several times when walking it) and very barky when meeting new people. All praise to the owners who are doing their bit to work on behaviour issues - but just because a dog is a pedigree - there is no guarantee of behaviour or health (in fact quite the reverse for the latter).

Of course there will be occasions when rescue dogs do have some problems, but I'd say it's more to do with owners being reluctant to put in the time and effort to exercise and interact and train their dogs. Let's face it, owners who go to training classes, exercise in all weathers and take the trouble to really work on the relationship with their dogs are very rarely the ones who surrender them to rescue.

Its much more common for the new baby to come along (or typically a second baby) and there is a gradual period of attrition where dog gets less and less attention. Bored, restless, lonely and confused, little problems start to creep in. Before long, owner is now faced with dog that needs exercise and chewed furniture or herding of children so decides to give dog up. Foster carer is advised that dog has long list of behavioural problems (chewing etc) and is puzzled because dog which is now exercised and happy, is behaving in a relaxed and trouble free manner.

Most reputable rescues will not rehome the small minority of rescue dogs with serious behavioural issues with novice homes, or where there are DC. We take on dogs with some issues but we have no DC and are experienced and have a great deal of back up. We also find it extremely rewarding to work with our dogs to help them.

RunnerHasbeen Mon 08-Jul-13 21:07:42

If you go to a good rescue, and explain you don't have the time/ experience for a dog with issues, they will not allocate you one. You would more likely get a dog where the old lady couldn't walk it any more or something.

Our dog is both a pedigree and a rescue, he had been neglected but had spent a year with a foster owner before coming to us and doesn't have any issues, not in the six years we have had him. I think people more often mention their dog is a rescue if they are explaining a behavioural issue. I don't volunteer the information and people assume I went out of my way to get this rare breed (when I'd never actually heard of it and assumed the four word breed name was some sort of cross).

We met the foster owner and went on a walk together with the dog, next day we took him out on our own and decided we thought he was lovely. It wasn't overwhelming at all and would be an easy way to ease your DD in.

Vibbe Mon 08-Jul-13 20:54:50

I've never had a rescue dog. I have had my dog since she was a puppy - that actually goes for all the dogs we've had in the family.

I've met loads of people with rescue dogs. And they are lovely dogs. But the majority of the dogs have some kind of issue - often something that the previous owner(s) couldn't deal with - anxiety, requiring more than the owners can offer - resulting in destructive behaviour, fear, barking and so on. I get the impression from those owners that it takes a lot of work with a rescue - as much as with a puppy.

I have an English cocker spaniel, who is absolute amazing - mild and happy dog, doesn't bark, doesn't growl, loves kids (the kids in the neighbourhood will run over and hug her when we walk her) and is so easy. She weighs 10 kg, so is a medium/small dog - not big enough to be difficult to pick up, and not small enough to sit on by accident.
She's from show lines, so she doesn't have the same amount of energy and need for exercise as a working dog (my parents have one of those - with the same temperament as ours).

We had a cairn terrier when I was a kid, and he was much harder work.

If you are in that part of the country, you could also look at Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue - they often have beautiful and very family friendly dogs. I do transport runs and homecheck for them sometimes, and did a recent homecheck where the adopter had two gorgeous DC, aged 3 and 6. Lurchers are often like greyhounds in that they have gentle laid back temperaments, are physically very hardy (none of the illnesses of Cavs) and are often quite small too, though there is a huge amount of variation. My best friend has two which are roughly Cav sized, and then you can go all the way up to something like a wolfhound x!

As well as Hall Green, there is also Birmingham Greyhound Protection, Perry Barr RGT, or even Shropshire and Borders RGT - we attended their show yesterday and they have some beautiful family friendly dogs. There were in fact some lovely small children in the ring being gently led round by some laid back hounds. smile

Good luck!

Tw1nkle Mon 08-Jul-13 19:17:32

I've now looked into Greyhounds - they look perfect!

Have also found this - fairly local to me, so we're going to go along: http://www.hallgreenrgt.co.uk/worcester.html

LEMisdisappointed Mon 08-Jul-13 19:10:50

I think scuttle says it all really - if it were me i'd go for a rescue as i have experience of both ways, had four dogs as an adult, two rescue two from pups, very different but if i am very honest i always seemed to bond better with the rescues. I dnt know why this is. I love all my dogs smile I would definately think along the lines of medium sized dog as apposed to a terrier type dog. Also a delicate dog may well be fearful of a small child so not sure about cavaliers (they also have a lot of health issues). I think its about the dog rather than the breed, but of course the breed or type will give you some idea of temprement. A terrier is always going to be feisty, a labardor isn't always a perfect childs dog, ive had two rotweillers, both brilliant with kids - so its very much about finding a dog that fits with you. A good rescue centre will help you with this. Talk to the dogs trust, be prepared to wait a while to find "the one". Our local dogs trust centre would be quite good for introducing your DS to the dogs as the kennels are set up well so that the dogs aren't barking at you as soon as you walk past.

I went to 2 rescues before we got our PFD. At the first one a staff member just jerked her thumb and said "through there" when we arrived, all the dogs were in cages and barking like mad, it was awful.
At the second rescue we were interviewed first and all the dogs were out of sight.
They said what dogs would match our home and only then did we get to meet one.

Honestly, if she is petrified of dogs, a rescue centre WILL be far too noisy and stressful for her - I really wouldn't recommend this.

Many charities have things like meet and greet sessions, or regular walks where you can meet small numbers of dogs in a much calmer, quieter environment. One of our local ones, Four Paws Animal Rescue has a monthly tea party which I think is a lovely idea - lots of home made cake and the opportunity to meet a few of the dogs looking for homes, in a pleasant environment. Generally, for these sorts of events, the charity will choose to bring along good doggy ambassadors - so quiet well behaved dogs will be present. What might also be nice is something like a charity dog show - there are usually lots of nice activities for DC/families like face painting etc, and there will be some fun classes in the ring like Best Fancy Dress, Best Rescue, Best Six Legs etc. Your DD could watch safely from the side, and dogs will all be on a lead. Plenty of opportunities for ice cream/bouncy castle as well and she will be in a pleasant and hopefully enjoyable day out.

I know many adults who find rescue kennels very full on - they are noisy, and often quite upsetting for visitors. Again, the object is to have gradual introductions, and for her to be welcoming a dog, not to be frightened or upset.

Tw1nkle Mon 08-Jul-13 13:49:18

Thanks everyone.
We are taking DD to rescue centre sometime soon - I'm really hoping that it doesn't freak her out, as I know it will be noisy.

I do take your points about puppies.

I'll have to look into rescue centres for breeds - we were thinking of a king Charles spaniel, or cocker spaniel.

I'll have a look into greyhounds now though too.....

We definitely don't want to rush into anything.

Frettchen Mon 08-Jul-13 13:38:22

My suggestion would be to take your DD and DH to visit a rescue - this way you can gauge your DD's reactions to the dogs and to the possibility of one of these dogs coming to live with you - it might be less scary if she's involved.

I agree with PPs who have said a puppy is a bad idea - they're bitey and not used to people

Also, when there you can measure up the different shapes and sizes of dogs, and their temperaments (although, bear in mind dogs in kennels don't always exhibit the same behaviour they would at home...) and you can talk to the staff about your situation as they'll be best placed to tell you about the dogs they have in.

Even with all the tests and most responsible breeding in the world, you'll never get a 100% guaranteed puppy - as much of their personality comes from how they're brought up in those first 6-12 months or so as it does from genetics; well-bred pedigree pups can misbehave as much as a Heinz mongrel pup.

Ultimately it's your decision which (if any) dog to welcome into your family. FWIW I would pick a rescue dog every time; even if it took a bit longer to find the right one.

tabulahrasa Mon 08-Jul-13 12:50:18

Haha - I missed the small and also said greyhound...

Are you dead set on small?

tabulahrasa Mon 08-Jul-13 12:48:16

The good thing about rescue dogs, well adult ones is that you know what they're like already...you don't need to match up breed traits and hope that your puppy grows up like that.

For what it's worth, if your DD is nervous I'd say absolutely do not get a puppy, they play by chasing and biting and it can take months to train them out of that.

I'd go for a nice calm adult rescue...maybe a greyhound? They're usually calm and young adults come up all the time in rescues.

Two issues here to consider - firstly, it's probably a good idea to help your DD to work on her fear of dogs before one joins you in the house. I'm petrified of spiders and I would not lose my fear of them if DH brought home a pet tarantula. If she is genuinely frightened, even after gentle introductions, and help in learning to meet dogs, then maybe it is not such a good idea.

Secondly, it doesn't have to be an either/or - you can very easily get a rescue pedigree. Most breeds have dedicated rescues (for popular breeds, there will be many). These can come from different sources - sometimes breeders, sometimes a relinquishment from a home. In 95% of cases, relinquishment is to do with changes of human circumstance, not the dog -so things like divorce, birth of a baby, arrival of a second baby, redundancy, emigration etc. Reputable rescues will usually place a dog in a foster home first to assess its suitability and character, and will work hard to get the best possible "match" between your family and the dog.

Lastly, a small dog, counter-intuitively, may not be the best bet. Many small dogs such as terriers (often known as terrierists for good reason! grin) are feisty, busy little dogs who can be nippy and yappy, whereas our greyhounds, while large, are beautifully chilled out and laid back, and very, very gentle. In fact, I know several who are Pets as Therapy dogs. You can get calm, gentle dogs in all sizes but just wanted to say it's not good to write off everything just on basis of size. Also, a small dog, especially with younger DC, can be physically "under your feet" in a way that a larger dog doesn't.

Tw1nkle Mon 08-Jul-13 12:21:45

Hi,

I'm after some advice please.

I'm about to change my hours at work, so I'll be working 4 days a week, 9-3, but mainly from home. smile

I've always wanted a dog, and DH is coming round to the idea too. It's not something we're going to rush into however.

We have a DD (4.8), who is very nervous of anything that moves, so we think a dog would be good for her. For this reason though, we would like a small dog.

I'm thinking we should go with an actual breed, so we can match the temperament (as much as possible), to what we're looking for.

DH on the other hand, wants a rescue dog - any breed/cross.

Any advice please?!?!?

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