Choosing a dog

(59 Posts)
Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:16:43

Hello, I was hoping some of you could help me think through getting a dog. DH grew up with dogs but I have never owned one. My sister has had one for 8 years (wire/border terrier cross) and I also dog sit for a friend's lurcher collie cross.

I absolutely do not want to rush into this and am prepared to spend a couple of months thinking and researching (which is hopefully where you lot come in!). I've spent ages googling and it's a bit like baby advice - many different ideas, all valid and no one prepared to get down off the fence. So I want the truth! If I gets the end of this and it's not practical then so be it, no dog, however sweet they are.

We have three children (11,8,5) and run our own business which would allow us to have the dog with us all the time. DH feels that he would rather get a puppy so he knows it is properly trained and how it reacts to things.

We have a decent sized garden (have chickens in an enclosed pen and guinea pigs which spend the nights inside and days in a run outside) and are within a 5 minute walk of several open spaces despite being in a city. Short drive to woodlands, rivers and down land. I also have some money set aside for anything we need and the first year's insurance etc PIL happy to dog sit if we need ever.

So where the hell do I start?! I don't think I want a small dog and nothing huge. And then I get stuck. So if anyone has got to the end of this, how do I go about working out if and when and what we should get? Thanks for reading!

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:39:34

Things currently worrying me:

Puppy farms
Inadvertently getting a breed with health problems
Kids losing interest

I'd be worried about the other animals you have- but as long as the fences are secure...

What do you want from your dog?

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:47:43

Hmm. Good question. DH has a health problem that is improved with regular exercise so something requiring regular walks good. Something that can fetch. Erm. Biggish. Good with kids. Not yappy. I don't know really!

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:48:32

Fences fox proof btw so hopefully dog proof too!

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Sep-14 21:49:34

I think the first thing is that the children won't take a practical interest for long - it will be you and dh who do all the poo picking, walking in the rain etc etc.

There are plenty of puppies born in rescue, so please consider one. My dogs both came from EGLR, and new puppy (snoring next to me) was born in foster as his mum had been found stray. Both are soppy objects, and puppy pays no attention to the hens or rabbit when they are in their pens

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:52:09

Sorry should have said I would want rescue. The kds are pretty responsible with the pets and do the feeding and watering of chickens and guinea pigs but yes, poo picking will be own to me and DH. We go for walks in the rain for fun <weirdo alert> so not too worried about that.

JadeJ123 Tue 02-Sep-14 21:55:28

Staffies, make wonderful pets and rescues are always full of them.
Schnauzer
Shiba Inu
Alaska Klee Klai
Rescue dogs have so much love to give

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:55:36

I like lurcher types, it must be said. How do I know if a particular rescue is ok? Are there bad ones?

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 21:58:06

I know staffies are supposed to be good family pets. Haven't heard of the others apart from schnauzer.

What would you all have done differently if you were going back to before you got your dogs? Any regrets?

CMOTDibbler Tue 02-Sep-14 21:58:54

EGLR are great - they have people who will homecheck all over the country, and are very honest about their dogs needs.
Lurcher Link are good too.

These are mine smile. Puppy will prob be on the smaller end of lurchers as his mum is a whippet x

Twrch62 Tue 02-Sep-14 21:59:50

Having had Springers most of my adult life I am sure they would fit your requirements.
Would love your children and think they are one of them.
Not yappy, very gentle and loving.
Love being around people all day.
Your husband would get plenty of walks, Springers are ALWAYS ready for a walk and swim.
Great at playing fetch (can get a bit obsessive and want to do it constantly)
If introduced in the right way are good around other pets.

Twrch62 Tue 02-Sep-14 22:01:04

Cross post with loads,
Springers love walks in the rain, staffs not so much

I think you just described my dog. Springer Spaniel, so medium size, not bothered with little animals, we have rabbits and guinea pigs in the garden and he has never tried to get to them. He is amazing with my children, who were similar ages when we got him, and loves all other kids too. He will fetch a ball forever, very very rarely barks but when he does it's a proper scare them off big dog bark. Will walk whenever we want, whatever the weather, but happy to laze at home too, he just loves company. We had him as a pup from rescue.

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 22:02:40

They're lovely!

Springers sound nice too. I think I am leaning heavily towards dog ownership... Just trying to do it all the right way!

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 22:06:41

I remember smily friends having springers and walking them in the woods as a child. Lovely but am I right in thinking they shed lots? Although that shouldn't matter, really.

Ruralninja Tue 02-Sep-14 22:06:48

I know people love staffies and this might annoy some posters, but I could never have one with children about.

Deerhound, wolfhound or greyhound crosses are super soppy and although they need a regular run, they don't actually need a huge amount of exercise per se. My lurcher (greyhound/saluki/collie) is sufficiently trustworthy with children that I can allow toddlers to clamber on him with impunity. He used to chase sheep as young dog (ashamed emoticon) but cannot be arsed now and is a regular gentleman.

The Obamas have a Portuguese water dog - awesome with kids and no moulting, double win!

I would personally be cautious of labradoodles - sometimes awesome dogs, but sometimes a bit overly butch and macho from the poodle element.

Terrier/jack russell crosses are also supposed to great - bombproof and high energy.

Ruralninja Tue 02-Sep-14 22:07:29

Forgot to say English Pointers! Beautiful and totally soppy.

Another vote for a springer
Mine is the easiest dog ever
He is ball obsessed though and would eat the chickens if he got the chance but that's just my lack of training and the fact he was already an adult when we introduced them
I love springers

cantpooinpeace Tue 02-Sep-14 22:10:32

Greyhounds - ours was free as she was an ex racer. They are very calm, require little walking and just make great family dogs grin

My springer doesn't shed, well nowhere near the amount the jack russells I grew up with did. When he does it is wisps of hair that collect in the corner of the room, it doesn't stick to clothes or anything. I am a slattern, I have been known to go a week without hovering, but there still not really any noticeable dog hair in the house

Catypillar Tue 02-Sep-14 22:14:22

I also have a springer. We got her from Springer Rescue Scotland last year. One of the reasons we got a springer was that we were so impressed by the rescue, particularly how thoroughly they assess the dogs (always in someone's home, not in kennels, so they really get to know what the dog is like, and check how they are with children, cats, etc). We were quite open to other breeds (like you, we wanted a largish active dog that liked children) but it was the quality of the rescue that made us decide. The only problem with our dog is that she is from a working line so has a high prey drive. She is lovely with people, doesn't mind other dogs, but would go for any bunny, bird, cat, etc. Some springers seem fine with other pets though.

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 22:21:01

Lots of food for thought. Thank you for taking the time to respond, everyone.

I've been thinking along the same lines as you, Wellwellwell, although I grew up with dogs and DH is the more reluctant one here grin.
My boys are similar ages as yours.

Following my chosen criteria (not yappy, not tiny, no huge, good with kids, not mad/jumpy, does not need vast amounts of exercise daily to not go off the rails) I've arrived at sighthounds, so have been monitoring the local (Scottish) rescues for the last couple of years few months.

I could not/would not want to cope with springers or even labradors/retrievers. Many of the (lovely) family labs I know are overweight and bored and I am worried that could happen to one we owned too sad.

One of the local rescues does a monthly walk with as many dogs ready for adoption/fostering as possible coming along and anybody interested can meet them and speak to the volunteers for a chat.
I am working on trying to persuade DH to foster… (the rescue has a large Failed Fosterers Club - people who fostered and ended up adopting wink).

Maybe somebody near you would offer something similar? Try before you buy wink

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Tue 02-Sep-14 22:28:01

Fostering sounds very sensible, actually! The more I look into it all the more I want a dog. Starting to feel like when we decided to have children!

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