Puppy best breed advice please

(36 Posts)

Hi all - looking for advice on the best breed to go for please. Our circumstances are large house and garden (would need better fencing), 3 cats, 2 DDs (age 10 and 7), about to be made redundant so plenty of time for training and will be at home every day. The only other thing to perhaps mention is I'm asthmatic. I've seen some Labradoodle pups - small as bred from miniature Labradoodle bitch and pedigree miniature poodle dog. £750 each. DH wants Labrador Retriever as wants bigger dog BUT I'd be the one doing vast majority of training / walking so I think ultimately he'd go with my wishes. Can anyone advise on pros / cons for Labradoodles and Labradors and also whether £750 is overpriced (DH thinks so needless to say).

I'd love a rescue pup really but worried about the cats / kids angle and the fact that we will be novice dog owners....

There are no pros for a designer cross breed that I can think of and £750 is def, def overpriced.

It is worth bearing in mind that it is impossible to predict the outcome of a same breed pedigree mating, far less a cross breed one. The size of the Labrador will eventually re surface in these puppies, genetics will make it so, and it'll be impossible to know which puppies will be large, and which small. There are no guarantees that the crossbreed you are looking at will be low shedding, either. Have you established if your asthma is exacerbated by dog hair?

It is also likely that whoever is breeding the crosses is what is known as a back yard breeder - ie one who is doing it solely for money, not for the good of the breed. In addition, there will also be 2 sets of health tests to check on if you peruse the doodle cross.

A well bred Labrador would be a good family dog, and with proper training will be as easy to handle and control as a teeny tiny dog.

If you are set on a smaller dog, try a rescue. There are many, many dogs who need new homes.

Thank you Daisydotandgertie that's all useful. DH says Labradoodles are essentially mutts so why pay so much! We know and love many Labs as we live in rural area and lots of are friends have them as farm / gun dogs. I'm just a bit concerned that they need so much exercise, and also couldn't be left at all. I'm taking redundancy but will have to find a part-time job next year. Pet dander isn't great for my asthma but I'd rather use inhalers then not have pets and our three cats won't let me shave them grin.

Would it be a plan to visit a rescue centre and discuss the cats / kids issues and see if they think adoption might still be possible do you think?

MothershipG Tue 23-Jul-13 14:47:27

You need to know if you asthma will be aggravated by a dog so you need to visit a breeder who has the dogs in Their house and who'll let you spend some time around the adult dogs to see if you react.

It's very hard to find reputable cross breeders, don't believe the sales patter about hypoallergenic, non-shedding, no health checks required.

Many rescues have puppies, take a look at the Many Tears site and dogsblog site, so you don't have to rule out rescue.

Floralnomad Tue 23-Jul-13 14:52:09

If you need a non shedding dog then get a poodle ,much better than a poodle cross. They are fantastic intelligent dogs . Your husband is right ,to pay that kind of money for a crossbreed is not financial sense .

MissMarplesBloomers Tue 23-Jul-13 14:56:27

Thing about a rescue is many of them test out the pups reaction to cats so you know in advance, you may get a rescue that has come from a cat family & ignore them.
They will spend a fair part of their time up on top of the cupboards with any pup until they sort the pecking order out (cats first !!)

Why would a Lab have to be kept outside? You may get one who is crate trained, or you could crate train a pup if you are worried about chewing or messing.

If it's a large house do you have a small room/utility where the dog bed could go in the corner & be "His" spot ? You can build up perioids of time in there so that whne you DO have to go back to work as long as they have a good walk first thing and as soon as you're back they should be fine as long as its not too long a day.

As well there are many good dog walkers around or folks who like walking dogs but can't have some of their own so there is help to be had.

Usually I quote MNetters to prove myself right and DH wrong - he's going to love this thread for once. All great advice though thank you. I had ruled out adoption but seems like it is worth looking into. DH has dreams of huge manly dog (since he is surrounded by women) that he can go running with but realistically he won't have time every day. He wanted a Weimaraner but I pointed out they aren't recommended with cats and can be a bit nutty. Not sure he'd go for a poodle. The kids would love anything but I need to make an informed choice for us all.

Yes I think the crate idea is a good plan. DH had talked of converting part of the garage into a kennel but I want dog to be part of the family. I think he's been influenced by friends with gun dogs which is a different matter.

Also my retired parents live just across the road and they would be very happy to help with dog as they love them but have pampered pedigree cats instead at the mo.

Floralnomad Tue 23-Jul-13 15:08:11

A standard poodle with an all over close haircut would be a fantastic dog to go running with ,they don't need to look ridiculous ,its all in the haircut .

DameDeepRedBetty Tue 23-Jul-13 15:09:37

Poodles look very nice when allowed to grow their coat normally rather than be clipped like a piece of topiary.

tabulahrasa Tue 23-Jul-13 15:13:14

Poodles without a haircut look exactly like labradoodles to me...they come in three different sizes as well.

Lots of poodle votes then! I have seen photos of them with Mohicans and sprayed up as punks. Frankly my hair doesn't get that much attention though so the dog can't be more high maintenance than I am grin

There's an RSPCA centre in Brighton which is near me. I'm going to see if I can visit tomorrow.

Do you have to have a certain type of fencing do you know to be approved as a potential adopter?

MothershipG Tue 23-Jul-13 15:29:07

There is also breed specific rescue so if you do pick a breed you may still be able to rescue.

If you get a puppy you have to build up exercise slowly, especially in the larger breeds. Also most dogs like to mooch about and sniff on a walk not just run to keep up with their human.

The rescues I home check for stipulate secure 6ft fencing (but will obviously be flexible if you are adopting a small dog).

I think Poodles are lovely but they do need regular trims to keep them neat so you either have to commit to this or learn to do it yourself.

LadyTurmoil Tue 23-Jul-13 15:30:09

Try small rescues in your area - do a google search and you'll find lots. They are often more flexible about children (although yours are over 5 which is usually the minimum age).

I know loads of people love Labrador/retriever types, but I personally wouldn't go for one. They are big and chunky, grow to a large size, need lots of exercise. A friend of mine has one, she wasn't really into getting a dog but was pestered/blackmailed by her husband/kids. The retriever is lovely but too strong on the lead for the kids to handle, too strong for HER and they just haven't put the time in to train her to be good on the lead.

I've noticed a lot of men want a big, manly dog but it really isn't so practical when it's often the lady of the house and the kids who are doing the majority of the looking after, walking, training etc. The smaller size dog does make a difference. They also take up less room overall, are easier to get in a car, eat less food, do smaller poos! They are not just toy/lapdogs, they have plenty of personality and va va voom!

I would look at a lot of different rescue centres. They will not only have "difficult" dogs, but they often have puppies from unwanted litters, from people who have had to move into rented and can't have a dog etc. Also, a lot of rescues use a foster system for their dogs so dogs have been assessed in a home environment, often with kids, cats, horses or even ducks! Good luck smile

I've been on the local RSPCA website - there is a brilliant little JR / Chihuahua cross who is good with kids and cats. This is my ideal size and I adore JRs but had counted them out as thought no go with cats. You can see DH and I are somewhat far apart on favoured breeds! When it comes down to it what I say goes though....

LadyTurmoil Tue 23-Jul-13 15:34:56

www.dogpages.org.uk/sth-east.htm
poundpuppy.org/doglistp.htm?1 (scroll down a bit to see dogs)
www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/default.aspx?dogCentre=SHO#.Ue6UF9KcEWk Dogs Trust Shoreham
www.sedogrescue.co.uk/faith/ (to give you an example of child-friendly dog!)
www.manytearsrescue.org/dogslookingforhomes.php Based in Wales but have dogs fostered all over UK

And thanks LadyTurmoil for your wise words - will get DH to read this thread! I had also pointed out to him that we haven't got a particularly big car and want dog to be able to travel and holiday with us. I'm deffo pushing for consideration of smaller breeds.

Floralnomad Tue 23-Jul-13 15:42:44

If you're looking at smaller dogs what about a whippet ,they don't have a lot of hair either and there are usually lots of whippet/ lurcher types in rescue .

Just to be dull, any dog with working blood in them, be it Labrador, Weimaraner, Spaniel, Terrier, poodle - whatever, will all need lashings of exercise.

Not impossible amounts, but at least an hour a day.

It sounds as though your DH knows many working labs (my very, very favourite type) and they are fabulous family dogs. I know a brilliant breeder or two in your area if you're interested. Not sure why you think they can't be left though? I leave mine while I work PT.

I'm very up for the dog walking - god knows I need the exercise - but we have an open plan house and so nowhere to shut dog in. Was thinking smaller dog that could tolerate some time in crate would be less stressful for the dog, cats and our furniture.

DH does love the working dogs but this is because he nurses dreams of being self-employed outdoorsy type like many of his mates that own them and have their dogs with them all day. DH is in IT and works in office though - he needs to get real wink

Have a look on the Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue website - they currently have some stunning older pups (3-6 months) that have been in foster, are child and cat friendly and the rescue will rehome nationally. As they have been in foster care, they are used to living in a family environment. Once they are grown up, lurchers make excellent running companions and generally excellent family dogs (healthy and fun).

LadyTurmoil Tue 23-Jul-13 16:42:13

DH does need to get real, because it's you who'll be doing the majority of the work and I'm sure you're busy enough with 2 children and cats already! Scuttlebutter is the expert (along with many others, I hasten to add!) on greyhounds/whippets/lurchers and everyone says they're fantastic, easy pets.

I just wouldn't feel justified paying £600+ for what's basically a crossbreed. (You also need to factor in pet insurance, accessories, spaying at a later date, arrangements for days out/holidays)

Re. smaller dogs, they have just as much energy as big ones, my brother has a small, poodle cross who loves her 1 1/2 hr walks just as much as bigger dogs. My bro is over 6' and he doesn't have an issue about walking a small, fluffy, white dog! (altho' I know lots do).

Poodles are lovely, intelligent dogs and if you don't clip them into silly shapes, they look just like doodles but you'll know that they definitely won't shed.

And, just to whet your appetite (!) Chickpea

MothershipG Tue 23-Jul-13 17:35:07

Also it's much easier to get friends and family to look after a small dog, as your parents get older they might find a large dog hard to manage but would cheerfully dog sit a smaller one, especially if it was ok with their pedigree puss.

oldandcrabby Tue 23-Jul-13 18:41:13

Advice from my vet when we were chatting about various breeds: 'get a dog you can pick up and carry in an emergency'. I would say about 10kg. You might have to carry an injured dog some way. Another arguement against the larger breeds is that they often have fairly short lives and expensive illnesses. Have you thought of breed rescues? Many owners would approach them if they can no longer keep a dog, rather than hand them over to a general rescue.

tabulahrasa Tue 23-Jul-13 19:03:05

10kg?...My 13 yr old could still carry my puppy at 20kg, I can still pick him up now at 40kg...though only onto things, I can't walk like that.

10kg is way under what most adults could carry if they had to.

oldandcrabby Tue 23-Jul-13 20:01:59

Best of luck, tabulahrasa, with carrying an large, injured dog, children in tow, (especially if you are asmathic) over a mile to your car and then getting to the vets! I am assuming that OP will want to do country walks not just a trip round the local park or up the road once the dog is old enough to take more than short walks. Of course, all pups should have short walks only and large breeds need even more care to avoid problems later.

We live right by a massive common that is dog walking heaven but v good points on lengths of walk and emergency situations. Also suspect you are right about my folks being great dog sitters for smaller dogs but possibly struggling with bigger stronger dogs. V interested in suggestions for breeds I had absolutely counted out thinking they weren't compatible with cats - whippets, lurches, grey hounds, Jack Russells etc. So seems there are no absolutes and some are ok with small furry felines?

DH deffo coming round to adoption and smaller breeds and away from his Lab obsession. I think the cost and health issues you've all pointed out have given him food for thought. We both really like the idea of taking on a dog that really needs a loving home, and hopefully a hardy type with less chance of inherent health problems. DH's bottom line is nothing too tiny (so no chihuahua!) but understands I will be the main carer so being much mor open to suggestions after MN input.

tabulahrasa Tue 23-Jul-13 20:59:15

I've always had large breeds, I've never had to carry one home yet, lol...but more what I meant was that 10kg is fairly light, most people would manage more than that.

I would agree that there are no absolutes with cats and dogs if precautions are put in place and you manage the introductions early.

We have a Border Terrier (1 this weekend) along with a hamster and he goes to my mums twice a week with her elderly cat. He is wary of the cat and despite being all waggy with her he always defers to her. She is the only living thing that can stop him scrounging titbits off my dad, she only has to look at him!

You know they are often described as a big dog in a little body! Really friendly game little things though need a reasonable walk.

LadyTurmoil Wed 24-Jul-13 12:23:06

If DH loves working-type dogs, look at Desperate Greekies

They have some lovely ones who are already in the UK in foster homes so will have been well tested with other dogs/children/cats etc.

topbannana Wed 24-Jul-13 16:35:39

I would say something like a cheeky little border terrier, a cavalier or a working cocker (disclaimer: I have working cockers and feel the need to recommend them to everyone grin) A lab is probably too full on for your situation.
DS is 9 and can just about walk our boys. The pup is all over the place but oddly DS does not get too caught up with him. He is fine with our adult unless he smells something and drags DS over to investigate, whereby DS is dragged bodily along behind. A definite consideration if your DD's are wanting to be involved.

topbannana Wed 24-Jul-13 17:13:12

Goodness, do not show your DH that link ladyturmoil posted- he will be smitten and all your hopes of a small breed puppy will be gone.
Beautiful dogs and so terribly sad smile

topbannana Wed 24-Jul-13 17:13:43

Quite clearly that was supposed to be sad

LadyTurmoil Wed 24-Jul-13 17:44:48

I know, I know, very naughty of me, sorry! wink But there are lovely smile Just thought that, although they're bigger, they are also not puppies, therefore not such hard work, especially at the beginning...

LadyTurmoil Wed 24-Jul-13 17:53:46

...or Casia Doesn't look too long-haired which might help with the asthma, you might find you get a bit desensitised over time as well. I'm always terribly itchy/scratchy when I see my brother's dog but if I see them a couple of days in a row, I'm pretty much OK. But, of course, I don't know the level of your asthma.

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