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Please advise: family freindly dog breeds and where to get one

(84 Posts)
wailinmytale Tue 18-Oct-11 10:32:33

DH and I are relatively experienced dog owners, oldest DC is very used to dogs and other animals DC2 is only 2 but has been around dogs too.

We have not had a dog for 18 months after our last attempt at adoption of a mature Border Terrier ended in disaster - he turned out to be very violent to other dogs and bit DC1 when he (the dog) was attempting to get into another fight we did try training but the bite was the last straw.

We all would like another dog, I am insisting on a puppy (maybe 2?) and preferably a bitch, but we cannot agree on the bread. I would love a Standard wirehaired Daschund but DH thinks they are lapdogs and I cant seem to sway him.

The breed must not be big - no bigger than a Standard Daschund - preferably wire haired, must have a reputation as an excellent family pet, must not be a hunting type dog like a jack russel, must not be overly energetic like a Springer spaniel or a Collie. It should not be too strong for an 11 year old to take on short walks and should be able to put up with a toddler pulling its ears every now and then.

We will consider a cross breed but must be able to see both parents, and I think we would even consider an older dog if we could meet the previous owners and have a good idea of its past and temperament but I wont adopt from the pound again after the last fiasco (I know its a shame to be so biased but I have small children to consider and also I get very attached to my dogs and the last one broke my heart).

Any suggestions welcome please. Also where do you buy a dog from? is there a special classified section somewhere that I just don't know about? The only place I know is the Pets at Home notice board...

wailinmytale Tue 18-Oct-11 10:36:24

I have just realised that I have probably just described a Staffie as our perfect family pet! I have had a Staffie and she was the best dog I ever owned (sadly passed on now) We really don't want another one though.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gothicangel Tue 18-Oct-11 11:18:31

i have a cocker spaniel and she is amazing with my kids, baby and 8 yr old


wailinmytale Tue 18-Oct-11 11:19:54

Thanks for the bump, I know staffies are good with kids but again DH has vetoed it!

I suppose one of the rescue agencies that send the dogs off for fostering first could be an option

wailinmytale Tue 18-Oct-11 11:20:52

We had a cocker when I was a child, amazing dog smile but don't they need a lot of grooming?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 18-Oct-11 11:32:41

Dachshunds are perfect lapdogs - lovely on a cold day grin- but they were bred as hunting dogs and will walk as far as you want them to. Some people seem suprised when they see our shorthaired standard dachs on the top of a mountain (if I had a penny for every time someone brightly says 'oh, you've worn his legs down' or 'was he a Dobermann when you started?'... grin) but they are tough dogs. They also have a proper bark, not a 'lapdog' yap.

If no-one has said it yet 'its not the breed, its the dog' - our dachsies have been excellent family pets; the one DH had as a boy was a biter.

You either get a dog from a good rescue (not a pound - there are lots of people here who can advise, if you hint at where you live) or you buy it from a breeder. If you have a breed in mind, you can google for the breed club and there are bound to be links under there. We got our current dog this way - he was 10 months when we got him which was better than getting a pup, as he was trained and socialised and we could see he was a nice character and he was good with kids.

Tchootnika Tue 18-Oct-11 11:48:12

Lots of gorgeous Staffies at rescue centres.
Perhaps you can persuade DH how lovely they are through meeting a few/even fostering?
Since you already apreciate these wonderful dogs and are happy to rescue, it would be a shame not to go for both - i.e. give a home to a beautiful Staff in need of one.
And there are some very, very good smallish rescue centres, very thorough in assessing and matching dogs and people.
Good luck!

DogsBeastFiend Tue 18-Oct-11 12:16:15

Hi, I'm a rescuer so perhaps I can answer some of your questions - and many will be are answered in a thread I wrote last night, here.

For a start, you're absolutely right - unless the establishment's practices are exceptional no ordinary family should adopt from a pound. The risks to both dog and family are too great. However that's not to say that you shouldn't adopt from a rescue, providing that rescue insists upon all of the safeguards and support which I mention in my link. There's a HUGE difference between a pound and a decent rescue.

Next, free ads/shop window/local paper etc... NO! Again, take a look at my link and see some real life examples of why and how you could put yourself and the dog in great danger by buying from there. Added to this is the fact that this is the way many, many puppy farmers advertise and also the way in which NO reputable breeder would EVER advertise.

A reputable breeder won't have to - they will have lists of people waiting for one of their pups and a reserve list before the bitch is even mated. A breeder of any standing will breed very rarely, only when they wish to keep a pup and only with a carefully selected dog. Beware the folk who tell you that both parents can be seen - often that's because the dog selected is conveniently nearby/their own and not because he's been chosen to improve the breed lines. Something I learned only recently is that some breeders will have sperm imported from the US in order to acquire the best father for their bitch's puppies and strengthen breed lines.

If you buy from the Gumtree/epupz/Pets At Home type of advertiser at best all you are doing is encouraging a practice known as backyard breeding. Worse still you could be encouraging puppy farming - and don't be fooled by the fact that the pups are in a family home, puppy farmers are smart these days and often use family homes as a front for their cruel trade. An example of that is a poster on here who only a couple of days ago bought a pup from the free ads, offered by a woman claiming to be rehoming due to an unfortunate change of circumstance.

Two days later that same seller was advertising yet another pup for sale due to unfortunate changes in circumstance. The poster told me that everything looked normal, the seller was very convincing... now we know that she's a nasty evil c* who is using her nice family home to cynically selling puppies for a profit, replacing one item of "stock" with another when she sells the first. And behind her is a puppy farmer, keeping dogs and bitches in appalling conditions and breeding bitches season after season until they drop dead or he throws them out as useless. Trust me. This is not an exaggeration.

These "home reared" pups, where sometimes "mum and dad can be seen", where the owner bred because "my little Susie dog's so pretty!" or "She's so good with my kids, I thought she'd make a great mum"... or to make a fast buck, which is a handy sideline, will not have been selected with all consideration taken into account of their genetics, both parents will not have been screened for all possible inherent disease and you could be buying a vet bill and heartache on legs. The sellers will not offer lifetime support nor will they take the dog back with a promise not to kill him at any time in their life should you not be able to keep him.

So who will do all the right things?

Well, for a start, the rescues that I work alongside.

Certainly there are bad ones, but I won't deal with them!

If you were to come to those I deal with you would expect first an introduction over the phone or email or perhaps to immediately be asked to fill in an application form and then have a more in-depth chat about you and what you're all about and what you want and expect from a dog.

A reputable rescue will want to meet you all - and want to check up that you're all on board with adopting a dog. It's no good just one party wanting one as when it comes to the "It's me or the dog!" argument most people are stupid and choose the spouse - and the poor dog ends up back in rescue.

They'll want to meet you in your home too, to get a feel for your family, meet the other pets, ensure that you live where you say you do and are allowed to keep a dog, that your fence has no holes in it, satisfy themselves that your toddler isn't allowed to abuse your existing dog, that they're not placing a Greyhound next to a cattery grin , see where pooch will sleep, talk about your lifestyle and which dog will fit in with that.

You may have been invited to meet some dogs prior to a homecheck but if not, then that's the next step of course. Rescue may let you take a wander or they may select one, two or more dogs which they feel would be suited to you and you to them. Don't be put off if they suggest a breed you'd never thought of or said you wouldn't consider - listen to them first, they know their dogs, they're saying it for a reason. Many rescues will want you to come back a few times to get to know your dog, to walk him and interact with him and build up some mutual friendship before letting him go home with you.

When all that is done, you may take your pal home. You will be taking with you a dog which has been assessed for his behaviour, temperament and suitability by experienced staff, who will have had some training whilst in rescue and a lot of human interaction, who is vet checked, fully vaccinated, neutered/spayed, flea and worm treated, microchipped and who comes with a contract promising you a lifetimes support and advice and an insistance that if ever you can't keep him, he must be returned to the safety of the rescue.

Now... I bet that's not what you had with the terrier you took on, is it?

It's sad for your son that he accidentally got bitten by your terrier but thankfully skin heals. It's sadder still for the terrier who, if you returned him to the pound, will almost certainly have been killed within a couple of days of you leaving him there. Unfortunately, until the public are far more aware of the difference between a pound and a rescue and until they know what constitutes a GOOD rescue this will continue to happen. sad

What to look out for? Well, all of the above... and don't be fooled by the names Battersea, Birmingham, Manchester or Cheshire "Dogs Home" or Wood Green "Animal Shelter".

They're all council pounds. Some better than others... at least Wood Green SOMETIMES homechecks. Not always, which is a bloody disgrace. Should you live near and approach them with a view to taking on a dog and they aren't going to homecheck, tell them that they must or go elsewhere to somewhere that does... it's for YOUR benefit as much as the dogs.

If you are still after a breeder's pup - though remember that rescue has plenty of pups too - then go through the BREED CLUB, not Kennel Club, for recommendations. KC registration means nothing, 90% of puppy farmed dogs are KC reg. Be prepared to wait, be prepared to pay top dollar and be prepared to be grilled to within an inch of your life by the breeder - if they don't, if they can't talk genetics until your eyes glaze over, if they won't take the dog back at any stage in his life, if they haven't ORIGINAL, CHECKABLE proof of both parents' health checks, if they breed more than one breed, if they breed from a bitch under 2 years or over 5, if you think for one moment that they are dodgy, if they breed the bitch from one season to the next, if they breed with a local stud dog without proof that it's in the interests of improving breed lines, if they advertise their pups anywhere... WALK AWAY.

And come talk to us nice rescue folk. smile

gothicangel Tue 18-Oct-11 12:42:11

wailinmytale my coocker gets pro groomed 4 times a year, and doesnt need anymore than that, just a little trim, she is due to get done again in the next few weeks and that will be it untill new year/feb time,


higgle Tue 18-Oct-11 13:12:24

Dachshunds are great ( especially standard size) They are lap dogs at home but will walk for miles and can run very fast too. The only downside is the tendancy to back problems. The wirehaired ones have a reputation as being more terrier like and outgoing. Ours was a long haired, they are supposedly the most gentle, he was quite up to walking for 10 miles, and was fearless in charging around our paddock trying to round up the two ponies that lived there.

FroOOOOOtshoOOOOOOts Tue 18-Oct-11 13:15:19

I am insisting on a puppy (maybe 2?)

DON'T get 2

notmeagain Tue 18-Oct-11 13:16:30

Can I pick up on your point that I think you are considering two puppies. I can not stress strongly enough as to why this is a very bad idea. A decent breeder will never rehome two puppies from the same litter. Loads of reasons as to why not.

It is so hard to tell from posts but I do feel that you will need to do a lot of homework before you get your next dog. You will need to research in detail about breeders and rescues (or ask on here when you have found some you are happy with!)

Daschunds are big dogs in little bodies and certainly do not think of themselves as lap dogs so they may not be what you are looking for.

I am also concerned in your post on your comment "should be able to put up with a toddler pulling its ears every now and then" I don't think this is ever acceptable so maybe if that is the situation you may need to wait until your toddler is a bit bigger and can safely be around dogs.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 18-Oct-11 13:23:45

The OPs DH needs to meet some dachshunds! Wire haireds seem to have very nice characters and are rufty tufty types.

DogsBeastFiend Tue 18-Oct-11 13:24:56

Christ yes! Well spotted, I overlooked those two points. No decent breeder will allow you to take two pups and NO, there is NO WAY that ANY dog should have to put up with a child of any age pulling his ears. To adopt that approach is to court disaster. It is YOUR responsibility to protect your dog AND your child by ensuring that the two aren't ever unsupervised until the child is old enough not to act like this and that the child is not permitted to pull the dog around in any way when supervised.

<<resolves to read posts properly and not skim though them like a smartarse in her haste to get out and groom a trio of moulting mutts>>

GrimmaTheNome Tue 18-Oct-11 13:26:36

>I am also concerned in your post on your comment "should be able to put up with a toddler pulling its ears every now and then"

yes - you should never allow this. If the child isn't mature enough not to do this then it shouldn't be alone with a dog. We also never let DD pick the dog up until she was about 10 and big enough to reliably support him.

Quodlibet Tue 18-Oct-11 13:30:51

OP, it's a shame you won't consider rescue staffies, I reckon you're far more likely to get a tried-and-tested-with-children, good-natured dog that fits your family (because rescues have so many, the good ones really thoroughly assess their dogs and they'll be able to find just the right fit for you) than if you take a punt on a purebred puppy.

sallymonella Tue 18-Oct-11 13:33:41

notmeagain, you say "I can not stress strongly enough as to why this is a very bad idea."

Could you tell me why? I was thinking of getting 2 puppies at once next time I have a dog, as I want two dogs. What's the best alternative? Getting one puppy and then another a few months later?

sallymonella Tue 18-Oct-11 13:35:34

Oh, and as far as I am aware (and am more than happy to be corrected on this), rescue centres won't give staffies to families with young children. Even though the kennel club recommends them as being good with children. confused

BestIsWest Tue 18-Oct-11 13:37:45

We have a miniature Schnauzer and he ticks most of your boxes. He's small (12-14 inches), is a very family oriented dog, he loves to be in the thick of things, he has a wiry coat with a thick undercoat. He's great. But echo all the very sensible points made above. And don't get 2, they will bond with each other not you, wait until the first is at least 18 months before getting another.

Ephiny Tue 18-Oct-11 13:40:20

Some rescues won't rehome any dogs to families with young children (e.g. under 5), some will consider dogs that have lived with children before but not strays/unknown background. I've never heard of any ban on particular breeds though, and certainly not Staffies confused.

notmeagain Tue 18-Oct-11 13:41:22

1. It is incredible hard work. Each dog will need to be walked separately, taken out to wee separately to ensure that they are trained well for an example. I can hear you thinking well I wont need to do that ....I will sit and watch this space for when your dogs are 8 months old and see how you feel thengrin
2. The puppies will bond to each other rather than you and training will be very difficult
3. It may be fine to start with but when the dogs reach their teenage stage - there will be difficulties in training and behaviour.
4. It is impossible to train two dogs together - the ways dogs learn mean that if you are training together they will only both partially learn the behaviour which in itself will lead to many problems
5. They will probably die at a similar time which is way too sad for me to lose two dogs close together

sallymonella Tue 18-Oct-11 13:49:54

notmeagain thanks for that. I hadn't thought of the fact that the puppies would bond with each other and not me, and point no.5 would kill me too!

What do you suggest then? What BestisWest said? Wait 18 months?

DogsBeastFiend Tue 18-Oct-11 13:50:09

"Oh, and as far as I am aware (and am more than happy to be corrected on this), rescue centres won't give staffies to families with young children."

Absolutely NOT true in many cases.

A lot of the bigger centres such as RSPCA - I won't dignify them with the title of rescue angry - have blanket policies on rehoming to families with young DC. However, many of the smaller independent rescues will go on a case by case basis, dependant on the nature, behaviour and temperament of the dog, the behaviour of the child and the attitude and level of responsibility on the part of the parents.

I'm a network rescuer but I'm also a hands on volunteer for a local independent rescue. They will happily rehome to those with DC, depending on all those things above.

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