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Looking for a very placid, docile and affectionate breed - first time dog owner, need advice please

(83 Posts)
LesleyPumpshaft Sat 06-Oct-12 08:28:15

I am a first time prospective dog owner and I need advice. We live in right in a forest, have a medium garden and a smallish house. DS is 13 and DP had a dog when he was a kid.

I have a bit of a dog phobia, but I do like very placid, docile and affectionate dogs. I want to get a pure breed from a reputable breeder, as I feel I would have more of an idea of what I'm getting. Because I'm a bit scared of dogs, I don't want a large breed, as I'm a soft touch and worry that I might not be confident with it. I don't like small dogs that much and find them a bit annoying.

I work from home, and would like company during the day and an excuse/motivation to actually take a break and go out for walks. I've been doing some research and Basset hounds are in first place so far. A friend of my parents has one and I think I have fallen in love. However, I have read that they are very stubborn and maybe not so good for a first time owner.

I really don't want a hyper, sharp or nervous breed. Does anyone have any suggestions ir advice please?

Sorry for long post, but I want to make an informed decision before I get my own dog.

bochead Sun 07-Oct-12 09:46:01

We have a whippet. All the good things said about greyhounds are true of whippets, except on a smaller scale. I'd have loved a rescue greyhound but felt our flat & the fact we use public transport a lot meant a whippet was the better option for us.

I highly reccomend them once past the mad whizzing pup stage as an ideal first dog, as they are so low maintenance. All they really want is sufficient cuddles and a cosy bed + a couple of free runs every day for 30 mins.

They don't seem to turn up in rescue too often but many tears has a 6 year old whippet on it's site at present.

Lougle Sun 07-Oct-12 10:45:07

I second (third? can't keep up) the puppy thing. Really, as much as I love my puppy, he is seriously hard work. He's doing really well as puppies do, but he's 10 months old and as mad as a box of frogs!

The constant eye for things that are fun. The constant reminders of 'down' when people come. Constant 'gentle'. It's all so crucial to be completely consistent.

There are obviously wonderful times too grin He's so cuddly, affectionate (he's a Staffordshire Bull Terrier), obedient, and I can see daily the progress in his training.

If you take on a puppy there is no way that you will have a docile dog to begin with.

Aquelven Sun 07-Oct-12 11:25:42

Don't tar all Yorkies with the same brush as your gran's spoiled one.
I've had them for years, currently got three, & they're the sweetest, most affectionate breed, but are playful & bouncy. I also have a couple of Skyes & would say don't even consider those if you're not used to dogs. They're the oddest breed temperamentally & I say that after having them for 35+ years. In fact I 'd say not any terrier if you want a quiet, laid back dog. They all tend to be a bit, "Look out world, here I come" & I love terriers !

I'd second a whippet or a greyhound

Isandri Sun 07-Oct-12 12:57:48

Just wanted to jump in and agree with people talking about older rescue dogs, lab's and lab crosses. I currently have a 10 year old black lab\gordon setter snuggled up to me on the sofa fast asleep. He's very docile and affectionate, loves spending time with his family and is very gentle with children. He's also very nosy, devious, manipulative, throws himself into streams every chance he has, chases birds and deer and has selective recall. I think he's wonderful. He's happy with two short 30ish minute walks a day,(with some extra time spent digging for mice) but can go on longer 2+hour walks. Technically he's a rescue as he used to belong to my sister in law and was going to be put to sleep, (new job, new no pet\s allowed rental apartment) but he moved in with me and my husband 3 months ago and will stay with us until he dies or has to be put to sleep. Oh and I'm 36 weeks pregnant.

AuntieStella Sun 07-Oct-12 13:28:46

All the labradors and golden retrievers I've known have been really good natured, but the snag for you is that they can be bouncy, and also that their tails are just at toddler head height and a few clouts from a waggy one (ie all of them) can be alarming to small people.

So I'd have a think about the smaller spaniel breeds - a King Charles could be a good choice for you.

LesleyPumpshaft Sun 07-Oct-12 14:37:33

My Gran had a lovely Yorky before the snappy one. I think I know what morethanyoubargainfor means about treating dogs like babies, and I'm not that broody!

Thanks for all the replies and advice btw. I really didn't expect such a response and so much interesting info and advice. smile

DP has said that he absolutely does not want a greyhound, and that is the only dog that he is not keen on. Apparently this is because they are not very clever, although I don't see why that should be a problem. It's a dog. hmm

So, I am going to contact some local rescue centres and see if I can talk to people about dog ownership and meet some dogs. For example, I don't even know what to do if I was taking a dog for a walk and there was another dog off the lead that didn't get on with other dogs. So, I need to find this sort of thing out first!

Cuebill, you mentioned reputable rescue centres. Is there anything I should look out for that would mean one was dodgy?

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 07-Oct-12 14:39:13

Hi Lesley,

Have not read the whole thread but just picked up on the greyhounds are not very clever part.
Your dh does realise that the cleverer the dog, the less docile and placid it will be? As the cleverer it is the more stimulation it needs and the more input it will require to keep it satisfied...

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 07-Oct-12 14:41:21

'Have not read the whole thread but just picked up on the greyhounds are not very clever part' <- someone forget to tell my puppy this.

SheilaWheeler Sun 07-Oct-12 14:49:21

Can I just be another one to stress just how much hard work puppies are?

It is difficult to put your finger on why or how they are so difficult but they are.

I love mine to bits and really wouldn't be without him but I've lost count of the number of times I've said that I will never get another puppy. I meet lots of other puppy owners when out walking and we all agree. We are all practically counting the days when our little monsters have turned into chilled-out grown-ups.

Our is now 12 months old and I found myself saying yesterday to DH 'only another 6 months and he should be settling ....'

LesleyPumpshaft Sun 07-Oct-12 14:50:52

Thanks BehindLockNumberNine. I'm not looking for a clever dog. I don't even care if it wants to fetch a stick or not. I'm not looking for a placid one because I can't be arsed to give it attention though. In fact, I work from home, and I get a little bit bored and keep wishing I had a dog so I could take it out for a walk and talk to it I am weird like this. Not the same going for a walk on your own. sad

It's just that I'm very nervous around some dogs after being scared shitless by two border collies as a child. Plus a couple of other incidents. I'm really not bothered about a clever one, as long as it's very docile!

comelywench Sun 07-Oct-12 15:04:51

Another vote for retired Greyhounds here. They are lovely placid dogs. So lazy, don't seem to jump up and very rarely bark. Our male greyhound is blind and the biggest lump you'll ever meet. He would love to be in a home with someone who worked from home, and would lean against your chair with his head in your lap all day if allowed.
They do curl up small and aren't on the go as much as smaller dogs so not under your feet in the same way.
They also have THE softest velvety ears, which I realise is not the best criteria for choosing a dog, but they are really lovely to stroke! I think if I were looking for a companion and worked from home a grey would be my first choice. There's something intrinsically relaxing about the way they lollup around!
I think you're doing the right thing by taking your time to choose your breed.
If you think you might like a greyhound there's almost certainly going to be a greyhound rehoming charity based near you who would be more than happy for you to visit a home with greys living in it so they can wax lyrical (rightly so) about the joys of greyhounds, and that way you can meet a few. They will seem big at first, but are so gentle with it!

UltraBOF Sun 07-Oct-12 15:04:55

I definitely agree about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. What's not to love?

tabulahrasa Sun 07-Oct-12 15:05:46

Clever's overrated... My last dog was a genius, he was also a complete lunatic, I got him at 6 months old from a pound where he'd been rehomed and returned already and was running out of time as nobody wanted him.

He could work out all sorts of things, mostly how to steal things without anybody noticing, but when it came to actually training him he was a nightmare. He'd try every other way he could think of to get a treat rather than do what it was he was asked, including sneaking up behind you and trying to get in your pocket.

He also knew loads of words that we didn't teach him on purpose, so if I said wash and dog in the same sentence he was suddenly impossible to find.

A bit dim and biddable is much easier.

Though he was great fun and after years of work, lovely, I still miss him.

UltraBOF Sun 07-Oct-12 15:14:22

Dim and biddable describes my cav. She follows be everywhere. If I get a shower, she seems to think the bathroom door is actually a portal to another dimension, and waits outside for me to reappear. She is never happier than sitting on my lap.

kid Sun 07-Oct-12 15:21:04

I haven't read whole thread so not sure what others have suggested. I've had a yorkie before who was very placid. He was very big for a yorkie, champion size or something I think.

I currently have a springer spaniel who is the most loving, gentle and very docile dog I have ever met. He is like a baby as he likes cuddles and laying on people. He is big and very hairy though, but I thought that by living by the forest, his breed would really enjoy the running in there. They are a very friendly breed.

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 07-Oct-12 15:23:20

Hi Lesley, I am not saying you don't want to put effort into a dog - I picked up on the fact your dh does not want a greyhound because apparently they are not very clever...Was defending greyhounds...

And Do0ins pup is very clever by all accounts.

In fact my whippet lurcher is brighter than my cocker spaniel was (but that is not much of an achievement to be honest...)

In my experience the livelier dogs are also the cleverer ones.

We have a rescue whippet lurcher. He is lovely and calm and docile and placid. He is also gentle and playful and funny. He is at the moment jumping an agility course set up for him by nine-year old dd. Both are having a whale of a time! Oooh, spoke too soon - he is now pouncing on a leaf and pretending to kill it hmm (see, not very clever grin)

LesleyPumpshaft Sun 07-Oct-12 15:57:32

Hi BehindLockNumberNine, I didn't think you meant that. I just mean that I like going walking and I'd like a companion for when it's just me.

I'm going to contact some local rescue centres this week and hopefully find out more. I've decided that a rescue dog would be nice. I had my reservations at first, but so many people get pets and then don't or can't look after them for a number of reasons. It makes sense to give one of them a home.


GupX Sun 07-Oct-12 16:03:25

One of our greyhounds is clever.

She used to pick up empty beer bottles out of our recycling with her front teeth and upend them into her mouth.

Now we've moved the recycling.

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 07-Oct-12 16:17:19

No worries Lesley, was worried I had upset you [flowers]

We had our Cocker Spaniel from a puppy. He ended up being as mad as a box of frogs (and not very clever). He was lovely but hard to live with...

We now have a whippety lurcher. We went to a greyhound rescue for a retired rescue greyhound (wanting something totally different after our mad cocker) and ended up falling in love with a whippety lurcher.
He really is the most placid, docile, friendly, loving dog you could ever wish to meet.

My best friend was recently looking for a placid rescue dog. It took a while but eventually Battersea matched her with a lovely Jack Russel Cross. He is a little gem. Pulls a bit on the lead (they are working on that) but calm, cuddely and docile in the house.
There is the perfect rescue dog out there for you, I am sure smile

And I know what you mean about the walking thing - I too feel awkward walking on my own, but I love walking with Whippety boy smile

Cuebill Sun 07-Oct-12 16:24:59

Prepares to be shot down in flames and alienate all of the dog house but greyhounds are great dogs but they are not the most "up for it" dogs.

If you want a dog that will dash madly for 20 mins and then sleep on the sofa feet up in the air, usually farting - great get a greyhound. But if you want a dog that will be up for a bit more than that, maybe greys are not the best choice. Greys can chase and be hard to train, due to their subborness lack of intelligence, some will eat the furries they catch (rip squirrels, rabbits and neighbours guinea pigs), they can be jittery amongst dogs. They can be set in the ways boring

Intelligent dogs are not manic dogs at all - they are dogs you can train that can relate to you, will learn to entertain themselves without sleeping all day long.

Having said all of that I do plan to have a rescue greyhound but that will be when I am 80 and we are of a similar mind set. Dreams of lying on the sofa and farting.

<prepares to be blacklisted from the doghouse>

Re Reputable rescue do some research in your area and check they are not council pounds and that they have a no kill policy, that they homecheck and will always take the dog back if situations change.

chipstick10 Sun 07-Oct-12 16:30:27

As i mentioned up thread we rehomed a greyhound staffy cross. He is very docile and never barks and does alot of leaning, it must be the greyhound in him smile im still trying to find the staff traits confused

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 07-Oct-12 16:32:40

some greyhounds are very much up for it - long hikes, rambles in the woods, games of fetch. It depends on the dog.
some greyhounds are prone to chasing small furries. Others however co-exist happily with rabbits, cats, guinea pigs. It depends on the dog.

Don't generalise smile

Those greyhounds who were successful racers and come off the track at a later age are more set in their ways, more prone to chase, less 'up for it', more nervous of a new environment and other 'non greyhound' dogs.
However, a large number of rescue greyhounds are failed racers - they come off the track at a much younge rage due to not being any good. Sometimes these are referred to as non-chasers. They can be re-call trained, can usually happily live with cats and small furries, love nothing more than an active lifestyle. But have the added advantage of happily snoozing on the sofa whilst you are busy with other things.


VivaLeBeaver Sun 07-Oct-12 16:33:50

I have a very placid rescue greyhound. Got her from the RGT and they were very good at matching a dog with the right temprement to us. They are larger dogs but they sleep 23 hours a day so as long as you have a corner for a bed for them then they don't budge off the bed much.

Though I do hear most greyhounds try to cultivate the sofa as their bed. Thankfully mine doesn't, nor is she allowed upstairs.

Mine also doesn't chase stuff either and will walk off the lead and tend to ignore most stuff apart from hares. Oddly enough she doesn't chase rabbits.

clam Sun 07-Oct-12 16:40:01

The thing is, threads like this always encourage us dog-owners to come out and say "ooh, get one like mine."

So, here goes: get a cockapoo! Ticks all the boxes you've mentioned, although you'd be hard-pressed to find one in rescue. Downside is they're stupidly expensive at the moment. And, as with any dog, you'd need to research a reputable source.

Check out my profile for how gorgeous they are.

Cuebill Sun 07-Oct-12 16:46:22

BehindLockNumberNine I wanted to clearly put the otherside of greys as the "generalisation" had been in the doghouse that they are the dog for everyone - that may not always be the case.

My post was very much trying to break the generalisation that is posted on here smile

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