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Help me decide on the right breed for us

(33 Posts)
adogforme Tue 21-May-13 18:22:33


We've decided to get a puppy in the next 12-18 months by which time my children will be nearly 7 and 4. I don't want to rescue a dog add we want the experience of having our dog from a puppy plus knowing it's background. I want a pedigree as I wouldn't know how to responsibly get a cross breed pup. Our what size it might turn out.

I have worked with dogs in the past but not in a home seeing so I often didn't see the whole picture.

So 1) not too big not too small. Springer is to big. Chihuahua is too small.

2) reasonable exercise requirements. Able to come on a long family walk but not go daft if we're having a lazier day.

3) no terriers. I have a cat and rabbits.

In many ways I think a cavalier would be great for the children but are the health risks too risky. I think a cocker could be great but is cocker rage too much of an issue.

Oh and I'm not mad about fluffy dogs. blush

Is there a dog for us?

Floralnomad Tue 21-May-13 18:59:22

Miniature schnauzer .
Tibetan terrier ( not really terriery)

moosemama Tue 21-May-13 19:07:21

Whippet? Middle sized, not fluffy. Enjoy a good long walk, but equally happy with a couple of good off-lead runs a day.

If you are getting it from a pup, it wouldn't be a problem to train it to ensure cat and rabbit compatibility.

OrangeFireandGoldashes Tue 21-May-13 20:37:24

Cocker rage syndrome is linked primarily to red/golden cockers I believe, so if you went for a roan / blue merle / tricolour, you lower the odds substantially. Working cockers need plenty of exercise though.

I presume a Shetland sheepdog is too fluffy for you? They're tougher than they look!

Dogs that I don't personally like (I'm a gundog type myself) but which make excellent small family dogs are pugs and poodles.

Or go with your heart and find a Cav breeder who carries out all the requisite health checks.

adogforme Tue 21-May-13 20:57:03

Thanks everyone so far. Orange I'd LOVE a working cocker but it's not right for us just now.

Can cavaliers be trained off lead? Can health checks rule out the heart and brain problems?

OrangeFireandGoldashes Tue 21-May-13 21:06:16

The checks can't rule them out completely because there is the risk of late-onset MVD and Syringomyelia, but conscientious breeders will run heart tests and MRI scans to minimise the risk.

Cavs can be trained off-lead but they have a strong hunting instinct, like all spaniels, so you have to really instill the recall training at an early age and not start letting them off-lead until recall is reliable.

mrslaughan Tue 21-May-13 21:06:32

A Whippety Whippet

OrangeFireandGoldashes Tue 21-May-13 21:06:55

Or you could consider a show-line cocker that is pet rather than show quality?

adogforme Tue 21-May-13 22:36:29

Whippets just don't do it for me. Sorry blush. Why can't Golden Retrievers be 1/3 of the size they are?

tabulahrasa Tue 21-May-13 22:41:18

Why do you need a small dog?

adogforme Tue 21-May-13 22:54:44

Because I don't think I have adequate space for a big dog in either house or car. And because one of my children would be overwhelmed by the sheer size of a large dog.

CharlieMumma Tue 21-May-13 23:01:05

Miniature poodle - not to big or small, super clever, no moulting and cute shaggy curly hair - not Pom poms! Plus sturdy, healthy and long lived!

MelanieCheeks Tue 21-May-13 23:05:44

Haven't come across cocker rage before - I have a black/ tan bitch who would satisfy all your critieria re exercise, size etc. are you sure you want to rule that breed out?

CharlieMumma Tue 21-May-13 23:10:02

The kennel club website has a 'what breed for me' quiz talks about size, exercise, grooming Etc and will have all the less comman breed suggestions as well - hundreds to choose from!

tabulahrasa Wed 22-May-13 00:44:35

I just wondered because of what you said about a golden retriever, lol.

What about a staffy? Proper well bred staffies are a lot smaller than most you see around - a similar size to cockers in fact. Or a miniature bull terrier? I know technically they are terriers, but they're not really.

There is also the field spaniel, they're a bit bigger than cockers but smaller than springers and calmer than both, lol.

Beagles and bichon frise come top of lots of lists of ideal family pets, though of course bichone are massively fluffy.

Tbh if whippets and Italian greyhounds are out, there aren't masses of smaller breeds without fluff or being a terrier...

adogforme Wed 22-May-13 09:31:21

I don't think cocker rage is common Melanie but is a consideration. I think a show-type cocker is probably my answer. Thanks for all your helpful insight all.

moosemama Wed 22-May-13 09:48:30

Sussex Spaniels are lovely and on the vulnerable breeds list.

Field Spaniels are lovely too, but apparently not as suited to suburban life

I think Brittany Spaniels are a bit smaller than springers, but not much, although are finer boned and not so solid, iyswim.

Kooikerhondjes are fab spaniel-type dogs.

To be honest, it sounds like you are attracted to smaller, silky coated gun-dog types. So, if you like cockers I would go for that, but do lots of careful research and choose a really good reputable breeder, for whom you have several positive testimonials/recommendations. True rage syndrome is actually really rare. Unfortunately people have a tendency to blame poor training and behavioural problems in cockers on rage syndrome, rather than facing up to the fact the problem is down to them, taking the responsibility and putting in the effort required to sort it out. Cockers are cute, but often people forget that they are a working breed that needs to be properly trained and given enough exercise and mental stimulation - that's how they end up having behavioural problems.

My SIL has a black cocker. She was incredibly cute as a pup and they bought her from the first breeder they saw advertising without any planning, research or forethought. (They didn't listen to my advice and literally just went out one weekend and bought her.) They babied her, carried her everywhere and she was never taken to training or socialised. She was basically kept as a toy/fashion accessory. Then they had their first child and all of a sudden her resource guarding and aggression towards other dogs was a problem, whereas before it was funny/cute. None of it is the dog's fault, all the problems they have with her behaviour are down to lack of proper care, training and socialisation. They would love to blame her behaviour on rage syndrome, but it just isn't - it doesn't even fit the symptoms.

You sound like you are a completely different type of potential dog owner and are being very sensible trying to consider the right breed for your family etc, so you will do all the research and put in all the work necessary, to make sure your dog gets everything it needs in terms of socialisation and training etc.

adogforme Wed 22-May-13 10:19:43

Wow moose thanks for that epic post. I really am trying to do my research.

I could kiss you for the Kooikerhonje link. Pretty much exactly what I asked for. I LOVE non-droopy spaniel types.

I'm away to read loads about them.

moosemama Wed 22-May-13 11:01:33

You're very welcome.

There used to be a Kooikerhonje at my old dog club. She was a real sweetie and really quick and bright with training.

adogforme Wed 22-May-13 11:20:45

They seem to be pretty rare in this country with less than 20 puppies born each year.
I like what I read though so I've asked to be notified of any litters. anything I've read days I've a long wait but that suits me anyway.

moosemama Wed 22-May-13 11:33:42

Yes, there aren't many about, but I don't think they're in great demand either, so hopefully not too long a wait.

I waited almost 12 months for my Soft Coated Wheaten pup though, but that was because I wanted my pup to be undocked and there was only one breeder at the time that didn't dock.

Sometimes a long wait is a good thing though, as it gives you all the time you need to be properly prepared and do all the research you need. It certainly worked for us, my Wheaten girl was an awesome dog, well worth the wait. smile

MelanieCheeks Wed 22-May-13 21:21:06

Just wanted to add, good for you on doing the research into the right type of dog for your lifestyle, and for being prepared to wait.

adogforme Wed 22-May-13 22:28:40

Thanks Melanie. I could murder Moose though grin grin . Oh how I want a Kooikerhondje (is that the best breed name ever?) now and it doesn't look easy. I'm looking at the Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever too.

Skinheadmermaid Thu 23-May-13 08:45:51

Beagle- ideal family dog, sweet natured. Not very large either
Staffordshire bull terrier- not at all a large dog as some have the impression, breed standard calls for 14-16 inches high at the shoulder. Small but robust and very unterrier like in personality
British bulldog
Miniature pinscher
Miniature bull terrier
Miniature schnauzer
Miniature poodle
Boston terrier
French bulldog
Papillon perhaps too fluffy?
Shibu inu

Please note that bull & terrier breeds like the ones i've listed not behave how 'normal' terriers are sometimes perceived e.g yappy & snappy
Tbh with the right training & exercise few dog breeds are.

basildonbond Thu 23-May-13 08:56:23

We're on a couple of waiting lists for a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever - they are gorgeous dogs and the ones we've met have been so happy and friendly and brilliant with children

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