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Dog breed recommendation for 4 year old and 18 month old DC

(39 Posts)
Emmylooagain Mon 10-Nov-14 03:20:41

Hello, I have been wanting to get a dog now for the past 10 years but have always had to wait for one reason or another. Living overseas, living in small flat etc etc. I am now settled back in my home country and we own our own house with a yard so I think it's time we got a dog. We have two DC - a 4 year old and an 18 month old. Neither have had much to do with dogs before. 4 year old is a bit scared of them. 18 month old is fearless and seems to love them.

Couple of ideas for breeds are a english springer spaniel or a german shorthaired pointer. I love both breeds. We want a reasonably active dog although we live in a reasonably innercity area. We both work full time but there is someone at our house most days looking after my youngest. I am going to be working from home the one day someone isn't there as from next year. We spend all weekend in our backyard or at the park or beach with the kids.

Any other suggestions for breeds? And I am better getting an older puppy (say 6-10 months) than a new baby puppy, just to avoid the nipp, biting stage?


SinclairSpectrum Mon 10-Nov-14 11:28:05

I am sure people with more experience will be along in a minute but both breeds you mentions are very high energy. Great dogs but not sure its practical to ask your childcare to walk dog for 3 hours or for you to fit it in before and after work.
With preschool age kids I would suggest a lazier breed so even if kids poorly or its tipping down you can give the dog a quick off lead blast. Rescue greyhound / lurcher would fit the bill I think.
Do you know anyone with dogs so you could get to know a few breeds?

mrslaughan Mon 10-Nov-14 11:28:21

I would not look at either of those breeds - yes they are active, but also working dogs, and generally need a huge amount of mental stimulation. Although you have someone in the house while you work, presumably there job is looking after the kids, not entertaining a dog.

You need a breed which is happy to snooze and sleep after its had its walk, not one that has had its walk and what to keep on going, do something else.

I would say yes - you would be better with an older dog rather than a puppy.

You also need to think about your long term plan......once both your children are in full-time school (3 years) what will happen to the dog then?

PassTheCremeEggs Mon 10-Nov-14 11:47:58

Labrador? Definitely happy to snooze after a walk!

Jammygal Mon 10-Nov-14 13:15:12

I agree with above comments... My first dog was a springer and I got her before children when I lived in the country. She needed serious exercise and did not settle down for five years! I now have a lab who is much easier pleased ... Has a walk then happy to chill. You have a lot on your plate with young kids, full time job you have to think very carefully so the dog you choose doesn't turn into another rescue statistic.
Don't mean to be harsh but you must consider the work involved especially with the breeds you are attracted to at the moment.
Good luck x

basildonbond Mon 10-Nov-14 13:31:47

One of dpup's friends is a lurcher puppy (prob with some element of collie in there). She hares around like a lunatic for an hour or so in the morning and then goes home and sleeps/chills for the rest of the day with a quick pootle round the block at around teatime. Dpup on the other hand ran about twice as far as his friend this morning, was absolutely shattered for about an hour and then was chucking his ball on my lap and asking to play after that. He'll need another hour or so off-lead this afternoon and several quick play/training sessions scattered throughout the day. He's a high-energy working breed and the difference between him and his friend is very marked. I couldn't have coped with him when my dc were as small as yours!

JustMe1990 Mon 10-Nov-14 13:58:01

I have a farm bred border collie, everyone was horrified when we got her and said she shouldn't be a pet, needs hours of exercise, mental stimulation, will bite the kids blah blah blah..

she is great with my kids, a five year old and a 7 month old smile
She is happy with whatever amount of exercise I give her, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot so good if you want a jogging companion or do lots of country walking.
I wouldn't recommend giving them hours and hours of exercise every day though as it won't tire them out and they will start to expect ridiculous amounts daily and go stir crazy without it.
But I think this is probably true for any dog tbh.

She isn't destructive at all either nor wired 24/7.
She goes a bit crazy when visitors come but otherwise spends the bulk of the day indoors chilling.

I wouldn't hestitate to get another one if I was looking for another dog.

Emmylooagain Mon 10-Nov-14 22:08:00

Thanks all. I have decided a puppy is too much work so am focusing on older dogs. What about a 16 month old lab? If they have come from a reputable breeder and are socialized around children, is that ok? I think a puppy will be way too much work. I would like a bulldog but my husband is isn't he won't get one. I would be happy with a rescue pup but a lot of the shelters won't allow you to adopt with young children.

Would a lab be happy with a couple of half hour walks a day? This one is 16 months, living with a breeder. She isn't suitable for breeding so needs to be be rehomed. Is apparently used to young children crawling over it. I was put off labs because of the puppy stage...

shadowfax07 Mon 10-Nov-14 22:16:07

Have you considered an older dog? My last dog was a 7 year old English Springer Spaniel, who was very very happy with a twenty minute walk on lead in the morning, and up to an hour off lead during the day. She would quite happily snooze the rest of the time, with some play time in the evening. A dog like that might suit you better, although the downside is that you have fewer years with them.

MeMyselfAnd1 Mon 10-Nov-14 22:19:51

Careful there! grin we got a six month old from a breeder who had it returned because she wasn't able to breed. Beautiful dog, may be true that she couldn't breed but what is for sure is that she was returned because it was the tazmanian devil made dog! First night at home and she went through every single dining chair, a door, removed the wall paper, dug a hole in a wall and weed on the sofa. It took three trainsrs to sort her up. But it was worth it, she was absolutely adorable, we still miss her smile
So my advice, ask the breeder directly (looking at her eye) about how well behaved the dog is before fully commiting to it, and especially, ask them if the dog used to have young children around.

tabulahrasa Mon 10-Nov-14 22:22:22

A 16 month old lab is still a puppy...I mean not a tiny one obviously, but depending on the dog it could still be very bouncy, a bit crazy and chewy.

basildonbond Mon 10-Nov-14 22:45:19

tbh none of the labs I've know would have been happy with just 2 30 minute walks a day - although a lot of them now are chubby waddlers who don't look like they need/want lots of exercise, they were originally bred to be working dogs and should be lean and very fit

Another thing to consider is you say you spend most of your weekends at the park or beach - dogs and children and parks/beaches don't always mix that well - the kind of beach dogs like aren't necessarily the kind children like - and the combination of adolescent lab and picnickers in the park is one made in hell hmm

LoathsomeDrab Mon 10-Nov-14 22:49:09

This one is 16 months, living with a breeder. She isn't suitable for breeding so needs to be be rehomed.

Providing you're happy with everything else about the breeder (reasons for breeding, health tests, choice of sire/dam, etc.) than I'd query why they thought the bitch was worth keeping back as a prospect for breeding and why she now isn't. Bear in mind at 16 months she may still be very much in the little shit adolescent phase which can be very hard work indeed.

If you're set on a particular breed (or breeds) most breed clubs will run their own rescue lists and they tend to be pretty flexible. Smaller independent rescues are also often a bit less rigid in their homing criteria.

Would a lab be happy with a couple of half hour walks a day?

This will depend on the dog. As a general rule they're pretty active dogs but there seems to be a huge variation in the amounts of exercise lab people say they give their dogs.

Emmylooagain Tue 11-Nov-14 03:01:21

Thanks all - all good feedback. When I spoke to the breeder about the 16 month old she said her hip scores wouldn't allow her to be bred.

I have made contact with another breeder who has a 4 year old female available. She is homing her because she has finished breeding. As much as you can tell about someone, this woman I really liked. She breeds dogs for the seeing eye dog organisation and I just got a good feel about her. She said the dog hasnt been around childre much but she temperament tested her and said she thinks she will be fine with children.

The lab rescue organistions don't have any available dogs. And wouldn't we be taking a bigger risk with a rescue dog?

My SIL suggested a smaller breed but I don't want a puppy (they sound like way too much work for me) and some older smaller dogs seem snappy.

I would love to give an older dog a loving home. However, I am completely open to honest advice/feedback. I don't want to be another statistic who gets a dog and then realises they don't have time for a dog. I should also note we are going to get a dog walker every day or second day and I am working from home one day a week starting next year. Plus we are committed to obedience training.

MeMyselfAnd1 Tue 11-Nov-14 07:09:52

I think the 4 year old seems a good option, I suppose the she may have a good temperament if her pupoies were being trainned as guide dogs.. (The 16 m old with low hip scores makes me think of expensive treatments)

Artandco Tue 11-Nov-14 07:19:32

I would say a lab is too big and needs too much excercise for what you can give

Bare in mind most parks for children do not accept dogs.

I would look for a small/ medium size dog. Who's bred as a companion dog not a working dog

youbethemummylion Tue 11-Nov-14 07:20:11

I really recommend an older dog. We rehomed an 8yr old Bichon people were telling us dont do it, they will be set in their ways, grumpy, intolerant of the kids, you wont have it long before it dies. She is so laid back and calm, no training needed as already knows the commands, can already walk off lead with reliable recall. And as for the dying Mil had a puppy that died at 14weeks so unfortunately you aren't necessarily going to avoid that by getting a younger dog. You also are giving a home to a rescue that really might have ended up living out its days at the shelter. Obviously as with any rescue dog let the staff lead you in terms of which dog is suitable especially with young children.

IndiansInTheLobby Tue 11-Nov-14 07:28:11

I've given two Springers a home. Both have needed a good walk but have been perfectly fine snoozing and chilling at home as well. I usually play fetch with my one that is still living as well as a walk by the river. Both great with kids.

Main downside is the mess. If there is a puddle/mud she's in it. I envy clean dogs.

tabulahrasa Tue 11-Nov-14 08:11:40

I missed the two half hour walks bit... I'd be aiming for more like 2 hour long walks for a lab btw.

If that's really all the walking you can do I'd be looking for something lower energy like a greyhound - they're happier with short walks where they can run around for a bit, but will quite happily do more on days where you're going out with them.

Emmylooagain Tue 11-Nov-14 09:13:29

Thanks all. We would get a dog walker as well for during the day. But no, we would struggle with 2 hours of walking a day. However, if we give it a walk or run in the morning, a dog walker takes it for a long run and then my husband takes it running with him at night, wouldn't that be sufficient?

Then on top of that there will be visits to our local park which does allow dogs. We spend our life there and there are plenty of dogs there on and off leash...

Artandco - can you recommend any particular small/medium sized companion dogs? Bulldogs and pugs are out because my DH doesn't like them. Our BIL has two french bulldogs and we aren't fans (apologies to any French Bulldog owners!).

Artandco Tue 11-Nov-14 09:22:59

Have you looked at a japenese spitz? Small, needs little excercise, good with children

Be incredibly, incredibly careful if you go for an adult rescue - we tried that, but she was not the dog the rescue had implied and was so fearful of the toddler (then 2, and maddly in love with her) that I spent 6 months living on edge of my nerves and became a horrible, snappy parent to my kids... She also had health problems which the rescue played down massively but which meant not only vets bills but incontinence... I ended up with far more respect for the rescue that wouldn't let us have a greyhound than the one that did let us have a spaniel cross...

A rescue dog could be great of course, and lots of people have great experinces, but tread very carefully indeed, and give yourself a long cooling off period before taking a dog home... In hindsight I wouldn't get a rescue with a child of under about 8 in the house, its just too big a risk and stress...

siscaza Tue 11-Nov-14 09:37:24

We have always had Basset Hounds - will either walk miles or curl up and sleep! Very gentle and great with children smile Plus can get lots of lovely older Bassets via rescue.

Emmylooagain Wed 12-Nov-14 08:11:30

Thanks all. Siscaza, I love Basset Hounds by my DH doesn't like them. I also wanted a British Bulldog but he said no to that as well.

Now considering a King Charles Cavalier who by all accounts is a lovely dog and good with kids...not a working dog and small enough that it won't overwhelm the 4 year who is nervous around big dogs, only because he hasn't been around dogs much.

Any experience with Cavaliers?

Sorry I keep changing my mind but it's only because I am researching to the nth degree and therefore getting flipping back and forth.

mrslaughan Wed 12-Nov-14 10:12:26

I walk my dog regularly with a lab - I would have thought 1/2 and hour in the morning, and hour with a dog walker during the day, and 1/2 a hour at night would be fine......however I would ask the breeder what sort of walking she has now.

I would also check the seeing eye dog claim - it could well be true, but I thought the system was quite "closed" surprised that it is so easy to get a retired bitch? You wouldn't believe some of the lies some breeders tell...and if she is a BYB, she will lie very convincingly, but the bitch may be under socialised, which could cause you huge issues.

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