Pointer v Beagle puppy(43 Posts)
Hi, we are after our first puppy. We ideally wanted a beagle but after reading how a difficult they are to train and also naughty we started to look for other breeds, at the moment we are considering a Pointer.
Can anyone tell us if a beagle or a pointer would be a good first dog? We have two children aged 6 and 4 but we are an active family. Both myself and my husband are runners and like exercise.
What exactly has drawn you to these breeds?
IME pointers are hard work as pups but the hard work pays off - I'm not sure I would say it would make a good first dog as all the pointer people I know have had them for their whole lives & work them.
They need wearing out daily or you'll have trouble - 2 hours plus per day. Only consider the breed if you can guarantee that exercise plus mental stimulation every day come what may. Unless you're planning to work the dog, he's been bred to work so that energy must be channeled elsewhere. Agility or advanced training is a good thing to pursue to keep the brain occupied.
I think it depends how realistic your expectations are, how much time you're prepared to put into the ongoing training and whether you'll enjoy training, as if you get a dog which will likely need a lot of training and you don't enjoy it it will really sap out the fun of having a dog.
Personally I have always though that greyhounds make excellent first dogs, but I may be alone in that. I would have another greyhound in a heartbeat if they weren't so fragile compared to the three giant bruisers of dogs we have.
Both are high energy and intelligent dogs, pointers are lovely.
You will need to make sure you have time for 2 good walks a day, off lead, so I would consider whether your DC are old enough to handle this. Making provision for school holidays, kids clubs, illness etc. Plus training to keep their mind occupied.
The puppy stage is especially hard work, but the more you put in, the more you will benefit. Puppies are small land sharks and can be quite scary for younger children until they are past the bitey, bouncy stage, a pointer pup would be quite large too and easily able to knock over a small child unintentionally.
I have two spaniels, sometimes ensuring they get two decent walks a day and lots of interaction is hard, and my DC are teenagers.
We have a pointer . I run with her and she can happily run 20 miles in one go , however she will also do two shorter half hour off lead walks a day and be just as happy .
What you couldn't do with a pointer is not walk it for a day or they will bounce all over the place and climb the walls . So , come rain or shine , even if I'm ill , we are out in the field .
However when at home she is a dream , sleeps lots , plays nicely with the DC .
We did take ours to 6 months of gun dog school , she was a bit rubbish at it but enjoys the thought of it I think .
I had a pointer as a child, beautiful dog, very gentle and loving. She put up with being dressed up and playing silly games with me and my sister with amazing good grace, but she was very greedy would steal food. Her recall was non existent, luckily this was a quiet rural area in the 70s but my mum would take her for a walk and come back 2 hrs later with no dog, she always found her way back eventually. Terrified of loud noises, so a failed gun dog. Wonderful dog but definitely a free spirit.
I've had dogs all my life, and we had a crossbreed resscue when we had DS. She died when DS was 7 and we soul searched what sort of dog we could consider to fill the dog sized gap in our lives. Beagles never got a look in - the ones I have known have had a tendency to get their noses down and go deaf if there was an interesting scent - and they are bred to do this and run for miles.
Pointers are lovely dogs - but young pointers are extremely energetic and sometimes rather on the loopy side.
We did see a pointer cross puppy which we were interested in - but we've ended up with a lurcher. For us a lurcher is an ideal solution - she is up for walking all day when on holiday with us, for a game of football or ball whenever it's available, or if there's nothing interesting going on she goes to sleep.
I would also consider getting an older dog - so you hopefully don't have to do the housetraining, and so it's got over the teething without having lovely squishy small fingers to teethe on and scare your children when they're so young.
I have a beagle who is just coming up to a year. She is hard work - stubborn, and her nose switches her ears off. But don't let the naughty stories put you off, I have found her to be comparable to other breeds in that if you train them well, and exercise them properly, they're not that bad.
I have no experience with pointers, so cannot compare, but I have found beagles to be excellent with children, and we certainly have no regrets with choosing that breed over our other options.
A clean dog, of even temperament, he is capable of fitting into a family circle but is clearly most at home on the moors - See more at: www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?uDesc=1&id=2042#sthash.g9EDEKiA.dpuf "
Or why not my absolute favourite dog... a cocker spaniel:
Easy to train – his main aim in life is to please his owner – he is a busy little dog who enjoys plenty of exercise, and thrives on human companionship. - See more at: www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=2052#sthash.HKxPkwEl.dpuf
Was my first ever dog with no previous ownership, completely amazing family member and could run for miles, mine was a working cocker though, not show, needed training etc but wonderful with children and learnt very fast to leave the cat alone. They're all naughty when pups and cocker puppies are dreadful for chewing everything when teething (skirting board, table corners, sofa to name but a few) but once past that you have a super family dog.
To generalise gun dogs are going to be smart and therefore "naughty" ... you may consider re-framing this as "creative"
We've had a Pointer for 11 years. We had 2 small children and a baby when we got him, and he has been amazingly kind and tolerant throughout. Two toddlers are now testing his patience a bit, but he is old so I keep them separate to gve him some space.
Pointers are intelligent, silly, loyal, lively, energetic, and absolutely adore their families. But they can be bloody hard work unless you get the training in straight away. They respond really well to training, and need it to keep their minds occupied. If you don't, there will be trouble in the form of chewing, escaping, making themselves sick, and other annoying behaviours designed to drive you out of your mind.
One thing I will say is that my ex husband used to run our Pointer on the lead for an hour every morning, which turned out to be not so great as it's affecting his joints now he is old, and it meant that he was always underweight. A good hour or so off the lead every day is a better option, as they can run as well as sniff about. Our dog is extremely sociable with people and other dogs. I would say we can take him anywhere because he is so friendly, but he's so excitable it just pisses everyone off!
Watch out for that Pointer quiver too - I always have strangers telling me he's too cold, but he's actually trying to contain his desire to jump about all over the place.
In short - amazing family dogs, brilliant companions, but they are needy and excitable, and need proper training and effort.
Spellcheck I agree with the quiver , it's hilarious .
Also agree with the others that recall is a bugger as if they get on a scent they can get 5/6 miles away before they realise they have left you.
Ours is terrible at working out how to get back to you too, she will sit there howling and when I manage to locate him her gives me the " why did you run off and leave me eyes "
Train, train and train some more .
Never chewed a thing though but yes very needy ( sitting on my toes as I type )
Must also add when we run its normally off lead except for park run .
We have a beagle from rescue and he is a brilliant dog. My sister has two beagles and he is somewhat better behaved than them, but as said upthread, his nose switches his ears off.
He is brilliant with people, kids especially. The kids on our street have him tortured (becuase they are such handsome dogs you get a LOT of attention).
He gets a minimum of an hour and a half exercise every day, and I notice he is much better behaved on the days that my MIL can walk him at lunchtime, so am getting a dogwalker in. Worth it 100% though.
Thanks all for your responses, I fell very confused on which dog to get.
Essentially we like the short haired, smooth looking dogs ( preferably that don't shed much fur). We love the look and colour of beagles, and their eyes are just so gorgeous.
We want a dog who will be energetic to come on runs with us or will happily chase a ball around the park or beach. We also want a dog that is even tempered and pretty easy to train.
We are after a puppy so that we can train it to fit into our household, and to get used to our cats. I work from home so it will have plenty company.
So essentially we want a medium size dog, easily trainable, short easy to look after fur, up for decent amount of exercise and food with kids.
Does such a dog exist?!
Bear in mind that both those breeds are working dogs and need to be occupied. To be honest, what you've described you want is an English Cocker. Apart the hair bit but they don't really shed, just need to be clipped once in a while.
We sometimes meet Pointers out and about and chat to their owners while they run round loopily with my dogs. I have lurchers, and while mine love going running with me (for them its a trot) or hoolying round on the hills, they won't go out when its raining, and are perfectly happy with 10 minutes off lead twice a day and spending the rest of it upside down on the sofa.
Pointers owners tell me that this is very much not the case.
Lurchers fit in really well for us - both are rescue, ddog1 came at 6 months, ddog2 was born in rescue.
I've got 2 beagles both aged 3 but not siblings and, yes they are hard work, they can be trained from a young age to work on their recall.
They get 2 long walks a day but they keep each other amused in the meantime.
They are both great with children (my DD is 11) which was one of the reasons when we were looking into getting a dog that we went with a beagle.
The only thing I will say is some (not all) can suffer from separation anxiety so if you went with this breed you might have to work on this from an early age. We can now leave them for up to 4 hours, ( only twice a week when I go to work)
They are beautiful, loving dogs and excellent family pets and I really wouldn't be without my two now
limesoda Your beagle is beautiful
Whatever breed, it's not a good idea to go running with them on lead until they're at least a year, or you set them up for the joint problems a pp mentioned above, running around off lead though is a different thing.
I have a pointer x, often I think the x is a kangeroo! They have springs for legs! mine does agility, obedience and is training as a search and rescue dog, loves a job to do and needs lots of entertaining as bores easily, but also calm and very soppy at home once had enough exercise.
Had beagle fosters, mostly too busy beagling off on their own scent related errands to come back when called! So hard work to train recall especially!
Cocker spaniels are also very much live wires, only get working strain if you're going to spend hours training and working it, they get bored easily otherwise and can be very destructive, show cockers are far easier
Beagles shed a fair bit, by the way.
Thanks mogmum I'm a bit precious about him, but he is utterly adorable...
Have a go of the KC Find a Breed quiz, it's not perfect but it's a reasonable starting point to narrow down the list of potential breeds a bit.
Personally I don't think you can beat whippets as fabulous family pets, they're absolutely wonderful little dogs
possibly biased, I'm currently sharing my sofa with three
From the KC breed info page:
"There can be few breeds with more delightful charm than the dainty Whippet.
Carrying a short, fine coat, cleanliness is the Whippet’s hallmark and it is easy to get him tidy enough for the house within a very short time after returning from a country walk in winter.
The description of his temperament in the official standard – ‘gentle’ and ‘affectionate’ – is a considerable understatement; he loves the company of mankind and is equally at home in castle or cottage. Light enough to pick up when necessary, but spirited enough to spend a day on exercise, with a tremendous turn of speed over short distances, he represents one of the most deservingly popular of all the sporting dogs."
All that is absolutely spot on. I'd also add they can be (very endearingly) mischievous, they're very much fair weather dogs (mine go on strike if it's raining), great with kids (my 8 year old niece can happily walk and play with mine) and they are the cuddliest things ever. It's impossible to sit down in this house without ending up with a whippet on/up against you
They're very flexible when it comes to exercise, mine haven't been out yet and they're all snoozing very happily. Given the opportunity though they will happily go all day.
You do need to work hard on recall when they're little and constantly reinforce it when they're adults but all the whippets I know (and I know a lot through showing) can happily go off lead.
Pointers shed like nobody's business. They can be very clingy and whiny and suffer separation anxiety. Need a lot of stimulation and exercise. But are gorgeous dogs. If you like the look but want something calmer maybe look at vizslas
My neighbour has beagles. They are VERY vocal
Another shout out here for lurchers. DM has two Bedlington/whippet crosses. One smooth and sheds a fair bit, the other is rough coated and not so sheddy. Great with my cats and all children. Lazy as anything, very fair weather. A couple of blasts outside off lead a day and they're happy. The recall on these two is good but they are both very food motivated.
I breed and train working Cockers and I don't generally recommend them to first time dog owners; they are very high energy and need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Show Cockers are lovely dogs and less high-energy than the working type, but they are definitely not short coated; I'm a vet and see quite a lot of adolescent show Cockers coming in that look like woolly mammoths - the solid colours especially need a lot of grooming. Both types shed quite a bit, my own working Cockers have fine, silky coats and shed pretty much continually. Cockers can also be, shall I say, demanding/bitey puppies - they are not known as 'Cockerdiles' for nothing.
Pointers - I'm assuming you mean English rather than German Shorthaired? - are lovely dogs but the ones I know and see coming through the surgery tend to be a bit selective on the recall and they really can run and run. I get a lot coming in to stitch up after they have managed to damage themselves by running full-tilt through barbed wire fences. Likewise, Beagles are lovely dogs but need a lot of recall training and are very much led by their noses.
With your requirements had you considered a Whippet? Medium sized, very short coated, like to run but lazy at home and in general very sweet natured. Also, a good friend of mine has a Boston Terrier and he can take a surprising amount of exercise, they run with him and do agility and he's great at it. Another suggestion would be a smooth Fox Terrier.
JR why would they mean English rather than German?
Well that's why I phrased it as a question as they haven't said which one they mean. I assumed they probably meant English partly because someone put a link to English Pointers further up the thread and the OP didn't say they meant GSPs instead, and generally when clients in the surgery say they have 'a Pointer' they mean an English one. GSP owners usually say 'a German Pointer/GSP'.
On another point from the OP, I wouldn't particularly class either Pointer breed as medium sized, the males especially can be very tall.
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