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What breed of puppy should we get?

(40 Posts)
gremolata Mon 07-Mar-16 11:48:55

I'm a newbie here, both to Mumsnet and dog ownership... Have been thinking about getting a puppy and doing lots of research, but still unsure about breed. We love labradors and golden retrievers but a bit worried that they are too big for our house (which isn't tiny but has lots of smallish rooms and is on 3 levels) and car (VW Tiguan - can't get a very big cage in the boot). But we live in the country, have a decent garden and walk to school every day, so exercise isn't a problem. We want a breed which is very family friendly (obviously, I guess...!) and relatively easy to train. Can anyone recommend a breed?
The other thing I'm feeling confused about is pedigree vs not. We're not bothered about showing the dog but do want a degree of certainty about the health and character of the dog.

EssentialHummus Mon 07-Mar-16 11:57:57

Having grown up with pedigrees, their never-ending vet bills and the heartbreak of watching them suffer from genetic diseases... well, you know how this sentence will end, I guess.

What are your thoughts on a rescue dog? They are not all old / dangerous breeds, as is sometimes the perception. Have you looked into this?

gremolata Mon 07-Mar-16 12:01:35

Thanks Hummus. Yes a friend recommended rescue dogs to me, and I'm still open to the idea. I'd looked at the Labrador rescue trust but then paused again as not sure if a lab will be too big for us.

EssentialHummus Mon 07-Mar-16 12:10:23

I'm sure a Lab person will be on shortly to advise smile Bumping for you.

Whitney168 Mon 07-Mar-16 13:06:06

Well it will be a never ending argument, and Mother Nature can always throw in a curve ball, but for my money you have a far better chance of getting e.g. a healthy Labrador if you choose a breeder who hip, elbow, eye tests and can demonstrate generations of healthy good tempered stock that look like their breed.

Yes, there are undoubtedly some pedigree breeds that are 'health challenged' and only an idiot would deny that - but there are very many with excellent health and scientific tests in place.

In addition, there are good and bad breeders of pedigrees. A good one will grill you, demonstrate certificates of approved health schemes and support you throughout your life. Often, these breeders are actually cheaper than the ones breeding crossbreeds, and certainly better value!

Crossbreeds and/or pedigree rescues are likely to have been bred from untested stock in the first place and are basically pot luck - some will be healthy, others will be dead early or a burden on your heartstrings and bank account all their (sometimes short) lives.

All are welcome to their opinions, but I certainly know what I will always choose, and given that my pedigrees have all lived long healthy lives I am very confident in that choice.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Mon 07-Mar-16 13:15:29

Whatever breed you decide on check what health tests are relevant to the breed then go for a breeder who performs ALL health tests on both dam & sire. Where (roughly) are you located? It's Crufts next week so if you're within a reasonable distance of Birmimgham you could go along, have a look at & a chat with all types of breeders. My other bit of advice is once you know what dog you want you should look for a breeder not a puppy iyswim, a good one will be your support for your dogs entire life & will most likely become a friend too.

happygardening Mon 07-Mar-16 13:39:07

We've always bought pedigree puppies and 30 years of dog ownership have never had dog with any breed related health problems mental or physical. one of my current pedigree dogs is 11 1/2 the only thing he's ever done is rip a claw off when chasing a girl friend.
But we've always gone to breeders who are completely dedicated to the breed, usually involved in the individual breed club, they do every relevant health screen that the individual breed requires, extensively socialise the puppy before we can have it, interview you before agreeing to sell you a puppy and offer life long back up, and we've frequently had to wait months for the puppy to be born. We've also researched the the breed very carefully in particular temperament, exercise requirements, barking or not, etc and of course paid a considerable sum for the dog. This IMO is why we've not had a disaster. We also avoid anything with known health problems, or anything distorted in particular squashed faces, twisted legs, droopy eyes, bug eyes, excessive skin folds etc.
For years we owned big gun dogs (pointers etc) when we had lots of space and lots of time to exercise them them as I was outside all the time, but now we don't, now I own smaller dogs (just below knee height) and I don't actually miss the bigger dogs. Small dogs take up less pace, you, can lift them into the car or over a gate if you have too, their food take up less space, as does their bedding, they are less likely to steel food off you kitchen tops simply because they cant jump onto them so easily, people are often less intimidated by a small dog especially children and they're less likely to knock over visitors to the house, I don't think I'd get a big gun dog type again.

ScattyHattie Mon 07-Mar-16 14:01:42

Its easier to locate KC breeders that do health testing for hereditary conditions than for crossbreeds and some breeds can suffer similar health conditions so mixing doesn't reduce their risk. Its a bit of pot luck what a cross/mix pup will turn out like from size, looks, coat & behavior traits, breeders like to suggest pups only inherit the desirable bits of both parents.

gremolata Mon 07-Mar-16 15:30:50

Thanks for your views. Any particular breeds you would recommend that are smaller but known for having child-friendly temperaments? I have 2 boys, 10 and 7.

Wolfiefan Mon 07-Mar-16 15:32:53

I would love a cavalier but daren't due to health issues. sad

Whitney168 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:39:26

Miniature Schnauzer? I am a MS pusher, despite it not being 'my type of dog'. My sister's is bright as a button, happy little dog, who will take as much exercise as you give him, or enjoy curling up on the sofa with you. Best temperament you could wish for. Completely untrained LOL, but that's her fault not his.

Grooming costs to be taken in to consideration though.

Blondiewoman007 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:43:48

I know I will get absolutely FLAMED for this but we have a small Astralian labradoodle (sixth generation so the characteristics are a bit more guaranteed) and we love her to bits. Smaller than a Labrador and she doesn't shed at all unlike my mum's black lab! We have a 5 year old so a rescue dog wasn't an option for us. She is very well natured and no problems so far.
I'm now going to leave this thread and never return as the doghouse doesn't welcome labradoodles grin

Blondiewoman007 Mon 07-Mar-16 15:51:36

Ok I'll return to fix my typo-Australian labradoodle

nellyflora Mon 07-Mar-16 16:02:38

I grew up with labs and retrievers my mum still has one know that is loved and manhandled by my children 18months up. They are great with children and easy to train.
I am going against the politically correct view if rescue dogs. I would never get one with a child in the family. Get a puppy from a good breaded with good character parents ( you should meet the mother, don't buy if you don't) go to classes and train it well, over handle the puppy and you will have a lovely family dog.
My aunt had a rescue lab she was never trustworthy and nipped etc quite simply with rescues you don't know their past with a puppy you are bringing it up and thus in control of experiences. I will now run and hide.

harryhausen Mon 07-Mar-16 16:18:36

Border Terrier.

We are first time dog owners and have a 10 month old BT pup. It took me 6 months to meet a good breeder via a breed club then had to wait until her bitch was pregnant. Even then we very nearly didn't get one as BT's can sometimes have small litters.

Anyway - he's lush. Very friendly, spirited, loves a cuddle and a crash around in the woods equally. He fits in the boot of my little Hyundai Getz!

harryhausen Mon 07-Mar-16 16:20:35

Just to add - Borders are very healthy robust little dogs (although my bit is quite large as borders go). They are bold and think they're larger than they are. Love them.

Wolfiefan Mon 07-Mar-16 16:21:24

I nearly said Border Terrier. But beware. We call my mum's dog the Border Terrorist! She's great with people and super chilled in the house but she has isshoos!

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 07-Mar-16 16:29:12

Spaniel? Ours is a rescue, we have just found out he is a sprocker (cocker/springer cross), he's good in the house, will chase a ball for as long as you can throw one, loves a good walk and is a lap dog at the end of the day. He's quite chilled about new experiences, travels well, fits in a crate in the back of my Fiesta and is just a lovely little dog Lord only knows why someone else saw fit to throw him out at 5 months old like a bit of old tat.

harryhausen Mon 07-Mar-16 16:42:30

Wolfiefan I've heard the Border Terrorist nn a lotgrin. I wouldn't say mine has Isshoos, just normal puppy stuff. He loves to punch my knitting and unravel wool balls as a protest to anything!
I've socialised him well, he loves other dogs and people. I luffs him. But we all love our dogs don't we wink

harryhausen Mon 07-Mar-16 16:43:44

He's currently doing zoomies around the garden and this is after a nearly 2hr woodland walk this morninggrin

DollyMcDolly Mon 07-Mar-16 16:48:31

I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They do have health issues but I made sure I went to a breeder who does all the health checks and he comes from a fantastic line. He is amazing with my autistic son. Very, very good temperament.

gremolata Mon 07-Mar-16 17:12:47

Thanks so much everyone. I feel I am entering a whole new world I knew nothing about. Bit like having one's first child!

Whitney168 Mon 07-Mar-16 17:23:24

It's a bloody minefield these days to be honest gremolata. A few tips, if you want them:

- Whether you buy a crossbreed or a pedigree is up to you - there are good and bad breeders of both. Look for someone who can show you Mum (it should be very obvious she's recently had puppies, they often look moth-eaten but healthy!), but not necessarily Dad as many good breeders travel many miles for the right stud dog rather than using what's in their own back yard. Ask for evidence of health testing - 'vet checked' is NOT the same thing.

- Do not buy from a breeder who advertises lots of different breeds (and they often hide this well, using families to sell from their homes - Google phone numbers and see if lots of other adverts come up to if you're not looking at proper show breeders with a load of the same breed).

- A 'licensed breeder' is rarely a good thing when buying a puppy, most good breeders don't breed often enough to need a licence.

- The hardest advice - never buy a puppy to rescue it from a hell-hole, or because it looks ill. All you are doing is sentencing more mothers and puppies to the same, unfortunately, and possibly saddling yourself with issues too. The only way to stop the vile puppy farm trade (research if you don't think it's an issue) is to dry up the market.

BestIsWest Mon 07-Mar-16 17:44:21

Also have a Miniature Schnauzer, our second and think they are a great breed for the family. They need moderate exercise, very bright, don't shed and ours has really bonded well with the family.
Can be a bit vocal though and a bit stubborn and need regular trips to the groomer.

mrslaughan Mon 07-Mar-16 18:34:17

Lurcher? Some really good rescues around - and what I would get if I didn't get another swissey or Labrador........or maybe as well as - I esp love the rough hosted ones, and some lurchers aren't that big.... They tend to be quite fine in stature , so would easily fit in the boot of a Tiguan. I don't have a crate - but a barrier between the backseat and boot.

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