Am I being unrealistic?(19 Posts)
I have posted before I think about the fact that we got our first dog ever last year, a gorgeous, 8 week old fox terrier puppy, we did everything recommended re socialisation, positive training methods, training classes, worked with a behaviourist but ultimately had to rehome him at 6 months old due to aggression to all of us, sometimes randomly (so we couldn't lessen the triggers as we couldn't predict them).
It was an utterly heartbreaking thing to go through and it was me that suffered the most as I felt I'd failed him and the family.
So, we do want to own a dog, but we need to be certain that it will be the right dog for our family.
I thought I had settled on a lurcher/ whippet/ retired greyhound but after speaking to a lovely lady from a rescue today I am having doubts due to our list of wants/ needs. I was told that any lurcher type will need walking with a muzzle as even low prey drive is still there.
Ultimately if I want a sight hound that behaves like a Labrador should we just get a Labrador? (or preferably lab cross to reduce shedding)
I have tried to list our needs below - any advice would be very gratefully received please.
Our future dog needs to be:
Placid - non aggressive to people and dogs
Cat Friendly - we have an elderly cat and will always be cat owners
Able to walk off the lead
Able to cope with a busy household - I don't work so dog won't be left for long periods but there is a lot of coming and going which definitely didn't suit the terrier
Able to cope with time at dog sitters house (she has 12 dogs including our previous one)
Happy to walk to and from school (20 mins each way) and an hours off lead in countryside nearby.
My DH can be a bit allergic - to pollen, the cat, some dogs etc so a low allergen would be good
We don't mind whether it's a puppy or not and don't mind too much how big it is, don't want anything too small and yappy.
I know that there are hundreds of sight hounds in rescues and had been confident that we could adopt a young adult that had lived with cats and could walk off lead this way until I spoke to a couple of rescue people and now I'm losing faith that I'm not trying to fight nature.
We cannot adopt until beginning of September due to holidays but I'd really like to be able to get one asap after that as I so miss having a dog and am driving myself slightly potty looking at Facebook rescue pages.
I'd appreciate any advice please. CMOT I know that you are a lurcher fan, but am I asking too much?
A lab would suit all those criteria. They do shed like stink though and you wouldn't guarantee that a crossbreed wouldn't because you never know which bit of the breed you'll get, if you see what I mean.
We have an 18 month old German Shorthaired Pointer. He ticks all your criteria I think. He is a lovely family dog (our first) and is pretty energetic but gentle, chilled out and friendly. He is fine with our (fairly elderly) cat and lovely with the dc.
There are loads and loads of lurchers, whippets and even greyhounds who are walked without muzzles. Mine never wear one, live with three cats and chickens, are walked off leads in all kinds of situations and the closest they have got to catching anything was when a squirrel screamed at ddog2 and he ran away.
Talk to a specialist sighthound rescue - EGLR will be honest with you about their dogs. Were the people you talked to sighthound specialists? There is an awful lot of misinformation about them around I'm afraid.
If you wanted to meet some RL lurchers, I'd be happy to meet up - as I have with a few MNetters who now have lovely pointies!
Thanks CMOT, I knew you'd probably have the answer I
wanted was hoping for, the lady I spoke to was from Greyhound Gap who I think are very good so I was bitterly disappointed to feel slightly put off by her. I guess maybe she's just trying to ensure that we are realistic.
Nonetheless, I am hoping to visit their kennels and walk with them to meet more dogs and sight hound experts.
I live in Sheffield, the more local rescues (GRSY and Tia) seem to have more retired greyhounds with prey drive though that's not to say they never get what I'm hoping for I just felt I needed to look a little further afield.
Often retired greyhounds do have a higher prey drive as they have been intensively trained to chase furry things, not always pleasantly.
Lurcher Link have kennels in W Yorkshire, though they also have dogs in foster. I know someone who adopted through them (has a gorgeous bouncy lurcher) and they were great in that she was able to foster the dog first and see if things worked out.
I have a lurcher with a high prey drive.
She is never, ever walked with a muzzle!
She is well trained, has great recall, and has been trained enough that if she starts hunting something you can call her back before she gets it. (though this took lots of work, and when younger wasn't 100%)
It's helpful that she is so food orientated, she will literally do anything for a scrap of chicken!
As CMOT said, retired greyhounds will have higher prey drives because they are frequently trained to chase a small furry thing v aggressively.
Mine is a fantastic family pet, great with pre school DS, placid and playful.
But it really does depend on the dog, I second looking into fostering!
The thing is, a lurcher/sighthound ticks all the boxes apart from being off lead...is that really a huge sticking point?
I don't live in the best of areas for an on lead only dog, but I manage, there are places that are secure enough for running about and then other walks are just on lead ones.
You could use a longline and harness in some places too.
If it's only on lead to make sure it doesn't disappear off after small furries, in all honesty - that isn't really hard work, I don't think anyway. You're not having to avoid busy areas or anything like that, just literally making sure it can't run off after prey.
Yes to a lurcher - I would try the smaller rescues rather than Greyhound Gap (I was turned down by them because I did not have a 6 ft fence around my rural garden (even though I had previously had a lurcher ) and neither of my dogs even thought of jumping a solid 4 ft hedge.
My lurcher never wears a muzzle and I walk him off-lead early in the morning or late at night over fields and his recall is about 95% (only takes off if he sees a cat and they can easily dodge through a hedge.)
They love being on a beach (if you can get to one ) - as there are usually no small furries.
They are gentle, good with humans big and small, rarely bark (and certainly never yap) and they do not need lots and lots of active walks and stimulating play - I have always thought they seem to get most enjoyment from loafing around with occasional bursts of energy
Thank you all, I am hugely cheered up by your responses I was so despondent earlier. I need to get nearer the time and then contact the smaller rescues I think
We have three greyhounds and a lurcher. Only one of our greys is walked routinely in a muzzle. The others never wear them unless it's required e.g. for sighthound playgroups.
I know it's a very boring subject but greyhounds and lurchers are primarily DOGS and the rules of dog training do apply to them. Yes, I am conscious of prey drive but all our dogs have recall because I have worked like buggery on it. There is simply no substitute for training. Lots of it.
The highly ironic thing is that as a responsible sighthound owner it gets drilled into you about not letting them off lead unless it's safe etc. yet I can guarantee that in virtually every park I visit, I'd say around two thirds of non sighthound, "ordinary" dogs have little or no recall. Think how often you see cannonball Labs, loopy spaniels and other dogs gaily ignoring their owners.
Small lurcher is doing her Bronze GC test next week and we compete together in Rally trials. I know greyhounds who competed this year at Obreedience at Crufts, all ex racers. Please don't let breed/type get in the way of remembering that recall comes with training. There is no magic bullet even if you came home with a Lab puppy with a pedigree a mile long. You still have to put the hours in.
There are cat friendly sighthounds around - GRW have one in at the moment. EGLR regularly get them. Good luck with the search!
how about an old dog? I would have thought a dog from the Oldies Club would tick a lot of your boxes. www.oldies.org.uk/
If you want a pointy dog that's low shedding, have you looked at poodles? Several old chaps here who would probably like you a lot!
I agree with Atail ( all the cats agree) a poodle would really fit your criteria partially a standard if you were thinking Labrador. Most love cats ( to extent of cuddling up with them), no shedding, keen to please, intelligent, love being part of families.
I really want a standard poodle now. They're so elegant, especially when they run. Deeper wuff than the earsplitting small-poodly yap, too.
We're already inundated with animals though, so I shall restrict myself to windowshopping.
I had a Lurcher which was fine with our cats. I wouldn't necessarily have trusted him with strange ones though.
They're not the only breed with prey drive and any dog can be difficult to recall from anything if they aren't trained.
A lab would be my first thought too, or possibly a springer or field spaniel? Staffies are ideal for everything you describe except for not being great with cats sometimes....
Atail I would also love a standard, but currently have a poodle cross ( compromise dog with ExH). We window shop in the same place .
We have an Australian Labradoodle - he sounds like he meets all your criteria - like a calmer, non moulting lab.
The only down side is you either need to know how to groom him or take him to the groomers once a month!
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