Help me find a dog breed that would be perfect for our family!(29 Posts)
In a couple of years, i'd really like to get a dog. I say in a couple of years, because I'd like my kids to be through their baby years first.
I'm obviously getting excitedly ahead of myself (!) but trying to work out which dog breed would suit us best.
Which breeds are good with young children?
We have a garden that is about 50ft (though we're also by two very big parks). I work from home so there'd be constant company and walls.
But I don't think a big dog would work for us. We have a typical london terrace house. Plus I am not a fan of shedding
My favourite breeds are either red setters or labradors, without knowing much about them except that they seem so loving and friendly. As a child we had Kings Charles spaniels.
Also: I grew up with dogs (as I mentioned) and love them. BUT I am a mega clean-a-holic. I can't stand dirt or smells. My husband says this makes me incompatible with dog ownership! Is that true? I hope not.
All dogs are dirt magnets and smell to a certain extent.
Labradors moult year round and completely blow their undercoats twice a year. In our house loose fur is classed as a condiment.
If you are a clean freak I'd steer clear of anything that sheds badly or drools , what about a whippet or a poodle .
I have had to relax my cleaning standards since getting a dog. The kitchen floor does not stay clean. He leaves toys and bits of food around. We have him clipped short (spaniel) to reduce the hair.
Oh and I am sure my house smells of dog but that is the price to pay for having a dog
We have a short haired lurcher. He doesn't shed and is relatively easy to keep clean (mud tends to fall off his coat rather than stick).
We got him from a rescue as a puppy and he's fab! One off lead walk a day and he spends the rest of his time sleeping. Really good with the kids, very chilled out. We got a lurcher after seeing them recommended on MN and haven't regretted it.
Irish terrier, don't shed - medium size. The bitches are medium-small, leggy. Can be clipped so short haired, so dog smell minimal. Our house is generally spotless (we have 2). Temperament is terrier (loving, attentive, friendly, great with kids), very energetic. We got them as hypoallergenic- no dander.
Labradors are excellent family pets, brilliant with children of all ages, although they do moult constantly, perhaps a labradoodle, they don't shed but have a Labrador nature.
perhaps a labradoodle, they don't shed
Well, some don't, some do - pot luck really ...
but have a Labrador nature
If you wouldn't happily own either breed in a cross, don't buy the cross of it, as you can never guarantee which traits a puppy will take.
If you could happily own either breed - then buy that breed instead for certainty and health testing.
How about a Hungarian Viszla? Not as full on as some gundogs, not too big, seem to fit well in to families?
Don't make the mistake of thinking short-haired dogs don't moult, but it's obviously less than something big and hairy. Buy a hound glove, give them a 5 minute groom outdoors each day and that will minimise it.
We have an Irish Terrier, if you do decide on this breed start talking to breeders now as they are hard to find! It took me more than 2 years to find ours but it was worth the wait. She is the kindest, calmest and most loyal pup on earth. She has loads to spirit and plenty of sass as you would expect in a terrier but she is also loving and sweet to my DS who adore her as his best friend - every adventure is a joint adventure these days.
All dogs smell and have some dirt but the IT doesn't shed much. We like her scruffy looking but ideally they should be hand stripped not clipped as it preserves their lovely red coat ( this can be expensive if you don't do it yourself).
Here is our pup at 6 months
In my experience crossbreeds are healthier if bred right and well, I've yet to meet a labradoodle that sheds, poodles too have an excellent nature so when crossed with a Labrador are great family dogs. Hungarian vizslas are not a dog I'd suggest with young children, a friend of mine has one and they're pretty high maintenance as far as walks and keeping them entertained go plus they can be quite destructive when left alone and I'd imagine with young children your not going to be able to devote too much time, my friends also sheds constantly almost like a Labrador at times, and is bigger than a Labrador.
If you are a real neat freak with a terraced house (i.e. No way of putting the dog straight in the garden) then you need to think long and hard about whether any dog is right for you.
Dogs get muddy, some of them roll in gross things and need bathing (in a bath, not under a hose in the garden)
Some dogs will scavenge food litter in the park and then puke (or worse) over your floor in the night
They poo several times per walk which needs picking up
Some dribble and drool, or splash water around while drinking
Bitches will come into season at least once before you can spay them which means 3 weeks of them dripping blood on floors and their bed, unless you put them in a nappy which then needs taking off and on whenever they go outside
Dogs fed raw food certainly smell a lot les doggy than ones fed dry food but you can never get rid of all dog smells from the house, especially in winter when they frequently get wet on walks
If they have a long coat, they shed less but pick up more mud
If they have a short coat, they shed more but don't collect as much muck
You could get lucky and get a neat non-dribbling dog with a mud aversion and low-shedding coat
But the same litter will also produce a puppy which goes crazy for water and rolling in fox shit, and has a delicate stomach which means d&v for weeks at a time. Obviously that's the worst case but it's still well within the parameters of normal for a dog.
You can't tell which is which by looking at an 8 week old puppy, nor can you decide to get rid of a dog because you don't like it behaving like a dog
However clean and non-smelly a breed is dogs are always going to mean some level of extra muck, even if it's only smeary nose prints all over windows/doors/the TV, well licked patches on your soft furnishings or muddy footprints after a walk.
There's also the inevitable illness-related bodily fluid clean ups, even the most reliably house trained dog can be caught out when they're poorly. Obviously accidents inside are all part and parcel of having a puppy if that's the route you're planning to go down.
What else do you want from/can you offer a dog? How much exercise could you reliably give one? How much grooming (including paying professionals on a regular basis) are you happy to do? Are you after a dog that wants to be involved in everything you're doing as a family or one that is a bit more independent and chilled out? How much mental stimulation (training/brain games/etc.) are you happy doing? Are there any dog sports or activities you'd like to have a go at?
Breeds are only part of it as well - they all come with quirks. Our last greyhound used to groom herself, and then continue to groom the entire sofa which was not fun sitting in a freshly licked patch... our current greyhound has a terrible habit of going bonkers gobbing off at the window if a cat checks into the same postcode (but doesn't lick the sofa at least).
Sorry to say that, yes, being a mega clean-a-holic isn't really that compatible with dog ownership - they all smell to varying degrees! One of the sweetest dogs I know is a labradoodle who was bought specifically because the DM of the house was a mega clean-a-holic but within about two weeks the poor thing was spending most of her daylight hours snoozing in the DF's work van, and within six weeks she'd been rehomed to a friend
whose hygiene boundaries had long been demolished by three dogs who wasn't quite so fussy about mud and hair.
Can you spend some time with friends who have a dog so you can get a sense of what's practically involved? It'd be very unfair to put a puppy AND yourself through it otherwise.
OP you need one of these (although she's a bit bigger than this now!) She's a Coton de Tulear - similar to a bichon but with straight, cottony fur. CDTs are small but quite robust, non-shedding, not smelly and hypoallergenic, not to mention completely adorable! They're quite lively and enjoy a good long walk, but are equally happy playing with toys in the garden. They're also pretty bright - they pick up tricks etc very quickly. Both our CDT and her Bolognese 'sister' are brilliant with kids - friendly and playful but gentle.
Downsides are that they are very much companion dogs, so dislike being left alone for long periods (less of a problem though if you work from home), they do need careful grooming (but keeping them trimmed into a puppy cut takes much of the stress out of that) and they're expensive and can be difficult to get hold of - we were on a waiting list for some time. Dirt-wise there's no dander and no drooling, their coats do pick up the odd leaf/twig etc on park walks but otherwise they're really very clean.
Temps that is the cutest dog EVER!
temps I think you may have found the perfect breed for me - I've just spent a long time reading up online! They sound lovely!
Thanks Porcupino - we think so She's obviously a fair bit bigger now (she was only 10 weeks old in that picture) but still has that wide-eyed puppy look. Definitely a proper dog rather than a lap dog though - thoroughly enjoys a crazy sprint around our local park!
Oh good Orange - they really are lovely. Not many people have heard of CDTs, and those that have often assume they're high maintenance 'handbag dogs' because of the white fluffy thing, but they're not at all. They're pretty adaptable and easy-going, and active without needing ridiculous amounts of exercise. Our CDT literally stops traffic - people wind down windows and jump out of cars to ask what breed she is and where they can get one! More than happy to help if you have any questions about the breed.
I know, not everyone's cup of tea... but do have a look at Chinese Crested Dogs... they are lovely with children and well suited to city life . You can get a (almost) odourless, non shedding dog. You have a choice of hairless ones (very specific), or a Powderpuff = with a fluffy, non shedding coat.
I have 1 Powderpuff- she actually belongs to DD. DD has done all the puppy training and is currently working on the KC good citizens dog gold award. They make lovely little first time dogs and are easy to train (ok ours is...)
Also consider if you'll definitely be working from home for the years of the dog's life.
A lot of people say this and then get a job outside the home, leaving the dog all day when it's been used to constant company.
Greyhounds! I know you said you didn't know if a large dog would be good but honestly, they're the most laid-back, lazy dogs ever. A twenty minute walk once or twice a day is plenty. No shedding and they only smell if they're wet - honestly the most low maintenance dog I've ever known. You actually end up forgetting how big they are until you see them next to other dogs! Plus they spend the majority of the day asleep, and can curl themselves into the smallest space if it's comfy enough
I have a lab who I adore and yes he is soft and gentle with my children and pretty laid back
But he has lots of walks. Often two the are around a hour and then a two hour one most days and do training every day which we both enjoy he is a dirt magnet and loves water and the hair .But would not be without him
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