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How do you choose a breed?

(29 Posts)
thisgirlrides Sat 11-Nov-17 13:02:15

I’m just starting to research different breeds and totally overwhelmed by the vast number of breeds & cross-breeds out there! We are first time dog-owners so have no particular allegiance or preference we just want a fun, loyal & loving medium size pup capable of joining me on runs, ultra-safe with kids (I’m a childminder!), ok home alone for the occasional morning once & not yappy! I’d love a lab but having dog-sat for friend’s (albeit very stocky) brown lab i think we are looking for something slightly smaller. Also, we’re not really on the market for spending £1000+ on the dog alone given all the extra kit we need!
Any thoughts?

songbird123 Sat 11-Nov-17 13:12:39

We have a lovely golden retriever, she is so friendly! Can't fault her at all. We also had a boarder terrier who was amazingly friendly. He loved everyone. We got him when we our kids were 18 months and 3.

Even though the boarder was small he took up so much more room in the house as he was hyper! Our golden is so calm in the house and sleeps most of the time. Plus she has been easier to train.

What about a cocker? I prefer the working conkers as their coats are thinner and much easier to groom.

Or a English pointer. Beautiful friendly dogs, short hair.

There are so many!

Or a rescue? So many dogs in need of a home.

Good luck with your search! smile

Justbookedasummmerholiday Sat 11-Nov-17 13:15:59

Can't go wrong with a Heinz 57 imo.

Oops4 Sat 11-Nov-17 14:08:49

Size is a good place to start, then consider energy level, coat/maintenance, temperament. Friendliness with children will ultimately be down to the individual dog and how well it is socialised etc but of course some breeds are naturally a bit more tolerant. There are events where you go and meet all sorts of breeds and talk to breeders so that may be a good place to start.

We have two border terriers and they are awesome little dogs. Big dogs in small bodies. They are both brilliant with our young kids and are very loyal. Not great at being on their own but ours have been fine if it's just for a few hours and they are in their crate. They are also great for running, very popular dogs with our local hill running group. We got both of ours as pups because for me that was the best option with having young children and a cat, especially as we wanted terriers. I really wanted to be in control of their early training and socialisation. Very few rescues were prepared to rehome to us unless it was a pup anyway. I did find the puppy stage, especially toilet training, very difficult with young children so imagine it would be even harder as a child minder.

allfurcoatnoknickers Sat 11-Nov-17 14:57:02

I worked with a rescue - told them what I was looking for and when I dog that fitted my criteria came in, I took her in as a foster to see how she fitted in. She was perfect for my family, so she ended up staying!

My requirements were: under 20lbs, Low/non shedding, needs to be happy living in a flat, moderate exercise needs (ie. Happy with about an hour on an average day) and adult rather than puppy. She’s also come from a family and then another foster, both with small children, so we had assurances she was good with kids.

They found us this girl! She’s a Cairn terrier cross and I love her more than just about anything.

thisgirlrides Sat 11-Nov-17 17:46:42

Thanks all much to consider - it's such a big decision we want to get it right. I hadn't thought about coat length & with a long-haired cat in the house already shredding everywhere I think I'd have to rule out something like a golden retriever much as I love them. I'll look into terriers and cockers although did rule out working cockers as I thought they might need a more experience hand and may need more (physical) attention than we could provide.

As an aside, can you give me a rough idea on cost of dog ownership? We've looked at insurance, kennels/dog sitting if we go away, vaccinations, flea & worker etc - anything else I'm missing?

I'm not averse to getting a rescue dog but do worry about temperament especially as I work with young children and also wonder how well my own children with bond with a dog when we haven't gone through cute puppy stage (although I think I'd gladly bypass puppy training stage if for no other reason than night waking & being confined to the house for weeks)

Wolfiefan Sat 11-Nov-17 17:51:11

Hahahahahaha at cute puppy stage! Mine was a mouthing, chewing and teething monster. She had no manners and I couldn't have her round the kids off lead.
With regards to rescue a rescue that fosters can give you proper advice over whether a dog would fit with your family.
Not sure where you are in the country but could you make Discover Dogs? Great chance to meet a wide range of dogs and ask questions.

Battleax Sat 11-Nov-17 17:56:43

As an aside, can you give me a rough idea on cost of dog ownership? We've looked at insurance, kennels/dog sitting if we go away, vaccinations, flea & worker etc - anything else I'm missing?

Food! Toys, bedding, chews, supplements, poo bags and all those things.

I'd say about £2k pa for our two. Maybe we save a bit on economies of scale. So a bit more than £1k for one? We use very little dog care.

Battleax Sat 11-Nov-17 17:57:56

The Kennel club used to have a breed selector on their website. Like a calculator type thing.

Battleax Sat 11-Nov-17 17:59:39

Here it is, might make a good starting point at least;

www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/findabreed/default.aspx

CornflakeHomunculus Sat 11-Nov-17 18:04:30

It's definitely worth looking into rescues. Getting a rescue dog doesn't have to mean taking a dog with a completely unknown history from a kennels. Lots of rescues these days use fosterers instead (in fact some, often the smaller independent ones, are entirely foster based) and dogs can end up needing a new home as an adult having been in a single, loving home all their lives.

If you want to buy a puppy then obviously it's important to pick a breed which will suit you and your lifestyle but the most important thing in terms of temperament is finding a breeder who is consistently producing good natured well balanced dogs. This is a combination of genetics and how the puppies are raised. Of course there's then plenty of work you need to do yourself but having that solid foundation to build on is vital.

In terms of choosing a breed, quizzes like this KC one, though not perfect, can be useful to come up with a short list of breeds to research more in depth. The Champdogs website has a little blurb about each breed which is generally quite good and again can be helpful in narrowing down which breeds to look at more. Once you have a short list then the breed club sites often have plenty of good information and breed specific rescue sites can also sometimes be a great source of brutally honest information about their breeds, especially if they're a bit more demanding or specialist. If you can get there I would highly recommend a visit to the Discover Dogs area at Crufts (held at the Birmingham NEC in March), it's a brilliant opportunity to meet different breeds and also chat to owners/breeders/enthusiasts about them.

Food is something else to look at, how much that costs can vary wildly depending on what you want to feed. Also some breeds will come with certain grooming requirements which can involve regular trips to the groomer unless you want to learn how to clip/trim/strip them yourself.

Oops4 Sat 11-Nov-17 18:59:33

We are just over £30 a month for insurance for 2, but we picked a fairly comprehensive policy as you get what you pay for with insurance. The breed will also affect insurance cost. We have border terriers which are generally very healthy little dogs so don't have particularly high premiums. Food wise, a £36 bag of mid range food probably lasts us between 1-2 months for one dog but we tend to bulk it out with veg etc. Again, size of dog will affect cost to feed.

I can't remember flea/wormer figures off the top of my head as I tend to get for both dogs and cat at the same time but it's not much. Ditto with vaccination booster, my last round was approx £60 but that was for cat and one dog so not bad as an annual.

I found dog walkers to be around £10 per hour. We use a home boarder when we are away that from memory is about £22 per night/day but is brilliant so worth every penny. Our borders wouldn't cope with kennels and she is also our weekly day care so it works out well.

Oops4 Sat 11-Nov-17 19:01:19

Forgot grooming.........we don't pay anything for grooming. Our borders get hand stripped about twice a year (and I find shed virtually nothing if we do this) but I just do it myself. Bit tedious but I just do it over a couple of evenings while we're watching telly.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Nov-17 19:52:00

I’d be careful with terriers with a cat in the house , I have a patterdale x and nothing would make him happier than to catch a cat . We got him as a 15/16 week old from Battersea , best £95 we’ve ever spent .

Oops4 Sat 11-Nov-17 19:59:25

Floral, that's one of the reasons we got our two as pups. I wouldn't rescue an older terrier with a cat. Even if they had previously been ok with a cat, doesn't mean they will be with a new cat. But we've always had terriers and cats and haven't had a problem as long as the dogs come as pups.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Nov-17 20:09:58

Mine was only a slightly older pup , he is not cat / small furry safe in the slightest . Probably different types makes a big difference as I know people with Westies and cats . My mum has JRT x borders that she had from 8 weeks and one of them is also not safe with her cat who was about 8 months old when they arrived .

Wolfiefan Sat 11-Nov-17 21:21:10

From birth to 16 weeks is a key time for socialisation Floral so although your pup was only slightly older most of this key period had already passed.

Floralnomad Sat 11-Nov-17 21:29:35

True but not true in my mums dogs case and she did try to mix them because the cat was used to dogs , she still had an elderly whippet x and had only just lost a mastiff x ridgeback that both mingled with the cat with no problem . That said patterdales are what I would call proper working terriers , I know a few , one of whom has killed a cat in the same house and the rest are all equally as bad as mine with small furries even though most were obtained as 8 week old puppies . Actually mine is one of the better ones because he goes off lead and is ok with most dogs ( if they don’t harass him ) .

Wolfiefan Sat 11-Nov-17 21:55:31

TBH I wouldn't say any breed is guaranteed cat safe! It depends on the dog. Mine wants to play. Others of the same breed would want to eat!

Floralnomad Sat 11-Nov-17 22:41:18

True , and I suppose yours playing could do a lot of damage . The one I know that killed the cat had seemingly got on quite well with it originally but killed it when they were both left in the house when pup was about 7/8 months .

ButFirstTea Sat 11-Nov-17 22:47:29

OP if you're not looking to spend £1000 On a puppy (which I totally understand) I'd definitely look for a rescue. Unfortunately lots of puppies that cost less than that are likely to come from backyard breeders or puppy farms. Looking after a litter properly and getting the recommended health checks is expensive. We knew the going rate for our puppy (soft coated wheaten terrier) and saw some which were a lot cheaper than we ended up paying, but I wouldn't trust those breeders.

Wolfiefan Sat 11-Nov-17 23:01:20

@Floralnomad
I wouldn't ever leave my hound and the cats loose together in the house. If I'm not here she's in a pen. Same goes for at night. She's gentle and has no prey drive but accidents happen. Not worth the risk. I think any cat and dog that live together need careful management. I don't send her out to race around the garden when the cat is sitting out there. I make her go to her bed or stand and wait whilst the cat comes in or out the back door.
She means no harm but that doesn't mean she isn't capable of harm! Best to avoid putting either her or the cats in a situation where something could happen.

bluetongue Sat 11-Nov-17 23:46:47

Whippets might be worth looking at. They have no grooming requirements, good size and fantastic with children.

puffylovett Sat 11-Nov-17 23:54:55

I have a working cocker, she's a cracker with the kids. She probably gets less exercise than she needs, but she's fine and happy 😊 my kids and their friends love to train her, little tricks I've shown them etc and with cocker their brains need more exercises than their bodies!

Adarajames Sun 12-Nov-17 00:43:01

We've had a spate of working cockers into rescue all ages around 14 months, Alan it all because they are not enjoying a house with kids and not getting enough exercise and brainwork to keep happy. Pointers are also a high energy, needlits of training working breed, so unless you've time for long walks, something like agility and plenty of spare time and energy for training, not a good idea or a good first time dog. Avoid collies totally, not suitable as pet dogs in my opinion, too many damaged ones in rescue from homes that just didn't give them the time and input they need to stay sane and happy. Go to a decent rescue, talk through your requirements and listen to their advice and you should find the right dog for you and your family and be the right family for a particular dog. Please don't encourage breeders greed, especially not with crazy prices so called designer (or stupidly over priced mongrels!) 'breeds'. Greyhounds make great pets, some are cat friendly and kid friendly and don't need huge long walks or training.

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