The right breed for first timers, with cats and a disabled child?(76 Posts)
We are ready to add to our family with our first dog, next year. I've been doing a lot of research online, talking to dog owners, borrowing dogs to walk etc and have honed in on the following breeds for further research before we go any further:
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Boston Terrier
We can, I think, give a good home to a dog. We live on a dog friendly beach, I work from home a great deal as does DH - there's always an adult home. We are active and like to walk, surrounded by great places to dog walk. We have a large house with a medium size garden with an area that can be secured.
DD is 9 and has been practising puppy training with some friends locally and is taking every opportunity to spend time with dogs and learn about them.
DS is 6 and severely disabled. He enjoys the company of a chihuahua and a labrador when he goes to respite.
We have two cats who are pretty bombproof.
I have considered a rescue and ruled it out on the basis of cats, young children and us being first timers.
I have considered poodle cross type dogs as there are allergies in the family, but reading up I'm unsure about finding a reputable breeder so have ruled that out too.
Does anyone have any of the above breeds with cats and children? Any tips of advice from experienced dog owners? I'm learning here and keen to do the right thing
I don't have any of the breeds mentioned however my friend has a toller and she is a fantastic dog. Literally bombproof with anything, nice size, minimal grooming and seems a lovely allround type.
For me schnauzers would be too temperamental (lots of them get snappy when they don't get their own way in my experience and they can be bossy in the home) and Boston terriers have too many health issues for me. However, I am a vet nurse so tend to see the bad side of breeds more than most people!
I would also consider something like a golden retriever or even flatcoat if you don't mind something a little bigger.
On the basis of you having jobs, a child with disabilities, and not having had dogs before, I'm going to say what you really, really don't need in your life is a puppy. They are a PITA, a huge amount of work, and you still don't quite know what their personality will be like.
I'm biased, but a calm lurcher of a year or more old from a rescue with their dogs in foster would be perfect for you. I have two of my own, and foster for the rescue they came from, and mine live happily with cats (and all my puppies this year have too), child and are very easy going.
They have a great bonus in that they are fine with varied activity levels, don't need huge amounts of mental stimulation (unlike Tollers!), and don't have prolonged teenage phases like labs
Is it the flat face of the Boston that's problematic? With breathing etc?
We would consider a golden retriever I think. I've been slightly put off by one we know well who is totally and utterly bonkers but I don't think she had consistent training as a pup.
I don't want to go too big though. Thinking about family transport. We'll have a wheelchair accessible vehicle soon (VW caravelle) but there won't be a boot with room for a dog crate, just a spare seat with a dog harness. Plenty of head height though.
Please don't buy a Boston puppy. There is a much higher risk of health problems. They're fashionable but they're bred to be deformed.
Have had a Schneider, he was great but a bit temperamental. I'm loving pp idea of rescued lurcher. Friend has one and 2 kids and he's awesome.
How much exercise are you willing to do?
A recent thread on a toller without enough exercise was a shocker!
And yes. Puppies are a bitey, chewing, piddling PITA!
Why anybody would suggest a lurcher for an inexperienced dog household with cats is beyond my comprehension.
Terriers are hard for first time dig owners.
Giant Schnaucer from a good breeder would be great. My uncle had a bitch and she was lovely. They got her when their kids were 6 and 8. This is very old breed. Healthy and predictable.
Don't go for a miniature one.
Lurcher? Um maybe because they can be quite easy going and relaxed dogs and that poster happens to work with a rescue that has dogs in foster with both cats and kids.
I wouldn't take on a terrier and schnauzers can be quite stubborn from what I've seen!
Happy to do quite a bit of exercise. We walk loads as the beach is right outside the garden, country park 5 mins down the hill and the moors 15 mins away. I'd be sharing the load of the walking with DH and my mum sometimes too.
I'm fully expecting months of disruption with a puppy but will also look into rescue lurchers, thank you.
Two friends, who both have dachshunds have just suggested we look at those too. I like them but would worry about their short legs on all the multiple steps outside our house. They might have to go up and down in our wheelchair lift...!
Wolfiefan You also know full well that lurchers can be problematic with cats. If the OP didn't get exactly the right one, it would be a recipe for disaster.
Numbereightyone - why would a dog who is known to be good with cats, whose personality and behaviour is known be worse than buying a puppy for whom nothing is known?
I would trust my giant hound more with a cat than my mother's terrier.
It's not just about breed. Taking on a retired racing greyhound that had an excellent career due to speed and high prey drive would be stupid.
Taking on a puppy that has been successful in a foster home with cats and kids already is completely different.
Temperament and training. That's key.
I have a Toller and children. Mine sometimes tries to chase the neighbour’s cat but I think this is because he wasn’t brought up with one. His littermate, who was, loves his cat friend. And, pre-children, i’ve introduced a Toller to cats, and all was fine.
They’re a lovely breed but definitely of the give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile brigade. They need training almost more than exercise and, ideally a “job” - fly ball, agility or similar. A bored Toller can be destructive; their brain does not always switch off after even a long walk.
You also have to be prepared for a very exuberant, extended puppy phase - to age three or thereabouts. They’re not all like this but my current one definitely was. It can be a bit much for younger or less dog-savvy children.
I’m not saying this to put you off. They’re a lovely lovely breed if you can put in the hard graft. If do go for one, be prepared for a wait. There aren’t many around and breeders should give you a good grilling on why you want one.
Any lurcher who has been cat tested is still only deemed as cat trainable. There would be still be a considerable amount of work to do to ensure the existing family cats are safe. To suggest that an inexperienced family takes this extra burden on is too risky.
I know a couple of fab retrievers, but they are quite large, had you thought about either a border terrier or a welsh terrier, both with training are lovely dogs.
Retrievers are lovely dogs. I also have a massive soft spot for boxers. They are not hugely intelligent but are incredibly loving towards children. We have had several that lived harmoniously with cats.
I love lurchers but they are not generally very good with cats which is why they weren't on my short list. There are of course exceptions but they have such a strong prey drive that I wouldn't trust them with resident cats.
If you considered poodle crosses then why not an actual poodle, particularly a miniature if size is a concern? Bright and active little dogs but not as demandingly so as something like a Toller. Allergy wise less shedding doesn't necessarily equate to better for allergy suffers as allergens are also present in dander (dead skin cells) and saliva.
Bostons can be affected by a number of quite serious health issues. Some (such as hereditary cataracts) can be easily avoided by DNA testing dogs before breeding from them but most are directly related to the shape they've been bred into. UFAW have a list of conditions affecting the breed which goes into some depth about each.
Agree about a poodle being a good choice. I love them. They are so clever and full of personality.
Just a thought. Could you make it to Discover Dogs?
Not fashionable on here i know, but we have a cockapoo who is just the perfect dog. Have always had dogs but this one is like a dog out of a book. Perfect with the kids, no problematic behaviours, friendly and fabulous. Took a while to find a breeder we were happy with but so worth it.
I think I've just missed it haven't I Wolfie, wasn't it October?
Hadn't thought about a poodle at all! I have only ever met one poodle and that was 30 years ago. Little tiny thing who was brilliant fun. I never seem to see them at all where we live now though.
There will be another at Crufts in March I believe.
There's a poodle at ringcraft class I go to and he's a hoot! Complete character. Gorgeous and hilarious and completely as bright as a button.
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