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Good family breeds?

(32 Posts)
OrchidFlakes Mon 13-Nov-17 12:41:58

We are considering getting a dog on 6-12 months and starting to look at breeds and the ins and outs of ownership.

I am home most of the day and we have 2 DC who are 5 and 2. We do have a cat but is elderly so we’d wait until she passed before getting one.

Are there any suggestions of good family dogs who want approx 30 Mins twice a day for a walk, (more at weekends!) smallish to medium sized...?

I’d prefer to rehome than get a puppy but apart from that we’re clueless!

Do most dogs cope with kennels for an annual holiday whilst we travel abroad? Other holidays he’d come along and join the chaos!

We’ll go to crufts to the discover dogs section in the spring but I want to start my homework first.

Wolfiefan Mon 13-Nov-17 12:46:07

Don't get a puppy with a 2 year old!
What about grooming needs?
TBH that's not an awful lot of walking.

mustbemad17 Mon 13-Nov-17 12:49:38

Staff staff staff all the way! Amazing family pets, easy to train, don't need crazy amount of exercise. Potentially a bit crap with kennels but they manage.

Or you could go Shih Tzu? Also had one of these when I was an au pair, again great family dogs & can handle small or larger amounts of exercise.

I'd avoid all working breeds with the limited exercise you can offer in a week; you will end up with a trashed house. Look at how you intend to provide stimulation in between walks too as that will impact on the breed choices available

OrchidFlakes Mon 13-Nov-17 12:50:33

He’ll be 3 by the time a dog comes along. There’s a great groomer in the village so happy to take a dog to be groomed but ideally minimal at home.
The walk from home to school is 30 minutes each way, twice a day which would be the Monday to Friday walk, weekends we’d be out most of the afternoon

Wolfiefan Mon 13-Nov-17 12:52:55

The walk to school and back won't give a dog much stimulation. They need a way where they can sniff and potter or run off lead.
Our puppy had our school age kids in tears. Puppies bite. They call it mouthing but it bloody hurts.
Puppies can't be left alone. They need constant watching to toilet train and will have you up at night.
A dog is a huge commitment.

missbattenburg Mon 13-Nov-17 13:09:30

The problem with using the school walk as the dog's exercise is that walking a dog is a little bit about physical exercise but much, much more about mental stimulation. A dog that walks exactly the same route twice a day will very quickly get bored with it and then it's not really providing much value to the dog.

As others have said, a dog needs varied walks with lots to see and explore and smell as well as running space.

Almost all dogs need this to stop them becoming bored. A bored dog is often a naughty dog who won't listen to you because you are not exciting enough and instead does what they want to entertain themselves.

Your best bet is to talk to shelters for an elderly dog who is happy to sleep most of the day. It won't play with the children but is much more likely to be happy with the schedule you describe. Alternatively, you'll need to hire a dog walker to give it an hour's good walk a day during weekdays. You could also try to give it much more mental stim. at home if you have a couple of hours spare each day for games and tricks and training and learning.

The issue with a rehomed dog is that once dogs have been through the stress of rehoming kennels they are much, much less likely to cope with boarding kennels and so you'd have to look for someone who boards dogs in their house like a family pet. They cost more money and - even then - the dog may struggle to cope with being separated from you. Something about the losing an owner/rehoming process can make many dogs clingy when they do find a good home. Of course, you might get lucky and find one that copes, but you couldn't guarantee or expect this.

In terms of breeds, the dogs bred for companionship are least likely to need hours of exercise. Don't go for any working breeds. That doesn't mean you won't need to do any of the above: even companion breeds need more than you are currently planning, but they are the breeds most likely to be able to cope. The good news is that these all tend to be small dogs. Cav King Charles. Pugs, Bichon Frise. Pekingnese. Maltese.

missbattenburg Mon 13-Nov-17 13:10:19

sorry, meant to add that the bad news about companion dogs is that they are also those that tend to need more grooming...

OrchidFlakes Mon 13-Nov-17 13:29:58

We live wry rurally so the walk to school will be the same route (most direct) but home would be fields, fords, bridleway and anything else we want to explore. I can also look to adjust the walk time, it wa just initial thinking really - what is more realistic bumpy way of walk times?

Good to know about kennels and rehomed dogs, we can bare that in mind to. I really don’t want a puppy if we can avoid it though...

mustbemad17 Mon 13-Nov-17 13:35:29

In fairness, I have had some oldies (i have a soft spot for oldies in kennels) & they have all without fail come alive at home. My 5 year old has had some awesome companions from our foster dogs. My last staff was 9 & came to us quite ill, needing a quiet home to doze her days away. Ha yeah okay. Within two days she was bouncing around with DD like a lunatic, chasing toys & playing tug. The beauty of her being older tho was that once she had had her fifteen minutes of mayhem, she literally did sleep all day. She got two 40 minute walks a day because her hips were dodgy, & then spent the evening sprawled out on the sofa with us.

An older dog - as in not a pup - would suit better if you have smalls that aren't used to puppy behaviour. Pups are hyper & as above they nip something chronic. It takes a fair amount of consistent training to stop it & even then a lot of the time it mostly is something they grow out of. Not so much fun for small people who want a dog they can play with

missbattenburg Mon 13-Nov-17 13:55:01

If you could vary the walk home so that each of the five weekdays took a different route and make it last about an hour you'd have a much happier dog than the same 30mins each way...

Still expect to do some mental games at home during the day.

Puppies are HARD work (pretty much 24/7 for a few weeks) and so I totally understand wanting to skip that stage.

MurielsBottom Mon 13-Nov-17 14:29:18

I think you should consider a whippet as your family dog. They are real couch potatoes and would suit your needs. Also consider rehoming a retired greyhound as they can also make great family pets.

ButFirstTea Mon 13-Nov-17 16:31:44

Soft coated wheaten terrier!! I recommend them on here at least once a day but honestly if you want a funny, gentle, reasonably active, family dog, with a bonus non-shedding coat, you literally can't go wrong. Picture of my beautiful wheaten puppy attached!

I would suggest a home-based daycare who offers boarding for holidays, much nicer for your dog than kennels.

Holldstock1 Mon 13-Nov-17 18:08:12

OP I love dogs, and I'm pleased to hear that you are thinking of bringing a dog into your home so that your children can grow up with one. There are pros and cons to puppies, older dogs, rescues, pure breeds and crosses, and large or small which all need to be considered.

I've had pure breed, crosses and rescues, toy, small and large sized dogs through my life and my children grew up with medium large dogs, so I can only say what I know about.

If you don't have alot of time an older dog will need less exercise as the above pp said and potentially won't be as bouncy and much calmer. But you do need to take in account they might not appreciate toddlers or young children who are on the go all the time or who won't leave them alone.

Also irrespective of age or type of dog, will you ensure that your children learn from the offset what the boundaries are with dogs, i.e. not taking toys or food away, leaving them alone on their bed, learning the signs when a dog wants to be left alone? Sorry to mention it as I'm sure you are intending to put boundaries in place, but I think its really important for the dog's quality of life and safety of children that they do know this. The amount of times I see mothers let their children do anything they want to their pets does often worry me. My two DC were 1.5 yr and 3 yr when we got our first family dog and I always made sure the boundaries were enforced by me.

A whippet is small medium, short coat and like a greyhound needs a couple of shortish walks and then coach potato. They do moult but its short haired and alot easier for cleaning up purposes. I don't know what they are like temperment wise, but greyhounds in my experience seem to be really laid back and calm (unless chasing after small prey). Recall????

One of our dogs is a staffy cross greyhound - so broad but on stilts. Hes brilliant and I'd always recommend staffy or staffy cross. Pure breed Staffs are really quite small dogs, and they are very friendly, short coated - but would might be abit bouncy for small young children??(check out the breed). They are terriers so they do need reasonable exercise.

I'll probably be howled down but in my experience sometimes smaller breeds can be more inclined to be snappy and less tolerant and if spaniel or terrier types they are going to be probably high energy. I do think it really also depends on how they are placed in your family hierarchy and whether the children learn about treating the dog with respect and leaving it when its had enough.

The best dog I've ever had with young children is the rescue black Lab Shepherd Cross we got when my DC were little (and we still have her - 17 years old). We got her when she was around 2 or 3 years old, so abit bouncy still but not in puppy or full on adolescent phase.This type of cross has the best of both breeds and is really calm, tolerant, good natured, intelligent and trainable. In all the years we've had her and my DC were growing up I've never had any problems with her.
Temperament fantastic, very trainable and I would trust her 100 % with kids, dogs, cats, chickens etc etc. She's always had a brilliant temperament and I couldn't have had a better dog to bring my kids up with and to train them how to be dog savvy.

The down side with her that you might find difficult, is that when she was younger she needed reasonable exercise (more than what you are talking about) - but for me that meant that I just taught my DC the joy of walks in the fields around us and I got the chance to get fitter. I did alot of trekking with buggies when my two were little and they learned to love walking. She's what I think of as a medium large (so GSD size). The other problem is that she is double coated so we are a house of fluff, but regular grooming and brushing does help with that.

The other thing I would say that sometimes bigger dogs are alot more tolerant and calmer in nature than small dogs. Socialisation is obviously very important, but alot of the time that big furry giant is a very tolerant and gentle one. I love all dogs, but although I grew up with smaller dogs, having had my Lab Shepherd Cross I probably wouldn't purposely get a small or medium one again. And I would recommend that sort of cross without hesitation.

Good luck OP and hope you find the right dog for you!

mustbemad17 Mon 13-Nov-17 18:16:16

I second small dogs tending to be snappier...they can have little dog syndrome if you don't keep on top of them!

Whippets or greyhounds are lovely family pets but you would likely have to keep them leashed in the country...their prey drive is unwavering

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Mon 13-Nov-17 22:51:47

What would you do with dog once you got to school? Most schools don't let them on the premises (although many turn a blind eye to pups in arms) and there often isn't anywhere safe to tie them up (from not only a theft point of view but also from being hassled by various other DC).

I don't take my dogs on school run. I actually drive the school run so I have time to walk them (away from the school DC) and in better places (school route has a lot of roadside footpaths, whereas I choose to walk through a nature reserve where they spend at least 95% of the walk off lead).

Also a lot of smaller breeds do still need a lot of exercise. My Cavalier gets a 1hr30min walk - with at least 95% of that off lead with him running all over the place - that's what Cavs thrive on. But most people don't seem to realise they need that to be healthy, so most Cavs you see around are seriously unfit and obese. In the house they are lap dogs but outside they are a proper spaniel (I also have a cocker spaniel).

OrchidFlakes Tue 14-Nov-17 18:07:22

Our school has a lane between the road and the school gardens where dogs can be tied which is away from the children fully in sight of the class door (it’s a very rural school)

After your cav’s 1hr 30 walk, would he get another later in the day?

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Mon 20-Nov-17 13:52:36

Sorry op I forgot to look back. Cavalier was just fully mature when cocker came along. I was going to add a second smaller walk, however they spend an hour in the garden playing (zooming, jumping, chasing, etc) in the morning and then have the bigger walk in the afternoon (although currently walking separate as cocker too young for long walks yet). At the moment that is enough. Cav loves it when we go for much longer walks on weekends though.

SwimmingInTheBlueLagoon Mon 20-Nov-17 13:55:21

Just to clarify cavalier still gets a full 1hr30mins but I give my cocker a 20min walk first (this will increase as he gets older, until they can both go together).

Cracklesfire Mon 20-Nov-17 14:19:44

We have a rescue lurcher and whippet who are both older and were used to the peace and quiet for years with it just being DH and I but have become great family dogs as DC have come along.

They’re more than happy with two 30 minute walks a day but have never stayed in kennels. One had anxiety issues when we got him and although much better I just don’t think I could do it to him. When we go away next year a friend is going to house sit and we’ll get a dog walker in while she’s working otherwise they go to my parents usually.

If we were looking again I’d start at my local rescue centre and speak to them about what we were looking for, then keep in contact. Worth speaking to local vets too - I know ours will try to rehome dogs for eg for elderly clients who are no longer able to cope with their pets.

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Mon 20-Nov-17 18:44:31

We took in an adult rescue mongrel. I would definitely go that route again in future as you take in the dog not the breed potential.

OrchidFlakes Wed 22-Nov-17 13:43:55

Thank you all. In the new year I’ll chat with some rescues and start the process of getting to know them and visiting regularly with the DC - I think the one near us has a regular family day where you can go volunteer. Hopefully when the time is right we’ll meet the right dog :-)

Discombobulated42 Wed 22-Nov-17 13:51:13

ButTeaFirst Another soft coated wheaten terrier owner here. Love our boy, we have 4 children, and a wheaten is a really wonderful addition to our family

ButFirstTea Thu 23-Nov-17 00:16:12

Aww brilliant, love hearing from other wheaten owners! I'm always surprised they're not more popular or well known, such perfect dogs!

IjustbelieveinMe Wed 29-Nov-17 08:59:09

I have a 2 year old wheaten, he is one of the best dogs in the world. So affectionate and wonderful, he has such an amazing spirit and energy. We love him to bits.

SkeletonSkins Wed 29-Nov-17 13:45:12

My god this thread is a bit weird. Sometimes I think people in the doghouse think no other soul should have a dog!

OP your set up sounds great for a dog. A rescue dog may slot into your life much easier than a pup - you know what you are going to get, hardest bit is done. A pup wouldn't be able to walk as far as that to begin with either which would make your routine difficult.

I'd suggest maybe a cocker, show strain probably best for you. Soft coateds are not something I'd thought of but would be good. Poodle potentially? Or just a random mix from the local shelter!!

A walk to school and then back through fields etc sounds gorgeous. I'd love to live where you live! I have a border collie and a young terrier and in the week often only do 2 30 min walks (off lead with tennis ball). I find other things tire them out much more - playing find it games in the house, using different enrichhment toys to give meals, training classes, teaching tricks. Have a look at 'canine enrichment' on Facebook - a group full of ideas.

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