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Advice needed on getting a puppy

(46 Posts)
birgittestyle Mon 13-Aug-18 14:21:50

We are a family of five with DC aged 11, 9 and 8 and have finally persuaded DH that we should get a dog.

However I hardly know where to start - I grew up with miniature dachshunds and Jack Russells in the country. I now live in a city but we have lots of space and a large enclosed garden. We have a rather long list - dachshund, Jack Russell, Parsons terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, cockapoo and I am leaning towards a Jackapoo. DH says he has allergies (I am not convinced!) hence the 'poo' cross. We are looking for a small/medium sized dog and as we live in Germany where the children finish school at 1pm each day we have lots of time for exercise and play. Someone is usually at home during the mornings although it might need to be left for max 2-3 hours once in a while. When we travel it would go and stay with friends.

I also have a question that might be overthinking - we are English speaking at home and the dog will be trained in English. Would it therefore be more sensible to bring a dog over from the UK who has been socialised in English or would I be fine finding a breeder in Germany and the language doesn't matter? Does anyone have experience of getting a dog in Germany?

Any thoughts and experience of the above breeds would be really helpful - no decisions made yet so I have a blank page in front of me!

OP’s posts: |
Whitney168 Mon 13-Aug-18 14:24:57

Language won't matter at all, dog will respond to your training. (Looks at dog bought from Germany as a puppy, lying in my house in UK LOL.)

TheVanguardSix Mon 13-Aug-18 14:34:47

German shorthaired pointers are gorgeous.
Looking for a poo cross, I’d look at labradoodles.
A popular cross in Germany, Slovakia, and Slovenia (that region) is the cross we have: Labrador vizsla or Vizslador
We are also a family of 5 and our dog has been such an amazing addition to our family.
I’d look for any type of retriever, tbh.
But a Jackapoo will probably be a good fit for your specific needs. It will be barky, most likely. Poodle crosses tend to be.

birgittestyle Mon 13-Aug-18 15:07:53

I am a bit worried that a bigger dog might be too big for our children to manage and also for our friends to manage if we are away - they are in their 70s but very fit. I am going to look up the dogs you suggest.

Thank you for the language info!

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QueenOfMyWorld Mon 13-Aug-18 15:13:02

Chihuahua all The way but I am biased,mine is v low maintenance,can't destroy things,likes to go for a walk but don't need to do miles with him although he's capable of it.Hes very loving to he and my son are brilliant together

missbattenburg Mon 13-Aug-18 15:16:42

I wouldn't worry about language. Get the dog from the country you are in rather than ask a young puppy to change countries.

A poo cross is not a hypoallergenic dog. It is a cross between two breeds, one of which releases less dander into the air.

Dander is the most common cause of allergies but may or may not be what your DH is allergic to and it is worth getting proper confirmation before guessing. You might find it is a particular fur type that's easily avoided.

Your puppy may or may not get the genes for less dander and this may or may not be enough not to trigger your DH's allergies (though allergies can be triggered by the tiniest presence of the allergen).

Getting a cross because you hope it won't trigger an allergy is likely to lead to disappointment, a life of discomfort (for your DH) and/or rehoming for the dog.

The breeds you have mentioned are diverse...

Cav: these can be energetic little dogs but unlikely to have the intense need for exercise that some breeds have. They tend to be friendly and playful. They have eyes that bulge out a little bit so can be vulnerable to eye damage during play. They also have the massive problem of syringomyelia and it is worth REALLY knowing all about this before deciding to get one. And being incredibly picky about who you get one from.

JRTs are high octane dogs (we have 2) and they are not for the faint hearted. They are bold, fearless, loyal and energetic. They are up for adventure all the time. Most tolerate children pretty well and will play for hours with a tennis ball. They bark, dig and can be territorial. They can be destructive when bored. You probably know this already as you had them when young. smile

Dachhunds are playful, clever and brave. They love to burrow and dig. They can be difficult to leave alone and toilet train sometimes. They can be stubborn. Their backs are vulnerable points and so are not always the best playmates for children. Again, you probably know this.

Poodles (the poo bit of the crosses you mention) are highly intelligent and active and must have regular mental and physical stimulation, they are sensitive and loyal - often to the point of hating to be left alone. A cross could easily display these traits. Or not. It's just the luck of the (genetic) draw.

Honestly, when picking a breed, I really think you pick your poison as all breeds have 'bad' points and you are much more likely to get a happy match if you are realistic about what they are upfront. I would start with firm answers to the basic questions:

- not how much exercise can you give the dog but how much are you prepared to (and be happy). I COULD give a husky 5 hours a day. I'd be worn out and miserable so it's probably not the best choice for me.

- what behaviours could you not live with. I cannot stand barking so JRTs are not a good choice for me (ours come courtesy of a family member who moved in with me because they are not well; I love the dogs but would never choose this breed myself). Many people cannot stand chewing so gun breeds (e.g. the cocker from a cockerpoo) are not good choices.

- how friendly do you want the dog to be to other dogs, animals and people. 'Friendly to all' might seem like an obvious answer but a dog that loves other dogs is not for everyone because they are very easily distracted on walks - what many people want is a dog that tolerates other dogs but isn't that fussed by them.

- how much fur, dirt and drool can you live with and be happy.

missbattenburg Mon 13-Aug-18 15:17:18

Sorry that ended up being much more than I intended! I got carried away... grin

birgittestyle Mon 13-Aug-18 15:32:45

Thank you - that has given me a lot to think about. I think I need to prioritise the important things. I think we will happily manage about 2 hours of exercise a day.
The barking, chewing and housetraining need a bit more consideration - my parents have 2 dachshunds who still struggle every night after 2 years.
I have no experience of the Cav so that is all good to know - on paper they look a doodle but the reality sounds different....
I absolutely take your point about the friendliness - we will be walking in parks and along beaches a fair bit so constant greeting of every dog could be tiresome.
The DC's idea of a dog is one to play all afternoon and curl up happily in their laps........
My husband has found an allergy specialist here so we can send a hair sample from a breed (better still the actual dog or parent dog) to test if he is allergic . Does anyone have experience of this working?

OP’s posts: |
geekone Mon 13-Aug-18 16:45:57

Your in Germany you need to get a schnauzer, non moulting and great with kids.

Fatjilly Mon 13-Aug-18 20:13:12

Definitely schnauzer...perfect family dog who will happily join in with whatever you’re doing whether that’s running, playing or snoozing. Non-moulting, good size and very loving.

tabulahrasa Mon 13-Aug-18 21:30:02

“My husband has found an allergy specialist here so we can send a hair sample from a breed (better still the actual dog or parent dog) to test if he is allergic”

How do they test it?...

And if you have access to their fur, would it not be easier for him to just spend time with the dog?

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 13-Aug-18 22:14:06

The language question has brought a smile to my face grin

It's not the language, it's the association the dog has with specific sounds (words). I once knew an elderly white British woman who trained her dog entirely in Swahili, for instance. Similarly my dog doesn't know "out" but he does know "oot" in a bad Scottish accent (even I don't know why I taught him like that). For the same reason, you can also train a dog using sign language - which they tend to find easier to understand than words as it's not subject to variations in tone etc - I use a mixture of signing and words.

As someone with a Jack Russell X Dachshund (takes after the JRT side of the family), I can't say he would be the perfect dog for a family with kids. Anything less than two hours a day of exercise and you live to regret it, which is time consuming. I'm very lucky I live near 800 acres of city parkland - a small park just wouldn't cut it. He's had a variety of behaviour issues too, though some of that is down to his past experiences. He's also a complete one person dog (well, two person). He only values people who take him out for walkies and play never ending games of fetch with him, which means everyone from DGM (who is always feeding him under the table) to my flatmate (who he lives with, clearly) is considered an irrelevance at best and a daily burglar at worst. However, those he does bond to he has a really strong bond with - I even get strangers commenting on it.

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Mon 13-Aug-18 23:23:20

We have a lab in our family who happily speaks French and English ...

birgittestyle Tue 14-Aug-18 08:18:37

tabulah -I am not sure of the details of the fur thing but I think it can be sent and DH would then take it to the allergy specialist - this was more when we were thinking of bringing a dog from the UK that he wouldn't be able to meet before. A friend here tested with her daughter very successfully.

I am now rethinking Jack Russell/ Dachshund and actually they never come up as a fit on the dog breed suitability websites perhaps for good reason.

I do like the schnauzer idea but not sure about all the fancy hair - can they just be clipped fairly simply or is there a reason for all the bushy beard?

Also revisiting idea of cockapoo - any experiences here?
Am very grateful for all the help - I hadn't realised quite what a complicated decision the breed would be!

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Tue 14-Aug-18 08:45:08

I don't have a cockerpoo but I have a cocker. If you decide to do a cross breed you really need to look at both breeds and decide whether you could cope with the cons of each together. This is because you cannot guarantee that you will get the 'best' bits of both breeds. For example my cocker hunts. That means his nose is always on the floor sniffing out scent and during his wayward teenage period I used to see him run off into the forest to hunt out deer/rabbits/etc. Now I have worked out how to use that nose to my advantage and keep him close but it's hard work all the time when out walking. I understand poodles are very intelligent and will need a lot of mental stimulation. So ask yourself can you cope with both mixes and can you cope if you got the 'bad' bits of both mixed (a highly intelligent energetic hunting dog).

Namechangeforthiscancershit Tue 14-Aug-18 08:48:20

My little cav (75%) poodle (25%) is a poppet I think! I love cavs but the health problems are serious so a lot of research into breeder and parents is needed.

He’s very much a companion dog, so far loves children, very gentle and not too energetic.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Tue 14-Aug-18 09:11:21

I take it back, he’s a nightmare grin 4 different bras have had to be taken out of his mouth since I wrote that post.

It’s normal to have a love/hate relationship with a puppy right grin

kennythekangaroo Tue 14-Aug-18 09:18:37

If you google schnauzer teddy bear cut they look much less fancy.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 14-Aug-18 09:28:07

Cockapoos are widely puppy farmed; I'm sure it's no different in Germany as many originate in eastern Europe before being exported with forged paperwork.

Sadly there are very few ethical breeders of cockapoos, and the enormous demand for them means they cannot possibly keep up and puppy farmers are breeding to meet demand. Unfortunately it can also be very difficult to spot a puppy farmer - they can be incredibly devious and will go so far as to rent a house with a stunt bitch (pretends to be puppy's mum) purely so they can sell puppies from that address.

I'd honestly go along to a rescue centre and talk to them about what you're looking for in a dog and see what they have that fits your needs. If you go in with an open mind you may find the perfect dog in unexpected packaging.

Fatjilly Tue 14-Aug-18 12:45:25

I like my schnauzer scruffy but just trim him myself when it gets a bit much (it’s easy and doesn’t take long at all). Oh and a baby schnau is the cutest of all pups!

birgittestyle Wed 15-Aug-18 09:26:15

I like your scruffy schnauzer too! I am going to look up Rescue homes today. Does anyone have any experience of rescue dogs in Germany?

So far I have been searching on the German equivalent website for the Kennel Club and finding approved breeders as I am very conscious of the puppy farm operations.

At the moment I am trying to work out our priorities and our capacity to deal with excercise/digging/barking/shedding/escaping and as Biteyshark says - how we would be prepared to deal with the cons of both breeds if we were to get a cross.

the debate rumbles on and I am grateful for any input and any other breed suggestions. The trouble is I rather love all of them! Loving the bra eating cavapoo!

OP’s posts: |
birgittestyle Mon 20-Aug-18 14:42:56

I feel like I am going round in circles and still cannot find the right breed let alone the right breeder
This morning I have been looking on all the dog rescue sites near us and haven't come across any puppies at all and am not comfortable with an older rescue dog.

I thought I had found the perfect dog in a Westfalian Bracke only to be told by the breeding club here that they will only give to hunters as they are not suitable for family pets as many websites suggest.

All the approved breeders here are for pure breed dogs it seems (my German is by no means comprehensive) so finding a happy cross breed/mix seems only available from less trustworthy websites (puppy farm fears) or word of mouth.

I am still thinking Jack Russell or dachshund but am worried how much of a family dog they are. I am worried they won't be snuggle enough or that the dachshund won't be able to jog with my son.

I am put off by all that fur on the cockerpoo/ aussie labradoodle types and would prefer short hair.
I am put off by the health worries of the Cav KC.
I loved the look of a portuguese podengo but cannot find a breeder and same goes for the Bodeguero Ratonero - best name ever but they are only really found in the bodegas of spain (not a bad life).
What about a border terrier - any experience?
Or a beagle?
I am going round and round and round in circles and think my short list is getting longer.
My family are bored to tears and loosing interest in my constant deliberations. Any any help /steering is very welcome.....
(Still a schnauzer?)

OP’s posts: |
tkband3 Mon 20-Aug-18 14:55:39

Whippet! Great with kids and fab family dogs. Will run and play for as long as you want them to and will them sleep. Much prefer sofas and beds to floors though. Barely moult, so your DH should be ok and don't smell at all (except when they've rolled in something nasty wink). And are loving and loyal and beautiful. And not too big either. (Two recent pictures and one puppy one attached smile)

Squirrel26 Mon 20-Aug-18 15:18:38

You could (and I know there are differing opinions about this route), think about looking at a rescue dog from Spain or Greece. They are probably more likely to have puppies or very young dogs available for rehoming. Mine came via a British charity who work with a few different Spanish rescue groups and had been fostered with a family for 5 months so I had a good idea of what he was like - I’m still in touch with the charity and with his foster Mum.

birgittestyle Mon 20-Aug-18 15:33:36

I love whippets but the kids aren’t keen ....
I like the sound of the Greek and Spanish rescues - can someone explain the mixed opinions? I am sure there are charities here that would rehouse to Germany.
I think I am getting very wound up in all the breed characteristics and not seeing the bigger picture. My fear is making the wrong choice.

OP’s posts: |

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