Which breed should we get?

(64 Posts)
LipstickforFish Tue 08-Jan-19 09:15:46

We have wanted a dog for years and years but it was never the right time (both working full time and living in a flat, etc)

We now have the time and outside space for a dog so we are starting to think about it. However we cannot agree on breed. I have always wanted a pug even before they got "popular". However my DP thinks they have too many health issues and would rather get a "proper dog" like a Lab or Staffie.

So, what would be recommended for the following family;

Medium garden, lots of woodland and fields nearby for walking
Someone is home pretty much all the time
We have a two year old
We have two indoor cats

Any ideas?

OP’s posts: |
Womble75 Tue 08-Jan-19 09:36:40

We have a similar set up to you and have a lab. He's the best dog in the house and great with DD5 and DS 1. We've had him 4 years now and I won't lie the puppy days were hellish but he's a great dog now.
He's ok at being left for half a day which rarely happens as me and DH both work from home.
He's a big gentle giant and I would really recommend for a family dog.

Womble75 Tue 08-Jan-19 09:37:29

P.s. he has had a lot of health issues though and thank god for insurance.

Hoppinggreen Tue 08-Jan-19 09:37:51

Golden Retriever (as long as you like mud and hair)

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Tue 08-Jan-19 09:49:33

I'd be inclined to agree with your DH about pugs and health problems. I know frenchies have astronomical insurance premiums; pugs are probably Similar. The other issue is that the vast majority of pugs are puppy farmed because they can make a quick buck.

However, what you've said about requirements doesn't narrow it down much! Can you give some info on things like how much exercise (time wise) you can realistically give the dog both on good and bad days, grooming requirements. It would also be good if you could give some info on any traits you'd find very difficult to live with eg digging in the garden or excessive barking.

It would also be good if you could tell us what attracts you to pugs and what attracts your husband to labs and staffies, and we may be able to suggest a good compromise breed.

justilou1 Tue 08-Jan-19 10:01:16

I would NEVER encourage anyone to get a brachycephalic dog. (The shortened face and jaw). This is something we have bred into them and we have cause serious health and mental issues as a result. (Look it up). A lot of brachycephalic dogs (especially pugs and frenchies) are so in-bred they have a waking apnoea and need surgery to keep their airways open just to stay alive.
If you like small dogs, King Charles spaniels are lovely with kids. (Dachshunds are snappy, bitty, aggressive, little buggers, so avoid them...) Just do your homework and find a really reputable breeder, and ask the local vets nearest to the breeder if they know about them as well.

LipstickforFish Tue 08-Jan-19 10:04:01

@justilou1 unfortunately it's the look of a pug that I love. I have always loved them but I also don't want a dog that is going to have problems with it's breathing and other things. I have spoken with a vet I know who also said she wouldn't recommend a pug due to its health issues but she also said most dogs have problems over time.

It's sad as it's literally the dog I have always wanted and now I am torn. Even if I found a reputable breeder, there is no guarantee the dog wouldn't have issues in the future.

OP’s posts: |


SnowsInWater Tue 08-Jan-19 10:07:53

We have a Springer and cocker spaniel. Both are gorgeous but our Springer is the most beautiful, gentle, loyal dog ever and the perfect family dog. We haven't found our girl as high energy as people sometimes say - we do have a big garden though and she would play fetch non stop all day when she was younger. She is living out her last days at the moment as she has congestive heart disease (age 9) and we are all a bit heartbroken at the thought of losing her.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 08-Jan-19 10:14:33

Show cocker spaniel - not a working one unless you have as much surplus energy as they do! Like springers, cockers are the most loving, playful, gorgeous dogs in the whole world.

Santaisfastasleepatlast Tue 08-Jan-19 10:23:58

Have you considered a Lurcher op? Very underestimated as a family pet imo! We have dc (lots), other ddogs and 2 dcats.
My ds is the apple of all their eyes!!
Here is mine at the back showing indeed how small they fold up!!

tabulahrasa Tue 08-Jan-19 10:44:56

The health problems in brachycephalic breeds aren’t really the same as any dog can have health issues... less than 15% can breathe normally...

How they look is also the least sensible way to pick a dog

drinkswineoutofamug Tue 08-Jan-19 10:59:30

Whippet x owner here. Lovely dogs , so loving. Easy to train. Loves a big run then sleeps for the rest of the day

missbattenburg Tue 08-Jan-19 11:14:20

OP, I don't think you are torn. I think deep down you know a pug is not right for you.

Even aside from the aspects you have mentioned, pugs have extremely vulnerable eyes because they are large, round and protrude from the skull. You have two cats and a small child. This seems like too big a risk, to me.

Most dogs do have problems over time. Having a 10 year old dog develop heart problems is very different to watching a 6 month old puppy struggle to play and run as it should because it cannot take in enough oxygen. It'll break your heart.

It is a real shame, because pugs have brilliant little personalities and if mankind had been more responsible about them we would have a smashing little breed.

However, dogs have a funny way of teaching you love how they look. I mean, I never have been naturally drawn to how a staffie looks but recently spent quite a bit of time with the most wonderful old staffie gent and found myself becoming rather drawn to the big old grin on him because he was just such a wonderful character. As a result, I now find myself drawn to all staffies and would happily take one in, if and when I find myself in need of another dog. Ditto salukis which always looked a bit pointy to me. I had a lovely cuddle with such a gentle your saluki that I now have a soft spot for them also.

A number of the bigger dog/pet sows now have a discover dogs section where people bring in examples of many, many breeds and you can spend time petting them and talking to owners about them. It really is a fantastic way to get to know different breeds. Maybe have a look to see if there is anything like that on soon that you can go to?

justilou1 Tue 08-Jan-19 11:26:03

I forgot about the eye thing. My brother’s chihuahua walked into a cactus and speared it’s eyeball. It now has one eye. (So glad I didn’t find that poor dog!)

Whoseranium Tue 08-Jan-19 13:22:30

Definitely avoid pugs or any other brachycephalic breeds. An extremely short face is simply incompatible with normal canine health and function.

As well as breathing issues (which the majority of extreme brachy dogs suffer with to some degree) there’s the eye issues, spinal problems (as a result of breeding for the screw tail), dental problems (due to overcrowding resulting from a full set of teeth having to fit into such a small mouth), heat and exercise intolerance (it’s so hard for brachy dogs to keep themselves cool that they can keel over from heatstroke at alarmingly low temperatures), anal gland issues, skin fold dermatitis...

And that’s before we start on the raft of health issues in the breed that aren’t directly related to the shape they’ve been bred into (such as necrotising meningoencephalitis, a.k.a. pug dog encephalitis which kills approximately one in a hundred pugs) and only a fraction of which can be tested for.

Yes, all pedigree breeds will be at risk from some heritable health issues but the risk of those can be drastically lowered through using health screening schemes and maintaining as much genetic diversity as possible. This isn’t the case with the most common issues affecting pugs (or other brachy breeds) because they are a direct consequence of the shape they’ve been bred into and until breeders are producing more moderate dogs (i.e. ones with longer noses, well set eyes, fewer wrinkles, normal tails, more athletic builds) those problems are going to remain endemic within the breed.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Tue 08-Jan-19 13:39:24

Staffies are terrific - they aren't all strong pullers on leads - I have a staffie cross and she walks beautifully on a lead and is hugely affectionate and obedient. I would suggest you have a look around a few rescues and see what dogs you are drawn to. Meet a few staffies in case you find yourself agreeing with your DP, which would sort out your differences in choice. Nothing wrong with a crossbreed, to my mind. No need, necessarily, to get a pure bred dog unless it is the one you fall in love with.

Wolfiefan Tue 08-Jan-19 13:42:58

I wouldn’t be getting any dog with a two year old.
You need to consider how much walking and grooming you’re prepared to do.
If you want a pedigree would you consider making it to Discover Dogs at Crufts to meet some?
If you want to rescue consider rescues that use foster homes.

Wolfiefan Tue 08-Jan-19 13:44:27

Oh and don’t shop online.
If you want a pedigree go through the breed club and be prepared to wait.
It’s buyer beware as most dogs sold are from puppy farms in the U.K.

PennyMordauntsLadyBrain Tue 08-Jan-19 13:53:04

My brother’s chihuahua walked into a cactus and speared it’s eyeball. It now has one eye.

My friend has a young, non-puppy farmed pug and had to buy him goggles for country walks to protect his eyes from twigs and brambles.

We went on a non-strenuous walk with them around a park and 2/3 of the through she had to pick him up and put him in her back pack as he was exhausted and rasping.

If he’s an example of a “well bred” pug in the prime of his health, I can’t imagine what issues are going to be thrown up as he ages.

MikeUniformMike Tue 08-Jan-19 13:54:23

Labradors need a lot of exercise, eat everything and are lovely. Staffies have brilliant personalities and can be excellent pets.
Pugs are gorgeous but see pp.
I wouldn't get a dog if you have a two year old.
If you do get one, try to get an older one that's used to small children, who is being rehomed for a genuine reason (e.g. owner moving into sheltered accommodation).

LipstickforFish Tue 08-Jan-19 15:04:00

I don't have an issue having a dog with a young child, it's not like we would ever leave them both alone together or anything like that. Most people we live near have young children and dogs/puppies so I don't see it as being an issue.

As for the exercise and care aspect, as I mentioned - we are now in the position that we have the time. There is always someone at home and would be able to take the dog on plenty of walks. We live right next to fields and woodland.

I love pugs, and it isn't purely for how they look - it is also their temperament. However, yes - the fact they had they bred to look a certain way which is detrimental to their health does make me think they aren't the right choice. I tend to sway more towards that type of dog, such as I also like French Bulldogs but they have the same issue.

I think a lab would be a good choice but having spent literally years picturing a pug as our dog, a lab seems like a huge dog!

OP’s posts: |
LipstickforFish Tue 08-Jan-19 15:07:33

We also looked into adopting but as we have a young child and two cats, it seems pointless trying as they all have "conditions" attached even if they state they are good with children and other animals.

We will probably end up buying a puppy, but from a proper breeder - not someone on Gumtree - that just seems dodgy

OP’s posts: |
lpchill Tue 08-Jan-19 15:15:29

We where in the same position as you. 2 year old and one cat. We also live in a mid terrace so had to be a fairly quiet breed. I'm probably going to be flamed but we got a mini labradoodle. (Always wanted one before they where popular) we met mum and she had a fantastic temperament. Had other dogs in the house all lovely. 3 cats and a 10 month old baby. We took our then 2 year old with us to meet them. All apart from one ran up to her. The one we chose was interested but didn't jump on her. He seemed to wait until she managed to get away from the others then just walked up to her sat down and kissed her fingers. That was the pup for us. He's now 10 months old and has been a fantastic dog and almost brother. I cut him myself with dog trimmers (loads of YouTube tutorials) done puppy classes so he is very very well socialised. Yes you don't always know what traits it will have but if you can see both parents and pick a good breeder who will be honest about what the pups and parents are like.

SwingoutSisterSledge Tue 08-Jan-19 15:23:04

I have a Pug he is 6 and I got him as a rescue. I totally agree about the breathing and damage to their eyes .He has scratched his eyeball a few times leading to veterinary care. He isnt what I would have chosen but he is the most lovable dog I have ever had. Pugs get attached to their main carer and basically follow you everywhere and just want your attention all of the time . They dont like to walk very far and in summer you have to be careful they don't overheat as their coat is very thick. I got him as a rescue as the owner didnt have time to give him all the love and attention he needed which is a lot . Brilliant with my kids but they are older 9 and 17.

AutumnColours9 Tue 08-Jan-19 18:16:27

How about a bichon shnauzer or cockapoo

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