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Another dog breed advice thread - sorry!(86 Posts)
I know there are multiple threads asking for advice on dog breeds (and i think i have read them all!), but i'm still left with some questions that i'd appreciate any advice/experiences on.
So we are family of four - children are 5 and 7. I have always wanted a dog for our family but only now i feel ready to make the commitment as i'll be the main care giver. I work three days week so we would need a dog walker for those days during working hours. We are quite "outdoorsy" as a family and like camping, hiking etc etc so are out in the wilds quite a bit and i'm not put off by walking a dog (I walk a great deal by myself now just for enjoyment :-)) We live in the suburbs but have large parks within walking distance for daily walks and often are in the countryside at weekends.
Breed wise, my husband doesn't like small dogs, so i'm ruling them out, he also isn't keen on dogs that shed or drool a lot but he does likes intelligent dogs with a bit of a presence (yep - he's the fussy one!).
Given that info, anyone got any ideas? Would consider a larger dog - the Great Swiss being one of them - but i'm a bit concerned about the picking up the poo situation, and also given their size I'd imagine they are not as easy to take out and about if need be to shops/cafes etc? Also when my kids are older - is it feasible to think they could walk a big dog or is that a no-no?
I guess another question would be is a medium sized dog much more practical on a day to day basis...?
Would really appreciate any ideas :-)
I dont know a great deal about large dogs (I have two small ones miniture dachshund and cavalier king charles spaniel!) However, as far as medium size dogs go - with your criteria in mind, do you like cocker spaniels?
They're energetic, love children, playing - and can walk for miles! They have lovely characters and tend to be very intelligent.
If I was to have a medium breed that's what I'd choose
Good luck in your search!
Poodles? Intelligent, active dogs which don't shed.
Sounds like an Airedale would be a good match.
Intelligent, good with kids, medium/large size.
I think a Labrador would perfectly for your bill. Big, trainable, outdoorsy, doesn’t drool, family friendly.
We love ours, he's affectionate, energetic, intelligent and occasionally very silly.
Although everyone thinks he's a dulux (OES) dog.
Thanks for your replies :-)
My friends have just got a cocker puppy and his an absolute delight - don't not sure they are "big dog" enough for my husband though, he always had german shepherds but i'm hesitant on the breed with the health issues.
The larger poodles could be an idea - hadn't thought to look into them, they tend to get overshadowed by all the crosses they get which is a shame. Would need to convince my husband they were "man dog" enough for - and please don't take offence at that - he is truly fussy hence why i'm struggling!
Are Airedales like massive terriers character wise of are they a bit calmer? They are beautiful...
Husband not keen on labs :-( I'd happily go for a golden retriever but he's not up for them either.
@Sorority Bearded Collie interests me - i hadn't properly considered them as i thought they would be a bit too much to manage keeping them entertained and stimulated, but i love collies as a breed. Had originally considered a rough collie but all the hair put the OH off...
how would you say a beared collie compares to a border collie temperament wise...?
On a practical note a large dog will cost you more in terms of food/medication/grooming.
I also ruled out any dog that I couldn't lift into a car, onto a table and in an emergency carry home especially as I walk in remote places so if he got injured and I was on my own I could get him home or to a nearby road.
If you're thinking of a puppy, do think about what you will do those 3 days a week while s/he is young. They won't be able to keep up with a walker (and shouldn't do that level of exercise until they are older) and are likely to be too young/scared to leave alone for any length of time for several weeks/months. Day care might not take on a puppy because they require different care and different levels of care to adult dogs. Plus, as they age they will sexually mature before they are neutered/spayed (hopefully) yet many daycare places won't take an intact dog.
Other than that, think about what outdoorsy really means for you. Often people just mean they like doing outdoors things when they have free time and the weather is nice. Dogs need outdoors every single day (twice is better), regardless of weather or spare time etc. Worth thinking about and being honest, because if you pick a high octane breed because you are more active than most humans, that's not going to compare to a breed that is more active that most dog breeds.
The only real differences between small and large dogs iare:
- expense; food is much cheaper for a small dog than a big one
- storage and transportation; big dogs need big cars and may need help getting in and out of the car when they are young/old
- who can walk the dog; asking a child to walk a dog they cannot physically restrain in an emergency would be a no, for me. Even the best trained dogs can startle and you want someone with the strength to stop them running off, if that happens
- other people's reactions; expect to get funny looks if you take a large dog into John Lewis that you wouldn't get if you took a little one
I mention it because we have 2 JRTs and they are small but a whole lot of dog. The size is not an indicator of how much dog you get
Intelligent dogs are not necessary good (or bad). Intelligent means:
- require mental stimulation every day
- often learn naughty things quickly, such as how to open doors and let themseleves out [stares at Battendog!]
- learn negative associations quickly; e.g. one scare with a child can be enough to teach them that children cannot be trusted etc
Am definately not trying to put you off all this. Just trying to flag aspects of the wants you describe that may not have occured to you.
All breeds have good and bad traits. Do spend some time thinking about the bad ones you cannot live with because this could make the difference between a happy match and an unhappy one. For example, someone mentioned cockers. I love spaniels. I really do. Battendog is a springer. But some traits they tend to have that you may not want:
- they are chewers and they love using thier mouths to carry stuff. Expect to lose unattended shoes, toys etc when the dog is young and even when older, expect to mislay these items because they have been 'carried' off somewhere. This may or may not be a problem.
- they are bred for a job working with one person (normally) so tend to have one person in the family they bond with more closely than others
- for the same reason, they can get stressed or upset when away from that person
- the show strains can have a less easy-going/friendly personality in them...
- but the working strains can be nose-led on a walk so recall and lose lead walking can be buggers to train
- shed and require frequent grooming, clipping etc
- are mud magnets and all that fur brings the mud into your house and (if allowed) onto sofas etc.
- ears and mouths need extra care, especially in show strains where they are heavier set
All dogs are individuals so there will be loads of cokcers that don't fit this mould, but there should be more that do.
Other traits you might find unacceptable:
Barking - looks at many of the terrier types
Suspicious of strangers - looks at many of the guarding breeds
Too friendly to strangers (wants to greet everyone when on a walk) - looks at the companion breeds
Aloof and not especially affectionate - some of the utility breeds
Sorry, that's all a bit of an essay. Can you tell I cannot be bothered to get any work done ?
Why did you rule out the golden retriever OP? I have found that they don’t shed as much as you would expect. They’re extremely biddable and good natured, great with kids.
I'd probably look at the Hungarian Viszla in your situation.
If you liked the Rough Collie but don't want 'all the hair' then you could look at the Smooth Collie (but don't think they don't moult at all just because the hair's shorter ... !)
I know they're relatively small, but the Border Terrier is a good outdoorsy man's dog.
Your DH list of things he wants are a bit restrictive but I think Standard Poodle fits the bill.
Cocker spaniels tend to be hyper and a bit yappy. Labradors and Golden Retrievers are gorgeous dogs but they do shed.
Golden retrievers shed a crazy amount!
We had a Golden Retriever and I can report that they shed hair in copious amounts. We used to joke that we could knit a jumper out of him.
Some of the big dogs don't like long walks
I was also going to say a working cocker spaniel. Best dogs ever!
@missbattenburg All brilliant advice - a lot of it I've been thinking but good to have someone else say it. I love terriers, i grew up with a JR Sheltie cross and he had the best possible of both breeds and then some, but the OH just isn't into terriers [rolleyes]. He grew up with dogs and wants a dog but it is defiantly me leading the way with researching etc and i feel finding a dog to fit his requirements is becoming tricky...
We live in scotland so weather wise "there is no such thing as bad weather - just inappropriate clothing"...I'm genuinely happy outside rain, hail or shine.
Intelligence wise i do get what hubby means though - you know how some dogs just have a spark about them, you can see it in their eyes they are smart? I like that, and think training wise we'd be quite on the ball in order to get the best from a dog like that.
@Mermaidoutofwater As has been the answer to alot of dog suggestions - my hubby not keen. My sister in law has a stunningly beautiful retriever but he is a bit dopey and i think my hubby has based his opinion on that.
Airedale sounds like it fits your description.
Big dogs are great but heavy powerful dogs are a lot of hard work. Airedales are a nice size but relatively light (30kg max for a male) so easier to handle and safer around children (in terms of knocking them flying/pulling the lead)
Thanks all, your feedback is great!
@Whitney168 I've read about the smooth collies but never seen one in real life. Would love to see one as i do feel they fit the bill temperament wise...if i can convince my husband
(Feel i'm painting my husband in a bad light - but i have to be honest - he is fussy about lots of stuff...cars, houses....and dogs clearly)
@Nesssie I was just googling Airedales as @Knitclubchatter had mentioned them. Are they generally ok with other dogs? In my quick scan of the web read a few things saying they can a bit funny with other, especially smaller, dogs.
If I can get my Hubby past the terrier part, it could certainly be a possibility. Been looking at pictures...those faces...gorgeous.
@teatimetreat, contact the Smooth Collie Club of GB and am sure they'll be able to tell you of someone relatively close by with Smooths that you could meet.
Bear in mind with rare breeds (eg great Swiss) there will be limited numbers of puppies born in the UK, you might have to travel a long way and wait a long time for one. And with a limited gene pool comes more problems. Remember popular breeds are popular for a reason. I was also coming here to say Labrador. They are brilliant family dogs. Avoid anything too intelligent/ collie based as they can be more reactive around children and need constant mental stimulation. Other than a Labrador, have you considered a setter (Gordon or Red)? They are big and placid and a bit goofy, good family dogs who will also enjoy an active lifestyle but not go mental and chew your house to pieces if they aren't stimulated all the time. Or a retired greyhound would fit the bill!
German Shepard ?
Was going to say cocker spaniel but I see that's been vetoed already !
Tbh you want to be fussy about which breed as you are going to be stuck with him/her for the next 10 years.
"The blending of hound and terrier has softened the personality of the Airedale a bit. These are still tough dogs but usually get along better with other dogs than many of the terrier breeds. Airedales are tolerant of other pets they are raised with and generally get along well with children"
Its all about the correct socialisation in that early key window. That and routine and training makes the dog, rather than the breed.
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