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Advice on choosing and buying first dog(33 Posts)
When I was a child we always had rescue collie crosses and we've wanted a dog as a family pet for a while but (due to location/size of house and long work hours) never previously felt it would be fair on the animal to have one.
We now have a house with a small garden, in a semi-rural location so loads of walks nearby and I work part time from home- so now seems an ideal time to get our first dog. I've just realised though how clueless I am about how to choose the right dog and where/how to get one. Could anyone help- or point me the direction of some sensible advice websites/books?
Info I think is relevant is:
- we have DC but the youngest is 10
- our home is still relatively small so I'd rather avoid a really big dog
- I have time to walk the dog daily but won't always have time for very long walks every day (but will at weekends)
- we have an enclosed garden but it's not very big
- ethically, I'd really like to have a rescue dog but not sure if that's a no no with children nowadays (even though mine are older)
- I am concerned that we could inadvertently buy from a puppy farm if we got a puppy but am not sure how best to make sure we avoid them if we get a puppy
- aesthetically (although clearly this is not the most important thing) I like 'fluffy' dogs and DH doesn't really want a 'toy' size dog
- DH quite likes the idea of a spaniel but I've heard they need a huge amount of exercise and attention
Can you offer any wisdom? Thanks
I found this site quite useful, and if you can go to shows like Discover Dogs or shows specifically for the dog you are interested in then the best thing you can do is speak to owners and see dogs before making a decision https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/dog-breeds/
Going to dog shows and competitions also means you can find reputable breeders and get advice specific to the breed you like.
I only like the working cocker spaniels personally.
All the show line ones I've met are, in my opinion, seriously ugly and bar one who is an absolute delight have had not very nice temperaments.
Springer spaniels I absolutely loathe.
I stay well away if I see one due to the overwhelming numbers of them I've met who have been very aggressive indeed.
I don't personally believe that working bred dogs need masses of exercise and brain work.
I think it can be detrimental and lead to wired, stressed out animals.
I have a working line collie myself, she is extraordinarily lazy and sleeps most of the day, she will take as much exercise as I want to give her but too much, especially if it contains training or games can overstimulate her and she gets a bit whiny.
In your position I would rescue. I grew up with a rescue dog, my dog is not a rescue, because they wouldn’t give me one at the time as my children were too young. Ten is normally considered fine. Dogs end up in rescue for so many different reasons, they aren’t all traumatised and unpredictable. The dog I grew up with had been born in the rescue, adopted, and brought back at seven months as the owners were divorcing and couldn’t keep her. She was the most gentle and good tempered dog.
Go along to a rescue centre and talk to the staff, they know the dogs, they will have some idea what will suit your family. You will almost certainly fall for one of the dogs there.
10 should be fine for a rescue dog. Most would have some suitable to rehome with children that age. I would go to the local rescue and ask for them to match you with a suitable dog.
I agree Springers can be aggressive. Also Cockers can have rage syndrome.
Trying to convince DH about a lurcher rescue myself, no luck yet.
10 is a good age
I have a terrier (yorkie cross) they are small but they are not exactly hand bag dogs unless you get a toy breed they are fairly sturdy dogs in that respect
Walney what are his concerns??
No concerns, its just that we are renting and only have permission for one dog, but when we eventually buy a house I would love a lurcher as a friend for our basset hound. I love bassets but DH has said he would only ever want bassets!
@Walney I've had a look at that site and it's suggesting quite a few breeds we'd not considered so will do a bit more research.
@Windydaysuponus - your dogs are adorable. I may well add Lurcher to the list. (I can tell I will need to be careful not to fall for every dog I see
@Walney what are Bassets like as family pets? They seem to come up as a suggestion for us on the website you suggested but I don't really know anything about them. Thanks
Bassets are absolutely wonderful and amazing with children. They do have health issues so you have to be careful, and they aren't an easy dog as they can be stubborn. However they are extremely gentle, affectionate, goofy and full of love. Ours has 1-2 walks a day and loves her doggy pals and gets very excited when we get near the park. They can be loud and bark/howl, however as we were aware of this it was the main thing we focussed on with training. Ours doesn't bark and has never howled and can be left alone for short periods of time, she can also do recall which a lot of people will say is impossible with bassets. They are heavy dogs, ours is small at 21kg. They are also quite a rare sight these days which I quite like.
We have two Lhasa Apso dogs and they are medium sized. They grow gorgeous long fluffy coats but you need to groom every day so they don't tangle. They are great with children as so loving and loyal. We walk ours twice each day but about 1 mile each time and longer at weekends. They have access to go out in garden as a we had a dog flap put on door. Ours are good with the children and they have taught them to shake a paw, sit before crossing a road, and fetch a ball etc so not stupid dogs.as we have two they keep each other company. Spaniels can be aggressive and possessive of their toys. Google an image of one. Ours have a top knot to keep the hair out of their eyes.
Rescues will certainly consider someone in your situation. I would aim to try rescues that foster dogs so you have more idea of their character and any training needs.
Buying a pup? Avoid popular cross breeds like the plague. Avoid “trendy” breeds and do your research on health issues for the breed. Consider the jobs the dogs were bred to do. There are breed quizzes and there’s Discover Dogs at Crufts. Meet examples of the breeds, talk to owners and learn about the different options. Never shop online. Go through the breed club and remember licensed or KC reg means nothing. Expect to be quizzed and almost interviewed by the breeder. If in doubt? Walk away.
In response to bassets as family pets: they are very relaxed and laid back. Ours loves to say hello to everyone with a waggy tail, they are gentle and patient with children. Don't need a huge amount of exercise, perfect for families. They do shed quite a bit but don't need grooming except for a good de shedding brush.
Another dog breed advice thread - sorry! http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/the_doghouse/3648308-Another-dog-breed-advice-thread-sorry
Have a read here- some useful comments. Do look up vizsla / vizsla mixes. Really such a gentle, faithful breed and of the ones I know (including my own!) they are have beautiful temperaments- a great family dog.
Poodles are ideal for what you want. Intelligent, even tempered, fluffy and come in a lot of sizes.
Do your research on the breeder and expect to be put in a long waiting list and you should be able to avoid puppy farmers (don’t go for a designed poodle cross, there the puppy farmers have cornered the market).
Another vote for rescue dog. Mine is a colliexlurcher very lovely with my dd and all children esp teenagers (and old people) I have had an issue with other dogs although she is generally friendly she is very feisty with any dog that annoys her. If you do go for a rescue you need to be willing to work on any behavioural issues but if you go to.a good rescue centre they are very helpful in matching you with a dog and giving advice on behaviour. I think it's worth the effort of working on behaviour and training of rescues as they give so much back.
For any breed you consider, look up the health issues associated with the breed and check out how prevalent they are.
If you go the puppy route, try and meet the puppy's relations. Like @Fucksandflowers, I have met some aggressive springers (nippers rather than maulers, but not great). However, some of them are really charming dogs. If you can meet not only the dam, but also an aunt, sibling and a cousin, you can get a better handle on the personality traits in that line.
Also if you go the puppy route, go onto Mate Select on the KC website and check out the co-efficient of inbreeding of the mating. A shocking number of breeders still produce litters with very high COIs, despite all the genetic evidence about inbreeding. Anything over 5% would make me walk away, but that's just me.
There used to be a working-type basset round here who was a real delight, very jolly and surprisingly fast. There are some basset-type dogs that are a bit fluffier, like the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.
Lurchers can be very chill but some of them are very prey-driven, especially the ones bred deliberately and with forethought for particular jobs.
We have a terrier mix puppy, he is a yorkie/jrt and so far appears to be a perfect little dog. He's been easy and quick to train, is fine in the crate and car, is fine to occupy himself but loves people as well.
They are robust little dogs with tons of personality and energy, our pup is also very fluffy and cute!!
Spaniel Aid UK has loads of dogs looking for homes.
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