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Advice on breed(49 Posts)
My husband and I have both had springer spaniels in the past. We have avoided a dog due to work etc as we know the effort required.
But I now have a job where I work from home all the time. We finally feel we have the time to devote to training/walking/being home. We have two kids, 10 and 8, and 2 cats (so greyhounds etc are out). We are pretty active, we love long walks/runs/cycles.
We aren’t rushing but would love thoughts on a good breed. We naturally are drawn to springers because we know them, my mum has a springer and 2 cats. But we are very open to other breeds.
My friend has two miniature schnauzers, which we have borrowed, they have lovely temperaments and there is an excellent breeder close by.
Other breeds we have considered are beagles, Weimaraner, and in a weak moment a sausage dog, but need something that can do big walks. Whispers ... seriously considered a labradoodle after meeting a neighbour’s and it was so gentle and lovely, Ubuntu I know that can bring out the rage in some people.
I have been checking Dogs Trust, but none of them are suitable for homes with kids.
I am very wary of puppy farmers, especially right now, so we can take our time.
So, would love to know your recommendations.
Miniature schnauzers are the best, particularly as you have a reputable breeder nearby.
I’m very biased towards spaniels, I don’t think you can beat them, but miniature schnauzers are lovely.
From what I know of Weimaraners... they can be a bit thick... they are beautiful though.
I think most of the ‘working’ breeds would probably suit?
Perhaps not terriers due to the cats but vizlas, collies, labs/retrievers etc?
I only have experience of one Weimaraner and he is beyond vile, as his is awful owner.
Springers, I know you’ve had them before and like them but they are one of the few breeds I actively avoid due to having met so many with horrible temperaments.
I can’t stand them!
Dachshunds, it’s true they are delicate but they are ‘proper’ working dogs imo.
My BIL has one and he can keep up with my border collie easily.
The only labradoodles I’ve met have been exceptionally boisterous, ‘in your face’ and very hyperactive.
I'm a dog walker, I meet and get to know a lot of dogs. Some things to consider :
Beagles are beautiful dogs but tend to be stubborn and wilful. They are often vocal
and their bark is ear splitting. Their recall is notoriously tricky, mainly due to their exceptional nose- they can smell something irresistible and off they go following the scent in such a state of arousal that they loose their head and recall fails. I've walked many who can have fantastic recall but then one day it goes horribly wrong. Mine are now all walked on long lines.
Dachshunds are gorgeous but built to be delicate due to their long spine and short legs. They need to avoid over exertion, play must be gentle so as to avoid rolling, and they should be carried down steps and off sofas.
Vizslas are lovely loyal loving dogs. They have a high energy level and in many cases can become unhappy and destructive if these needs aren't met- ideally via a combination of exercise and brain games. Most dogs are fine with the odd day without a major walk- this is not the case for vizslas.
I hope this post doesn't offend anyone. I accept there are exceptions to every breed characteristic but IMO breeds usually run to type and people who hope their puppy grows to to be different are often disappointed.
Every dog is wonderful on its own way. All have advantages and disadvantages and the trick is to match them to your top 'must haves' and 'not important' characteristics.
If you've enjoyed owning a springer in the past I'd honestly suggest looking at getting one again.
I hadn’t thought about the Visla, but they are gorgeous. I don’t know much about them, off to research!
I do have a soft spot for daschunds, always have. Now the girls are older I wouldn’t have to worry so much if they are a bit more delicate.
That is really helpful @peoplepleaser1.
After a quick look my slight worry about Vizslas is that a couple of times a week we would need to leave it for a few hours (shopping, odd meeting etc) and it doesn’t sound like it would be happy with that.
I do keep coming back to the springer (dippy, loving, and ok to be left for a few hours), and the schnauzer which just has a gorgeous personality and is pretty robust.
Just want to make sure I’m not missing anything in my research!!
We have had golden retrievers, spaniels and jack Russell. All have been amazing family dogs and I highly recommend them all. Our golden retriever was the naughtiest and my favourite. The spaniels were v placid and not mad and energetic. The Jack Russell's are pocket sized and perfect, very loyal and easy to train.
Daschunds can be tricky, especially with house training. I have a few friend who have them and two of the are snappy....
I'd stick with a springer if I were you. I'm totally biased, having two myself, but they are fantastic family dogs if you like being active. Contrary to what someone said above, I've never met one with a difficult temperament and I've known lots over the years.
If you liked the labradoodle, how about a poodle/miniature poodle? We have a 9 month old pedigree mini poodle, a second dog to our 5 year old working lab and he is just wonderful. Amazingly loving, great fun out and about, bright as a button but equally happy to chill for hours. He is brilliant with our 3 dds (12, 10 and 4) and is fine with our cats. I was warned by another poodle owner about the strong prey drive but we live on a free range chicken farm and he has quickly learned to ignore them.
I must say the lack of shedding is a huge bonus too, especially compared to the continuously moulting lab! No fancy hair dos here, in fact everyone thinks he is a doodle something. Just an easy all over trim every few weeks. And very handy being portable enough to stick in the sink/bath if need be. If he does have a bath there is no “wet dog” aroma, which is rather lovely. He’s been fine left at home for short periods (although to be fair, only with the lab at home with him and not left for very long yet as he’s still a pup). All in all I can’t think of a single negative, would get another one in a heartbeat.
My sister has a labradoodle who's just turning 1 and he's a lovely chap. Quite timid apparently but doesn't seem to be much of a bother. Gets on brilliantly with the 2 cats.
I second a miniature poodle. Great dog.
Sorry! Posted too soon. Caveat. She doesn't uses Mumsnet!
Look into Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers.
I was going to suggest them! They look a bit like a labradoodle but are a proper breed, and can be good with cats if raised from puppyhood with one. The ones I know are great family dogs.
Portugese Water Dog might be another possibility.
If the big Discover Dogs event is allowed to go ahead this autumn, it might be worth going so you can see various breeds and talk to owners.
I have an Irish Terrier @Thewolfsjustapuppy and agree they are the perfect dog for what the OP describes. They're on the vulnerable native breeds list, but there are a growing number round here because when you meet them you want one! They're amazing with kids and so loving 🥰
Have you considered a Toller? Ours is 6 now and a perfect family dog - he’s the happiest dog I’ve ever known, loves to play, is always up for an adventure but has an off-switch at home. They’re the smallest of the retrievers so a lovely size, ours has been easy to train (very motivated by food and toys). He’s scared of our cats so wouldn’t dare to chase them but will (unsuccessfully) chase squirrels in the park if given the chance. He does need grooming - quick brush through a couple of times a week and a trip to the groomers every three months or so to get his feet trimmed - but he doesn’t shed that much, especially not when compared to something like a lab. The only downside is they’re quite rare so you generally have to wait a while but if you’re not in a hurry they could be one to add to your list
Springers are lovely dogs. Some lines can be a bit sharp if not given enough early exposure to strangers and other dogs, so check out the temperaments of both side and dam. Having had Springers, you'll be aware of the difference between show and working lines.
If you like Weimaraners (definitely NOT thick, not at all) and Vizslas, have you thought about German Pointers? They come in three coat types (the wires tend to be more stubborn than the short and long coated varieties) and are not as clingy as Vizslas.
Pre-Covid I walked regularly with a mixed pack of spaniels and German Pointers and it's easy to see that, like working spaniels, they tend to be prey driven, clever and active (though some lines are bred more to be pets than workers). IME they can easily be left for a few hours, love DC and share that spaniel attitude that the world is wonderful.
Golden retriever or retriever lab cross. Currently got a retriever and she's the best dog I've ever had. Gentle, loving, funny, intelligent.
For what it's worth I said I'd never have one as they are so hairy, but I groom her regularly and she's fine.
Airedale. Lovely smart dogs. Nice family size, not to big or small.
I echo what @DramaAlpaca said... springers for the win. I have two of the mad buggers, but they are solid, well trained and fairly bomb proof now after working hard with them in the early months. For me, they are superb companions and will cope very well with the long walks.
@Sleepthief the are great dogs aren’t they? I have three (one is a foster who moved in in February supposedly short term, then Covid happened). They have a bad write up on breed sites but I think that may be a conspiracy to keep them out of the popular list .
Mine are cat safe after meeting a few cats who took them down a peg or two. My foster is a bit leash reactive due to his difficult childhood but off lead he is a wimp who runs away from a fight. One of my girls is a happy scrapper, like many terriers she loves a good play fight but there is no aggression in her.
They are trying as puppies; socialise, train, train, train and train has been my answer to that - I have ITs who compete at agility, love obedience and are learning assistant type jobs like closing and opening doors .