I would have to say that temperment is the number 1 priority when searching out a companion dog (or a working dog for that matter). I had a few dogs with "issues" who never made great companions ... some can adapt through rehabilitation programs, but they never quite get "there".
My ideal dog is my Jack Russell - highly intelligent, independent thinker, is happy to be with you doing nothing, but is "ready" at the drop of a hat. Play and food motivation are important to me, as well as a level of prey drive. I like some protectiveness, and I don't mind some mild dog aggression. I like the dominant dogs, and I do have a preference for females. I also have a preference for small dogs. I do not like "clingy" dogs and I don't need a dog in my face 24 hours a day. I also do not like hyperactiveness or highstrung dogs - both of which I consider to be temperment or training issues.
I guess the "terrier" temperment is what I appriciate most - highly intelligent, bold, fearless, strong, tough, independant, loyal, loving and scrappy.
Brandy: The B Hive (JRT) - ADC, SGDC, AADC, RPT, RNMCL, CL2, CL3-R, CL3-H, CL3-S, HIT Agility JRTRO 2009 Trial
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I have 2 dogs who are very different, and I love the differences and similarities between them.
It's hard to say what kind of dog I like when referring to my own because my dogs are like night and day.
I'll explain what I love in my current dogs and then what I may be looking for in my future dog.
Millie is of extremely high intelligence. She is very responsive and catches on to things extremely quickly. She is a breeze to train and has an unlimited amount of cues, signals, and commands she responds to.
She is VERY loyal. She is always by my side or at my feet and would do anything for me.
She analyses situations and gets tense when she knows it's a bad one or I am afraid or feeling threated by something/someone. Sometimes I'm not aware of her body language when I'm focusing on whatever is a threat but I've been told of how she acts and how her body changes from an onlooker. I get myself out of them but she would step up instantly if something was really happening to me.
She keeps focused on me and she's very attentive.
She's protective but reliable to be friendly and I can take her anywhere.
I love how she can go from cuddling with me on the couch to lying at my feet to outide hiking.
She can be clingy but she can also entertain herself and has some awareness of her own space.
She is excellent with Lucy, always, even when Lucy's jumping in her face or jumping on top of her or hanging off her lip.
Lucy is one of those dogs who is somewhat "difficult." She's a wonderful dog but she doesn't learn and respond to things as fast as some other dogs do.
I love her energy. When everyone else is tired but me Lucy will still be ready to go.
For a dog of her size she definitely does not meet the "small, shaky, snappy, nippy" stereotype.
She is very companionable and affectionate. She sleeps with me and follows me around.
She's small but can keep up with the best of them. She has a feisty attitude and accompanies me everywhere my other dogs do (and no, I don't carry her around and she has never ben in a purse) like hikes in the desert, into own, playing in the wash, and on thick deserty trails.
It feels wonderful when something "clicks"in her mind. I do think she is much smarter than she lets on.
She is always happy and cheerful and when she does anything she puts her whole self into it.
She's very playful.
She's still only a year and a half old so I can't wait to watch her mature into an adult.
In my next dog, there are a few things I am looking for, and the other things will be fine whichever way.
I want a dog who is good with other dogs. That is a necessity because I am not into the "crate and rotate" game and my current dogs often associate with other dogs.
Good with cats, at least flexible enough to be taught to leave my cats alone.
I want a medium sized dog. I prefer this size; small enough to be easily moved and traveled with, picked up in case of emergency, but sturdy enough not to be carried off by some animal out here in the desert, and to be able to be off leash without me hovering like I do with Lucy.
High energy- I love to have a dog who will hike with me, swim with me (I have a weird preference for a dog who likes water because I love going to the lake and swimming with them), play with me, and run around like a fool with me.
I prefer an affectionate dog. They don't have to be all over strangers but I would like a dog who is affectionate with me.
I would like a dog who are sweet. Both of my dogs have different levels of affection and clinginess, but they are both truly sweet- and very endearing. I love that in them.
Most of all, my most important factor is a dog I "click" with.
There's a chance I will fall in love with a dog who is completely different from my "preferences" here. That's how my dogs are both so different. I knew they were the ones.
Size: Medium to Large. I will be a female living alone and I want a dog whose size (But not temperment) will make people think twice.
Coat: Low mantainence. No poodles or Huskys.
Temperment: I don't mind shy dog or one that has issues, in fact these are the dogs I prefer. However, I will not tolerate human agression at all. Ever since I lost my baby to an unstable temperment I won't go through that again.
Not to high energy: I don't mind going for walks, but I don't have hours every day for exercise.
I always swore that my next dog would be an agility prospect, so a dog that enjoys learnng and can take direction well.
Also a dog that is good off leash. I love my beagle dearly, but there are time when I wish I could let her off leash and not have her head for the road.
Good with other dogs. I am hoping to foster dogs and will likely always have a multidog situations.