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Old 12-15-2014, 11:04 AM
Flybynight Flybynight is offline
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Default Help! Nothing fits.

As a frequent reader, but not poster, here goes nothin'. I know some of you are on other dog forums and may have seen me post there. Not sure why I never made it here.

I'm looking for a "like GSD" but healthier. I'm willing to go smaller, but nothing below 45 lbs.

What I love about shepherds:

- Brains
- Seriousness
- Owner worship without being touchy feely (current hound would prefer to be in your lap at all times - drives me nuts)
- Bombproofness
- Wash 'n wear (highly prefer short but double coated breeds)
- Aloofness with strangers
- Good off switch
- Hardness

We live on 500 acres in Maine, so must be able to handle very cold weather and rough terrain. We hike long distances in the back country, camp, kayak, etc. This is also why I mention hardness - we're sort of a rough 'n tumble family.

I've thought about Border Collie, but sound reactivity is a problem during hunting season, and whenever DH gets irritated (he's a shouter - eggs are burning, he yells at them. I fear a Border Collie would take this to mean all eggs are a source of anxiety that should be treated with suspicion.)

I've thought of Aussie, but "bouncy" and "happy" sort of turn me off. Maybe working Aussie? Any working Aussie people here?

I've thought of ACD but frankly all the ones I see look too short of leg for our area. I'd have to hoist them up rocks. No fun.

I've thought of Malinois, but fear it's way too much dog.

I've thought of the other Belgians but their snipey heads and abundant coat turn me off. My chow mix has a coat like that - it's a snowball magnet.

I've thought of English Shepherd but they seem so variable that I can't peg them. Some are too fluffy as well.

There's a bazillion rare breed herders, but I'm not super keen on importing. I will if I have to, however, since I feel like I've hit a wall.

I'm also open to non-herders. Since I like them, that's just where I started, but maybe I should broaden the search?
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Old 12-15-2014, 03:51 PM
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LostAndConfused LostAndConfused is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybynight View Post
As a frequent reader, but not poster, here goes nothin'. I know some of you are on other dog forums and may have seen me post there. Not sure why I never made it here.

I'm looking for a "like GSD" but healthier. I'm willing to go smaller, but nothing below 45 lbs.

What I love about shepherds:

- Brains
- Seriousness
- Owner worship without being touchy feely (current hound would prefer to be in your lap at all times - drives me nuts)
- Bombproofness
- Wash 'n wear (highly prefer short but double coated breeds)
- Aloofness with strangers
- Good off switch
- Hardness

We live on 500 acres in Maine, so must be able to handle very cold weather and rough terrain. We hike long distances in the back country, camp, kayak, etc. This is also why I mention hardness - we're sort of a rough 'n tumble family.

I've thought about Border Collie, but sound reactivity is a problem during hunting season, and whenever DH gets irritated (he's a shouter - eggs are burning, he yells at them. I fear a Border Collie would take this to mean all eggs are a source of anxiety that should be treated with suspicion.)

I've thought of Aussie, but "bouncy" and "happy" sort of turn me off. Maybe working Aussie? Any working Aussie people here?

I've thought of ACD but frankly all the ones I see look too short of leg for our area. I'd have to hoist them up rocks. No fun.

I've thought of Malinois, but fear it's way too much dog.

I've thought of the other Belgians but their snipey heads and abundant coat turn me off. My chow mix has a coat like that - it's a snowball magnet.

I've thought of English Shepherd but they seem so variable that I can't peg them. Some are too fluffy as well.

There's a bazillion rare breed herders, but I'm not super keen on importing. I will if I have to, however, since I feel like I've hit a wall.

I'm also open to non-herders. Since I like them, that's just where I started, but maybe I should broaden the search?
I would recommend an ES. I love my guy, even though he is a little smaller than average (he's travel size). They are very variable, depending on what line you are looking at, just means you can get a dog that fits your needs And just because they can be fluffy, that doesn't mean they aren't wash & wear. Even the fuzzy ones tend to be pretty teflon.

I know of a few ES people in Maine, NH, VT that I could point you to if you are looking for a dog.
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  #3  
Old 12-15-2014, 04:21 PM
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LOL! All I considered was ACD. Yeah, they are shorter legged, but they are bouncy! I don't think you'd have a problem with rocks, honestly.

Have you considered fostering to try a few different dogs out?
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:31 PM
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I agree with fostering a few different dogs to get a feel for the different breeds.

Also if you're doing a lot of backcountry I would suggest a working bred dog, they're structure and temperment tends to be better suited for a harder lifestyle.
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Old 12-15-2014, 05:41 PM
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ACD is my first thought. If you are open to rescue a lot of the non show ones are leggier.

My guy is a mix but shorter on the leg and he climbs trees so I wouldn't worry about rocks.
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Old 12-15-2014, 06:25 PM
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Your list sounds a lot like my ideal list (Other than the size that's Dekka to a T) I have been looking at ACDs as they seem to fit my list the best. (currently got a crestie as I have other wants in a second dog)

When Dekka goes, hopefully in many many many years.. I am seriously thinking ACD.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:05 PM
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I was thinking Malinois. I agree you should try to foster and then you will be able to find the perfect dog for you that way!
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:25 PM
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I would definitely say ACD. My girl is a mix, so she basically has the personality of one without the energy, but I can say that they would most likely fit your needs. Even though a lot of them have shorter legs, they are powerful little dogs and would likely have no problem with rocks (especially if they are used to climbing them).
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:04 PM
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It's tough to get inherent bombproofness, aloof with strangers, and hardness together in one breed, imo. Hardness and brains often comes with hyper alertness to the environment, so requires the ton of socialization to get to the point of "bombproof and aloof".

BC's have a higher chance of sound reactivity and bounciness than Aussies, but not all Aussies are sound reactive and bouncy either. I'd actually say that working-line Aussies are more often the bouncy, happy kind that you don't want- it's the show lines (from a reputable breeder) or just Aussies not directly bred towards working lines that are the ones that can turn out inherently totally bombproof, aloof, calm, still handler-focused... but not half as intense or workaholic, in that case.

I actually thought of Bermese Mountain Dog for number one, which might be kind of random. They have the inherent bombproofness to basically everything from sounds to visual stimulus, aloofness, and a hardy can-do-everything type that can fit really well into the lifestyle you're describing. I don't have any real personal experience with them though, but just throwing this one out there from what other handlers describe.

I also think ACD is one of the breeds with a higher chance of what you're looking for, besides GSDs. But that said, every dog is seriously an individual... breeds aren't divided into different temperaments so acutely. And I agree for the fostering to see which dog fits what you want the best- it doesn't have to be breed specific. :0
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:53 PM
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So in all seriousness, what do you want the dog to do exactly? Just a hiking buddy? hauling stuff on those hikes? protection from the creepy crawlies?

After reading your description no breeds exactly came to mind but when you mentioned environment I thought more of LSG dogs rather than a herding dog. There are several that are wash and wear and a fair number qualify as aloof with strangers and unlikely to react to noise that doesn't mean something to them. Their brains are their own to use and I have never met one that as an adult I would describe as brainless.
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