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Old 06-01-2013, 12:09 PM
Logen Ninefingers Logen Ninefingers is offline
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Default Help Me Pick A Breed, Please

Hello everyone,

Great forum you have here - there are a lot of very knowledgeable posters. I hope you guys won't mind helping me out, as I'm struggling to decide what breed of dog I should own.

Whether you have had dogs previously
Two golden retrievers. Been around dogs all my life.

Your circumstances - do you work etc?
I work from home. The dog will very rarely be left by itself.

How much time you have for exercise
I'd imagine two walks per day, plus time in the back garden.

Whether you have children, other pets etc
One cat.

What characteristics you are looking for
I want a medium to large sized dog with a natural guarding instinct. Always wanted a "velcro dog" - a dog that always want to be with its people. The dog must have an off-switch and be content to curl up and be lazy. I don't like stubborn, independent dogs like Akitas or Huskies.

What breeds you have already looked at and your thoughts on them

Doberman - Never seen one out and about, but from what I've read (and I've read quite a bit), they seem like great dogs. The laundry list of health concerns bothers me, though.

Boxer - Have mixed feelings about this breed. My partner likes them a lot, and for that reason, I've looked into them.

There seems to be a lot of contradictory information out there. Some people say they slobber like broken faucets, others say they slobber only as much as any other breed. Some people say they're non-stop, bouncing-off-the-walls maniacs, others say they can be chilled out.

Don't know what to believe, but I do like that they're natural guardians, like Dobermans.

German Shepherd - Partner's family owns two that I don't particularly like, but from what I've read, they don't seem typical of the breed (they're nervous and prone to biting strangers).

I don't like the sloping-backed look that the showlines have, and worry that if I purchased a working line GSD, I wouldn't be able to meet its exercise requirements.

Anything else you think might be relevant or important
  • I live in a house in a semi-rural location. I have decently sized back garden. Space is not an issue.
  • Regarding coat length: I don't mind. Long hair/short hair, it doesn't bother me, as long as I don't have to take the dog to the groomers (happy to brush daily, etc).
  • I like to go on long walks and hikes. I'd like a dog that could accompany me on these.

Apologies for the long-winded post! I hope I've provided enough information for you all.
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2013, 05:56 PM
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Boxers have just as many health problems as dobermans. A boxer should have a off switch. Some will droll a bit but they whont be as bad as a loose lipped dog.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:09 PM
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Rottweiler?
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:30 AM
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Sounds like you want a Doberman to me. Though I hear you on the health issues. Rottie also not a bad suggestion.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:44 AM
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Based on what you've said, the right Doberman could be a good fit. Either of my Dobes would suit your needs just fine. Both are super velcro dogs, are very active as mature adults (were very high energy before about 2ish though), and are quite content with doing whatever I want to do. Be it be lazy and watch TV, or go for a walk, or go for a run, whatever. They never pester me for extra exercise, although they are nicer to live with after a good run (their favourite activity).

They can be same sex aggressive though, especially males, so keep that in mind should you ever add another dog. And they also are often not good dog park dogs. Some are, but many (or even most) are not.

Just make sure, if you're not adopting from rescue, you go to a good breeder who knows their dogs and their lines inside and out and does all of the appropriate health clearances (cardiac, hips, elbows, eyes, thyroid, etc.). It doesn't guarantee anything of course, but it's good to stack the odds in your favour.



And this might sound like a bit of an off the wall suggestion... but an Aussie might be something to look into. I don't recommend them often, but they could fit your list too. They're not a guard breed per se, but they can definitely be very protective and don't miss a beat. In all honesty, most of the adults I know are just as protective and alert-y as my Dobes are. And mine is a major velcro dog as well, just not as needy about it as my Dobermans. But she's always close and always wants to be near.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:04 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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Honestly, your requirements are pretty open to a good majority of breeds, I'm sure you'll be pleased with whatever you choose. Doberman came to mind before I got to the fact you mentioned them . A rottie too. Even the right Australian Cattle Dog might suit you, they are trainable and happy to hang out with you. Occasionally you'll find any of these breeds without the 'best' off-switch but I feel that depends on the individual dog.

Like Toller said, all of these breeds are a little prone to be reactive or have dog aggression/same sex aggression. If you were to ever add a second dog, I would highly recommend one of a different sex.

You might consider breed rescue too... Dobes, Rotties, GSDs, Aussies, ACDs, and Boxers are all easily found in rescue. You might be able to find an adult with the perfect temperament already, rather than trying to raise a puppy and hoping it has the traits you are looking for.

If you are really wanting a puppy, I would definitely make sure you go with a reputable breeder that health tests. Forgive me if you know this already, but there are screening tests that can be done on the parents for the common problems in a lot of breeds. Off the top of my head, Dobermans can carry a clotting disorder, GSDs can have hip dyplasia, ACDs can have eye problems, Boxers can have cardiac problems. The screening tests on the parents can greatly reduce the chance that your puppy will have that problem. The breeder should willingly produce the results of these tests. You don't really want to look in the newspaper or on a classifieds website for puppies. A reputable breeder (in a very general sense) usually exhibits their dogs as well and produces a limited number of litters per year. The breeder usually evaluates the puppies as they grow up and can help you select the best one for your family.

Anyways, good luck on your search! Let us know what you decide on, and please come back with pictures!
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:24 AM
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It depends on what level of a guarding instinct you want, but some of the protective, naturally wary breeds that weren't traditionally bred for guarding came to mind:

Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Australian Cattle Dog
Australian Shepherd
Dalmatian
or a Bullmastiff.

I've never met a boxer that drooled. They may give slightly wetter kisses or slobber a bit more at a water dish or while eating than tighter-lipped dogs, but I've never seen one leave slobber on a couch, or just drool generally. The ones I've met have also mostly been incredibly docile towards visitors/strangers in general, very people-oriented with both their owners and everyone they meet. At least here, the guarding instinct seems to be pretty bred out of them, way moreso than a dobe or rottie.

If you are considering rescue, a mixed breed dog will probably fit your requirements just as well as a purebred, and a GSD mix might be better suited to you than a pure shepherd.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:13 AM
Logen Ninefingers Logen Ninefingers is offline
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Thank you everyone so far for your replies. Some real food for thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Julee View Post
Rottweiler?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyinsbt View Post
Sounds like you want a Doberman to me. Though I hear you on the health issues. Rottie also not a bad suggestion.
I worry that they might be a little bit much for me. I'm not a big man, and I can picture myself being dragged along the ground with a death-grip on a Rottweiler's leash after it's seen something it wants and has taken off.

I'm being hyperbolic, of course. I like what I've read about Rottweilers. Do you think they need a more physical owner, though?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller_08 View Post
Based on what you've said, the right Doberman could be a good fit. Either of my Dobes would suit your needs just fine.
I hope you don't mind me asking, but how much should one pay for a Doberman from a reputable breeder? I've done some research in the past, and seen numbers as high as 1,200 and as low as 600.

I'm not too concerned about the price, as I realize a Doberman (or any dog) from a reliable breeder is a worthwhile investment, I'd just like to know how much I should realistically expect to pay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toller_08 View Post
And this might sound like a bit of an off the wall suggestion... but an Aussie might be something to look into. I don't recommend them often, but they could fit your list too.
Interesting. They've never been on my radar, so I'll need to look into them a bit more. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazedACD View Post
Even the right Australian Cattle Dog might suit you, they are trainable and happy to hang out with you.
Mad Max's dog, right? Love the way they look, and I'd definitely consider one if they were more available in the UK. Haven't ever seen one, and a search on a popular website only turns up Australian Kelpies.
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:29 PM
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Owning both a Boxer and with all of my research on ACD's/having two ACDx's in the house, I will go ahead and chime in. Prep for long post.

Boxer- They do have natural "guarding" instincts, but they aren't nearly as attentive to detail and things out of place as the cattle dogs. Drool isn't an issue. She makes kind of a mess when she drinks, and will drool a touch when she is getting dinner. STUBBORN. Omg stubborn. If she doesn't want to do it and you don't have anything to make it worth it to her then screw you. She is a mix of independent and velcro. Some days, she wants to be all over you. Others, she is content to stay out of sight and sleep the day away and not get up.

Energy level is manageable, especially now that she is a touch older. A few runs a week/playtime with others and she's good to go. She has a fantastic off switch, though I reinforced it when she was little. Obedience training is a must. You will need to be consistent and keep up with it, and have "bootcamp" every once in a while where you proof everything again, again, and again. She has SOME reactivity that was triggered by a few attacks in the dog park. Other than that, she loves people, and gets along with most dogs. SSA is something that you need to watch out for. We have a foster ACDx right now that is female, and they have had words. Nothing that heeds C/R or anything, but I'm constantly watching them.

These dogs are seriously hilarious and I love them. As much as the ACD's are a better fit for me, I can't see us without a Boxer.

ACD's- I personally don't see them being a good fit, BUT that is just my opinion. An ACD is going to need more than two walks and a run around the yard. They need different channels for the quirky weird energy. The more jobs the better or they will find their own. Recall has to be epic because of their prey drive. These guys LOVE their person.. who they choose. They will normally do just about anything for their person and you will never again go to the bathroom again. Or the kitchen. Or outside. Or to sleep. Or really do anything, if they can come. They are super good listeners to a point. Prey drive will override if you don't work on impulse control, and even then it is constant management. They can be stubborn and are VERY hardy/have a high pain tolerance. They are hard dogs. Harder than Boxers.

Here is what our exercise plan is for a normal week:

Sunday: A walk for me/run for the dogs. Fetch in the house for about 30 minutes. The cattle dogs watch for any intruders of the yard that conveniently look like squirrels.

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Dogs chase each other/wrestle in backyard for up about 45 minutes. Then fetch in the house/more wrestling for up to 2 hours.

Tuesday/Thursday: One cattle dog goes to daycare for 5 hours. Then either bike ride (3-5 miles at varying speeds from full run to walk, but normally at a brisk trot), training session, or major run/swim occur.

Saturday: Sometimes we go on a trip and go for a long-ish hike, or we take them to one of our parents, or we go on a socialization trip.

I try to have Rider in classes every session. He's normally doing Nosework, but we did try agility last time. Lucy is a foster, so just when I feel motivated to train her. Boxer requires a bike ride every 2-3 weeks. Before the cattle dogs, a nice long hike once a week, with a good bike ride, and a walk/play date and we were set for exercise throughout the week.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logen Ninefingers View Post
Thank you everyone so far for your replies. Some real food for thought.





I worry that they might be a little bit much for me. I'm not a big man, and I can picture myself being dragged along the ground with a death-grip on a Rottweiler's leash after it's seen something it wants and has taken off.

I'm being hyperbolic, of course. I like what I've read about Rottweilers. Do you think they need a more physical owner, though?



I hope you don't mind me asking, but how much should one pay for a Doberman from a reputable breeder? I've done some research in the past, and seen numbers as high as 1,200 and as low as 600.

I'm not too concerned about the price, as I realize a Doberman (or any dog) from a reliable breeder is a worthwhile investment, I'd just like to know how much I should realistically expect to pay.

I had Rottweilers prior to Dobermans, and honestly, as far as being 'powerful', they're both pretty on par with one another. And I don't feel you really need a lot of physical power over a dog in most scenarios anyway. I actually find Rottweilers to be an 'easier' dog than a Doberman in the respect that Rottweilers seem a little less geared toward distraction (focus is a big ongoing thing I've had to work on with all of my Dobes) and mine were more people pleasing and less "what's in it for me?" than my Dobes are. They're both breeds that you need to be very consistent and firm with, but they're both also very handler oriented breeds that are sensitive to their person's emotions. I prefer Dobermans to Rottweilers now, but only because I find Rottweilers more in your face and outwardly goofy (with their people/those they know well) and I like my Dobes' more subtle, reserved approach. Hopefully that all makes sense! I'm kind of in a hurry at the moment. But basically, if you feel like you'd make a good owner for a Doberman or a Boxer or the like, there is no reason to feel that you wouldn't make an equally as good of an owner for a Rottweiler.

I am not sure what a well bred Doberman would go for in your currency unfortunately, but they're about $1200-$2500 on average here in North America. Some are more, very rarely less. Most well bred dogs here are minimally $1000-$2000 anyway though it seems.
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