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Old 07-07-2014, 12:12 AM
Larkest Larkest is offline
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Hello everyone.

My first time on these forums, but not my first foray into the world of dogs. However, I've become a little stumped, and in my quest for knowledge I've gotten conflicting information from a combination of books, online resources, and breed forums, so I was directed here by a friend of mine who often lurks your boards. According to her, there's a wide variety of folks from all walks of life, and I'm hoping that perhaps I can get some input.

Having acquired an apartment of my own several years ago - along with two cats - I've found myself missing the excitement of my old dog. I previously owned a Chihuahua/Corgi mix who was remarkably calm and well-behaved while being a joy to train - truly the very thing I'm looking for - but whom I tragically lost last year to heart failure. The apartment hasn't quite been the same without his presence so I'm looking to get another dog; however, he is the third I've experienced in my lifetime with health issues (previous two were family dogs from my youth) and as all three came from the shelter with little to no medical background, I am unwilling to put myself through that gauntlet again. I have seen in the time I've spent clicking around that folks are often referred to the shelter but I truly hope you will understand when I say I am just not going to put myself through that surprise pain again; I would rather dance with the devil I know than the devil I don't, so purebred I shall go. That is to say, I would rather purchase a dog knowing the possible health issues that could come along for the ride than have a Pandora's box of issues that I'm not prepared for. Again, I truly hope that you understand the reasons behind my decision and think no worse of me because of it. <3

Having said that, I suppose this is the part where I explain a bit about myself, so folks have an idea of who I am and what exactly it is that I'm looking for.

I am currently a full-time university student who works from home part-time and I am at present remarkably withdrawn from society, so my routine rarely varies between school and home. My classes are the same each year, and I have breaks of a few hours in between most classes - at the shortest part, I'm away from home for two and a half hours. Essentially, I am a homebody, but I do enjoy my freedom to go out when needed for a few hours. My old dog was ten months old at the time he passed and he was able to sit comfortably at home for several hours if necessary, so I'm looking for a breed who could replicate that. This is perhaps my most important criterion - a breed with a reputation that is suitable to be left for a few hours without developing separation anxiety.

As mentioned, I live in an apartment, and whilst I wish it were large it sadly is not. That isn't to say that it's tiny - well, my kitchen is a hole in the wall, but considering I'm rarely there that's beside the point - but it's suitably snug. I'm not looking for a large breed, or even a medium, really - I'd prefer if the breed were no more than 20-25lbs, but the smaller the better, honestly. My Chi/Corgi cross was about 20lbs and our vet considered him fully grown at that weight and that was a good size.

I have cats, so a breed that isn't prone to a hunt-kill-FEAST! instinct is preferable. I have minor experience training the urge to chase my cats out of a dog, but I wouldn't by any means consider myself a pro. I enjoy teaching tricks, but that's the extent of it, as I've never had a dog with behavioural problems that weren't fixed by extra exercise or socialization work.

I am ridiculously lazy, and I'll be the first person to admit it. However, even I can manage to rustle my rear up for a 20 minute walk twice daily, and this suited both myself and my dog just fine. In finer weather, the walks were increased to 30 minutes twice daily along the riverfront. I never took my dog to a dog park due to the local crowd having a penchant for "it's only a flesh wound" and my own desire to have positive-only experiences with my boy. We did bi-weekly doggy playdates at a local field with friendly dogs, but that was about it. Basically - the lower the exercise threshold, the happier I will be. But I am capable of mustering 40-60 minutes per day.

I have sensitive skin, and for some unknown reason, short or coarse hair tends to agitate it. The only dogs my family has owned have been Chinese Cresteds (one hairless, one powderpuff) that I did fine with, and my Chi/Corgi was long-haired. I'd prefer a breed with longer coat, or at least a coat that's softer to the touch. No terrier coats or short coats, if at all possible.

I'm a sheer novice when it comes to training, really. My family's dogs were trained by a pro (I was but a wee little lass) and my Chi/Corgi was trained with clicker training step-by-steps I got out of a Karen Pryor book. They worked alright - the dog saw the clicker come up and had a spazz attack with joy - but I guess what I'm trying to say is, breeds that don't really want to work for their person probably won't go over well with me. I'm not a very confident person (I feel like that bit is obvious even through my typing, heh heh) so my dog's calmer and ready-to-please nature worked better for me as it made me feel more confident, and I feel like this is what I need.

Now, you may be wondering why I'm asking about it, as those seem like pretty straightforward needs. My main issue is that I'm getting a different picture of a breed from every single source I've checked. Since all three of the dogs in my life have been from shelters, we inherited an absolute bricksack of issues (the Cresteds had teeth, hip, eye, and skin health problems, as well as dog aggression and separation anxiety; my Chi/Corgi was a huge barker and it took a tonne of training to get past that) so I don't consider my personal experiences to be "the norm". However, taking the Crested for example - books say they're Velcro dogs; online resources say they're aloof and high energy; and breed forums say they're barkers and lazy. The same went for breeders I contacted - same said livewire, others said needy. Every dog's an individual, but I'm not finding any common ground to base an idea on. I'm really not sure who to believe, so I figured some additional input on any breed that came to someone's mind - not necessarily a specific one - would help me out.

If you made it this far, kudos! You're awesome in my books. Any advice or experience that can be offered will be appreciated. Thanks guys!

Last edited by Larkest; 07-07-2014 at 12:18 AM. Reason: Clarifying a part of the post that I thought was a bit vague.
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:33 AM
crazedACD crazedACD is offline
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I wonder if looking for an adult/older puppy from a breeder would be good for you...something that didn't turn out like they had hoped, or a puppy they took back...something like that .

Quiet and smaller breeds don't always go hand-in-hand, but hopefully you can find something that works!

Hmm.. Miniature Poodle? They are usually very trainable and not necessarily known for being loud. The coat may benefit you as well.

Cavaliers are nice dogs that might suit you, but they can run up some health problems. They are adoring, friendly, happy dogs but not always very "street smart". Trainable though.

Cocker Spaniel?
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:59 PM
Larkest Larkest is offline
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I was considering an older puppy to adult for sure. I've never really raised a puppy per se... my boy was the youngest I've ever raised and I adopted him at four months and he worked out fine at that age so I was looking to start at 4-6 months and up to two years. It isn't that I couldn't make the time for a young puppy, I just think it would be more comfortable for myself and the puppy if it already had a degree of bladder control.

I can work on the barking (I had more experience with that), I'm more concerned about the development of separation anxiety. I'm not away from home for longer than a few hours tops, but our family Cresteds could seriously not handle more than a few minutes away. If we didn't let them sit in the bathroom while we took a shower, for instance, we'd come out of the shower to pee and poop everywhere as well as dogs having the equivalent of a panic attack. I really am not keen on something like that. I've taught "Inside Voice" to my Chi/Corgi after a lot of work and persistence, and I am fully prepared to do so again if there's a breed/dog out there that fits the rest of the bill.

The Mini Poodle was at the top of my list, but I saw on another thread they have a very high drive and high energy, and since I'm not exactly an athlete, I didn't know if that would fit my lifestyle. If someone who has a Mini Poodle or is familiar with the breed could let me know about that I'd be very keen to hear more as they were the very first breed I was really considering.

My heart breed is the Cavalier, but after losing my boy recently to heart failure under very traumatic circumstances (let's just say that was not what I expected to find coming home from the grocery) I'm very unwilling to consider a breed with something of a reputation for significant health issues. I'm prepared for the possibility, but from what I've seen and read (and the consensus seems pretty common) it's an inevitability with that breed, and I just don't know if I'm ready for that sort of situation right now.

I've not actually considered a Cocker Spaniel. Aren't they very active dogs? I don't know very much about them. What's their energy level like? I've heard they're very trainable though, and the size is right.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:41 PM
casey82 casey82 is offline
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I have an American Cocker. He's about 21 pounds. He loves to play but he's not what I'd cosider high energy. He seems to be really good st matching his energy to my activity level. He is mildly reactive but not unmanageable. In fact I would not consider him child friendly and Saturday I had him st a beach full of children and he was perfectly content to chase his bumper in the water. He is super handler focused abd loves to learn. He's smart. I'm only limited in my imagination and my skill as to what I can teach him. I do not like his coat. I have shaved him down and will continue to do so. His coat would make me stick with field lines in the future but I'd absolutely own another. Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions.
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Old 07-08-2014, 10:56 AM
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Have you thought about a long coated chihuahua? It seems like you really clicked with your chi/corgi mix.

Mine are really good at laying around, but are ready to go as soon as you are. I take mine on hikes (we do 6 mile hikes on a regular basis in the cooler months) and they can go and go.

I've found mine to be easily trainable... they are VERY food motivated and really love to please their owners.

Mine have always been fine with our full time job schedules. We'd take them out as soon as we woke up, feed them, then take them out again. They'd all make it until the end of the day where we'd do the same thing. We always kept a pee pad down for them in case they couldn't hold it as we leave down a water dish during the day.

If you have any questions feel free to send me a PM
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:07 AM
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Have you thought at all about an Italian Greyhound? They have a smooth coat and shed very little, so they should be okay for your skin sensitivity. They LOVE to snuggle, are active little dogs without needing a lot of "outdoor" exercise (but if you want to go for a walk, they will for sure be able to keep up!), good with other animals, and the ones I've met have just been fun, awesome little dogs and I don't think I've ever heard one bark.

They can be fairly delicate (although I wouldn't say any more so than other toy breeds) and the can also be hard to housebreak. I know many who have had no issues, and others who do. So...not really sure. I think a large reason is they don't like cold/wet weather and tend to have naughty habits because of it (my mom's Dachshund is the same way).

I wouldn't discount a miniature/toy poodle. Granted, I don't know many of them, but I think they are highly adaptable. While I believe they certainly *could* go-go-go and be an active, drivey companion, I also think they can swing towards the more "house pet" side of things. They certainly aren't going to just laze around indoors, though, so if that is what you want, perhaps another breed would be more suitable.

Other breeds that came to mind were Maltese, Shih Tzu, and perhaps a Tibetan Spaniel? (I've loved the Tibbies I've met!)
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:41 PM
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If you like poodles, I would recommend a toy over a mini.

My mini poodle, and ones I've met, are very high energy, high drive dogs. I have yet to meet one that is a couch potato.

That said, toy poodles tend to be much better lap dogs, and are incredibly smart and eager to please. They are prone to having bad knees and eye problems though, so make sure the breeder tests for luxating patellas and PRA.


Maltese are pretty neat dogs, have you looked into them?
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:47 PM
Larkest Larkest is offline
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Hi guys!

I've gone ahead and messaged a couple of you with further questions about your suggestions. Thank you so much again for taking the time out to give me some more choices and be available for further questions!

On that note, I had a friend of mine who is a longtime fancier of Dachshunds suggest that a longhaired miniature may fit what I'm looking for. I have very limited experience with this breed aside from her smooth coat standards, but they didn't immediately come to mind for what I'm looking for in a dog, nor do they appear on any of those "top ten" lists. Does anyone here have any suggestions about this? I personally think it may just be her opinion that a Dachshund would fit into everyone's lives, but I'm trying not to discount anything.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:20 PM
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I think it depends on the Dachshund. I know quite a few that would be *perfect* for you (my mom's dachshund included!), but you'd need to look closely at the lines you go with, and make sure you like the breeder's dogs.

My mom's dachshund loves to cuddle, she sleeps with the cats, barely makes a peep, and she has no desire for exercise, just attention. She's fine at home during the day (sleeps). No anxiety, great with everyone, just wants loved. Super food motivated. Shes smooth coated and barely sheds at all. She's literally the perfect dog for my mom.
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:33 PM
Larkest Larkest is offline
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That Dachshund sounds perfect for me too! That's exactly the kind of personality I'm looking for.

My friend suggested them when I gave her the list. She told me the only issue I'd run into is either barking or possible aggression if I didn't socialize well enough. I feel ill-equipped to deal with dog or human aggression so I'm unsure if this is the right choice for me. I've also read that they can be really stubborn and difficult to train, but I guess that's just dependent on the dog and the lines? I'm not too sure. I've never really done the whole breeder thing - always been rescues for my family and myself - so I feel super newb at all! :P
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