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Old 07-16-2008, 07:38 PM
nwfn nwfn is offline
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Default What dog breed is right for us?

I just registered so I could pick your knowledgeable brains about a dog breed that would be right for my family.

- Almost any size: A dog from small to large would be great, but not super-small (<10 lbs) or super-large (>80lbs).

- Low exercise needs: Our family has a BIG fenced-in backyard for a dog to run around in, but walking a dog on a leash regularly is unlikely to happen. This is probably our hardest constraint to fulfill in terms of which breed to get.

- People-friendly: We'd like an affectionate dog who enjoys being around the family. There's almost always someone home, so he probably won't be too lonely. People often come to visit, so a breed that isn't aggressive with strangers is important. There aren't any small children in the household, nor will there be in the foreseeable future, so no worries about being kid-friendly.

- Cat-friendly: We have three cats.

- Not dominant: A stubborn dog is fine, but an aggressive dog is not. My mother is one of the most non-dominant people you will ever meet, so a dog that requires dominance is a complete no-go.

- Not destructive: We aren't the best dog trainers in the world, but we don't demand much obedience either All we ask is for the dog to not poop inside and to not mess up the furniture. I know that puppies will always have their slips, but a dog that's easy to train on the basics and not naturally inclined to eat the furniture is important.

- (Somewhat) cold and heat tolerant: Temperatures range from humid mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celcius) in the summer to below 0 Fahrenheit in the winter (around -20 Celcius - believe it or not, the attached picture was taken in March). I know dogs are not particularly heat tolerant in general, but it would probably be best if we avoided breeds known particularly for their temperature issues.

- Not a barker: Our neighbourhood is full of retirees, and a yappy dog would NOT go down well here.

- Any kind of grooming needs: Preferably not expensive grooming needs, but extensive brushing is fine. And we already have three cats, so we're resigned to a house covered in pet hair - shedding is just a fact of life.

- (Probably) not a rare breed: We aren't the sort of people who like to have our dog air mailed to us; we'd like to meet him or her first, so we'd have to find a breeder within a day's drive. I know that limits our breed options.

Your advice is much appreciated. My mother has mentioned before that she likes pugs and shih tsus, but I worry about both those breeds because I know they aren't heat tolerant, and I think both are reputed to be yappy.

P.S. I should also mention that our bulldog passed away very recently, so it will be a while before we get another dog. I'm just investigating for the Christmas season - I'll probably get my mom a dog as a Christmas present, and depending on the breed I'll have to save up for a few months to afford it.


RIP Loompa

Last edited by nwfn; 07-16-2008 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:12 PM
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Picklepaige Picklepaige is offline
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What about a basset hound? Those seem to meet all of your requirements.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:13 PM
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Have you looked into sight hounds at all? Because what you are looking for and what you are able to provide sounds about perfect for one.

Quiet (my dog has barked 10 times in his life)

Exercise: Your large fenced in yard may actually be adequate because the kind of exercise they need most is a large fenced area to sprint around in for 5 minutes before they pass out.

People friendly: They love their families, are intensely loyal and love being petted and love on. They are not aggressive with strangers. Most will ignore strangers but some like my dog are weirdos and greet guests to get their ears rubbed.

Not Dominant/destructive: As a whole, they tend to be on the sensitive and passive side. When they aren't "working" they are content to lay about the house and yard and soak up attention from their humans when possible. Not like many of the working breeds, who will make up jobs for themselves (like turning your sofa into bite sized foam bits) if you don't provide mental and physical stimulation. They can be motivated to do obedience stuff, but most won't do silly things like sit 40 times in a row just because you said to.

Grooming: Most are wash and wear. The afghans need to be clipped and brushed more.

Weather tolerance: Most do fine in hot and cold weather. The short coated breeds may need a jacket in the colder months, and any dog would need to be brought inside during weather extremes.

Cat friendliness: This could be an issue, with the wrong dog. You should be safe however, if you got an adult known to be good with cats, or a puppy and raised it with the cats.

For specific breeds in this group, I'd suggest looking at a whippet, greyhound, borzoi (females tend to be in the smaller end of the size spectrum) or silken windhound. You may be surprised to find what breeders of rare breeds may live near you. The breed clubs should have contact information for reputable breeders around the country.
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:50 PM
nwfn nwfn is offline
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A basset hound sounds like a good possibility.

I hadn't considered sight hounds because I thought they would need too much exercise. But since we can provide a dog with a big space to roam/sprint freely, that could work. And we wouldn't have the dog living outside anyway, so that's fine as long as he/she would be okay with running around in several inches of snow in the (looong) winters.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:37 PM
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Sight hound are actually pretty sluggish most of the time. We had to force Strider to get up and move around when he was a puppy, otherwise he would have just laid around on the couch all day and had no muscles whatsoever. Their days go kind of like this:

Sleep for 11 hours

Go outside and potty

Sprint around at 35 mph for 5 minutes

Go inside and eat breakfast

Lay around, making sad eyes at family in attempt to get petted

Sleep and lounge until the night, and then sleep some more with one last sprint in there somewhere.

They generally enjoy walks if you are inclined to take them, but most of their joy comes from sprinting around a few minutes.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:47 PM
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Please consider not getting a puppy. It reaqlly sounds like you should go with an older puppy or adult dog. I would be careful with sight hounds as I've read they can actually go after or "hunt" you cats, as it was what they were orginally bred to do.

You might want to consider a corgi. I have a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. They are very laid back, Regis was easy to train, in fact he was extremely easy to potty train. They aren't destructive. Regis has a bit of a problem, but it's getting better, and it was because we didn't leave him alone as a puppy so he developed Seperation Anxiety.

If you want to learn more about Cardigans feel free to PM me. I don't think anyone else here owns one. However, if you want to know about Pembroke Welsh Corgi's(the ones without tails), there are a couple people there who own them. They are more well known and probably easier to find and less expensive
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:50 PM
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my honest opinion, get another cat

Quote:
- Low exercise needs: Our family has a BIG fenced-in backyard for a dog to run around in, but walking a dog on a leash regularly is unlikely to happen. This is probably our hardest constraint to fulfill in terms of which breed to get.
all breeds need a walk. few dogs will self excercise. Getting them out is not always for their physical excercise but their mental excercise. You will end up with a destructive, over the top dog if you do not get it out atleast 3 times a week.

plus it contradicts this point

Quote:
- Not destructive: We aren't the best dog trainers in the world, but we don't demand much obedience either All we ask is for the dog to not poop inside and to not mess up the furniture. I know that puppies will always have their slips, but a dog that's easy to train on the basics and not naturally inclined to eat the furniture is important.
You will most likley end up with a bored dog if it is expected to sit in the backyard all day. A bored dog will entertain itself through other means.
Every dog should be trained in the basics, if you havn't got time to teach a recall, a stay, a sit and a down. Don't get a dog. A reliable recall is vitally important should your dog ever get away from you.

Quote:
- Not dominant: A stubborn dog is fine, but an aggressive dog is not. My mother is one of the most non-dominant people you will ever meet, so a dog that requires dominance is a complete no-go.
All dogs require leadership, if your mother is "non dominant" do you think she would be a good leader? A dog wihtout rules in place will run wild, no matter the breed. Dogs like boundries, it makes their life easier when they don't have to try to fill the leader position.

I don't want to seem harsh but some of the things your offering this dog are less than ideal. The work in keeping a dog is mainly the excercise and training, these things qare vitally important to have a happy and well adjusted dog, you cannot skip on them imo.
Sure some people like to take it further (dog sports and tricktraining) but if you arn't ready to do that basic, please reconsider.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:17 PM
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A slightly older hound, like a bluetick around 3 years old, might fit your needs pretty well. They're pretty lazy dogs for the most part and get along well with other animals from what I hear. If you get one from a shelter or breed rescue, they will have tested the dog with other animals, so you'll have an idea of what to expect.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:31 PM
nwfn nwfn is offline
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So far I'm still interested in the basset hound. There are a couple sight hounds I've looked into that seem a little more cat-friendly than the others, so they're a possibility, though I'd still have to know their history with cats before I considered any individual dog.

I completely agree that we'd be better off without a puppy. Puppies are cute pains in the ass. Unfortunately the rest of my family will possibly be a tough sell on not getting a puppy, but I'll try. I'll also look up the corgi.

mrose, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of our situation (though I should add that I'm really thankful for your honesty). We've owned a dog in the past, and I believe that dog had a happy life. He only required one or two short (15-30 min) play sessions in the back yard every day to exhaust him, not a long walk on a leash like, say, a dalmatian would need, which I know my family couldn't commit to doing. I'm also not sure where you got the idea that we would keep the dog in the back yard all day; given the climate I described, that would in all likelihood kill almost any dog.

I understand that many dogs are destructive when they are bored and not properly exercised, but in my admittedly limited experience, some dogs are more likely to chew the furniture when left unoccupied than others. I don't know if that has any relation to the breed of the dog, but if it does, I'd appreciate having a breed that's more likely to sleep off its boredom than take it out on the couch! I don't expect frequent boredom, though; as I said, there's almost always someone in the house, so a social dog would usually have a companion to hang out with.

I agree that all dogs should come when you call them. I consider that part of the "basic" stuff, because that's necessary for the dog's safety. That and "sit" are all I've ever had to use - but then my dog was a slow mover, so if he "sat" he'd be pretty much guaranteed to "stay" where he was for a good long while

On the subject of leadership, I think we'll have to agree to disagree. All I know is my own experience, and my mother and our dog had a very good relationship despite her not having a dominant personality. I think that's because he wasn't the sort of dog to try very hard to assert dominance anyway. I don't think she could handle a dog with a dominant and/or aggressive personality, but she was definitely able to have a functioning relationship with our previous dog, so I know that it's possible.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:39 AM
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I do have to say that your statement about never taking the dog for a walk bothers me quite a bit. Walks are not just for exercise. They are for socialization as well, which is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of owning a dog, outside of feeding it. An unsocialized dog is an unsafe dog and a dog that is kept home it's whole life is one who never learns how to cope with outside stressors such as vet visits or boarding situations. Why do you say your family can't/won't take the dog for a walk?

I rather fear that by having an English Bulldog as your last dog, you have a rather unrealistic view of what most dogs are like. Bulldogs generally are quite lazy, because their body/face shape makes it hard to be otherwise (before I get flamed I've met my fair share of active bulldogs, they're just few and far inbetween).

Really, though, I think the dog you're looking for is going to be a specific induvidual and not a general breed. I would scour the shelters and local rescues, that's going to be your best bet for finding the lazy, laidback, minimal maintenence dog you're after.
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