? Dabble in sports, settles well at home dog breeds?

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#1
Which breeds would you all recommend for someone who is starting to get interested in dog sports (agility, perhaps flyball, maybe rally-O)? Not someone who would be training hours a day, but who would dedicate more time than the average pet owner.

Size, coat, etc doesn't really matter too much, having said that, really heavy shedders and very barky dogs would be a no-go.

Ability to settle in the house is very important. Does this exist with a dog capable of really doing well in sports?
 

DJEtzel

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#2
Lots of breed options. Pick one you like and find some lines with good traits that you're looking for. I have a performance border collie and German shepherd and they both settle loose in the house just fine. I know plenty of other border collies and GSDs that don't, though!
 

Elrohwen

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#3
Pretty much any dog can dabble in those sports, unless they have some severe issue (extreme fear/anxiety or a health problem). Get a dog you want to live with and then do sports with it. You don't need a border collie to play around or even to be very successful.
 

BostonBanker

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Honestly, at least with agility, I really do think the answer is to just find a dog/breed that you like and can live with and enjoy, and then, as mentioned above (assuming you are looking for a breeder dog) find the right lines. Obviously there are some exceptions - hounds will often be challenging, some of the toy breeds can be a bit fragile, and you want to look for a generally healthy/sound breed. But really, there is a huge, huge range of breeds that can do well in agility, especially when you are starting out. I expect rally is the same. I don't know enough about flyball to say.

My first agility dog is (at least reported to be) a Mountain Cur - not something anyone in their right mind would throw out as an ideal agility breed. She had plenty of challenges related to her soft personality, but she's been a sound and steady agility dog for 9 years, and has accomplished plenty. More importantly, she's a dog who fits my life beautifully and I adore living with her the 99% of our lives where we aren't doing agility.

There is certainly nothing wrong with looking for a breed that is prone to being successful in sports; if you think you would love living with a border collie or a sheltie or one of the popular breeds, absolutely go for it. They have their own challenges (I ran a BC for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and could barely keep track of where I was sending him), but all dogs are going to.

Even if you spend a lot of time on agility or another sport, you are going to spend more time not doing sports. I consider myself fairly serious, but even on a heavy training week (I have a lesson tomorrow, which is 6 hours of driving and 3 hours of training, plus a few short practice sessions during the week), I'm still spending maybe 156, 157 hours during that week NOT doing agility stuff. Find the right dog for that part of your life, and then just find the right trainer to help you with the sports aspect.
 

MicksMom

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#5
Which breeds would you all recommend for someone who is starting to get interested in dog sports (agility, perhaps flyball, maybe rally-O)? Not someone who would be training hours a day, but who would dedicate more time than the average pet owner.

Size, coat, etc doesn't really matter too much, having said that, really heavy shedders and very barky dogs would be a no-go.

Ability to settle in the house is very important. Does this exist with a dog capable of really doing well in sports?
That described Caleb perfectly. I agree with the others- pick a breed you like, then look at individual lines & dogs.
 

milos_mommy

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It depends what you mean by successful in sports. Most pet breeds are capable of participating in sports. Look for a dog that is physically sound and has no serious reactive or prey drive issues.

I'd discount breeds that are bracy or very heavy for agility - I wouldn't look for a mastiff, bulldog, or pug (although Mandypug's Izzy excels in agility!). They can do just fine in a sport like Rally.

I'd also not look for extremely independent breeds - dogs like huskies, basenjis, shiba inu, and a lot of scenthounds or sighthound (Saluki) aren't likely to do well in agility.

Other than that, most will be great. I'd recommend the same breeds I do as pets for average active families - sporting breeds like goldens, labs, lots of spaniels, Brittanys....more mellow terrier breeds, an Aussie from more mellow pet or show lines. Lots of you breeds like chihuahuas, papillons, havanese, Yorkies, can do great.
 
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#7
Thanks all.

What are thoughts on Rat Terriers?

I'm finding that my Bouvs prey drive is making agility etc very, very difficult right now. He sees a small running dog in his peripheral vision and is GONE. I'm hoping he'll mature out of it, but he's WAY too big to actually do agility anyway. LOL!
 

k9krazee

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#8
My Rat Terrier experience is limited to standard Rat Terriers (more specifically Pox and some of his relatives) but they can make phenomenal sport dogs. Very athletic, can be extremely biddable and they are good, cuddly house dogs adequately exercised and kept stimulated. I have an adolescent male and when he's on during agility, he's on-- but when he's distracted or in a class setting if he thinks someone else is having more fun he will try to join them. Very willing and eager to learn and mostly wanting to do what's right. He does have a high prey drive and is not off leash reliabable at this point. His prey drive hasn't really affected agility yet, he does find agility more rewarding than chasing dogs but if there was a bird on the agility field...

I can send some rat terrier agility vids your way if you're interested.
 

Laurelin

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#9
I haven't really ever had a dog that wasn't able to settle pretty well. Mia was definitely the worst (papillon) but by the time she hit 3-4 years old she'd figured it out. She is still the most high strung of my three and will bark for the ball for hours if allowed. But she and I figured it out. She can spend all day cuddling.

My shelties were all very very adaptable for exercise, even when young.

Hank is for sure the most talented dog I've had in regards for sports. He's also the highest energy dog I've had by a tremendous amount. That said he can be positively lazy at home. Loves to cuddle. He does need 1-2 fairly intense play or exercise sessions a day but they don't even have to be long or terribly involved. Run through some fun cues and play tug and ball like crazy is fine. He does need some hard running a few times a week off leash and does get a decent amount of exercise but he's fine for even a week in bad weather.

I really really feel like energy level in dogs is overplayed in some ways. I don't spend more time with exercising my high energy dog (and believe me, he is very high energy. I've had aussie and BC people comment on his energy level) The thing with Hank is that compared to my past dogs his exercise is done at a higher intensity level vs longer time.

I also feel like the off switch is really hard to pinpoint what everyone means. Meaning Hank is not a mellow dog at home. But I would still say he turns off. He turns ON very fast and generally will get excitable very easily. But he'll still self entertain or sleep most the day.
 

Laurelin

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#10
I think a lot is just figuring out what works for you. I personally can't really do sporting breeds. I can't even explain why but we just don't really mesh. I enjoy herders the most, followed by terriers. Hank has fit well but I'll probably go back to pure herder next because terrier prey drive is kind of obnoxious. (But good for lure coursing!) And I think I'd prefer a little softer dog.

There's a lot of breeds that can dabble in agility. I've seen almost every breed out there. But the herders, terriers, and sporters specifically are probably the most common.
 
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#11
I'm going to echo "get a breed you can live with, be careful about lines, then do sports."

I mean, Toast can settle and has a good off switch. But many lines of malinois cannot and do not. I've heard the same about different lines of BCs and other common sporter breeds and crosses.

And if I can do agility(-ish) with Squash, anyone can do agility with just about any breed. :p So you don't have to seek out an "agility breed."
 

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