Help! Nothing fits.

Elrohwen

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#21
I would maybe consider a gun dog breed - there are some super little (field) English Setters around here, and I may be willing to bend on the aloofness factor for the right breed, as long as I get an alert bark. Chessies I've thought of too, but many are much too large for our activities.
I train with a Chessie breeder here in NY and her dogs tend towards the small side. One of her females is probably 50lbs, not much bigger than my Welshie. I think the right one could be a good choice. And her dogs are certainly athletic enough for rough hiking.
 

stardogs

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#22
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY second or third fostering various dogs first. Given your needs, the ACD or ES would be high on my list BUT because you also need a less reactive dog, I'd also wonder about a good Lab/ACD or similar cross. Because you don't have a breed specific task in mind, but have a specific lifestyle in mind, I'd be looking for an individual dog, probably a young adult that you can assess for environmental stability and off switch. A puppy is going to need a lot of growing up time before they can accompany you on your adventures.

If you do get set on a specific breed, look into rescue as they can match you with a dog able to fit your needs more readily.

Training, which you're going to be doing anyway by the sounds of the skills you want them to have, will combat a LOT of the little things like oversocial behavior, which opens up a lot of options.

With shrewd selection and training, a nice GSD mix, Lab mix or Pit Bull might well be a good fit and they are plentiful. I'd much prefer working on a dog that is too happy/outgoing than try to combat inherent reactivity in your situation.
 
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#23
I train with a Chessie breeder here in NY and her dogs tend towards the small side. One of her females is probably 50lbs, not much bigger than my Welshie. I think the right one could be a good choice. And her dogs are certainly athletic enough for rough hiking.
Would you mind sharing the breeder's name? We are of course close to Westwind Farm Chesapeakes, who while awesome dogs, tend to be quite large. Their foundation male Rudy was something like 95 lbs.
 
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#24
I WHOLEHEARTEDLY second or third fostering various dogs first. Given your needs, the ACD or ES would be high on my list BUT because you also need a less reactive dog, I'd also wonder about a good Lab/ACD or similar cross. Because you don't have a breed specific task in mind, but have a specific lifestyle in mind, I'd be looking for an individual dog, probably a young adult that you can assess for environmental stability and off switch. A puppy is going to need a lot of growing up time before they can accompany you on your adventures.

If you do get set on a specific breed, look into rescue as they can match you with a dog able to fit your needs more readily.

Training, which you're going to be doing anyway by the sounds of the skills you want them to have, will combat a LOT of the little things like oversocial behavior, which opens up a lot of options.

With shrewd selection and training, a nice GSD mix, Lab mix or Pit Bull might well be a good fit and they are plentiful. I'd much prefer working on a dog that is too happy/outgoing than try to combat inherent reactivity in your situation.
I've rescued a lot of dogs, and most have been fantastic. So I am not opposed to rescue at all, but am really set on a puppy this time. I haven't had one in years, and am finally in a really good place in life to get one.

That said, fostering is a great idea - I do plan to pursue that with some breed rescues.
 
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#25
I think a Shockerd (Cocker Spaniel x English Shepherd) would be an ideal dog for you. A Cattle Collie Dog (Australian Cattle Dog x Collie) would be another great choice. They are extremely smart. I think the Cattle Collie Dog would be an ideal choice for you. I know you don’t want a small dog, but a Jack-Rat Terrier (Jack Russell Terrier x Rat Terrier) would also be a good fit. A Malinois X (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd Dog) is another good choice. But, I think a Cattle Collie Dog would make the best fit for you. I think a Border Sheepdog (Border Collie x Shetland Sheepdog) would also be a good fit. They are great dogs.
 

Sekah

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#26
I think a Shockerd (Cocker Spaniel x English Shepherd) would be an ideal dog for you. A Cattle Collie Dog (Australian Cattle Dog x Collie) would be another great choice. They are extremely smart. I think the Cattle Collie Dog would be an ideal choice for you. I know you don’t want a small dog, but a Jack-Rat Terrier (Jack Russell Terrier x Rat Terrier) would also be a good fit. A Malinois X (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd Dog) is another good choice. But, I think a Cattle Collie Dog would make the best fit for you. I think a Border Sheepdog (Border Collie x Shetland Sheepdog) would also be a good fit. They are great dogs.
When you have to explain your cutesy names you are not describing a dog breed, nor are you describing something with a uniform or predictable temperament. Crosses are welcome, but pretending that they create predictable outcomes (and then recommending them on that basis) is a bad idea.
 
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#27
I think a Shockerd (Cocker Spaniel x English Shepherd) would be an ideal dog for you. A Cattle Collie Dog (Australian Cattle Dog x Collie) would be another great choice. They are extremely smart. I think the Cattle Collie Dog would be an ideal choice for you. I know you don’t want a small dog, but a Jack-Rat Terrier (Jack Russell Terrier x Rat Terrier) would also be a good fit. A Malinois X (Belgian Malinois x German Shepherd Dog) is another good choice. But, I think a Cattle Collie Dog would make the best fit for you. I think a Border Sheepdog (Border Collie x Shetland Sheepdog) would also be a good fit. They are great dogs.
Now is there a specific reason why any of these mixes would be a good fit? Like Sekah said, none of these crosses are going to produce a predictable temperament or physical appearance even though the parents are known. Have you ever even met any of these crosses? And good luck finding a reputable breeder that breeds something like "Shockerds". Bonus points for thinking up all those *adorable* names though. :rolleyes:
 

frostfell

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#28
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?
English Shepherds being a landrace style breed ARE rather all over the place, buuuuuuuuuuut Heather Houlahan has exactly what you need. google Brandywine Farms English Shepherds
 

Sit Stay

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#30
I think an ACD or the right ES would suit you quite nicely. There is quite a variety of them out there, but if you stick to certain lines or find the right breeder you'll get a better idea. Quinn, for instance, hits everything on your list - however, she's much harder than some ESs I've met. It will of course vary, but I would suspect that breeders who strive for more of a working dog (ranch work, herding, SAR, etc) might produce dogs who are a little harder and more serious.
 

DJEtzel

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#31
What sort of health issues are you worried about with the GSDs?

Honestly, you have a really good chance of getting a healthy dog if you go to a breeder that health tests and you do your research. I think and ACD is going to be the only other herder that would be "hard" enough for you, based on your criteria and comments... but I wouldn't let health stop me from a GSD, they seem like they would suit your needs well. I'd find a working line breeder and do a little research.
 

Romy

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#32
Honestly, I think a rough/smooth collie would be a really good fit. Moxie Collies in Washington State started out doing search and rescue with their foundation dogs, and continues to produce some really incredible working service dogs as well. Her foundation male is from some old, sharper herding stock. I love her dogs. She also has a really well bred GSD and comparing the two, I'd be more afraid of the collies if I was a burglar. The shepherd puts on a good show, but the collies would be the ones that really had her back if the poo ever hit the fan.

They do have a range of temperaments when it comes to aloofness vs. friendliness. Some are giant mooshballs with all the people. Others are very much a one person dog, but still accepting of strangers/non reactive. Loki, her foundation guy was a SAR dog and he loved people and finding people because it was his job, but he just has a very strong seriousness about him. He allows people to pet him but he's just like, "yes yes I'm busy. Aren't you done yet?" A groenendale breeder who met them fell in love, she said they reminded her of her breed only less reactive.
 

pinkspore

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#33
Another vote for ACD here. Briz is built like a coffee table and can't jump much more than the height of his own withers, and he still climbs trees. I take him hiking and bouldering, and he can get up anything I can get up. He's also absolutely superb at following instructions for getting through tough areas, waiting until told to move, going where I point, occasionally following very specific instructions in an eerie fashion that suggests he understands spoken english.

I'm not totally positive that this is a breed trait though, Briz might just be a freak.
 

houlahoops

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#34
Honestly, you have a really good chance of getting a healthy dog if you go to a breeder that health tests and you do your research. I think and ACD is going to be the only other herder that would be "hard" enough for you, based on your criteria and comments... but I wouldn't let health stop me from a GSD, they seem like they would suit your needs well. I'd find a working line breeder and do a little research.
This! At six months, my working-bred girl is super well-suited to my lifestyle, which sounds quite like yours. With lots of recall work, she calls off of anything (tennis ball, possum, other dogs, people, vehicles) and can climb anything I can. Always down for an adventure! As an individual though, the off-switch is a work in progress!
 

FG167

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#35
What sort of health issues are you worried about with the GSDs?

Honestly, you have a really good chance of getting a healthy dog if you go to a breeder that health tests and you do your research. I think and ACD is going to be the only other herder that would be "hard" enough for you, based on your criteria and comments... but I wouldn't let health stop me from a GSD, they seem like they would suit your needs well. I'd find a working line breeder and do a little research.
I read this when you first posted, and thought GSD anyway...but then I waited to see if any of the other suggestions made me rethink...but I still think just research carefully and get a GSD.
 

LMost

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#36
Boerboel
Fits every box. though is a lot above your nothing below 45lbs.
If you look at the lines you should be able to get 100-120lbs.
There are lines that are breed for size and lines breed more toward function which are much smaller.
 

Flybynight

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#37
To all suggesting GSD, I absolutely love them. I really really do. But after my second-to-last died at 5, and my last one became effectively crippled at 7 from spine problems, I can't do it again. I've heard too many horror stories, even from those with well bred ones.

I so wish someone out there would just outcross to Malinois, Dutch shep, etc., then breed back for the added health. I just don't understand the siloeing of breeds when so many are riddled with so much disease. Careful, deliberate expansions of the most afflicted gene pools could make great strides towards fixing this, as in the case of Dalmatians. They also do it in KNPV and military, which would be way too much dog for me. But I digress...

On the rough/smooth collie suggestion, I'll have to look into that. A smooth I might consider - the rough has too much hair. I'd also worry about them being a little soft? Though certainly SAR is not for soft dogs, so that may answer that question.

With Boerboel, as cold as it gets up here, I don't think they would work. My Plott Hound really struggles with it, and for that reason I don't think I'd do another short haired, single coated dog. For example, our windchill tomorrow morning is predicted to be -25°F to -44°F. It's sad because he loves to come out with us, but just can't hack it when we snowshoe, etc.
 

Flybynight

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#38
On the ACD train of thought, does anyone know anything about Stumpy Tail Cattle Dogs? Lighter framed, longer legged, but otherwise seem fairly similar to ACD. Not that common I don't think.

And for gun dog owners, what about Deutsch Drahthaar? An acquaintance suggested them, since we do hunt some, but I have zero experience with them. On paper they sound interesting.
 

DJEtzel

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#39
Can I just ask where you got your GSDs from?

Not saying it can't happen by any means, but if you got them from good breeders I'm going to have to say you had some really bad luck. I know a TON of people in the breed and I have not heard of such awful luck (so often) with well-bred dogs.
 

Flybynight

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#40
Can I just ask where you got your GSDs from?

Not saying it can't happen by any means, but if you got them from good breeders I'm going to have to say you had some really bad luck. I know a TON of people in the breed and I have not heard of such awful luck (so often) with well-bred dogs.
One was admittedly a rescue. The other was from a well known service dog breeder, who's been a mess. Besides the spine, he's also battled a lupus-like disorder, and has had cholesterol deposits in his eyes since age 2.
 

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