Medium active biddable breed? Help! Toller, ES, Koolie, Spaniel?

cfas

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#1
Hi everyone!
I'm looking to get a puppy within the next year or two and am having trouble deciding on a breed of dog. I was raised with German Shepherds, had a BC for a few years, and raised a lab puppy who is now a service dog.
I'm a grad student and a distance runner, I usually run between 5 - 15 miles at a time, a few times a week. My partner and I have a house with a yard in a big city and are looking to have kids within the next 5 years. We also have a very dog savvy cat named Pistachio.
I want a medium sized breed dog that will go on runs with me, do agility/obedience, and go on hikes and backpacking trips with us. That said, I don't want BC intensity or a dog that is difficult to live with. We do work during the day and want a dog that when properly exercised before and after, would be content to chill. The dog should be good with kids (supervised of course) and with other pets. I would prefer a dog that is not aloof or reserved with strangers, although of course I understand this varies even within breeds.
I am currently considering the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (too unstable/reserved?), Australian Koolie (too active?), English Shepherd (vary too much within the breed?), Welsh Springer Spaniel (can't find any that do sports and not just show?), and Stabyhoun (not lots of info out there). I am open to other breeds too, and would really love some help narrowing down the breeds based on my needs. Thanks!
 

cfas

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Goldens are great, but they are far too big to fit comfortably in my small car when I have a lot of gear with me. And they have major health issues!
 

Laurelin

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#4
Hm well the goldens I'm around are pretty comparable to a lot of the breeds listed with the females being in the 40-45 lb range very often. ES can get very very big, by the way. I've seen males up to 95 lbs.

English springer?
 

Elrohwen

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#5
Tollers are really cool dogs and I think it could be a good fit, but they do seem to be quirky and I have known of more than one who had shy/skittish tendencies. Definitely meet some first.

Koolie might be too active, but they are cool dogs. The main issue is their rarity here so it will be hard to meet one in person and you would probably have to ship a puppy.

English shepherds are great dogs and there are people at this forum who could help you find one. They do vary a lot, but you can find the type of dog you're describing.

Welsh springers are obviously my choice (though I've considered all of the dogs on your list). It's true that most breeders show in conformation and don't do a whole lot else, but there are plenty of people in the breed who are doing obedience and agility with their dogs. IME, they make really nice family dogs, are active but not insane and have a great off switch. They are not as biddable as a golden and do have their own opinions sometimes, and the males especially can be slow to mature wild children as adolescents, but they are just great dogs. They love their people and are very devoted to their family.

Stabyhoun look awesome and I've read good things, but again they are very rare and it's not easy to find one to meet. You also have to get on a national level waiting list to get one I think, because so few litters are born.

I agree that a small golden would work (I have seen many field bred females around 50lbs) but the health issues scare me as well.
 

Elrohwen

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#7
I think field bred English cocker is a great idea. I'd love to get one some day.

English springers are also really fun dogs, but a lot of the ones I've met are just a bit nuts. Sweet dogs, but a little too bouncy for me.
 

DJEtzel

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#9
The Tollers I know are definitely not unstable or reserved, but may be a little bit too much energy for you. They tend to be much more energetic than the koolies I've met, and they're tons more energetic than my border collie.
 

cfas

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I think it depends on the type of energy, if that makes sense. In my experience, BCs have more quiet intensity while Goldens or Aussies are more bouncy and boisterously energetic. I'm looking more for the latter this time.

Thank you for the Spaniel suggestions! Are Welshies and field bred English cockers similar in temperament? I'm at a loss as to how to find a field bred English cocker, to be honest.
 

meepitsmeagan

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#11
Thank you for the Spaniel suggestions! Are Welshies and field bred English cockers similar in temperament? I'm at a loss as to how to find a field bred English cocker, to be honest.
You can PM me for an English breeder if you'd like. :)
 
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#12
I think a lot of breeds could fit that bill.

Brittany Spaniels? Greyhounds? Silkens? Whippets? Small lab or golden? The various bully-types? General shelter dog
 

Elrohwen

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#13
I think it depends on the type of energy, if that makes sense. In my experience, BCs have more quiet intensity while Goldens or Aussies are more bouncy and boisterously energetic. I'm looking more for the latter this time.

Thank you for the Spaniel suggestions! Are Welshies and field bred English cockers similar in temperament? I'm at a loss as to how to find a field bred English cocker, to be honest.
I haven't met any field bred ECS in person though I have heard really good things. I've really enjoyed the show bred ones I've met but they can have a lot of coat. As far as ESS vs Welsh, IME, they are kind of similar (as much as any gun dogs are similar) but not especially so. The field bred ESS I have met are hyper, bouncy, and "mad as a box of frogs". In a good way! They are just a lot of dog. Welshies are more toned down and I think have a much more level head about them. Exercise requirements are probably less as well. My dog needs to get out every day, but he certainly doesn't need to run for hours or anything like that. An hour walk where he can sniff around is enough to settle him.

If you are interested in Welshies I can let you know about breeders. Just let me know.
 

Toller_08

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I think you just need to find a breeder breeding the type of temperament you like regardless of breed. I think the right Toller could fit. I've been around Tollers since 2003 and they vary a lot. Even reading experiences in this thread verifies that. But breeders themselves usually have a type of dog they gravitate to and try to produce.

Of my current two, Dance is weird with people and always has been (and with training has learned to just ignore strangers rather than worry), but she is super easy to live with, easily trained (not the most biddable but she will do anything for food), is up for anything, anytime, etc. Fennec is just a puppy, and is more active than Dance ever was, but she too is super easy to live with and is wonderful on all of the adventures she has been on as well. She loves people and other dogs so far as well, but saves her true enthusiasm for my family and I and our friends. She is also every easily trained and more biddable than Dance, although IMO not quite as intelligent haha. But definitely not stupid either.

I expect my dogs to be calm and quiet in the house. None of them, regardless of breed, are desperate for activity. They all just lay around, chew bones, and hang out until I say we are doing something. My Tollers can be intense and crazy during certain activities but they are also super calm and very easy to get along with. All depends on what's warranted at what time.

They are also every quiet. Dance alarm barks annoyingly if she gets surprised, but not nearly as bad as some dogs, and Fen and she both 'talk' but they are not barkers or screamers.

So, I think a Toller could fit you well. You just need to find a breeder breeding the type of dogs you like. But do expect a friendly but reserved with strangers Toller. That is what they should be.

My Aussie would also fit your needs well. She is similar to my Tollers but much more biddable and cuddly and smarter in many ways. Also, more bouncy. Much more bouncy. She's just a good dog. She does, however, bark when she's playing. I think most herding dogs do. I don't know a single one that doesn't lol. But otherwise she is incredibly quiet and I never hear her. She is also friendly with strangers but not over the top (friends and family are another story) and she is also super patient and friendly with other dogs unless they are being rude (in which case she will snark). She is much more dog friendly and tolerant than the majority of Tollers I know. Not all Aussies are like her, but the other three I personally know are very similar even though they are all from different breeders. Anyway, just a thought. I think she's the best dog in the world haha. But I am totally biased. Some of your needs are very similar to what I like in a dog (active, versatile, trainable, easy to live with) and I love both of these breeds (Aussies and Tollers). If you have any further interest in either breed, I'd be happy to answer any questions. :)
 

Elrohwen

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#15
A lot of the things Toller_08 said about her dogs reminds me of my welsh. He lives strangers in general, but is calmly polite and sometimes disinterested. When he was younger he acted like he would go home with any stranger, but when I tried to let others take his leash he was not happy. He's a great family dog though because he loves all of his people and is not a one person dog. I'm his favorite absolutely, but he will snuggle with my husband, or go sit by my parents when they are around. Some people like one person dogs, but I kind of like one family dogs.

Most seem to have really tolerant temperaments. Even if he doesn't like what we're doing to him he doesn't growl and doesn't show teeth, he just leaves the situation. My husband does all sorts of weird things to him. Haha

He is wild in training classes sometimes and I've been asked by at least 3 professional trainers if he ever sleeps. They don't believe me that he's the calmest and laziest dog 99% of the time we're at home. Females are a bit less nuts.

So yeah, I think lots of dogs can fit what you're looking for if you find the right breeder breeding the right temperament.
 

cfas

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#16
Wow, thank you so much! Your responses have been enormously helpful - I'm so glad I stumbled upon this forum.

I will definitely PM a few of you about breeders! Again, I very much appreciate your time and help, and please feel free to toss out anymore ideas if they come. As it stands, Welshies and Tollers are standing out. I think I'll keep an open mind about ECS and Aussies too.
 

CharlieDog

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#17
I just came in to say I literally just about died laughing at "mad as a box of frogs"



That pretty much sums up both of my dogs :p
 

Elrohwen

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#18
I just came in to say I literally just about died laughing at "mad as a box of frogs"



That pretty much sums up both of my dogs :p
I read that somewhere on a British site about springers. Totally describes spaniels in general, and mine in particular a lot of the time. I thought it was such a perfect description that I tucked it away. It's so fitting in a way that only British sayings are. :)
 

CharlieDog

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I read that somewhere on a British site about springers. Totally describes spaniels in general, and mine in particular a lot of the time. I thought it was such a perfect description that I tucked it away. It's so fitting in a way that only British sayings are. :)
Why am I not surprised it's British lol. I was going to guess either a super obscure southern thing, or british. :p

But it's an amazing description lmao, and certainly gets the point across!!
 

Pintage

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#20
Koolies are very nice dogs, I love my Koolie, but she is a very busy girl. She's an intact female, almost 2yo, 18" and 25#. Her daily schedule is something like, a 40 minute offleash run in the morning, 3 minute disc session, strength exercises, 1 shaping session, and a 1.5 hour offleash pack walk (with Chuckit) the rest of the house dogs in the late afternoon. She is never destructive, never barks for attention, but is still very, very busy. At 7:30am she is busy pulling all of her toys out of the bin and trying to get someone to play with her. After a workout she'll go lay down for an hour or two but her eyes are open, she's staring at the squirrels outside. Then she's pulling toys out again. She's quite independent, she usually doesn't follow me around the house or anything unless she's bored. When she wants to "do stuff" she'll follow me around the house with her nose up my butt. She's extremely operant, very bright, a complete delight to train. She's got incredible work ethic and always does what I ask of her. She truly impresses me every day.

She's very social with other dogs, people, kids. People still think she's a puppy as she will run over to them with her entire body wiggling from excitement. She can be sharp with other dogs that don't respect her space (my SO's Lab will body slam her in passing and she will leap and grab at his face, ready to fight). She's very cuddly at night (but don't try to pick her up or hold her during daylight hours!), sleeps on my legs every night. She's very vocal and talkative (not so much as barks, as trills, yelps, screams, roos, chirps). She's got the most endurance out of our dogs, I'd like to start bike-joring with her soon.
 

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