One Man Dogs?
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Thread: One Man Dogs?

  1. #1
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    One Man Dogs?

    Hello!
    I am a man in college, and looking to get my first dog on my own. I had a dog growing up, but she wasn't strictly mine: she was one of the family. Now, while I'm looking for a companion, I keep running across the same thing: "Not a One Man Dog", meaning that they require more than one person to be around. I'm not a hermit, but I am by myself a lot, and I wouldn't mind a dog to keep me company. I would like to get a bigger dog , like a Golden Retriever (which was my first choice), but that's where I first saw the aforementioned warning. I was just wondering what kinds of dogs are okay having mostly just one person around. Any assistance in this matter would be most appreciated!
    Thanks!
    -tks

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Lonewolfblue's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    You have several choices. Many of the herding breeds like Cattle Dogs, Border Collies, etc, can be one man dogs, and Cattle Dogs are very much a one person dog. And they are very intelligent, and highly trainable. But many don't do well with other dogs. My Betty didn't like other dogs until she came across Border Collies, she just loved them because they are fast, and lots of energy. So I got a Border Collie as her companion when I'm busy, and I do everything with both of them. Also might look into German Shepherds as well, if you are interested. Just because you see a dog that is a family dog, doesn't mean they can't be a one person dog. Labs and Goldens do fine in both family settings as well as just single people, as long as you can spend plenty of time with them and aren't crating them 70% of the day.

    Also, one question, what kind of setting do you live? Are you in the city, the outskirts of a city, or out in the country? This is very helpful in your decision as to what type of dog you should get, it should fit your lifestyle. I live in town here, and have both a Cattle Dog and a Border Collie, and I do need to take them out often, as they are really not city dogs. But I'm 3 blocks from the riverfront park, which is about 13 miles long, along the river here, with lots of space for taking the dogs.
    Last edited by Lonewolfblue; 05-22-2008 at 10:08 PM.


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    Senior Member TeddieXRuxpin's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    It's going to come down to the dog and not the breed in most cases. I know several people with Goldens and are single.

    Where are you planning on getting your dog? Adult/Puppy? Activitly level? All of these things help when trying to find the right dog come into play.

    Kind of like a Rottie we have in our rescue right now. She would make a perfect dog for a one person/ no other pets home. She does great with all people and does ok with other dogs smaller than she is once she gets to know them. But she would much rather live with one loving person. So you just have to look around.

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    Senior Member Inga's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Rottweilers tend to be one person dogs as do Dobermans. All though if they are well socialized they will be content around other people as well. They still tend to be closest to their one person.


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    Senior Member applesmom's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    That's not the meaning of "one man dog". A "one man dog" is considered to be a dog that doesn't tolerate or accept attention from anyone but his master.

    Any breed of dog should be just fine living in a one person household though they will need a normal amount of attention and to be properly socialized just as any dog does.

    If your dog would be alone without any attention 90 percent of his waking hours, then there wouldn't be any breed that would fit your needs.

  7. #6
    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I think someone is misconstruing Not A One Man Dog. A One Man Dog usually refers to dogs that will bond with only one person. That is not a very desirable trait.
    They won't let others get close..they can't go to the groomer or the vet without being restrained or the owner by their side....only one person can handle them...the owner. I have one. He rarely solicits even petting from my wife.
    They are probably looking for/want more quality time...more people around to interact and engage the dog and not potentially be left alone for hours on end while you're out working 10-12 hour days. I think that's the hurdle you need to clear.

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    Senior Member Xeph's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    That is not a very desirable trait.
    That's not true.

    Breeds like mine (the German Shepherd Dog) are this way, and in their breed standards they are usually described as "aloof". What you described is not a stable dog, Tooney.

    Strauss is very much a "one man dog", but I've been too the groomers and had to leave him on more than one occassion. They always rave about how wonderfully behaved he was. A dog needing to be restrained at the groomers comes down to a combination of genetic temperament and overall stability.

    Now, will my dog work for somebody else? Sure. ....If they bribe him. And lots of times not even then. I don't have an issue with this. Dogs that fawn all over other people besides their master annoy the heck outta me. I LIKE IT that my dog doesn't really give a hoot about anybody else unless they are a) a child or b) somebody he knows REALLY well (i.e. Candee, Dave, Cathy, Kathy...people from my kennel club).

    My dog allows people to get close to me. That's not at all an issue. Sometimes he scrutinizes too much, but that is just part of being a Shepherd. He's supposed to be that way.

    The vast majority of herding breeds are "one man dogs" and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you understand what that truly means, and if someone comes into your life (potential mate) that the dog is highly unlikely to attach to them. They may tolerate that person, but that's it. If you're ok with that, a "one man dog" is for you. If you're not ok with that...look into the more "lovey" dogs.
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    Junior Member Mamasmydog's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I was in the same boat as you. Although not in college (im done with school!!) I am a young man and live on my own and work 8-9 hours a day, i was looking for a dog to keep me company. One big factor for me was size of the dog and energy level. I live in a apartment and cant have excessive barking and too large of a dog and the apartment wouldnt allow it. also i decided against a puppy. So i didnt have to deal with all the growing. House training, teething... all that mess. I settled on a 2 year old Lab/Weimaraner mix. Shes a absolute doll. Shes housetrained already is good in the house. Great on a leash and doesnt bark much. (im still working on that)

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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I live in Columbus, OH, a smaller-big city. There are plenty of parks in my area, and there's a river just down the way. I'm just finished my Junior year, and, while I currently have a roommate, I don't know if we'll stick together after graduation. So, in about a years time, I might be living on my own, and I want a dog that will be okay with that.
    I don't care about the age of the dog, puppy, adult, it doesn't matter, as long as we get along fine. As for activity, the dog I grew up with was pretty laid back, which can be kind of disappointing for someone looking to play. An energetic dog would be great.
    I like that definition of "Not a One Man Dog" a lot better. I happy as long as the dog won't be suffering just because I don't currently have a house full of kids!

  11. #10
    Senior Member Alpha's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I agree with Inga and Xeph.

    The first two breeds that popped into my head were Rotts and Dobes. They have high trainability but manage just fine and are happy with, one person in their life.

    Roxy is a one WOMAN dog .

    She loves a few others, my SO, my parents, my trainer, but she is MY dog, and that's very clear. She will listen to those other few, or even complete strangers if I give her permission to, but Roxy would be more than happy if it were just her and I.

    I personally, in my life, find this a desirable trait. I like knowing that if someone tries to steal my car with Roxy in it (my car has been stolen and I have had people trespass on my property) that if they yell a command at her, she won't listen. I agree that some people just a prefer a dog that doesn't maul strangers for attention. Aloof is just the word I use too. Since we've worked through Roxy's issues, that's exactly what she is with people, aloof. She could care less about their presence.

    Hades on the other hand would not. He likes meeting new people and I'm sure would become "depressed" if he never got to socialize with other people.

    I think one man/woman dogs are MADE, not neccessarily bred. I'm sure nature has something to do with it, but IMO, environement has a lot more, in MOST circumstances. Roxy and I were mostly alone together for the first year of her life. Just me and her, day in day out. And that's why I believe she is the way she is today.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Lonewolfblue's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    hmmm, now let me see, lol.....

    Cattle Dogs....

    Definitely a 1 person dog. And once the bond sets in, VERY PROTECTIVE.
    I've only had Nell a very short time, and Betty has accepted her as part of the family, and she won't let very many people near me or Nell, and always checks back with Nell to make sure she's ok, especially on walks.

    So what is your ultimate goal? What are you wanting to do with the dog? Just companionship? Competition such as Rally, Agility, or Herding? Hiking? Jogging? Swimming? Travel? So many things to think about when choosing a dog.....


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  13. #12
    Senior Member MuttHunter's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I have never heard of a dog that will not tolerate living with only one person--some dogs are super-friendly active and playful and might be more ideally suited to living in a crowd, but if you have enough time for it you should be able to keep almost any dog happy.

    I am in much the same boat as you--I live by myself and want to get a dog (i haven't made up my mind yet, tho). I am not in college and live in a very dense urban setting--if I remember right, Columbus is pretty open for a major city, in parts almost rural, but it's been a long time since I visited.

    As I see it, the main issues with living alone:
    • you might have to leave the dog alone for longish periods of time (classes, work, etc.)
    • You will be done with school before long and your living circumstances will change a lot
    • As a newly graduated student you might or might not have a lot of options over where you live. You might want/need to move to a very different setting, and have difficulty finding a dog-friendly place
    You (and I) can't regularly depend on others to take up the slack--walking, feeding, and amusing a dog, it's all on just us alone.

    I have ruled out a couple of really nice kinds of dogs, that might be especially difficult for me, like purebred Great Pyrenees (very barky, may bug the neighbors), Border Collies (obsessive-compulsives that may eat all your stuff if they get bored, and they get bored really easy). Beagles (howl if bored or lonely). These are just a few examples.

    Sighthounds like Greyhounds, Whippets and Borzois are pretty good dogs for busy people that don't have big places. They need exercise like all big dogs, but are generally OK lounging around on your bed or couch a lot of the time. They are relatively quiet and all the ones I have met personally were really nice, friendly dogs. Just a notion, sighthounds aren't perfect dogs either--there is no such thing--if you let one off the leash in the park, and it sees a squirrel, it might run away at 45 mph.
    Last edited by MuttHunter; 05-22-2008 at 11:27 PM.

  14. #13
    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Xeph: Aloof is a good description and very acceptable. I know where you're coming from having owned GSD's myself.
    The traditional meaning though is literally one that will not allow handling by others, will not take direction, food or petting from others and protects the owner and his property.
    I would be very hesitant to classify a protection dog as unstable and that is the pinnacle example of a One Man Dog bonded/bound to one owner. Granted, those are trained responses but, they don't take the most gregarious, happy go lucky types for that work. I'm not even sure I would be willing to say "unstable" if a dog does this work naturally without the benefit of the extensive, formal training.

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    Senior Member Maggpie's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I just adore Rotties! I think they are an excellent dog and if you are an outdoors person and do lots of activities...... a Rottie would make a great companion. They are one of my favorite breeds. If you do look at getting a Rottie, make sure your town allows them first.

    You could always get a bullie too Although they are not as energetic and active But they sure are fantastic companions...... it's like having a child around.

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    Senior Member DogsforMe's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Whatever dog you choose, it will adjust to your lifestyle. But whatever it is make sure that you socialize it to everything/everyone you can. Your circumstances will change & you want the dog to accept those changes.
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheKiltedStranger View Post
    Hello!
    I am a man in college, and looking to get my first dog on my own. I had a dog growing up, but she wasn't strictly mine: she was one of the family. Now, while I'm looking for a companion, I keep running across the same thing: "Not a One Man Dog", meaning that they require more than one person to be around. I'm not a hermit, but I am by myself a lot, and I wouldn't mind a dog to keep me company. I would like to get a bigger dog , like a Golden Retriever (which was my first choice), but that's where I first saw the aforementioned warning. I was just wondering what kinds of dogs are okay having mostly just one person around. Any assistance in this matter would be most appreciated!
    Thanks!
    -tks

    a GR will do just fine with just you; they really don't require more than one person to live with. They do require ongoing socialization, though, just like you do! Consider your lifestyle and the requirements of the breed you're thinking about before making a final decision.

    I live alone, and Maddy (Standard Poodle) did just fine when an "only child," and then Beau entered the picture. Both are definitely *my* dogs, but, they love just about everyone, social beings that they are!

  18. #17
    Senior Member FriendsOfZoe's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    I have a golden who is the epitome of oggling over every person (and every living thing for that matter). I'm pretty sure she sees humans as giant petting machines put here to give her love and attention.

    But she lives with just my boyfriend and I,and he works full days and commutes a good stretch (and goes out more often than I do)...so it is usually just me home with her. We are quiet people, don't have a lot of friends or family over or anything...but we go outside and take walks and go to the dog park and doggy day care and pet stores and training classes and all sorts of places where she can meet people (and dogs). A golden might not be happy living with one person who just puts them in their own private backyard for exercise, but since you will be taking the dog on walks regularly, it wouldn't be a problem.

    And trust me, I have never run into a problem finding plenty of people wanting to come over and meet a golden retriever...

  19. #18
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Retired Racing Greyhound.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuttHunter View Post
    Just a notion, sighthounds aren't perfect dogs either--there is no such thing--if you let one off the leash in the park, and it sees a squirrel, it might run away at 45 mph.
    Last I checked, ANY dog can take off after a squirrel...and run a heckuva lot faster than their human.

    Sighthounds aren't perfect??? Don't tell ours that (they are perfect for me)
    Last edited by lovemygreys; 05-23-2008 at 08:40 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Senior Member MuttHunter's Avatar
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemygreys View Post
    Retired Racing Greyhound.
    Last I checked, ANY dog can take off after a squirrel...and run a heckuva lot faster than their human
    Very true, it's just that I have been told (on this forum by sighthound lovers) that sighthounds, in general, are particularly prone to doing this, and are so fast that they may be far out of sight before it occurs to them to wonder where their person is. Your loyalty to your greys is admirable, however, and I agree that a greyhound, might be a good choice for the The Kilted One (I am thinking about them for myself, too ). Golden's, or more probably, a Golden mix are also close to the top of my list.

  21. #20
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    Re: One Man Dogs?

    Chows are the ultimate one-man dogs. But, yeah, just because a dog CAN live with kids and strangers wandering in and out all day doesn't mean it HAS to. I'm single, and my dogs are perfectly happy with the situation. Toby would like to have kids to play with, but he's fine without them, too. As long as the dog gets enough attention and exercise, it's not a problem.
    Last edited by Willowy; 05-23-2008 at 01:02 PM.
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