Choosing the right breed...
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Thread: Choosing the right breed...

  1. #1
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    Choosing the right breed...

    Hi everyone,

    My 6 year old son has been asking for a dog of his own, and I'm having some difficulty coming up with a suitable breed.

    I live in a single family home with a decently sized, fenced back yard, with 6 foot tall wooden fences.

    The biggest obstacle I face are the two dogs that live with us right now: my wife's 9 year old male Chihuahua, who weighs about 12 pounds -and is pretty easy going as far as Chihuahua's go- and a 7 year old male Lab/Terrier mix that was my mom's, he weighs about 22 pounds, and is a docile, sweet pup.

    I'd like the new dog to meet the following criteria:

    -pure breed, open to a mixed or cross breed
    -medium to large in size
    -good with children
    -good jogging companion (for me)
    -halfway decent guard dog
    -low wanderlust, if at all possible
    -young or young adult (so I can jog with him/her right away), but open to a puppy
    -most importantly, one that won't kill both of the other dogs

    I had my heart set on an Akita, a Rhodesian Ridgeback or a Black Mouth Cur (or all three!), my son loved those breeds as well, but they don't seem like good choices if I am to keep the Chihuahua alive. I've read that Chihuahas don't fare well with Hounds, large Terriers or Spitz-type dogs.

    I also have two parrots, which I imagine would rule out most of the sporting group breeds as well?

    So, indeed, this seems to be a tall order. Any guidance would be most appreciated.

    My thanks in advance
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the right breed...

    Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever. Greyhound would be a good jogging companion, they can have prey drive but many still do well with smaller dogs. Standard Poodle if you don't mind the grooming. If you're open to mixes it is possible to look through rescue to find an adult in foster that has an established temperament they also typically have pure breds being breed specific rescue but might have a mix that meets your needs.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the right breed...

    I second golden..
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  6. #4
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    Re: Choosing the right breed...

    First the tips that would apply to (almost) any breed you choose.

    1. Going through a REPUTABLE breeder will help you align your lifestyle requirements with the right temperament dog. For example, we intentionally raised puppies with cats and parrots (the dogs were "cat & -bird proofed"). Now, that's not a guarantee you can literally crate all species together. But it is the foundation for teaching coexistence.

    2. You would want a dog with a low-prey drive. Because certain temperaments will chase anything that moves faster than they do. So ... instead ... teaching a co-operative game among the group would be helpful. A GENTLE game of ball (object oriented) fetch, where each dog has a ball to chase (not each other).

    3. When you say "guard dog" be careful what you ask for (or expect). Dogs can not always distinguish between the "degrees" of guardianship you expect. Do you mean just barking (which is an alert behavior)? As opposed to contact drive? Not a good idea with kids. Kids are unpredictable.

    4. Going through a breeder, means that the breeder has already socialized the dogs among (ideally) several generations of her own. And one breeder I know, intentionally got a Russian Terrier, to socialize with an entirely different, middle sized breed. She also had plenty of Toy sized dogs with the middle sized. So that was never an issue among those dogs.

    5. It isn't so much the "age" (or even size) of the new dog. But how he/she fits in, in terms of rank. Again a breeder can help you identify how dominant or not a dog is, among the group. I've seen Chihuahuas run an entire group of large sized dogs. And terriers can be very prey driven in terms of energetic interaction in a group.

    6. Sometimes females (retired from breeding) can be naturally nurturing.

    7. Wanderlust is an instinctual behavior among any breed or age. More to the point is what is the range of anxiety to confidence that the particular dog or puppy has. You could end up with a dog desperately trying to escape (for whatever reason) in reaction to it's fear. Who'll climb or dig under a fence. Or dart out of the gate! Or have a confident, "follower" personality who will stick to the heels of an owner (leader) with no desire to part ways. Be aware that automatic neutering does not always change that instinct.

    8. Lastly you want a breed athletically suitable for jogging in most kinds of weather. Sometimes short nosed breeds aren't as suitable. Short legged breeds can get heated when the pavement gets hot. Toy dogs could have joint issues. So (whatever the breed/size) you want there to be a certificate done to ensure no hip displasia or joint issues. (Or heart issues, for that matter). Beside jogging, Agility or Rally is also a sport for a lot of dogs.

    9. Some "herding" breeds can be loyal for a family, naturally watchful, and intuitive.

    IN SUMMARY: For a breed idea, am familiar with Poodles. A lot people are turned off by the grooming aspect. Fair enough. But they can be put into a "sporting style clip" that's very little upkeep. They're smart, social, adaptable, intuitive, loyal, good with children, watchful, and usually make families laugh with their antics. Miniatures and Standards are athletic, and were bred for field work in retrieving (not devouring) waterfowl. They have a "soft mouth" and webbed feet for swimming.
    Last edited by Pacificsun; 08-07-2019 at 06:05 PM.
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  7. #5
    Senior Member Jen2010's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the right breed...

    First of all - you might not be able to find a dog or breed that fits ALL of your requirements. You may have to decide which are priority.

    Three dogs is a lot of work. How much time do you have to dedicate to individual training, exercise, etc? A larger breed will likely need more exercise than your other 2 combined (triple or quadruple that for a puppy). How responsible is your son for his age? He's only 6 - do you think he will stick with the long-term commitment of looking after a dog?

    I would agree with the suggestion of either a lab or a golden. Or perhaps a Boxer might be a good fit. I would not recommend any of the breeds you listed, for a house with young children.

    Keep in mind that if you get a puppy you will likely not be able to jog with him/her until she has fully grown (1+ years old).
    <a href=http://s876.photobucket.com/user/jenelleswitzer/media/Tellier%20-%20Dogs_zpsidzysuwq.jpg.html target=_blank><img src=http://i876.photobucket.com/albums/ab325/jenelleswitzer/Tellier%20-%20Dogs_zpsidzysuwq.jpg border=0 alt= /></a>
    Kane & Pepper
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  8. #6
    Senior Member parus's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing the right breed...

    Some of your criteria are a little contradictory, I think.

    I'd like the new dog to meet the following criteria:
    -pure breed, open to a mixed or cross breed
    -medium to large in size
    -good with children
    -good jogging companion (for me)
    -halfway decent guard dog
    -low wanderlust, if at all possible
    -young or young adult (so I can jog with him/her right away), but open to a puppy
    -most importantly, one that won't kill both of the other dogs
    The "guard dog" bit often doesn't play very nicely with the "good with children and tiny dogs" bit. Yes, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, with small children and small dogs, I don't think you want a dog that has a tendency to solve problems with its teeth. Even if the dog is loyal to and nice with its household, if the dog is going to be your kid's dog, a six year old is too young to control a potentially aggressive dog, I think. You want your kid to be able to safely have friends over.

    If you want a dog that's the most sure to be sweet with your kid, not one to eat birds, and tolerant of your other dogs, your best bet is to look for an adult rescue or retired working/show dog and test him/her out with your pets and family. Dogs often have significant temperament changes between puppyhood and age 2, so a pup or adolescent that's nice with your little dogs and uninterested in your parrots can possibly become predatory, aggressive or intolerant as it grows up, especially if it's from a breed known for sharpness, dog aggression, or prey drive.

    If you get an adult dog with a clearly demonstrated agreeable temperament, specific breed isn't as important. "Lab mixes" are ubiquitous in rescue and I bet there's a bunch out there that'd make your kid really happy and would be fine with other animals.

    If you get a pup, you can hedge your bets by getting one where the breeder focuses on good temperament and good health, including all the OFA-recommended screenings (a dog that's ill, has impaired senses, or has orthopedic pain can be a snappish dog).

    Golden Retrievers and Labs are stereotypical family dogs for good reason. (If you're looking at Golden puppies, make sure you go to a breeder that's working for more longevity and lower incidence of cancer in their breed.) You might also think about a corgi or well-bred collie - they're pretty amiable, but being herding dogs, they're more vigilant and more likely to alert bark, which might appeal to that protective aspect you're looking for. (I feel like if you look for a farm dog type collie and not a show dog type collie, you're more likely to end up with one that's stable, has a brain, and is good with other animals - my parents' collie is from working farm dogs and is safe with chickens, for what it's worth.) Jack Russell terriers are smaller than what you're looking for, but they're sturdy, fun dogs that I can easily see as a companion to a young boy, and they'd be closer in size to your other dogs and therefore less likely to accidentally injure them. Terrier instincts might be a problem with the parrots, though, depending on your setup.
    Last edited by parus; 08-09-2019 at 12:03 AM.
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