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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in the new member but thought I'd post here since it seemed a better match!
Hello I'm looking for some advice on getting a puppy. Sorry if this is too long!

I'm currently open to a wide option of breeds/mixes and mutts. I've spent an extensive amount of time researching breeds, training etc. I memorized over 200 dog breeds as a kid, my family has had dogs before and I've walked them for neighbors. This would however be my first dog that is entirely mine (although the family dogs that we've had I did a lot of the training with them.) My dream has always been to have my own dog, I'll be home for the next two years doing schooling so its a perfect time (I think?) to finally raise a puppy, after that, if I go to college/Uni I plan to take my dog with me (possibly go to a school that allows pets) or my sister can care for him during the day (she loves dogs and might get her own in a few years so she's entirely capable). As a toddler we had a doberman (that was supposed to be a guard dog since we lived in a sketchy country but was extremely sweet and submissive), we also had a golden and a border collie in more recent years. My dream dog breeds are ones that more closely resemble the wolf or the australian dingo, however I'm not ready for a more primitive breed such as a wolfdog plus they're too large for our accomodations right now although I definitely plan on having one sometime, maybe rescuing an adult once I'm more experienced.

Currently I found a litter of pups that I'm really interested in. One parent is a Schapendoes (Dutch Sheep dog)/King Charles Spaniel mix and the other is a Belgian Malinois. I love the look of this mix but would it be right for me?

I'm 17 and do my schooling online so I'm home during the day, the dog would be crate trained would sleep in the house and basically be wherever I am. I'm looking for a companion but I love training and being out doors in general so an active breed is okay however at the moment I don't have a regular excercise schedule or anything, we hike often, bike a lot etc but its not neccesarily everyday and my mom is opposed to a hyperactive dog like our BC was. I would do my best to excercise more say an hour or more a day but might not always be able to. I would participate in puppy classes, possibly obedience or agility after that and once I turn 18 I can start doing SAR training which is one of my interests so that is a possibility to train with the pup. I do have a cat, she did coexist with our border collie but never became buddies, we plan to get a kitten soon as well which won't be a problem if I get a pup around the same time. One concern I have is aggression with the Malinois, I know they can be more dominant and one problem our family BC had was food aggression which was partly due to the fact that she was a family dog so we didn't use one training method, for example my dad grew up with more harsh dog training and I use positive/clicker training sometimes a few Cesar millan tricks but not to an extreme (more the confident thinking, dog waits at door till you say ok etc). Does the malinois have the same or more energy/hyper active intensity of a BC?

Our yard is fenced but not very big.
If anyone has experience with the Schapendoes, do they shed extensively?
Overall would this breed mix suite me and my family?
Also I'm leaning towards a male puppy but would mainly pick from characteristics...

Okay that's about it, let me know if you have any questions and what you think I should do...
Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is a possibility, I've discussed getting a rescue dog/shelter dog with my parents but they think it's better for us right now to get a puppy that we can train from the start.
How much exercise does a Mal need?
Thanks for the advice!
 

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I agree with ireth0... It sounds like a Mal mix would be a very poor choice for you.

While it sounds like you do have dog experience, your post makes it sound like you're choosing a dog based on how it looks versus how it fits your lifestyle. You say you like "wolfdog" type appearance, yet that *exact* line of thinking is what causes so many first time owners to gravitate towards GSDs, Huskies, Malamutes and Malinois. ALL of those breeds are more difficult to deal with and not a good fit for a "first time" owner like yourself, especially with your inconsistent ability to exercise the dog (i.e. not every day).

Also, about "wolfdogs" in general - I understand the appeal, I really do, but they're not what everyone thinks they are. They are NOT just a dog that looks like a wolf. They have different body language, needs, methods of communication, etc. I think it is highly inadvisable for anyone but a trained expert to own those dogs. I have had many difficult, large breed dogs in my lifetime and dealt with the full gamut of behavioral issues, and I don't think I would able to provide a wolfdog with the type of environment or training it would need to be a "safe" pet. As it happens, my opinion coincides with many state laws that disallow civilians from owning wolfdogs without a license, and you will find that later in life, you will not be able to get homeowners insurance if you own one.

My advice to you is along the lines of ireth0's - go to a shelter, let them know what you want/need out of a dog, and look at what they have available. Adopting for looks only ends most frequently in disaster, unhappy owners and even more unhappy dogs.

ETA: A Mal would need about an hour of exercise a day and even more mental stimulation, I think. They are intense, drive-y dogs. Have you ever actually been around one in person?

Also, being the current owner of an 11.5 week old puppy, it's a lot of work. I cannot even imagine trying to take online courses and deal with a puppy at the same time. It would be impossible, pretty much. I think that age is a poor choice, considering your education should come before taking a puppy outside every 15 minutes.
 

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If you want a puppy I would find a specific breed that fits your lifestyle and find a reputable breeder. Mix breed puppies are a total unknown in terms of what you're going to end up with as an adult.

For Mal's it's not so much about quantity of exercise, it's that you need to be 100% committed to training/working with them ALL THE TIME. They need an owner that is present in the relationship with them 24/7 and are not good pets for the average household that doesn't have their dogs as the focus of their life.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Hiraeth,
Sorry if I made that impression! That's not at all what I meant. I like more primitive breeds (yes they look great but that's not the only reason) because of their characteristics, I know they can be a handful to live with which is why I would only consider one if I lived on a farm or had a LOT of space and even then I would most likely adopt from a shelter because a lot of wolfdogs get dumped because owners think their cute but fail to research and understand that wolfdogs are wild animals with wild characteristics that communicate differently than dogs and are much more independent. Either way that's just a future dream, I'm the type of person who wants to do primitive living once I'm older and hence I like the wolfdog or more natural historical breeds instead of the toy and all show breeds (not that theres anything wrong with them I just prefer the other :)

Also I'm not saying excercise wise I'd just let the dog out in the yard and ignore its needs-they would be terrible both mentally and physically for the animal. Its just that I won't be able to provide more than an hour of excercise everyday (like on exam days or when I'm sick) but my dog would still get walked at least 3 times (once its an adult) every day (my parents and sister would happily help out).
Thanks for your input and sorry for the confusion.
 

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1, don't follow cesar milan.

2, don't get a mal. I wouldn't even consider them as potential pets, personally, unless you live a very very very active lifestyle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's the thing, I'm not the average kid that thinks a dog is cute and wants one till they become too much work. I love dog training, and might pursue SAR training or a dog related career. For me my dog would be my life, I'm not extremely social and rather spend my time in nature, with my cat or doing sports (yes my cat comes for walks with me, I take her to the forest so she can climb trees she loves it!) My family is less dog oriented then I am (except for my younger sister who is a lot like me) but they still like the dog companionship just not all the work (although my dad loves walking and goes atleast once a day and he likes dogs, my mom more wants it to be cute and cuddly...I suggested she get a King charles spaniel or greyhound as a companion...she might do that in the future :), which is fine by me because it would be my dog so I'd be the main caretaker etc. For me dog training is an ongoing process, and as I said the dog would be with me wherever I go, I plan to train it to be good off-leash (of course only in safe areas) and to know a lot of commands as well as doing a dog sport after puppy classes. Our BC we got at 12 weeks and it wasn't a big deal or too much work for me (and I was quite a few years younger.)

I'm just concerned as to whether a mentally stable and well excercised Mal will settle down in the house (although I did play fetch while doing my work with the BC :p) or will be jumping off the walls so to speak :)
 

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A Mal is so much more than a Border Collie. Isn't a Malinois an even more intense version of the German Shepherd in terms of activity levels and mental needs.

I agree with everyone saying that you should go to a shelter and get an adult dog. Especially for your first dog. Statistically the majority of dogs that get taken to shelters are between the ages of 6months-1.5 years. Of course there's other ages and seniors are very popular too, but you should be able to find a younger dog that meets all of your criteria there, at least then you can take trial periods and get to know the dog.

If you're set on getting a puppy why don't you either make a new thread and tell us what you're all looking for in a dog and what you can realistically provide to a dog and we can help recommend a breed. Be honest/realistic about how much you want to exercise. Size, coat type, activities you want to do (agility, flyball, obedience etc.), soft or a more challenging dog.

Make a list, we do better with recommendations for information like that.
 

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Hi Hiraeth,
Sorry if I made that impression! That's not at all what I meant. I like more primitive breeds (yes they look great but that's not the only reason) because of their characteristics, I know they can be a handful to live with which is why I would only consider one if I lived on a farm or had a LOT of space and even then I would most likely adopt from a shelter because a lot of wolfdogs get dumped because owners think their cute but fail to research and understand that wolfdogs are wild animals with wild characteristics that communicate differently than dogs and are much more independent. Either way that's just a future dream, I'm the type of person who wants to do primitive living once I'm older and hence I like the wolfdog or more natural historical breeds instead of the toy and all show breeds (not that theres anything wrong with them I just prefer the other :)

Also I'm not saying excercise wise I'd just let the dog out in the yard and ignore its needs-they would be terrible both mentally and physically for the animal. Its just that I won't be able to provide more than an hour of excercise everyday (like on exam days or when I'm sick) but my dog would still get walked at least 3 times (once its an adult) every day (my parents and sister would happily help out).
Thanks for your input and sorry for the confusion.
So, "wolfdogs" don't get dumped at shelters. A very small percentage of dogs advertised as "wolfdogs" actually have "wolf" in them. IF a shelter thinks a dog is part wolf, it will be euthanized or adopted to a sanctuary. There are too many legal issues in adopting out such an unpredictable animal to a regular civilian. And owning a "wolfdog" has nothing to do with having a lot of property, as you could never just let one 'roam free'. It sounds like you've researched some aspects of wolf hybrids, but not others, especially the legal aspect. Not sure what state you live in, but here:

Laws of owning wild and wild hybrid animals by state

That being said - it sounds like you'd be able to provide a very good home to most dogs and mixes. Malinois are even more intense than BCs, in general, which is what you asked in your original post. As others have said, unless your life is going to be totally about your dog, please do NOT get a Mal or a Mal mix. It would be unfair to the dog.

ETA:

I'm just concerned as to whether a mentally stable and well excercised Mal will settle down in the house (although I did play fetch while doing my work with the BC :p) or will be jumping off the walls so to speak :)
It's beginning to sound like you're mostly unwilling to listen to our advice about a Mal, and like you've already made up your mind. Maybe you missed my question - have you ever actually been around an adult Mal? It's amazing how many times I've read on this forum 'yeah, I wanted a Mal, but then I spent some time with one and I realized I would never get one'.
 

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Mals will be as high energy or higher energy than your average border collie. They'll also typically be bigger and also be more protective than a border collie. Bite first, think later type. They typically are bred for hard work or sport and need an extensive amount of exercise and work. Honestly, I think they are probably the breed that needs the most exercise. And outside of just exercise they can be really quirky and need a lot of socialization. They are often not very stranger friendly. I really don't think they are the right fit for you. I am sure you can find another dog that would be much more what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay, thanks for the input! I definitely haven't done the legal side of researching wolfdogs.
I know the size of your property doesn't determine the size of the dog, but since wolfdogs are wild so to speak, if I got one I would want to be able to provide a more natural habitat for it where it would be safe from hunters and strangers :) that being said its not that it would roam free but it would have the space to do that once trained. Of course I still need to research a lot more if I ever adopted one.
 

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Okay Thanks, Kdawnk. I will make another post. :)
I'm sure we've all fallen in love with a dog or two before the harsh realization that you can't/shouldn't own one sets in.
We'll be much more helpful on the other thread, to recommend a breed for you instead.
 

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I'm sure we've all fallen in love with a dog or two before the harsh realization that you can't/shouldn't own one sets in.
We'll be much more helpful on the other thread, to recommend a breed for you instead.
I can vouch for this ^^^ My love of GSD is no secret, but I also realize they're not a good fit for me. :( Fortunately, I can live vicariously through others. :D

Folks here will give great recommendations for breeds (or rescue dog characteristics) that will be a better match for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Don't worry, I'm not a spontaneous buyer. Over the last 6 months I've fallen in love with dozens of liters only to watch them all get adopted since they just didn't fit my family :( Like the Portuguese podengo medio for example, I found a rescue pup from an organization that I was 100% in love with, but I have a cat, they have a high prey drive and have bad recall (of course its the training that counts but they have an extremely high prey drive).

@Hiraeth,
No I haven't been around a belgian Malinois for very long which is why I'm asking for advice compared to a Border collie which I have a lot of experience with. I definitely haven't already decided I'm getting one, I want to do whats best for my future dog and my family (and in that order!). But since the litter i'm looking at is a mix breed I am still considering it, although less enthusiastically thanks to everyones suggestions. We already are going to meet the parents this weekend, and a lot depends on the character of the Malinois.
 

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@Hiraeth,
No I haven't been around a belgian Malinois for very long which is why I'm asking for advice compared to a Border collie which I have a lot of experience with. I definitely haven't already decided I'm getting one, I want to do whats best for my future dog and my family (and in that order!). But since the litter i'm looking at is a mix breed I am still considering it, although less enthusiastically thanks to everyones suggestions. We already are going to meet the parents this weekend, and a lot depends on the character of the Malinois.
Do these breeders own the Mal and the Schapendoes? Is the Mal the dam or the sire? Why are they breeding them together, out of curiosity?

If this doesn't work out, maybe you can look for a local dog show or competition where you can spend some time standing near and interacting with some Mals. They're... Intense, to say the least. Like, super intense. I personally find that type of intensity unpleasant to be around, but a few people enjoy it.

I'm sure you'll get some great suggestions on your other thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The breeders own the Mal and the Schapendoes mix, the Mal is the sire of the pups and the parents are both the family dogs.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look up some competitions to see if I can meet a few adults, I have watched them train before (military training) but didn't get to meet the dogs :(
 

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I'm not going to tell you to not get a mal or mal x. A little against the grain, I think most people COULD handle a mal, but... I also think most people probably wouldn't WANT to live with one. Toast is just about 11 months old and before getting him, on paper I did not look like an ideal mal owner. He was the "active pet home" puppy of a working litter and since I play urban mushing among other things his breeder put some faith in me. So it's hard for me to just tell people DON'T after getting that chance.

IME they're very "react first, think later" dogs. And reacting is often going to involve their mouth. Biting you. Possibly yelling at you. But probably biting you. Maybe both. Not like, mauling, but these horrible little pinch bites. I spent weeks of Toast's puppyhood with my arms and legs COVERED in bruises from little pinch-bites. You need to be able to be unemotional about this, accept that it's what you signed up for, and consistently work on bite inhibition and redirecting to toys (unless you want to be involved in IPO) so much more and so much longer than you ever dreamed possible. He was probably 8-9 months old of working on it the whole time before his default when he was excited to see me come home after work shifted from screaming and pinch-biting to grabbing a toy for a game of tug. You need to teach a solid "leave it" and "drop it" early or I don't know how you'd live with them.

They have kind of a quirky, frenetic energy that I adore but would probably drive a lot of people nuts. They're busy in the house unless you encourage an off switch. Not necessarily destructive but just always doing something or another, which bugs some people. And they're the kind of dog who looks like they're sleeping, but the moment you shift your weight or turn a page on the book, they might leap up OMG WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW. Not the picture of relaxed energy.

They don't need 1000 hours of exercise a day, I would say pure physical exercise averages less than an hour a day here (although the dogs get a lot of yard time together, too) but they DO need to do SOME kind of work every day or they can be hard to live with. And you have to do more in terms of socialization and exposure to a wide variety of people, situations, experiences, etc. than with other breeds. I do a lot of tricks training and OB skills. We mush, dabble in disc, rally, and will be starting agility. A LOT of impulse control. A LOT of just going to the park walking around and rewarding for calm behavior around strangers and new stuff, even at his age. A lot of chewing material, food puzzle toys. He needs to use his brain working with his people every day to be happy.

He can be stranger suspicious, he's not a go-anywhere-do-anything dog. I have to manage introductions, because done well he's fine but done poorly a bad reaction to someone could mean a bite. Is that something you want to think about and manage all the time?

On the plus side, he is incredibly handler focused, biddable, and learns things SO fast. I sleep very well at night with him in the house. He's incredibly resilient physically and mentally, no environmental sensitivity and great bounce-back. Amazing food and toy drive. Very adaptable. Once he knows what you want, he will do it THE MOST. And no one is as sweet as he is with someone he knows and loves, he's a ridiculous mush.

I love him dearly and would not change a thing, but they are definitely not for everyone. Not because they are "hard" per se but because some of their characteristics are things a lot of people wouldn't like or wouldn't want to live with. So think long and hard about why you actually want a dog and what you want to do with it.
 

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IME they're very "react first, think later" dogs. And reacting is often going to involve their mouth. Biting you. Possibly yelling at you. But probably biting you. Maybe both. Not like, mauling, but these horrible little pinch bites. I spent weeks of Toast's puppyhood with my arms and legs COVERED in bruises from little pinch-bites. You need to be able to be unemotional about this, accept that it's what you signed up for, and consistently work on bite inhibition and redirecting to toys (unless you want to be involved in IPO) so much more and so much longer than you ever dreamed possible. He was probably 8-9 months old of working on it the whole time before his default when he was excited to see me come home after work shifted from screaming and pinch-biting to grabbing a toy for a game of tug. You need to teach a solid "leave it" and "drop it" early or I don't know how you'd live with them.

They have kind of a quirky, frenetic energy that I adore but would probably drive a lot of people nuts. They're busy in the house unless you encourage an off switch. Not necessarily destructive but just always doing something or another, which bugs some people. And they're the kind of dog who looks like they're sleeping, but the moment you shift your weight or turn a page on the book, they might leap up OMG WHAT ARE WE DOING NOW. Not the picture of relaxed energy.

They don't need 1000 hours of exercise a day, I would say pure physical exercise averages less than an hour a day here (although the dogs get a lot of yard time together, too) but they DO need to do SOME kind of work every day or they can be hard to live with. And you have to do more in terms of socialization and exposure to a wide variety of people, situations, experiences, etc. than with other breeds. I do a lot of tricks training and OB skills. We mush, dabble in disc, rally, and will be starting agility. A LOT of impulse control. A LOT of just going to the park walking around and rewarding for calm behavior around strangers and new stuff, even at his age. A lot of chewing material, food puzzle toys. He needs to use his brain working with his people every day to be happy.
Yes, all of this perfectly describes my Dutchies. Generally, Mals are a little more driven than DSDs with less of an off-switch. I also have a Mal(X), and she seems to be low-drive, but we shall see how it turns out, since she was full of heartworms when we rescued her, she's still recovering, and that may be a factor.

Getting a MalxAnything with a lower drive, though, is a total crapshoot, you might be lucky to just get a smart dog that won't be insane, or you might come home every day to a dog jumping off the refrigerator and swinging from the light fixtures.
 
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