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My family and I have recently been looking into getting a dog. We are first time owners and are planning on adopting from a shelter, I would like some feedback on what kind of breeds would be best for my family.

There are two kids (16+) in my family, and we live in the country on 3ish acres. I have horses down the road, so I have experience with training and leadership, just not with canines. We're very active, my moms a runner, my dad walks everyday, and my brother and I swim and I also ride horses.

An active, shorthair dog with minimal shedding would be ideal. Medium-large, with plenty of play! Not having owning a dog I wouldn't want to bore a very intelligent dog, but I may be wrong.

Thanks so much for your feedback! If any other information is needed just let me know!
 

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I second melundie's suggestion. For first timers, I usually suggest an adult dog in a shelter or rescue. Puppies are very hard, very frustrating work. Getting an adult will allow you to learn the ropes without someone constantly peeing on things and chewing on your hands. Go to petfinder.com and see what's available near you. (Rescues often transport great distances, so "near" isn't exactly near. I'm in PA, my dog came from KY.)
 

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And I will also put a vote towards going to the shelter and letting them help you find a dog that best suits your family. Tell them about your living arrangements, energy level, bring the whole family in and meet many different dogs. When you find one that just clicks with the whole family, you'll know it, and that'll be the one.
 

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When you go to the rescue... ask them for a Lab or Lab mix that fits the energy of your family. For a first time owner, you do Not want a Lab puppy - they're a handful. But, an adult Lab 2 - 5 years old is easy to find that is good with the family, house-trained, and maybe a little training. They are very adaptable and trainable, and most importantly, they are Very forgiving of mistakes! They can easily be conditioned to run with you, and with a little help, you can train a Lab to run with you on-leash or off-leash (they were bred for hunting, following a hunter in the field, off-leash, for hours.)

They do shed, and they range in size from medium to large family sized, but an adult is full-grown, so you won't have surprises. A nice black Lab can grow a beautify, shiny coat.

Labs are popular, but people may give them up for adoption, b/c of death, divorce, or too much energy...
 

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I will definitely agree with getting an older dog. Puppies are an incredible amount of work, and can just be too much for a first time owner.

Because you are active and have the space, a larger breed would probably be a good fit. Go down to the shelter and see who is waiting to be loved!
 

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If you're in the south especially, there will likely be a nice selection of the hunting hounds in shelters. Too many people in cities get hounds and are then surprised at their exercise needs and (sometimes) tendency to bay. (I'm NOT saying that city people can't have hounds, just that those issues often seem to be the reason for owner surrenders; I have my own great hound in a 900 sf house in the city)

But hounds are great companions and tend to be active, friendly, have good endurance and weather tolerance (hot and cold within reasonable limits), people oriented, rarely dog aggressive since they are bred to hunt and work in groups and you may even find some that have experience around horses already.

The only tough thing about hounds is training off-leash. It is doable but they usually want to follow their nose or the prey (squirrels, deer etc) and it takes consistent positive reinforcement and training to have a reliable off-leash hound.

Think dogs like redbone coonhound, treeing walker coonhound, blackmouth cur, foxhound and beagles. Beagles are on the smaller range out of the commonly found hound dogs (common in shelters) but all of them are medium to large but not giant breeds. I'd say few go over about 75 lbs on average with most of them that I see in the 50-60 lbs range.
 
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