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I'm considering bringing a dog into my home and I'm trying to decide on the right breed for me. I've included some information about what I'm looking for and what kind of home I can provide and I would appreciate any advice you can give.

Size
I'm looking for a medium to large dog. 35-40 lbs on the small side up to 80+ lbs.

Energy Level
I'd like a moderate energy level dog. I go on hour long brisk walks in the mornings for my own exercise and would certainly bring my dog on those, plus I'd like to play fetch or frisbee with my dog after work. At the same time, I do work and so the dog will spend a fair amount of time alone in the house.

Intelligence
I don't plan on competing, but I do want to train my dog to be highly obedient for a pet. I know this will depend a lot on the consistency with which I train him, but I do want a relatively intelligent breed who can learn new commands quickly.

Grooming
I don't mind spending a few minutes a day brushing my dog down and caring for his coat, but I'd like to avoid getting a dog that sheds excessively. We had a corgi when I was a kid and the thing would leave fur on every surface she walked by 365 days/year. I realize all dogs shed to some degree, but if possible I'd like to find a breed that is on the lighter side of the shedding continuum.

Home Environment
I don't currently live in a house, but I don't plan on bringing a dog home until I do. My lease on my apartment will be up in a little while and I plan on getting a house with a yard when I move out and at that point I'll move forward with actually getting the dog.

I'm currently single, but I have a girlfriend (soon to be fiancee) who will eventually be living with us. She has a 2 year old male miniature schnauzer/westie mix she'll be bringing along, so this dog will need to get along with him. Also, we don't have any kids now, but almost certainly will while this dog is still with us so a kid friendly breed is also important to me.

I know this is a lot of information and if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading my long post. If you have any ideas about a breed that would fit my description I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks in advance,
Mike
 

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Labrador or golden retriever I would suggest. They can go on long walks and they love frisbee. They also get along with other small dogs. Where do you plan on getting the dog from? Grooming is easy on a labrador also. Basically just brush the coat.
 

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Retired racing greyhound may be an option. About the only negative compared to your "desired traits" is that most of them aren't really into the idea of "fetch." They do, however, make excellent, well behaved companion pets with very little training. Just be consistent and fair and they'll be your best friend.
 

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If you want a low shedding dog, I would not recommend a lab. I also wouldn't recommend a lab if the OP is going to be away for most of the day. They require a lot more exercise than an hour long walk and some fetch/frisbee.

A few breeds that you might want to look into would be a standard or giant Schnauzer, Elkhound, Visla, Flat-coated retriever.

I would also recommend a shelter/rescue dog.

If you want a low shedding dog, I would not recommend a lab. I also wouldn't recommend a lab if the OP is going to be away for most of the day. They require a lot more exercise than an hour long walk and some fetch/frisbee.

A few breeds that you might want to look into would be a standard or giant Schnauzer, Elkhound, Visla, Flat-coated retriever.

I would also recommend a shelter/rescue dog.
 

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Goldens and Labs are both heavy shedders.

Have you considered a Smooth Collie? They aren't low-shedders, but they aren't notoriously prolific ones either.

I would also look into a Portuguese Water Dog (and no, not just because of Obama...) They are great retrievers, low-shedding and quite trainable.
 

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I agree if you do not want a dog who sheds, a Labrador is not the dog for you. Though I do disagree that being away all day makes it impossible to satisfy a Labradors exercise needs.

If looking for a large, friendly dog, I might consider a Curly Coat Retriever, they fit into the Large dog, are quite active, intelligent.

I do know a few reputable (though Labrador) breeders in the Greater Dallas area that would be more than happy to offer you some input or know breeders of different breeds. Let me know if I can help.
 

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Porties or standard poodles could fit the bill. My friends portuguese water dogs are pretty energetic but not much more than a labrador or the like. I also thought of smooth collie, but they do shed quite a bit.
 

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Rhodesian Ridgeback maybe?

They don't shed much, they don't require quite as much exercise as a lab, they're very smart, they make great family dogs and there's a Ridgeback Rescue in Texas.

As far as a Visla goes.... They're a hunting dog, they are a very very active dog that requires alot of exercise.
 

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English Springer Spaniel. It might be on the small end of the size you desire, and I wouldn't say they are "smart" so much as "eager to please". They have some serious puppy energy, but I think they mellow out a bit as they mature.

They shed, but I don't think as much as a golden or a lab.

I don't know much about Brittanies, but that might be a good match, too.
 

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As far as a Visla goes.... They're a hunting dog, they are a very very active dog that requires alot of exercise.
That's what I thought, but in one of my dog books it said "moderate" under exercise requirements.
 

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I would recomend a Golden Retriever,or a smallish Lab. Considering your girlfriend already has a dog,Golden's get along with most animals.Consider a female in either a Lab or a Golden Retriever. Most males tend to be more hyper than females,but that is my own opinion.
 

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I would have to say, a Vizsla fits nearly all of your requirements except for the fact that you'll be gone during the day. Vizsla's are high energy, but your excerising regimen could be perfect. The only negative is that Vizsla's are known as "velcro dogs". They want to be with their owner 24/7, constantly and that may not be best for you, although it is your choice. Vizsla's also are one of the breeds that don't have that awful "dog smell". They're very clean.

Goldens would be alright, but they do shed and you'll have to be careful when buying one. They're extremely popular so there is a big risk of picking up a bad bloodline or something.

Also, someone else mentioned a Rhodesian Ridgeback. Those would be perfect, in my opinion. They're friendly, easily trained and need a good amount of excerise. Not to mention they're friggin' gorgeous.

One other breed that comes to mind is a Boxer. They're friendly, extremely playful yet need a good amount of excerise. They get along great with other animals when trained properly, and are wonderful with kids. They keep their puppy-like behaivor for about 2-3 years.

What are your prefences, look-wise? Do you favor bully breeds or more thin and slender breeds?
 

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As far as a Visla goes.... They're a hunting dog, they are a very very active dog that requires alot of exercise.
That's what I thought, but in one of my dog books it said "moderate" under exercise requirements.
Aaaaah! I've met a few Vizslas and there was one in Luna's puppy class. He was positively CRAZY! A "Lab on crack" as I liked to call him. Or.. "take a lab's energy, and multiply it by 1,000!!"

I would NOT recommend a Vizsla to a home that doesn't plan on a LOT of exercise or a job (such as hunting) for the dog to do.

I would have to say, a Vizsla fits nearly all of your requirements except for the fact that you'll be gone during the day. Vizsla's are high energy, but your excerising regimen could be perfect.
I really don't see how a brisk walk in the morning and some frisbee at night is going to satisfy a Vizsla's exercise needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
What are your prefences, look-wise? Do you favor bully breeds or more thin and slender breeds?
I don't know that I have a lot of preference regarding stocky vs. slender dogs. As far as appearance goes I really like Labs, Rottweilers, and Staffordshires as well as Dobermans, and Vizslas. My only real preference in appearance is for a shorter haired dog. I've never liked the look of Goldens and spaniels/setters as much as the others I've mentioned because of their longer coats. I'm also not a huge fan of the curly coats like Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs.

All that being said, the appearance is at the bottom of my list of priorities. If I had to put my priorities in order it would be:

Temperament - Good with young kids and our other dog
Intelligence/Trainability
Exercise Requirements - content with a 3 mile walk + hour or so of play/obedience training
Playfulness/Skill Set
Shedding
Size
Looks

I really don't see how a brisk walk in the morning and some frisbee at night is going to satisfy a Vizsla's exercise needs.
Can some of the people who have Labs or Vizslas or other high energy working dogs describe their daily exercise routine? I've known a lot of people who had very calm obedient Labs and other hunting dogs who exercised them much less than I plan to.

If I biked or roller bladed with my dog (i.e. force him to run instead of walk), would that make my exercise regimen more conducive to owning one of the breeds we've been discussing? Also I've heard some people use doggie backpacks to increase the intensity of their walks. Anyone have experience with that?
 

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A few breeds that you might want to look into would be a standard or giant Schnauzer, Elkhound, Visla, Flat-coated retriever.
I was just coming in to suggest an Elkhound despite by obvious bias. They're a good medium size dog (40-55lbs), they're not the shedding mess people would think they are, and they love their walks and fetch. Our Elkhound is also incredibly independent, so if for any reason he gets left home alone, he just chills on his bed or around the house. He's intelligent (we're getting into agility and teaching him things like weave poles has been easier than expected) and gets along fine with all dogs.
 

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Standard poodle. So many can't get past the poodle look (though you can do SO much with different haircuts.) They are wonderful family dogs, great with kids, elderly. They are #2 smartest dog breed, and very easy to train. They are calm enough to be left alone while at work, but love to play fetch, go for walks, etc. They can get rowdy for play time, but calm right back down.
They do not shed, but require brushing a few times a week, (depending on how long you keep them) and regular professional grooming. Here's a picture of my by in a very "manly" German Trim..lol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was just coming in to suggest an Elkhound despite by obvious bias. They're a good medium size dog (40-55lbs), they're not the shedding mess people would think they are, and they love their walks and fetch. Our Elkhound is also incredibly independent, so if for any reason he gets left home alone, he just chills on his bed or around the house. He's intelligent (we're getting into agility and teaching him things like weave poles has been easier than expected) and gets along fine with all dogs.
I live in Dallas, TX if I haven't mentioned that already. The dog will definitely live indoors, but do you think an Elkhound would have a problem with our summers which usually see 90+ degree heat and moderate humidity almost all day long for all of June, July and August?
 

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I live in Dallas, TX if I haven't mentioned that already. The dog will definitely live indoors, but do you think an Elkhound would have a problem with our summers which usually see 90+ degree heat and moderate humidity almost all day long for all of June, July and August?
I live in Michigan, and our weather is quite extreme all year round. Ours doesn't seem bothered by hotter weather, but like any dog they should have limited exposure to hot days. They're a double coated breed and their undercoat insulates against hot and cold weather. Their outer coat is weather resistant.
 

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Exercise Requirements - content with a 3 mile walk + hour or so of play/obedience training
Besides the shed factor, this is why I mentioned Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

I've been told by owners that these dogs require about 2 hours a day of exercise then they head for the couch to spend the rest of their day.

They are also great family dogs.
 
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