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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone!

If this is in the wrong forum, please move and accept my apologies.

I'm looking to get a dog. I am 22, just graduated from college and got a full time job. I've always loved dogs since I was little (it was the 3rd word from my mouth, according to my folks). I raised two awesome Flat Coated Retrievers as a kid, one is 8 1/2 and lives with my father, but I did the raising on both so I feel confident that I'm capable. I am completely happy adopting from a shelter or a rescue (I volunteered at the local humane society while in school, I would like to help a dog). I'm also considering mixed breeds, I like the idea of picking half the breed and then seeing what is out there. I'd be looking to get a puppy, up to a year or so. Almost assuredly male, I'm not mature enough to pass up the jokes having a female dog would present me... :D

(Edit: Dog wouldn't be spending 40hrs a week alone... I've worked out various forms of doggy day care with friends/family/roommate (who will be doing a lot of the puppy raising during the day, we've already talked, that's his utility check!), but nothing I can count on for 10 years so I'm sure there are some days he will be alone for 8 hours, but probably not more than 1-2 days a week.)

Need:
Bigger breed (both my FCR hit 90+lbs and above average in height, not fat dogs). 60+lbs, but I'm totally fine with 150.

Health is a big consideration. I'd prefer a breed that isn't known for dying young, putting the dogs down is why I stopped volunteering, it was doing yo-yos with my emotions.

Needs to be able to handle western Oregon weather... rainy a lot in the winter with some sporadic snow, but 80+ isn't unusual in the summer. Obviously I provide shade and cool water in the summer.

Same sex aggression is a no-no. I plan on socializing extensively, but he must get along with my dog (who is ridiculously friendly) and I'm likely to get more dogs in the future.

Bigtime barking is a no. Obviously dogs bark, but I will likely be living in a condo/townhome. I think most dogs are fine.

Less important:
Need the dog to be both good with kids and be trainable on the prey drive. My Dad's wife runs a daycare out of their home and the dog needs to be able to handle that. Not that the kids are constantly prodding the dog that lives there (on another floor) but there is interaction. I also have a 3yo brother who gets along fine with my FCR and doesn't seem to do anything aggravating (yet). Additionally, my mother has a cat that the puppy would be introduced to early/frequently and she will probably help watch the dog some days (she works from home).

I'd like to take the dog on hikes during the sunny season, and my mother (lives 1 mi away from my current home, will be near my new place) lives on a lake. I'd love to be able to let the dog off-leash on hikes, but not a requirement.

I am pretty active. In the summer, I'm rarely home and would want to take the dog with me most anywhere (ocean, lake, hiking, walks, parks, etc). In the winter, though, the weather tends to suck and most days the dog will have to be content with a 30 minute walk, maybe two if my roommate (who will be helping raise the pup) continues to stay unemployed and/or gets a night shift (which he wants to find). So some high-energy breeds are probably not good fits.

So, yeah. Have at it! The big ones are bigger breed, friendly, can handle apartments, and not off-the-walls energy. I've looked at Swissies, Leonbergers, Alaskan Malamutes as good fits... I'd prefer something a little less common than a lab or golden retriever just because I see those dogs everywhere, but if I pick "half the breed" like Half Malamute... lab or golden would be very appealing choices for the other half. I also have a soft-spot for Pits because we had some sweethearts at my shelter, but even if my future homeowners group allows it, I'd need some convincing that it's a good fit for my situation now.

Thanks a ton!
 

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You just described many dogs available (more then likely) at your local shelter. Have you considered adopting?
 

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Well we have lived in a condo (its and apartment but you own it) for 20 years in the Heart of San Francisco and have had a Pit bull (didnt work d/t the dog aggression), 2 Boxers (great dogs, balanced and handled our camping trips in the Sierras and hiking NO Problem), and currently have a Giant Schnauzer and a Bernese Mt dog pup-- So far the Boxers are the most appropriate to this environment although I love the Schnauzer-- I have had to change my life to accommodate her tremendous need for excercise and she will never like strangers-- the Bernese pup it is too soon to know I think (we just bought a weekend cabin in the country for an Outlet so that is why we got such a Big dog)-- but he is way more city -friendly so far-- lower energy sweet and loves all comers....
I looked at Swissies as well and think they would work (my Boxers made it to ages 11 and 13 BTW)-- that breed ended up to be really hard to obtain and also I did not get great reviews from the professional dogwalkers I see, so feel OK with the Bernese (we will see how the Heath concerns work out)-- hope this helps-- with your situation it sounds like almost anything could work... And I think Adoption is always a good option...
Good luck and Happy Doggin'!!!
 

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As others have said, I think a lot of breeds could fit your lifestyle. Plenty of great mixes at shelters - check out petfinder.com, if you haven't already. Especially with a lot of the very large breeds, be certain that you're doing your research regarding health problems, and also be aware that very large dogs tend to have shorter life spans, on average (think ~8ish years).

Where in Western Oregon are you?
 

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I like my anatolian shepherd. goes on long walks, stays by myside the whole time. mellow attitude. Her dense coat can handle the weather. Large size. Long life expectancy. Some health concerns but not that many for such a large dog. They are close to like a Great pyrenees without the long coat. I researched the breed and got her from a very good breeder. She handles new situations like a pro. Maybe I got lucky with my first one, but man do I love this breed.
 

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A hound could fit well if you looked for a young adult with a little lower prey drive and a little quieter. A hound's tendency to bray/howl and prey drive are the only two things on your list that a coonhound (redbone, treeing walker etc) doesn't fit. If you find a dog that is fostered, you will know a lot about the dog before hand.

They are generally great with kids, they have energy and love the outdoors and can hike for hours but aren't necessarily hyper-energy (not in the class of border collies and aussies for example), sturdy and deal with varied weather conditions, on the large size (60-75 lbs is common), and very rarely on a banned breed list for apartments (unless there is an overall weight restriction like so many have <50 lbs or <35 lbs).

You might need to learn to just deal with the "sucky" winter weather; I find that while many of the medium energy breeds can skip a day or have just a 30 minute walk one day, that you have to "pay it back" with a longer walk the next day. Dress appropriately, get good wet/cold weather gear including good shoes or boots, and just get out there. If its really bad weather, you might find a dog training place with drop-in training or play or take the dog to a store that allows dogs (pet stores obviously, but many hardware stores like Lowes/HD, hunting and camping stores also allow leashed dogs)
 

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I know you wanted something more exotic, but a Lab mix (Lab x GSD or Lab x Pit) is the ultimate designer dog. Black adults typically have more trouble getting adopted, but they are mostly mature and very trainable and adaptable. And they were bred for duck hunting weather ...
 

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I'd get a mix from a shelter or rescue. If you get a fostered dog, the foster can tell you about their tendency to bark, etc, and an adult would suit your needs better, anyway. (You can't jog, etc. with a puppy. It will damage their growing bones/joints.)

Also, I really don't get the whole female jokes thing? I . . . wut? You'd do much better getting a female and having a male/female pair.

Since you already have a dog, top priority is to make sure the new dog and the old dog get along. That should be top priority. If they don't, you can't entirely fix that and you're going to be managing it forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the awesome feedback. I'll try to address the things that jumped out at me, and clarify some things I didn't explain well in the first post.

Current dog doesn't live with me. He's also a sweetheart/wimp (we're still waiting for his first growl at a living creature... you can take a bone or food right from him and he doesn't even look upset, just confused... when he was 2yo, it took about a week for our new 3lb kitten to start bossing him around, etc... ) I’m much more concerned about the dog getting along with other pets in the neighborhood than my dog, honestly if there was a problem it’d be pretty minor, it’d just mean I would need to avoid bringing him to visit my father… inconvenient, but not enough to budge me from the male dog… Sadly, my FCR is almost 9 and that breed doesn’t have a great track record of health (although we were very careful about breeders and the parents had a good medical history, maybe he will surprise us).

The female dog thing was half a joke, half serious. I’d rather have a male dog anyways, but my friend owns two female dogs and we make jokes like “you gonna bring your bitches to the lake today?” or “man I got a hot bitch on my lap” and stuff like that. I bet some of you are rolling your eyes – now imagine me doing that frequently… I rarely pass up an opportunity for a joke, and there would be lots of opportunities for those. Probably too many.

Definitely considering a mixed breed/shelter/rescue. I’m unlikely to buy from a breeder and probably not a purebred. My big concern about adopting a mixed pup is that unless we had a good idea of the dog’s lineage, it’d be challenging to predict things like size, tolerance for children, barking, etc.

If I had to pick something tomorrow, I’d probably aim for some sort of retriever mix. I’d love to hear from people with Pit mixes, if you’d think they’d make sense for my situation. I have spent time with some really great pits, but always in the very structured environment of the shelter. A lab/pit mix has a bit of appeal to me.

Bernese Mountain Dog was what we almost picked 9 years ago, actually. I was scared off by the health issues, but otherwise wonderful dogs that would be perfect for my situation. Maybe I will look for a BMD mix. I had thought Newfoundlands had bad health records but I will do more research, the breed has a lot going for it.

Anatolian Sheperd looks intriguing, same with the standard poodle. I’ll check those both out.

Re: Hounds – I saw several hound breeds that seemed very cool, but I seem to remember either barking issues (as you mention) or energy/prey drive problems. I’m sure it varies more from dog-to-dog than anything, but I am curious about how strong of traits those are overall. The last thing I want to do is get a dog and then be forced to give him up because of barking or something like that, I saw too many great dogs get dropped off at the shelter for reasons like that.
 

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You just described a friend of mine in your description. He lives in an apt. And has a large breed who is always by his side...off leash. He is extremely friendly, social, and low maintnence. He has a presa canario dog (canary). The dog is quiet and loves other animals. Hope this helps.

Jen
 

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My big concern about adopting a mixed pup is that unless we had a good idea of the dog’s lineage, it’d be challenging to predict things like size, tolerance for children, barking, etc.
It's true that with very young pups, it can be hard to predict size, temperament, etc. But you said in your first post that you'd be willing to adopt a dog up to about a year old or so. By the time the dog hits several months old, you can usually estimate its full-grown size (plus or minus) and temperament pretty well. I actually look at this as one advantage to adoption, as it's harder (but not unheard of) to find breeders with pups older than ~3mo.
 

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I have to throw out my favorite breed.
Redbone Coonhounds are highly trainable dogs that love to cuddle, be with you and can handle any terrain in just about any weather. They are very friendly with people, dogs and if you start socialization early, cats. All of my Redbones had best cat friends. A lot of people will tell you hounds have a tenancy to wander, but while this may be true, Redbones are a hound that 'checks in' with it's owner. They have a natural hunting instinct but it takes training to bring that out, of course, so unless you put on the training, it's not really a problem.
They can be taught recall easily. I trained a neighbor's Redbone 'wait' and 'come' in just a short time. After just a couple of days he had it down and he was over a year old at this time.
Being a hound, they do bay, but it's usually only when they're riled up during play, or are trying to get someone's attention. They do well with an active person, but also don't mind just stretching out on the couch on a cold, rainy day. And they do stretch out, believe me. Better for them to have their own couch xD
They're really not like most hounds. They're also a rather healthy breed as well.

As for pit mixes, I have a pit X border collie right now. He was... sort of a rescue I guess. Someone had thrown him into the garbage and I ended up bringing him home at about 6 months or so. He has a problem with new dogs and takes him a while to warm up to them, and once he is warmed up he should be supervised during play and what not. Then again my dog also went 2 years without any real socialization. I don't know what he might have been like had he been socialized as a pup.
I call him my Summer Dog. He's a dog I can just let go and throw a frisbee around, go swimming with, go hiking with. Then when the day's down we just chill out for a little while. He's a real velcro dog. Tries to get as close to me as possible.
I have another Pit mix at my father's home. He's about 13 or 14 by now and is a Mountain Cur X Pit Bull. We got him at 4 weeks from a man who had him and his more pitty-looking brother shoved in a tiny cage. Someone else took his brother, but the man threated to basically 'take care' of him if nobody got him. My father got angry, gave the man what for and we ended up raising him from there. He is EXTREMELY strong and can sometimes be loud. But when he starts to cuddle, it's all over. No escape. He will basically throw himself on you and try to climb inside you to be closer.
I also had a full pit for a short while, and she was extremely friendly with my dogs and my cats.

I can't say this for all pit mixes but this has been my experience with two, and one full.
 

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I just wanted to throw out a note because you said that you'd be renting - I adore pits and pit mixes, but a lot of apartment complexes will not allow you to have them. So, make sure that your apartment complex allows them before falling in love with a dog only to have the rescue contact your landlord and be told that you can't adopt.

This goes for big dogs as well. A lot of apartments have restrictions against big dogs and other breeds too. It's just something to know BEFORE you fall in love.
 

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I just wanted to throw out a note because you said that you'd be renting - I adore pits and pit mixes, but a lot of apartment complexes will not allow you to have them. So, make sure that your apartment complex allows them before falling in love with a dog only to have the rescue contact your landlord and be told that you can't adopt.

This goes for big dogs as well. A lot of apartments have restrictions against big dogs and other breeds too. It's just something to know BEFORE you fall in love.
same with malamutes and huskies
 
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