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I have been a dog owner before (had two rough collies), so I know the collie breed well and have a tendency to "go with what I know" this time around; however, collies are hard to find and I'm not willing to have one shipped (I would like a breeder within driving distance of northern Virginia, so I can go meet the dam and see how the breeder treats her dogs, prior to committing to a puppy deposit). I did find a breeder that checks out as reputable and the price is ok ($900; I've paid @$500 in the past, so I'm trying to keep it under a grand for a pet quality dog). However, she won't be breeding again before June, and I was hoping to bring a pup home by June because I'll be in a position to ensure someone is at home all the time throughout the summer, which makes for a better transition.

I have always loved goldens (but never owned one nor did my parents own one when I was a child), and since there are far more breeders to choose from around here, I'm now considering getting a golden instead. However, I want to ensure a golden would be as suitable of a fit as I know a collie would be. Here are some details about me:

*I have a 4-year-old daughter who knows how to behave with animals
*I have a townhouse with a small but newly fenced yard, and live within a few blocks of two off-leash dog parks (one of which has a creek running through it).
*I telecommute two days per week, and have sitters on the other three days, so the dog would only be alone for short periods of time.
*I don't mind shedding and I don't need my home to be neat as a pin, but would prefer to avoid digging or excessive barking.

I guess my questions are:
---I could free-feed my collies because they just were not over-eaters. Can goldens be free-fed or must they be fed on a schedule?
---Training collies is ridiculously easy. Is this also true of goldens?
---I have heard that goldens under age 2 should stick to soft surfaces and avoid inclines; stairs are a fact of life in a townhouse, and we have an impressive hill to scale coming home from the dog park (all sidewalk surface). Would this be a poor situation for a golden pup?
---Play/energy level: I'm used to the collie and its herding ways. They suited me perfectly for energy level: lots of fun, able to go on long walks/hikes, able to kick it up with the best of them at the dog park, but also perfectly capable of snoozing on the couch all day if I were sick or something. I never could get them to jog with me, which is fine, but they also weren't much for chasing a thrown ball, so getting them exercise generally required a dog park visit (assuming there were other dogs there for the favorite game of "chase me") or a lot of walking. My guess is that the golden would be easier to exercise, even in an empty dog park, because I could toss a ball around (or my kid could play catch). The golden might also be more "fun" for my daughter than the sometimes reserved collie. On the other hand, I admit I'm a busy single mom and it's possible that a golden might seem hyper compared to a chilled out collie (or not, aren't all puppies kind of hyper, lol). I think one person put it "a collie is happy to see you when you get home, but a golden is doing backflips", which might seem overwhelming when I also have a chattering child who is excited to see me when I first walk in the door too!

Any advice is greatly appreciated (but please not the obvious, condescending stuff like "adopt a shelter dog" or "dogs require time and work"). Sorry for the long post. Thanks!
 

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Honestly either sounds like a fine fit.

I dont free feed any dog. since it just makes more sence to stay on a schedule for potty breaks, knowing last time and how much they ate ect. And big dogs bloat easy. So I like to moniter that. My collie can play fetch for hours. hed rather play fetch then chase at the dog park lol.

I perosnally would choose collie. since I dont like the over happy temperment goldens have. I like my reserved calmer dog lol.
 

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I'm with Tankstar regarding free feeding. Almost certainly not going to be possible with a golden, and I know a few collies that couldn't handle that either. But what's the incentive to free feed?

The goldens I've met are generally goofy, happy, very people-oriented, easy to exercise, extremely biddable. Several are on the ditsy side, whereas collies think first. Both breeds have some pretty nasty diseases lurking in their gene pools, so do your research carefully and avoid breeders who don't take health very seriously.
 

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I don't have alot of advice on Goldens, but I do own a collie :) A byb rescue :( I would make sure whatever breeder you go with does health testing, my girl was diagnosed with CEA and Cataracts before the age of 2 and it is very sad to see her struggle with eye issue's and very limited sight :( I am not a free feeder either..and i know my collie would be a tank if i did lol!
 

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The golden might also be more "fun" for my daughter than the sometimes reserved collie.
Have you thought of a Smooth Collie? I've hear that they're more gregarious/outgoing than the Rough variety. :)

Jen
 

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Found this old thread! It might prove useful:

http://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/46619-day-day-living-rough.html

My neighbor's dog is a Golden. Friendly, but extremely hyper. They need to take him on fourwheeler rides every day to "manage" his energy. They drive the fourwheeler for a mile or two, he runs behind it. He's always over our house, teasing our small dogs. I don't mind, because he would never hurt them. Even after getting slammed by our German Shepherd (who DOES mind when he comes to our house), he'll literally roll back to his feet with a panting, happy smile on his face, tail wagging.

A Golden was a therapy dog at a nursing home I worked at. Extremely gentle and laid-back, at least in the nursing home. He listened to commands, was gentle and well-behaved with the residents. He was older, though - 9 years or so.

So...I think it may depend on training. Every Golden I've seen has been a good dog, but the energy level might be pretty high. But I think that would be the worst-case scenario (assuming you find a good breeder): you might end up with a good dog with a superhigh energy level.
 

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We had a rough collie for 14 years and she was a wonderful dog! Colleen just showed up one day and stayed. We figured she had probably been dumped as we live in the toolies and most of our dogs end up here that way.

Colleen was a very mild tempered dog. She was always very carefull around my daughter who was 2 at the time and they eventually became best friends. Colleen never barked much, didn't dig, and didn't have any other behaviour issues that I can remember. We never tied her up and she never chased cars or the cows! :) The only thing hard with her was keeping the burrs out of her fur and without dilligently brushing every day, she would mat something terrible.

My golden, Dug, is your typical golden retriever. I got him from a rescue when he was about 6 months old. The previous owner had fell for the "cute golden puppy" then when the cuteness wore off and the super hyper began, she couldnt' handle him anymore. And he was constantly knocking over her small kids.

Dug gets a minimum of 4 hours of exercise every day. Usually he gets about 6 to 8 hours. Plus we do drills/training sessions at least 3 times a day. If he doesn't get his exercise he will drive us nuts!! :) Dug is also a barker which doesn't bother me at all but if we lived in town, it would be a problem. Dug also digs. I built a "dig area" since now I have three diggers and I needed to control it before it got out of hand.

Dug learns pretty quick when he wants to - very food motivated. He also "forgets" when he wants to as well! :) Colleen was always too "proper" to misbehave. She was just naturally good mannered.

IMO, it all depends on the dog. I wouldn't trade Dug for anything, he's my heart dog! However, he is more time consuming than what Colleen ever was. Could be the breed, but I think it was also the different personalities of each dog.
 

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I will always vote for the collie. I've met some lovely goldens, but I'm admittedly very biased toward collies.

I wanted to give you some possible breeders in Virginia: http://www.jag-view.com/, and http://www.takodacollies.com/Main.html. I don't know their dogs personally, but both breeders show dogs.

A good place to find reputable breeders is on www.colliesonline.com. If you go to the main page and click on "contents" below the picture and then scroll down to the bottom, on the right hand side you'll see a list of breeders by state.
 

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Goldens were bred to be very people-friendly, highly trainable hunting dogs. They will tend to over-eat, if allowed, so you cannot free-feed. They are used as service dogs, b/c they are easy to train and socialize ... and not be over-reactive. They are high-energy for the first 2 -3 years, and then can adapt to your schedule... a 30 min. walk every day is fine. They want to learn, so you may find that you enjoy teaching them. And they'll retrieve and swim! They are ideal for children and can match energy levels.

If you find a good breeder, you can avoid many of the genetic problems. In addition, the floppy ears require a little bit more care to keep them clean, just part of the normal grooming. Although they are not known as protective dogs, they have an impressive bark that scares most intruders.
 

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I have a two year old Golden Retriever....the best dog you can get with a child in the home--they are very tolerant of little people. He gets about 3-3.5 cups of high quality food every day. I used to put it in the bowl and he'd eat whenever(by whenever I mean when I was home, he never ate if I wasn't there) but now I have a german shepherd puppy on puppy food, so there is a feeding schedule. Mine never over ate, NO table scraps!! They can and will over eat, mine just doesn't. He's a solid happy 78 pound boy!! Mine will play when played with but he is very calm otherwise. I would recommend obedience school. Mine finished 3 classes and got his Canine Good Citizen certificate. You can't go wrong with a golden if you put time into them early on. Mine never chewed anything and was potty trained and out of his crate by 12 weeks--he has never had an accident in the house since then. They are super easy to train and it sticks with them forever. He is an amazing dog that lights up my day every day. I can't say enough good things about golden retrievers and this is my first one....I always wanted one and I'm VERY happy with him. I did not get mine from a breeder, I was driving down the street, seen a sign that said Golden Retriever Puppies, went to the house and walked out with a puppy:) He did come with papers and he comes from a good, strong line that is registered with AKC...I just got lucky and found someone that loved the breed and took care of their dogs. I will go back to the same people and get another one in a couple years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone for the fantastic insights! Nbsandhills...Dug gets 4 hours of exercise per day! Good heavens! Sure he isn't part border collie? :) Rowdy---thanks, familiar with those 2 but here's my follow up question: are people who show dogs necessarily the best possible breeders of pet quality dogs, given that they are trying to produce dogs with a show ring temperament and a confirmation to breed standards (including appearance) that may or may not be the same set of criteria one would use if aiming for a healthy family pet? I ask because everybody always says go to the AKC or the Collie Club of America or some other show dog group for a referral, and of course they all know each other...but that seems to imply that anyone raising their dogs for any purpose other than showing is necessarily unqualified to raise dogs?

After reading this thread, I'm thinking that I'm going to opt for a collie this year, and maybe add a golden to the family in another 5-10 years, when my daughter can help with the exercise (and not get knocked over!). Thanks all! Oh per the rescue...I would also be open to a rescue down the road, but not now. I have to take steps to reduce the chances of selecting and unhealthy or temperamentally unsound pup, given my daughter's age. I also find that it's very difficult to get a puppy, particularly a puppy of a certain breed, from rescue. And many rescues have unreasaonable standards, to include not adopting to families with children or families where there isn't someone home 100% of the time.
 
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