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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if you guys could suggest a few breeds for me to look into. A little about me:
Growing up we had GSDs and a small mixed breed (he was under 35 lbs). A few years before I left for college they got a lacy. In 2009 I got married and moved into an apartment that didn't allow dogs, just cats. I was OK with that since at the time I didn't have a dog and the price was right. In June of this year my husband and I moved to a different state for his job. Our new place does allow dogs, but it is an apartment complex and I'd just rather not. Our lease is up in July and we would really like to find a house to rent or buy. So, my time frame for a new dog is probably fall 2012 - spring 2013

Here are things that I think are important. Feel free to ask me any additional questions! Also - most of these I'm flexible with. I'd be willing to compromise on a few if everything else was perfect.

1- Good with kids.

This is becoming more and more important. My sister had a baby over Labor Day weekend and so now my husband and I are discussing giving my niece a cousin in 3 or so years. I know socialization is extremely important on this point, but I'd also like something that has an affection towards kids.

This one is really the only non-negotiable one in the list. This is the most important point, I think.

2 - Energy

I want something that is medium energy once they are past the puppy stage. A few walks a dog and a good romp in a back yard. But I want something that will pace the house if it doesn't get a walk or two that day due to the weather. I also think that I want to dabble in something like Rally and/or Agility.

I don't know how big a back yard will be, but I doubt it would be more than a half acre.

3 - DA/DR issues

I need to avoid breeds known for DA issues. We live 10 hrs from our family and they all have dogs. We could crate and rotate if needed, but I'd rather just avoid the whole issue if possible

4 - shedding/drooling

While I don't mind drool after drinking, I'd rather not have to clean it from ceilings and walls. Shedding, I don't mind brushing a dog, but I'd rather avoid double coated breeds due to the shedding. When those shepherds blew their coat, man that was a lot of fur no matter how much you brushed them. I also would like to avoid spending a lot of money taking a dog to the groomer often. I am kind of handy with clippers since I did show horses in high school and I wouldn't mind doing some maintenance clipping.

5 - Strangers

I don't want a dog that wants to be everyone's BFF 4EVA!!

6 - Size

I'm pretty open here. Basically, I want something that is big enough that toddlers won't be able to pick it up and small enough that it won't eat me out of house and home. Ideal would be 35-65, but I'm willing to go as low as 20ish and as high as 90/95.

7 - Other

I want a velcro or shadow dog. I want a dog that wants to be with me and keeps an eye on me.

I want a relatively healthy breed. I know every breed has it's issues and I'm OK with that, I just want to avoid some of the less healthy breeds (Cavaliers come to mind here)

I want a breed that isn't always trying to find ways to outsmart me.

Relatively long life span. I would like something with an average life span of at least 10 years, preferably 13-14
 

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My first thought was standard poodle. Good with people(children) while somewhat aloof by nature, don't shed or drool much, have the stamina to keep up for long hikes/excursions, generally get along fine with other dogs, close to their owners and intelligent, as far as I know they are not much of an unhealthy breed, and I believe they fit your size requirements though I do not know the size standard.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for your suggestions. I have thought about a standard poodle, but never very seriously because, well....they're poodles! lol. Growing up, my grandma had a mini poodle that the previous owner was just trying to get rid of because it had seizures. Does anyone know if this is a common thing in standard poodles?
 

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Hmm.. Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs would require professional grooming though.

What about Cocker Spaniels? They are generally velcro and don't require too much exercise. The ones that I've met were never the IN YOUR FACE HI YOU'RE MY NEW BEST FRIEND! type. You can also do sanitary trimming yourself (I do it for my Papillon) instead of having to send it to the groomer (like Poodles, Schnauzers, etc.)

I'm trying to think of more breeds but the larger breeds in general are either higher energy, have double coats, or drool, lol. If you're willing to put in more time for exercise, some good dogs are Brittanies, Flat-coated Retrievers, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, and Springer Spaniels.

ETA: I forgot to add, Retired Greyhounds! I think they would work in your family, but I'm not sure if you only want puppies or are open to adopting adults as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think I could learn to keep the coat on the poodle clipped down. I do have a pair of clippers somewhere that I used on the horses that I think would work on a poodle to keep the coat short. Do the PWD have a similar grooming requirement?

I'm pretty 'against' cockers & springers. I spent some time grooming springers at a show kennel. I honestly cannot do the high maintenance those guys require, like snoods at every meal so they don't chew on their ears/get food in the ears. Plus, those springers really did shed, even with a bath every week.

I LOVE the tollers, but yeah, the energy thing. We do like to hike and camp, so most weekends in the spring, summer & fall I'm pretty sure I could satisfy the energy requirements, but I'm not sure about the weekdays & winter.
 

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Yup, PWDs and Poodles have pretty similar coats...

You know, mental stimulation can also work... You dont have to go on 5 mile hikes throughout the year or anyhing. Spending time training, teaching new tricks, or even fun mental puzzles ( you can get those from the petstore) would work too.
 

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I spent some time grooming springers at a show kennel. I honestly cannot do the high maintenance those guys require, like snoods at every meal so they don't chew on their ears/get food in the ears
For the record, those were show dogs, not pets :)

Many people clip their Springers way down, and so snoods and the like are not necessary for meal times.

One of the reasons show people try to keep those coats as clean as possible isn't just because of hygiene, but to prevent hair breakage.

BTW, I'd second the Standard Poodle.

You need to watch them for Epilepsy, Addison's, and some skin disease, but I can't recall what it's called :(
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I forgot I wanted to comment on the greyhound thing....

How are sighthounds, in general, with kids? I have thought about a retired racing greyhound, but I'm not totally sold on it yet. In sighthounds, I prefer the long coated breeds, namely the Borzoi & Silken Windhound. But, I do worry that a breed bred to chase little things that run might have issues with children running.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
For the record, those were show dogs, not pets :)

Many people clip their Springers way down, and so snoods and the like are not necessary for meal times.

One of the reasons show people try to keep those coats as clean as possible isn't just because of hygiene, but to prevent hair breakage.

BTW, I'd second the Standard Poodle.

You need to watch them for Epilepsy, Addison's, and some skin disease, but I can't recall what it's called :(
I do know that show people keep their dogs differently than pet people (I also know this lady was a tad off her rocker). I just know that I came home covered in hair from those dogs on a daily basis. I haven't met a cocker in a few years, but growing up, most of the cockers I met were fairly nippy
 

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What I know about Borzoi is that they aren't the best breed with children, not because they'd hurt them, but because they generally dislike rough play and rambunctiousness that kids bring with them. For Silken Windhounds, I don't know much about them, but there's someone on this forum who has one that could probably tell you more.

I don't think you'll have a problem with a Greyhound chasing a child. But I think the same with the Borzoi applies here. Rough tumble play is not for them.

Maybe an English Cocker Spaniel? My mom does our dog's coat herself instead of taking the dog to the groomer. The coat does mean regular brushing, but from what I've heard and seen, an English Cocker's coat is easier to maintain than an American Cocker's coat.
 

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thanks for your suggestions. I have thought about a standard poodle, but never very seriously because, well....they're poodles! lol. Growing up, my grandma had a mini poodle that the previous owner was just trying to get rid of because it had seizures. Does anyone know if this is a common thing in standard poodles?
I had never considered a poodle for the same reason (my impression was that they were yippy and nippy), but after doing more investigation I think they're an ideal breed for my family. I suspect the ones I had met were poorly bred and/or raised.

It sounds as though you and I have fairly similar requirements although I don't have kids and don't mind if a dog is everyone's BFF. I've met a few standards and they are lovely dogs. They do have some health issues, so finding a good breeder is important. The Poodle Club of America has information on the breed, health concerns, and regional contacts for breeder referals and rescues.

I suspect if you're handy with clippers, you could do basic grooming (like a puppy cut or kennel clip); however, I have no first-hand experience.
 

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I've not yet met an ill tempered English Cocker (and they're my preference). American Cockers are a different story
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'll add english cockers to my list of breeds to start researching. I guess I never really knew there was a difference.
 

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I would put in another vote for a poodle. The ones I have met ranged from more or less ignoring me to being happy to amuse me for a short while, but were all very much attuned to their people. When I had a house in upstate NY one of my neighbor's had a st. poodle. He seemed equally content to go for a swim in the pond, join them kayaking or hiking, chase the water from a hose or just chill with them outside while they gardened. They kept him in a kennel clip, which I believe they did themselves.

As for cockers, I've never met an english cocker and have only met a couple (6-8) of american cockers. Not one of the am. cockers I've met were stable dogs. That said, with the exception of one of them, they were all puppy mill rescues that came into work.
 

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Labs are everyone's best friend, shed a lot, drool, and are not velcro dogs. Why would you think Labrador?
Here's why I'm thinking Lab:

1- Good with kids - double check

2 - Medium Energy while still being athletic enough to play dog sports - check

3 - DA/DR issues - check

4 - Shedding/drooling - I don't know where your labs are coming from, but if they "shed a lot and drool" then they are nothing like the labs I know. Most labs don't drool. Black and/or chocolate labs barely shed at all except the twice a year that they blow their coat, and daily grooming is minimal.

5 - Strangers - here's the one area where the lab gets a failing grade. They are very friendly. If the worst thing about your dog is that he's too friendly, I don't consider that a bad thing.

6 - Size - labs fall within the sizes mentioned.

7 - Other

I want a velcro or shadow dog. I want a dog that wants to be with me and keeps an eye on me. - check.

I want a relatively healthy breed. - check

I want a breed that isn't always trying to find ways to outsmart me. - check.

Relatively long life span. - 10-13 years. check.
 

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Medium Energy while still being athletic enough to play dog sports - check

4 - Shedding/drooling - I don't know where your labs are coming from, but if they "shed a lot and drool" then they are nothing like the labs I know. Most labs don't drool. Black and/or chocolate labs barely shed at all except the twice a year that they blow their coat, and daily grooming is minimal.
While I agree that an adult lab (3+) is Medium Energy, a puppy/young adult lab is not and needs a lot of daily exercise and mental stimulation to drain that energy, or else you'll have a terror in the house. Labs don't drool a lot, though.

I also would LOVE to meet the black/chocolate labs you know, because the ones that I know shed a lot! See these links for more info: http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/grooming.html and http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/no-lab.html

I'm going to second a couple of the recommendations that you got, because they would be excellent fits for your situation:

1) I think a Portuguese Water Dog would be perfect for you. Their coat is virtually non-shedding, though it will need to be clipped down every 2-3 months or so. They're medium energy and can go on longer hikes or walks but don't NEED them, and would be satisfied with roughly a 30-45 minute walk, a game of fetch or tug, and a little bit of fun positive reinforcement training. They're very velcro/handler-oriented and usually excel in dog sports. Size range is perfect, anywhere from 35-60 pounds.

2) Standard Poodle: Would also be perfect for you. They have a lot in common, temperament-wise, with the PWD. A well-socialized poodle from a reputable breeder isn't nippy or yappy, in my experience. I think their general popularity a few years/decades back contributed to some modern misconceptions about their temperaments (more demand = irreputable breeders breeding them = less qualified homes buying them).

3) If you are interested in spending more money on a dog, I would look into the Lagotto Romagnolo, but they will be more expensive because they're still pretty rare in the US. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRhXw_SLBcQ
 

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Golden Retriever is my first thought but they do shed quite a lot. A lot of well bred ones aren't actually as all over everybody as you might think. A few I've met were just absolutely amazing, great focus, great family dog.

I think Standard poodle too if you really want non-shedding.
 
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