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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am currently a student and am unable to get a dog just yet, but would like to thoroughly research breeds that would be suited to my life style and what I need from a dog.
When I get one, I'll be a teacher abroad in Asia, likely Japan. Yes, I've done my research, I've been planning on teaching abroad for quite a while. When I am able to get a dog, I will have my own place and will not be living in teachers quarters. I plan to be relatively settled before taking on such a responsibility.
I'm a photographer and will be travelling a lot because of it, and I'd like the dog to come with me. I don't mean travelling abroad constantly, I'd probably only leave the country 2-3 times a year and most of that would be to visit family, but overnight trips may be common.

The list of breeds I have so far (to research) are:
¬Standard Poodle
¬Shiba Inu
¬Australian Shepherd
¬Doberman Pinscher
¬Samoyed
¬Leonberger
¬Boston Terrier
¬Rough/Smooth Collie

For diet and exercise, I'll be taking him on (1-3 hour) walks twice a day, morning and night, and to any off leash parks available. He'll also likely be on a raw diet, it depends how that'll work where I live.

Typical characteristics I need/would like to have:
¬easy to train and good for off leash
¬affectionate/patient/tolerant
¬good with other animals
¬adaptable/enjoys being outside
¬friendly/kind/calm

I'm really not a fan of (most) small dogs, and I prefer giants. I know having a giant in unrealistic and very unlikely to happen while living in Asia, depending on housing and money. A large dog would be nice, but still unrealistic and unlikely depending on just how large. Small would most likely be the best way to go, though medium would probably be ideal.
I do know how expensive it is to feed and house large/giant dogs. I know how expensive dogs are in general, and how expensive travelling with one will be.

Are there any breeds that would be good for me? How about the breeds I listed above? I don't know nearly enough about any breed go make a decision just yet, and there's so many that there's no way I've even considered half of them. Any knowledge and advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I don't know much about the breeds on your list but I do have one comment about size. The bigger the dog the harder it will be to travel with. If you're driving you have to consider your vehicle size and how much room you will have for a dog and crate. For hotels, sometimes they have a size restriction. For flying the last time I checked dogs could fly as a checked bag if they are under 100lbs including the weight of the airline-approved crate. Of course each airline will have its own specific requirements/restrictions. Also keep in mind quarantine procedures when travelling internationally with a dog.
 

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Pets can only travel on Korea's buses, subways and trains if they are in a crate or carrier bag. Figure in the relatively high expense of a rental car, gas and parking (plus aggravation from the traffic) if you plan to take a dog on weekends away.

Landlords have a lot of rights in Korea and even if an apartment allows dogs (few do and fewer allow big dogs), if a dog creates a problem with a neighbor you may find yourself quickly evicted.

Remember that your visa is tied to your school so always be prepared to have to leave the country on short notice. Have a Plan B and a Plan C to travel with the dog.


Dobes fit basically none of your preferred traits and a good breeder is a must with their many genetic health problems.

Shibas are not known as easy to train or affectionate.

Aussies are far from calm and while very smart, that does not make them easy to train as small mistakes and mistimings can be amplified. Their herding instincta can be a problem around small children and sometimes other animals.

If you are buying a puppy in-country, you will have a more limited selection of breeders for larger dogs due to what is popular and have great caution on buying pet shop puppies (as in, don't).

What is your home country? Travel time, shipment laws etc will vary.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't know much about the breeds on your list but I do have one comment about size. The bigger the dog the harder it will be to travel with. If you're driving you have to consider your vehicle size and how much room you will have for a dog and crate. For hotels, sometimes they have a size restriction. For flying the last time I checked dogs could fly as a checked bag if they are under 100lbs including the weight of the airline-approved crate. Of course each airline will have its own specific requirements/restrictions. Also keep in mind quarantine procedures when travelling internationally with a dog.
I've know about the quarantine and restrictions/requirements, and it's definitely something I have to do more research about. I know I'll be buying a seat for the dog on the plane (if allowed), and as for cars and crates, I'll likely get one of those dog seatbelts, though I'll have to learn more about them. Travelling with a dog will be hard, and I know that, but I'm determined to do it (at least for small roadtrips and visits back home). It'll take a lot of research each and every time I travel, and I'm okay with that. The big thing for me is having a companion for weekend photography trips and everyday life.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Pets can only travel on Korea's buses, subways and trains if they are in a crate or carrier bag. Figure in the relatively high expense of a rental car, gas and parking (plus aggravation from the traffic) if you plan to take a dog on weekends away.

Landlords have a lot of rights in Korea and even if an apartment allows dogs (few do and fewer allow big dogs), if a dog creates a problem with a neighbor you may find yourself quickly evicted.

Remember that your visa is tied to your school so always be prepared to have to leave the country on short notice. Have a Plan B and a Plan C to travel with the dog.


Dobes fit basically none of your preferred traits and a good breeder is a must with their many genetic health problems.

Shibas are not known as easy to train or affectionate.

Aussies are far from calm and while very smart, that does not make them easy to train as small mistakes and mistimings can be amplified. Their herding instincta can be a problem around small children and sometimes other animals.

If you are buying a puppy in-country, you will have a more limited selection of breeders for larger dogs due to what is popular and have great caution on buying pet shop puppies (as in, don't).

What is your home country? Travel time, shipment laws etc will vary.
Most of the dogs on the list are from articles on good off leash dogs, and I haven't done too much research on them quite yet.

It's very unlikely I'd get the dog in Korea, so their strict laws shouldn't get in the way, and I have looked into how expensive it will be, I'm prepared for that (my travelling likely won't be as often as I'd like it to be, I'm really only speaking for the ideal situation, but we all know life isn't quite like that.)

I'm Canadian, so there will be annual trips from Japan (or whichever country I've settled in, nothing is for sure) to Canada, and I'll likely buy to dog in either Canada or Japan (again, not 100%). Probably Canada, as English is my native language and my family is there, so it'll make things a bit easier that way.

So far it seems like Standard Poodles and Leonbergers would be the best options, and I'd honestly adore having a Leo, but I'm not certain.

Do you have any breed suggestions? Most articles only list the more well known breeds, but with how many there are, the articles don't even scratch the surface.
 

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Leos are lovely dogs, but they are absolutely giant breeds. My MiL's 5-month-old male is already bigger than most dogs I know, and may well outweigh me at maturity. And most airlines? Will be having you put a dog in cargo if it's too big to fit under the seat in front of you. I say this as someone who moved internationally with an 18lb dog who went in cargo, because he was too tall to comfortably fit in an under-seat carrier. Having gone through that experience once, there's no way I'd, personally, put a dog through air travel by cargo - especially with layovers - any more than absolutely necessary. Sam stays with my in-laws if we go out of the country.

Not to mention the paperwork. It was something of a nightmare to get all the paperwork together and with the right timing for one trip. Trying to do that every time you want to cross a major border... well the thought gives me hives. It might not even be possible for shorter vacations, especially if a quarantine process is involved (and again, not something I'd want to put a dog through). Granted, that will change depending on the countries you're going to/from, but most countries have pretty strict border control processes for animals. Moreso if one is rabies-free.
 

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I don’t know much about Leos or standard poodles, so I’m just going based off of what I’ve read.

From what I know about Asian countries (don’t know if it’s completely true) the living spaces aren’t typically as big as here in North America. This could be an issue with larger dog breeds; even if they don’t need as much exercise, it would still be more comfortable for them if they had adequate space. Size can also interfere with finding a place to live, since some people don’t want pets or pets above a certain size limit.

The Leonberger Club of Canada states Leos can weigh up to 165lb, and may have a prey drive towards cats. They also seem to have a tendency to develop some health issues that can rack up the vet bills. The CKC states poodles need lots of exercise and, since they were originally bred for hunting, may have a high prey drive as well depending on the lines and individual, and some suffer from epilepsy. Keep in mind, the bigger the dog, the more expensive everything else becomes too: food, vet bills, transportation, etc.

I know you really want a larger dog, but maybe a smaller breed would be better for the moment? I could never see myself with a small breed seven years ago, but now I don’t know what I’d do without my mini dachshund and parent’s french bulldog.
 

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IMO, narrowing down preferred breeds is just an idle and somewhat useless (maybe misleading) activity at this stage.
You really do not have a good idea of what your housing will be, what your transportation options will be, how much things actually cost, how much free time (and energy!) you will have to spare etc. For example, if you are getting a puppy then it will need potty training which is hard (possible of course though) in a high rise apartment working or being away long hours.

I say to work in country for a year and THEN make a far more realistic list of wants and needs in a breed to select one. At a year in, you will know if you like teaching and want to renew your contract for at least 2 more years. You will know how often you travel domestically and internationally and if car ownership or regular rental is even a decent possibility.

Consider looking into adopting a dog that is being left behind by departing military service members or other teachers.

You may find off leash reliability is much less of a priority in locations where off leash opportunities are very limited.
 

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Collies could work for you, rough or smooth, not border. The only difference between Rough Collies and Smooth Collies is the coat type.

They are a herding breed so they are biddable and focused on their people but not crazy energetic like most herding breeds and are typically good with cats/have lower prey drive. They will want to be near you most of the time but it depends on the individual dog whether they like cuddling or not. They're usually calm, friendly dogs, but some have a higher tendency for nervousness in new situations. If you were clear with the breeder about your wants, you could get a dog that meets all of your requirements. There are some well respected breeders in Japan so you wouldn't have to fly a dog over from North America.

The only problem is that they are larger dogs (50-70lbs) for travel, but that is what you want so would be a consideration for any of your preferred breeds.

You didn't mention anything about how much grooming you would want to do but since Poodles and Leos were mentioned I would expect you'd be prepared for a daily comb through.
 

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You aren't able to buy a seat for a dog on a plane. You can fly a dog in the cabin with you if the dog fits in a carrier bag under the seat in front of you, which even my 20 lb, 17.5-inch-tall dog is too large for. Some airlines won't even allow that -- check out this list.

Some countries have a "pet passport" that makes it slightly easier to travel with a dog, but others require quarantine, which is not something I'd inflict on a dog unless absolutely necessary (like if I were moving to a new country rather than just visiting).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You aren't able to buy a seat for a dog on a plane. You can fly a dog in the cabin with you if the dog fits in a carrier bag under the seat in front of you, which even my 20 lb, 17.5-inch-tall dog is too large for. Some airlines won't even allow that -- check out this list.

Some countries have a "pet passport" that makes it slightly easier to travel with a dog, but others require quarantine, which is not something I'd inflict on a dog unless absolutely necessary (like if I were moving to a new country rather than just visiting).
I didn't know about pet passports, that's really helpful, thank you!

I know about quarantine, which is why I wouldn't be buying a dog until I've settled down a bit, found a country I want to continue teaching in, and avoid taking the dog to countries for just visiting if there's a quarantine requirement.

I've only been on a plane once (well, one trip, several planes), but there were a few passengers that had bought seats for their dogs (dogs who were very obviously way bigger than 20lbs, probably more like 50lbs). It's definitely something I'll have to look into more.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
IMO, narrowing down preferred breeds is just an idle and somewhat useless (maybe misleading) activity at this stage.
You really do not have a good idea of what your housing will be, what your transportation options will be, how much things actually cost, how much free time (and energy!) you will have to spare etc. For example, if you are getting a puppy then it will need potty training which is hard (possible of course though) in a high rise apartment working or being away long hours.

I say to work in country for a year and THEN make a far more realistic list of wants and needs in a breed to select one. At a year in, you will know if you like teaching and want to renew your contract for at least 2 more years. You will know how often you travel domestically and internationally and if car ownership or regular rental is even a decent possibility.

Consider looking into adopting a dog that is being left behind by departing military service members or other teachers.

You may find off leash reliability is much less of a priority in locations where off leash opportunities are very limited.
I know narrowing down breeds isn't exact at this point, but I plan on making a sizeable list (with all sizes) and do more research on each breed, finding ones that'll fit different situations. I already know nothing will be exact until I've actually decided on the school, city, etc. to stick with. I suppose I just like having a loose plan, something that's easily adjusted depending on the situation.

I hadn't considered adopting a dog from military or teachers, but that does seem like a good idea to consider and look into.

I put a lot of emphasis on off leash because I'd like to take to dog on mini (anything from 3-48 hours) photography trips, often in forests. I won't be able to do that if the dog can't be off leash; I'd have to leave him at home and have someone take care of him, which will really limit things.
 

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Why couldn't you take a dog on-leash for trips including in forests?

Seems an unnecesary limitation to your breed searching.
 

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As far as I'm aware, the only way most airlines allow larger dogs in cabin on flights is if they're working service dogs or emotional support animals (ESAs may be mostly a US thing, though). So it's very possible the dogs you've seen on planes were there because their human handlers required them there for their own health or safety.

There are, of course, people who find ways to cheat the system when they don't actually need a SD or ESA. I have lots of very strong opinions about that, and none of them good.
 

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Why couldn't you take a dog on-leash for trips including in forests?

Seems an unnecesary limitation to your breed searching.
Having the dog on leash won't allow me to take photos, which is what the majority of the trips will be about. I can't hold a dog leash while taking photos with an expensive camera, especially not photos of the dog. If I wasn't going out specifically to take photos, it wouldn't be a problem. When I have a dog, though, I'd like to have him participate in the things that are important to me in a way he'll enjoy.
 

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As far as I'm aware, the only way most airlines allow larger dogs in cabin on flights is if they're working service dogs or emotional support animals (ESAs may be mostly a US thing, though). So it's very possible the dogs you've seen on planes were there because their human handlers required them there for their own health or safety.

There are, of course, people who find ways to cheat the system when they don't actually need a SD or ESA. I have lots of very strong opinions about that, and none of them good.
I see, that does make more sense. I'm currently researching ESAs and therapy animals (I heard about them a few weeks ago and wondered if they'd help). It does make a lot more sense that they'd be a service animal of some kind, rather than people just being able to buy seats for their animals with certain airlines.
 

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To be honest it doesn't sound like any of those breeds would be good for you. The best dog for your lifestyle might not be the one you "want". If I were you I would be looking at a small dog that can fit under the seat on the plane if you're going to be travelling a lot. With a small dog you wouldn't need it to be off-leash. You could tie it out on a long lead beside you when you do photo shoots.

I've never heard of being able to buy a seat for a dog, but maybe some foreign countries it's allowed?
 

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Having the dog on leash won't allow me to take photos, which is what the majority of the trips will be about. I can't hold a dog leash while taking photos with an expensive camera, especially not photos of the dog. If I wasn't going out specifically to take photos, it wouldn't be a problem. When I have a dog, though, I'd like to have him participate in the things that are important to me in a way he'll enjoy.
Hands free leash over the shoulder or to a belt with a bungee part to reduce impact. Long line (15-20 ft) that you can loop around a tree or other sturdy object. Practicing a good sit/stay can mean that even many dogs who are not fully trustworthy off leash can be asked to "pose" safely for pics or just to sit by your side.

Basically, it is not a big deal to have a dog on a leash and still take professional quality photos.

Even in breeds considered to be better off leash dogs, all are individuals and puppies generally stick close ao you may not know if a dog is trustworthy off leash until he is grown (and some go through a teenage phase of ignoring your commands but then get their brain back as adults)

I am not saying do not include off leash ability as a prefered trait, just that many other things about a dog can have a FAR greater impact on day to day life with the dog.

(Plus, Japan and Korea both have leash laws)
 

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Boston Terrier is the only breed on that list I'd even consider, were I in your living situation. That said, unless you plan to breed or show or have some other speciality interest, I don't see a point in tying yourself to a particular breed. For most pet owners it makes more sense to list the characteristics you need/want in a dog and search for individual animals that fit.

I've only been on a plane once (well, one trip, several planes), but there were a few passengers that had bought seats for their dogs (dogs who were very obviously way bigger than 20lbs, probably more like 50lbs). It's definitely something I'll have to look into more.
They were probably working dogs of some sort. Probably service dogs or ESAs, maybe something like Search and Rescue or some sort of law enforcement. I don't know of any commercial airline that allows that with regular pets.
 

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Having the dog on leash won't allow me to take photos, which is what the majority of the trips will be about. I can't hold a dog leash while taking photos with an expensive camera, especially not photos of the dog. If I wasn't going out specifically to take photos, it wouldn't be a problem. When I have a dog, though, I'd like to have him participate in the things that are important to me in a way he'll enjoy.
I take photos with my dog on a leash all the time (expensive camera, multiple lenses, yada yada). I have a 30ft long line that I clip to my belt. My dog is 50 lbs. You can do it. A fair amount of training went into teaching him to behave on that leash, but even more training is required for an off-leash reliable dog (yes, even the off-leash reliable breeds).

If you're worried about the leash in a photo, edit it out. And for the first couple of years, you will probably have to have the dog on-leash, anyway, as it's trained. Young dogs are like teenagers that don't want to listen, so they need to be prevented from making bad choices (like blowing off a recall). Any individual dog you get might prove to be unreliable off-leash, anyway!

Really, to me it sounds like a Lab or a Golden Retriever is the temperament you're looking for. Some of the dogs on your list are...well, I wouldn't put them on a crowded plane. An Australian Shepherd or Collie might work, but be very selective of where you purchase from. Aussies can be suspicious of strangers, and sometimes that just turns into downright "I don't like strangers." I wouldn't call collies 'stranger social', rather more of a "I don't care" which is probably preferable. They're probably the least intense of the herders, and its probably the dog I would pick as my personal adventure dog. Again, you want to choose a breeder who produces confident dogs who aren't going to be stressed by crowds or lots of activity.
 
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