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Hi folks! I'd love some help choosing a breed for my family. We live in a home with a small/medium yard about 40x60' and a large park within walking distance.
I have twin 5 year old daughters and we have no other pets.
I work at home mostly but may eventually have to go back to work outside the home.

We previously had a wonderful cat for 15 years and I had a sweet border collie mutt when I was in high school till he passed. I feel like maybe next year we might be ready to get a new pet.

My husband is allergic to dogs but he's a couple years into allergy shots now and may no longer be allergic. We would test him out before getting a new pet.

I don't want a really big dog, I'd prefer a medium to small dog, but not one that is so small that it's too fragile since we have five year old children. The kids love animals and I think are fairly gentle.

I'd prefer a dog that isn't too hyper but is active enough to enjoy walks and playing with kids. Dogs that bark excessively I think would really bother me. If it's an issue of training I'm willing to attend dog schools etc.

We live in Southern California so it's pretty hot here so I feel like I should probably eliminate dogs with very short noses or thick/long fur that might not do well in the heat?

After doing a lot of online reading I was considering maybe a miniature poodle, a bichon frise or... something else you suggest to me?
 

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Your list of criteria is very well thought-out. Honestly, I wouldn't go into it looking for a particular breed, but rather an individual dog that meets those requirements, from a reputable and friendly shelter or rescue. With young kids and both of you working, an adult dog would be easier to settle into the household. It's also easier to get a dog with the traits you want if you adopt an adult - you can pick one that already likes your kids, is the size you want, has a coat that doesn't bother your husband, etc.

That said, there's a reason golden retrievers are the classic family dog. Fit female goldens from smaller lines aren't all that big, either.

Puppy mini poodles are a real craps shoot because of generations of puppy mills, turn-a-buck back yard breeders, pet store breeding, etc. I personally would not buy a mini poodle pup, only adopt an adult mini poodle that had a stable and pleasant temperament. Same goes for a lot of the popular little dog breeds, honestly.
 
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