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Discussion Starter #1
I am thinking of getting a dog, yet I have never had a pet before in my life so I am somewhat concerned. I have done plenty of research about first time owners, and dogs that are suitable for smaller houses and apartments, and I have narrowed it down to these few breeds: Beagle, Scottish Terrier, Basenji, and a Basset Hound. From the research I have gathered the Beagle barks a lot and could be trouble, the Scottish Terrier has a lot of health issues and a hard to train mentality that a first time owner may not be able to handle (apparently this applies to Basset Hounds as well). So this leads me to Basenjis but I have been told that this is not for a novice owner (with no explanation). It seems that the more research I do, the more I am learning that I won't be able to handle a certain breed (which seems like EVERY breed out there...) I don't want to just impulsively buy/rescue a dog and end up screwing up. So, I was wondering if anyone here know what a good first time dog is. This is not just for the maintenance aspect, but also its temperance.
 

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It depends on what you want a dog for, what level of exercise you can provide, how much time you have to spend with him, grooming, etc., Do you plan on getting him into dog sports like agility, or do you want a dog who is a couch potato? There are SO many breeds, that it's hard for someone else to say without a lot of information. :)

Here are three tests you can take to more closely determine which breed might be best for you. I would take them all and see what the results say. There are more out there (just google "dog breed selector) for you to take. The more you take, the more likely you'll find a breed that's right for you.

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/search.htm
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/pets/dog-breed-quiz
http://www.selectsmart.com/DOG/

Just FYI, retired racing greyhounds make excellent apartment dogs. :)
 

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Definitely not a Basenji...

If you want a lazy, clean, medium sized, easy, low energy, quiet dog, you might try a small female retired Greyhound, or a Whippet.

PS I have had Basenjis. They are clean and a nice size for sure, but they are very tempermental and dominant and intelligent and willful. I love them, but I am VERY experienced and I'd probably not have another one.
 

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It really comes down to five things, in order of priority:

1. Is there a size/breed limitation in your building/neighborhood?
2. Do you require a non-shedding or low-shedding dog due to allergies?
3. Do you have any small children or pets that your dog will need to get along with?
4. REALISTICALLY - how much time will you have to exercise and train your dog?
5. REALISTICALLY - how much time/money are you willing to spend on grooming?

Points #1 & 2 are dealbreakers which you have no control over. Point 3 is unambiguous, but the effects will vary depending on your circumstance. Points 4 & 5 are very subjective. Be honest on those last two - if you can exercise your dog for 3 hours on Tue/Thu and 1 hour on Mon/Wed/Fri, then the answer is 1 hour/day.

ETA: I assumed you lived in a relatively temperate climate; as a general rule, though, the hotter temperature, the smaller the dog. A little dog in a cold environment is manageable - you just have to keep him inside. High temperatures represent a serious health risk for big dogs because of heat dissipation. Consider that point 1A if applicable.
 

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I have had very large dogs in Florida, and it is more work. I wouldn't not have one because of the heat, but you absolutely should not keep a dog outside here for any length of time, of any size, unless you are prepared to provide constant access to swimming, shade, etc. My dog only goes outside to pee. He is exercised in the hot months through night walking and indoor play. Unfortunately, he hates water unless it is VERY hot outside, so swimming is a no go. When I had Goldens, I swam them every single day in summer. Hard work- I had to blow dry them daily!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much for the prompt replies folks! To answer some of your questions:

It depends on what you want a dog for, what level of exercise you can provide, how much time you have to spend with him, grooming, etc., Do you plan on getting him into dog sports like agility, or do you want a dog who is a couch potato? There are SO many breeds, that it's hard for someone else to say without a lot of information. :)
Heh.. it sounds horrible but I am looking for more of a couch potato. I can give the dog about 2 hours of excersize a day, however I will be working 8 hours a day and I don't want to leave a dog alone, it can be quite a cruel thing to do that.

It really comes down to five things, in order of priority:

1. Is there a size/breed limitation in your building/neighborhood?
2. Do you require a non-shedding or low-shedding dog due to allergies?
3. Do you have any small children or pets that your dog will need to get along with?
4. REALISTICALLY - how much time will you have to exercise and train your dog?
5. REALISTICALLY - how much time/money are you willing to spend on grooming?
1. No, although I live in Toronto (Canada), and there is a ban on pitbulls.
2. I don't have any allergies (that I know of) and I would like a non-shedding dog, a low shedding dog is fine to actually.
3. I have no children, nor do I plan to have any in the near future. Ladies.. that's not true.
4. I could put in at least 2-3 hours a day in excersizing and training the dog.
5. Money wise.. I am a young guy just entering the job market, so I am going to have to be a bit frugal, but nonetheless I am planning on allocating at least $400 a month for pet expenses.

I live in a house with my parents and I plan to move into an apartment in about a year. I spoke with my parents about this and they are fine as long as it is a low maintenance dog and that I am fully responsible for it. The weird thing is, we have a backyard, but it is cut off from us as our tenants have access to it. We are the landlords and we live upstairs to them. So it sucks that our own yard is unusable to keep a dog.


A few of you have suggested greyhounds, which is surprising because it was on the top of my list, especially Italian greyhounds, but I was afraid that since it is a bigger dog, it might be hard to manage for me. I do want to look at a retired one, but I am afraid that getting a dog in its latter stage might be an issue as it would have a set temperament, as in what if it is an overtly angry dog or very mischievous and anti-social? Is it hard to train an older dog?

Again, thanks to so many of you for the replies just within a few hours!
 

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I think a greyhound (retired racer) would be a good choice. Getting an adult dog is actually the best thing a novice owner can do. In short, an adult dog can be accurately assessed. They are mature and their personalities are pretty much apparent. You never really know what you are going to end up with once a puppy grows up...

Greyhounds are very easy keepers and most of them are an excellent choice for a new dog owner who wants a laid back breed that doesn't have a lot of groomin, training and exercise requirements. My advice would be to keep your mind open in terms of color and sex of the dog and let the adoption group match you with the right personality (that really goes for any dog breed you settle on).
Italian Greyhounds, while adorable!, are notoriously hard to house train (number one reason they end up in rescues, I've been told by IG resue folks) and they are quite fragile so you need to be prepared to deal with a broken leg.
 

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Retired greyhound sounds good...

Have you looked at local shelters they may have something that is past that puppy stage and would be a little easier and more laid back and would most likely do better then a young puppy while you work 8 hours a day (unless you hire a dog walker or doggie daycare)
 

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Greyhounds are calmer than IGs (as are Whippets) and both are very easy to handle and mild mannered. Most of the retired Greyhounds I have fostered, and the one which I owned until his death, have been SO easy to handle that a child could walk one.
 

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I have also heard that Whippets are good watchdogs to. Greyhounds and Whippets dont handle the cold well because of there very short coats. So you'll need to buy a doggie coat for them. Another thing... DONT EVER let a Greyhound or Whippet off leash, remember they are sighthounds and they hunt by sight. Any little furry creature that runs out of hiding will be chased after by them. If the animal runs into the street, your dog could be injured severely or even killed. All in All keep them on a leash at all times.
 

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A huge, resounding no to Basenji. They are intense and hard to train. Very peculiar dogs.

I second (third? fourth?) the replies about a retired racer. Sounds like an excellent choice, and there are a LOT of dogs to choose from, so you're bound to find exactly what you want.
 

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Whippets don't (usually) bark, so they're not great watch dogs. I have never had one that barked, and my dogs' breeders have housefuls of them and the silence when you walk in is eerie. However, I find that to be a PLUS, not a negative. I hate barking, and I would not own a barky breed. Greyhounds also are very quiet.

I also off leash my Whippet constantly, and he is the most reliable I have had (all my Whippets have been). HOWEVER, I raised them from 8 weeks, and IMO that is why. I have not had the same experience with retired Greyhounds (with a few exceptions).

It's definitely very important to use caution and really know your dog in such situations. I always tell people to error on the side of paranoia regarding off leashing any dog. But, it is a myth that they can *never* be trained. My Whippet is 100 % more off leash reliable than any of my Goldens have been (Goldens tend to be tempted to greet strangers, other dogs, and so forth, where Whippets are considerably less interested in such distractions- they are very one person dogs).

They absolutely hate the cold, and while they can cope, you should get the a sweater :)
 

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I also think a retried Greyhound would be a great option for you! I have a friend who owns 3 and fosters for a greyhound rescue out here in Alberta. They are fabulous dogs, and very mild mannered and easy going. They really are couch potatoes in her home! If you get in touch with a greyound rescue they will try to match you up with a dog that will suit your lifestyle :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update: So I am pretty set on a greyhound right now and I found a nice local greyhound foster place: http://www.saveagrey.com/ I think I am going to give them a call today and see if I can set up an appointment or something.
 

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You won't be sorry! I have dearly loved my Greyhound and the Greys I have fostered! :)
 
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