Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I like to prepare far in advance, so I want to make it clear that I'm not getting a new dog any time soon.

In a few years I'll move out of my parent's house to own a place of my own, having finished college. Since I've always lived with pets (rodents, cats and dogs) I'm deadset on getting a pet when I'm on my own, too. I'll probably get both cats and dogs.

I currently own a White Swiss Shepherd, but he's an old dog and by the time I finish college, he probably won't be around anymore. I grew up with a Cocker Spaniel, but my current shepherd is my first 'own' dog. I love him dearly and my experience with him has made me think about what I really like and do not like in a dog.

I always thought a wolf-ish dog (shepherd or wolf dog) would be the kind of dog that suited me, but now I know what it means for personality, I'm not so sure anymore. I'm really glad that my shepherd has given me that learning experience.

The qualities I look for in a dog:
He needs to be calm, not hyper-alert, not overly active, not high-strung. I like quiet dogs, confident but not aggressive. I don't want a dog that loves everything and everybody like my white shepherd, who would jump into a stranger's car if he was beckoned. (seriously, has happened! :doh: ) I want a dog that will heed me, and only me. Wary of strangers would be appreciated, but as said before: not aggressive.

If possible I want him to be friendly with other dogs too, though I know socialisation also plays a big part in that. Whereas I think that maybe my shepherd was over-socialisized with people, he appears to be not so much socialized with other dogs and so I know first hand how difficult it is to handle aggression. But since I got him from a shelter, I don't know what made him like this. One thing's for sure: I don't want dog-aggression in my future dog and will do anything to prevent it from happening. So I'd like a breed that isn't known for dog-aggression.

About me:
I myself am a pretty laid-back kind of person. Not easily stressed out, kind of lazy too, but don't mind going out for bike rides and walks. I'd be able to give my dog up to two hours of exercize a day. The dog I'm describing here won't be my first dog, but it will probably be the first dog I'll raise as a puppy unless I decide to rescue again.

As for breeds I have in mind...
I'm very interested in mountain dogs (most of them are also livestock protection dogs), as most of them are known to be calm and quiet, wary of strangers and not overly aggressive. They do have a big head on that body (strong personality), something that slightly worries me.
I'm also interested in sighthounds, because they too tend to be quiet and calm, especially indoors. Most of them are made for short bursts of energy outside, whereafter they'll be calm and quiet again. Most are wary of strangers and are not aggressive at all, but they'll run after anything that moves quickly as they are hunters, which worries me.

Biggest differences between these two groups is that mountain dogs will likely defend your property and are more likely to show dog-aggression, whereas sighthounds won't defend your property and are not likely to be aggressive at all. Also sighthounds are hunters, where most mountain dogs are not.
It will be very important for me to be able to take my dog anywhere with me without him becoming a liability.

Yes, yes, training is very important. But I'd like to hear people's opinions about this. What kind of dog would suit me better, mountain dogs or sighthounds? Or do you guys think I'm looking into a wrong segment of dogs alltogether?

Last but not least, the specific dog breeds that caught my eye:
Mastin de los Pirineos (Pyrenean Mastiff) - issues: drool
Estrela Mountain Dog - issues: prone to excessive barking
Leonberger - issues: lots of health issues
Kuvasz - issues: too much exercise?
Greyhound - issues: sensitivity to cold (sea climate with temperatures ranging from: 14 - 86 F / -10 - 30 C)
Azawakh - issues: sensitivity to cold (my climate)

Are the issues I have with above breeds unrealistic or just plain wrong?

Anyhow: any input would be appreciated!
Thank you for reading this huge mass of text, too. Glad it didn't scare you off ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,598 Posts
I'm inclined to recommend a retired racing greyhound. As a young person (I'm 24) now living alone with a dog, I can tell you... dogs that require a lot of work will put a real damper on your life in general. You can't go out when you want, can't go on weekend vacations..or any vacation...without finding someone to take care of the dog, you can't just stay out at night or do whatever normal people without dogs get to do *cry*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Aw, Lisak, don't cry! :p
I know what you're talking about. I can't go anywhere either without having to make sure my dog is taken care of. But to me that's a small sacrifice for getting to have a companion.

I've already found a rescue group near me that deals with rehoming retired and abused racers. I already had it in mind a while ago, but having someone else mention it too, makes it a definite option now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,705 Posts
I would definitely recommend a Greyhound. They are couch potatoes in the house, don't need tons of exercise but like a good walk or run. They have such great coats for dogs now and boots so the cold should not be a problem. We used to raise and show Greyhounds and I just love their temperament. They are not aggressive with other dogs as the aggressive ones were weeded out as they can't race if they are trying to fight.

They are recommended to always be on leash but I know the ones we raised had no problem being loose but they had not been raced. Two of the Greyhounds we sold as puppies were the top winning Obedience Greyhounds in Ontario for a while, even had their tracking titles and used to put on displays at the horse shows jumping.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
211 Posts
Read up extensively on LGD breeds before getting one. Many of them are extremely territorial unless you put in a lot of work socializing them early on. Of the ones you listed, I'd say a good bet in the Leonberger. They don't have "lots of health issues". Any large dog is going to have similar health issues, and the Leonberger certainly isn't the worst in that category. Life span can vary greatly depending on diet, exercise and care. Realize that large dogs will require more food, more materials in general (toys, chew bones, medicine quantity, etc.), and will be more expensive for vet visits and ongoing care than smaller dogs. I've put a lot of research into larger dogs, as I plan to get one in about 10 years (I also like to plan ahead), and have actually met a Pyrenees, a Caucasian, and a Leonberger recently. The first two aren't going to be suited for your needs, unless you'll be able to purchase a large property for those dogs to run on. They are not suited for apartment life, though the Pyrenees is much better than a Caucasian in that regard. The Leonberger needs exercise like any dog, but isn't a 'working dog', so doesn't have the need for long periods of walking/running. They still need regular walks, but not as much. The Caucasian I met was actually very friendly. The owner told me he'd spent lots of time socializing, and from what I've read of the breed, he must have. The Pyrenees I didn't get to approach, because he was in doggie day care, but the Leonberger was extremely friendly. Rather calm dog, in fact, and very affectionate.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
693 Posts
I agree with Irishman about the Leonberger :) It's a breed that I am heavily considering for my next dog. Like he said, they don't have "too many" health issues, they have the same issues that any other dog of that size will have (bloat, hip dysplasia, bone cancer). If you get one from a good breeder, their ancestors will have been OFA'd, so the hip dysplasia will be less of an issue.

They don't need tons of exercise (a 30 minute walk should do it), they're friendly towards people and children, but not overly so. They're generally good with other animals, too. From what I've seen, they're easily trainable (unlike some mountain breeds) and they won't take off after prey (unlike sighthounds).

To me, the only drawback of the breed is their thick double coat which probably blows out twice a year and needs some extensive brushing. They're a little drooly, but nothing compared to a mastiff :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
They are recommended to always be on leash but I know the ones we raised had no problem being loose but they had not been raced. Two of the Greyhounds we sold as puppies were the top winning Obedience Greyhounds in Ontario for a while.
!?! Really? I did not know that you could get a good recall with a Greyhound- and obedience too? Not that I think of them as being a mischievous breed, but just disinterested in following commands- kind of like a sweet but lazy housecat! If you tell me that they also love to swim and play fetch, I might be sold!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for your reactions!

@Kyllobernese:
I did read that Greyhounds are considered to be easy learners compared to other sighthounds, easy to raise too. Another thing that's appealing to me is their noticable 'off-switch', with a short burst of energy outside, and then being all mellow again. In comparison, the Galgo Español, a sighthound similar to the Greyhound that caught my interest too, won't stop their 'hunting mode' outside because they use their sense of smell as well whereas Greys primarily hunt on sight. (or so I've been told)

@Irishman:
I've spent the past six months reading up on livestock guardians :wink: I bought the book 'Livestock Protection Dogs: Selection, Care and Training' by Orysia Dawydiak and David E. Sims to learn more about them and got into contact with a Kuvasz breeder.

Well, compared to, say, the Estrela Mountain Dog, who has no known breed specific issues, the Leonberger is a lot unhealthier with their eye problems, heart problems, paralysis, cancers, thyroid disorders and more. Not counting hip and elbow dysplasia, because that's something nearly every large breed of dog can suffer from. Anyhow, this is slightly worrying to me, even though finding a reputable breeder would help a lot with getting a healthy dog.

Of all the LGDs, the Mastin de los Pirineos aka Pyrenean Mastiff appears to be the most 'mellow' of them, being said to be 'the gentleman' of the LGDs. This breed, too, has no known breed specific health issues. I think it's because it does not 'enjoy' popularity and the breeding programme is monitored by the main Spanish breed club. It's not a well known breed, unlike its neighbor the Great Pyrenees.

I like Leonbergers, but I don't know which, Leos or Mastins, is the better choice. The Estrela is likely not a good choice. Ditto for Caucasians, I agree with you. I liked Sarplaninacs too, but they're similar to Caucasians, though a little milder, but still... can be ferocious. I think it's amazing you met a friendly Caucasian, by the way! :whoo:

@Dmickle:
The coat, yes, that's something I'm wondering. How much brushing does a Leonberger coat require? I read you have to brush every single day to keep the coat from matting. A friend of mine has a Newfoundlander, same thing, lots of work with brushing the coat. I don't know if I can put in the effort. Most LGDs have a non-tangling coat, easy to maintain. Though coat type is definitely not my first priority, it is something to keep in mind. Of course, if everything about the dog is wonderful, than the daily brushing will be a small price to pay.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,934 Posts
Greyhounds are not known for being safe outside a fenched area and off leash.

The breeds that come in mind to me are the Swiss mountain dogs. There's the largest and shorthaired Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a little smaller with hair like a Golden Retriever, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the shorthaired, medium sized. Entebucher Mountain Dog. They are all the same color- black with tan and white areas in a specific pattern, kind of like a Doberman. I think the Greater Swiss would be the most calm, and from what I know, they are all a bit wary of strangers. Along with carting, they were flock guardians. I think those breeds will be gentle with small animals like cats. Of course they should be raised with them. Sorry if you already know about these breeds and I gave you the 101 on them. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
@luvntzus:
I already knew about them (and you forgot the Appenzeller! :p ), but I appreciate your input. I hadn't actually given them much thought, strangely enough. The Bernese Mountain Dog is not on my list, since its health has sky rocketed down and their lifespan is saddeningly low. But Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs... hmm. I'll look into them. Thanks!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,934 Posts
@luvntzus:
I already knew about them (and you forgot the Appenzeller! :p ), but I appreciate your input. I hadn't actually given them much thought, strangely enough. The Bernese Mountain Dog is not on my list, since its health has sky rocketed down and their lifespan is saddeningly low. But Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs... hmm. I'll look into them. Thanks!
You're right, I knew there were 4, but couldn't remember the 4th and didn't want to go looking! lol I agree with the Bernese Mountain Dog. Their lifespan is about the same as a Great Dane and other giant breeds. It's unusual that the Greater Swiss lives longer than them. I do feel like the Greater Swiss would be a good way to go. Please let us know which breed you choose!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,250 Posts
Greyhounds are not known for being safe outside a fenched area and off leash.

The breeds that come in mind to me are the Swiss mountain dogs. There's the largest and shorthaired Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a little smaller with hair like a Golden Retriever, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the shorthaired, medium sized. Entebucher Mountain Dog. They are all the same color- black with tan and white areas in a specific pattern, kind of like a Doberman. I think the Greater Swiss would be the most calm, and from what I know, they are all a bit wary of strangers. Along with carting, they were flock guardians. I think those breeds will be gentle with small animals like cats. Of course they should be raised with them. Sorry if you already know about these breeds and I gave you the 101 on them. lol
GSMD are NOT calm and quiet. They are high energy and can become very hyper.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,277 Posts
GSMD are NOT calm and quiet. They are high energy and can become very hyper.
^^ This! I've met several, and none were low energy, or quiet. The words their owners used to describe them were "crazy hyper". The last one I met was also extremely barky, and none of them were particularly wary of strangers, they were all extremely friendly with everyone they met.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
O-kay?
I visited the site of a Greater Swiss Sennenhund club, and what they say of the breed is that they're:
'Intelligent, calm, balanced, friendly, guards and protects by nature, attaches very closely to its owners, want to work, moderately good listeners, only barks when necessary, not good for keeping in a kennel as it likes to be around humans, has a very boisterous youth that lasts quite long. If socialized well, acts friendly around other animals, generally good with other dogs, innocent visitors are greeted friendly, good with kids but keep close watch when friends are coming over to play, because the Greater Swiss may protect your kids when play gets too rough.'
Maybe the Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs you met were still young? If Greater Swiss are anything like Bernese, they're likely to have a youth phase that may last well into their third year of age. And as it is described as being a boisterous youth...
But I've never met them in real life, I can only go by information I find on the internet and in books.

@luvntzus:
The final decision may be made a couple years from now! :wink: Maybe if I'll still be around by then, I'll let you know. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
My neighbor's dog is rescued. The organization where she came from also rescues Mastins and Mastin mixes--though mostly Mastin Espagnol, closely related to Mastin de los Pirineos.They have adults as well as adolescents and puppies. The dog below is an adolescent Mastin Espagnol mix currently up for adoption. (he's already 34 inches tall!)
:dance: It's so pretty!

More pictures
Definitely something I'll keep in mind.

So as of right now, I'm thinking of going with either a Greyhound or Mastin (mix), either Espagnol or Pirineos. Maybe both, if I have time on my hands. ;)
But if I'm being realistic, it's probably going to be a greyhound. It would be wise to start with a less demanding breed.

Thanks for the help, everyone.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top