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So if there were an effort to create the ideal family dog for a modern western suburban household what chariteristics should it have and what would it have? What breeds would go in it?

I say should and would because I expect that priorities would be backward and Prioity would be given to appearance over health over health and temperament. So imagine the ideal dog and then imagine what people would breed instead for this goal.
 

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I think plenty of people are already breeding for this, but different families have different wants and requirements. Plenty of companion breeds, some of the hounds, and some of the sporting breeds (among others) already fit this niche right now.
 

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I think this is hard because everyone's family is different. I mean, for me personally my family needs a cuddly, moderate to low energy, tolerant, happy dog who will snuggle with us while we netflix it but enjoy walks in the evening. We have chosen the Berner.

My neighbors, have 3 children, rambunctious children who are always in the go, the while family is always outside doing stuff, they have a golden. They are always walking the dog playing with the dog, your "typical" on the go, active, suburban family.

A golden, or any other much higher energy "family" dog would be a nightmare for my family right now.

So I don't think there is an ideal one size fits all family dog. Maybe, the most common trait would be a natural love for children and a tolerant nature to shenanigans.
 

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Yeah, I mean you can sort of try and stereotype the family, but there are so, so, many variations that there is no filling that niche across the board. Do they spend their evenings, weekends, and 2 weeks in the summer doing hiking and camping and fishing and boating, or do they want to hang around the house or drive into the city? Does someone have allergies? Are those 2.5 kids 2 years old or 12?

But honestly if someone asked me for a family dog right now, based on a suburban environment, kids, and a fairly active or even weekend warrior type lifestyle, I'd either suggest a beagle, a min poodle, a leonberger, a eurasier, a spaniel, a newf, a pit mix , or a retriever (the easier ones of those 2). Which of those i'd suggest depends on what they want and other factors. I'd also suggest a 2 year old dog instead of a puppy.

All it takes really is a fairly biddable dog with moderate energy, a friendly, stable temperament, an off switch, and that doesn't have over the top drive (prey or otherwise).
 

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I agree with elrohwen that different families have different needs, but I think, too, one can make some very general generalizations about characteristics of a good family dog.

- few health issues
- long lived
- medium to large size
- moderate exercise requirements
- biddable
- friendly and friendly looking
- forgiving
- low to moderate shedding

This was pretty much our ideal characteristics list. The exercise thing was a big stumbling block - we're fairly lazy and so many breeds that met our other desires were described as high energy. Breeds that were described as having lower exercise requirements often missed one or more of our other criteria, often size or health. Poodles aren't the healthiest breeds and are little smaller than I wanted, but meet the other criteria. Welshies and Eurasiers would probably fit, too.

Again, as elrohwen said, I do think there are plenty of existing breeds that can be excellent family dogs. Still, it would be nice to have a few larger companion breeds.
 

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I agree with you cookie face about the larger companion breeds. When I began searching for a dog to fit my daughters and I new lifestyle, most of the small companion. Breeds fit perfectly, the breed we got pointed to a lot was the cavilier king charles, wonderful sweet little dogs... but little being the key word.

That was the one thing I kept searching for, a breed of dog that had a companion like mentality but not the size of a cat.
 

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Conversely, I wish there were more 'cat sized' really high energy, high drive, breeds that aren't terriers. Paps, toy poodles, and shelties come close, if you get the right ones/lines, but well. There are some large companion breeds too, and it's the same kind of situation with them just not meeting the mark in some other regards. Not that that's what this thread about, but there are *holes*.
 

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Shug! (my mom's dog. Springer/Aussie mix, according to her DNA test).

Haha, no, she's cranky. But size-wise and in most other ways she's perfect for the average suburban family. About 40 pounds, doesn't shed much (she has weird fur. Longhaired but no undercoat), doesn't need a ton of exercise and is biddable.

What's not good about her: she has no patience with kids. Could be due to her upbringing though. Also has skin issues/allergies, but again, could be due to a bad start in life. She's not forgiving (drop a pan and she won't come near you the rest of the day) and is scared of loud noises. It's hard to know what's an inborn behavioral trait and what's trained or based on past life experience.
 

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Our last dog Maggie was an almost perfect dog for our family - She was an extremely healthy dog up until her last day (just shy of 12 YO); was a beautiful dog with a long, black, shiny coat; very smart; weighed about 40 lbs; had a great disposition; was a family dog - happy equally to see all of us; loved belly rubs; didn't need a lot of exercise and loved everyone she met. Even her shedding wasn't a bother. The only tweaks would have been her not being so afraid of other dogs (we had no reason at that time to worry about that); for her to like walks and car rides and actually play fetch vs playing her version (but it was cute how she played it). I would have 100 dogs like her.

But as was said what makes a "perfect" dog for 1 family doesn't make it "perfect" for other families.
 
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