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Hi Everyone,

I need a bit of help selecting a dog breed. We (my wife and I) have had large dogs before (German Shepherds, Labs). Well, 1 and a bit years ago, my wife had our baby boy who was constantly sneezing and coughing (yep, allergic), and coincidently a close friend of ours had their daughter move away with her 2 labs. She was really close with us and our dog, so with us expecting, and her desperately wanting another dog, we gave our beloved Chloe to her. This has worked out extremely well, as this lady is very wealthy, has nothing but time, and lives on a nice sized hobby farm. Chloe is now her wonderful companion, and we get to visit every once in a while (by the way, Chloe is a retired SAR dog (never actually called for duty, but trained by me, and certified in Canada).

Fast forward to now, and my wife and I have decided that the time is right to seek out a new dog. However, this time around we would like to try a small, very light shedding dog. We have had our baby boy around Bichons, Poodles, Schnauzers, Shepherds, and even Labs, and he doesn't sneeze anymore so we think he may have grown out of his allergy. The doctor said it is possible that he was just really sensitive at first and wasn't ever allergic. That said, although I know our friend will give back Chloe if we ask for her, I couldn't do that to her...Chloe is her companion, and while Chloe is always excited when I go to visit, Chloe has a new master.

Sorry for the life story, but it all boils down to this. We want to get a new dog, definitely purebred, and definitely a puppy. The dog needs to grow up around our baby boy. The new dog must have a laid back but intelligent temperament...we have a toddler. The new dog must be small (terrier sized, not fragile, but small). The new dog must shed very little (or not at all with proper grooming). And finally, the new dog must not look like a poodle or bichon...I'm sorry to all the poodle and bichon lovers...I'm just not one.

With those requirements in mind, I have been recommended a Mini-Schnauzer by a friend. He says that it meets all the requirements, and from the research I have done online, I think he may be right. Can anyone here give me some insight into mini-schnauzers? Are there other dogs that fit these requirements? Any help you could give would be fantastic!

Devon
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input marsha=whitie.

Hopefully I can get some more input from members such as yourself. Does anyone else have any info specifically on breeds to consider?

Devon
 

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My parents bought me (well the family but ya know..) a Mini Schnauzer when I was about 3. She was a great dog and we never really had any problems with her. She was smart and easy to train. I grew up with her and she tolerated, even enjoyed, when I had all my friends over and they played with her, even if it was a little too rough sometimes. She was my companion along with another dog we got shortly after my entire childhood and up through high school, she was almost 17 when we had to put her down.

But, mini schnauzers are a terrier and they can be snappy if they aren't used to younger kids poking and pulling. (Ours never had this problem)

Good luck in your search :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much Skeeski,

Another option that I am considering is a Norfolk or Norwich Terrier. Can anyone weigh in on them?

Devon
 

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Hey Dredd,

My friend owns two mini schnauzers, and I can honestly say they are awsome dogs. They're small but very sturdy and have a healthy amount of energy. As far as I can tell they would be an excellent family dog. Quite intelligent as well. Something to keep in mind though, while im sure you've considered it but they do require a significant amount of grooming to keep them healthy, happy and good-looking, and that can definitely get pricey. Fortunately my friend was lucky enough that the breeder she got her schnauzers from taught her how to groom them herself. (still takes a good hour and a half to do though!) Another nice thing ive noticed about them is they never bark without a good reason so that'll keep your toddler from being woken up during those much-needed naps! Keep us posted on which breed you end up getting though!
 

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Some breeds to consider besids the mini-schnauzer already mentioned are Border terriers, Fox terriers (wire and smooth), Australian terriers, and Glen of Imaal terriers. One thing to note on the terriers (other than the smooth fox) is that if you want to keep that nice, harsh terrier coat it must be hand stripped and not clipped.

If you want reasonably accurate and unbiased pros and cons of any of these breeds or others just type "(name of breed) what's good about 'em, what's bad about 'em" (without parenthsis or quotes of course) into your favorite search engine.
 

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I would second the Cairn Terrier suggestion. I grew up with a Cairn Terrier (my best friend's dog), and I can only imagine the sorts of things we put Scruffy through when we were little. She tolerated every minute of it, and still loved us in the end. She's one of the best dogs I've ever met. I fostered a Mini Schnauzer for Dog Guides of Canada, and he was an amazingly loyal family dog, but he did not like strangers or other dogs. As we later found out, that part was due to his breeding (he was donated by a breeder), and not necessarily his breed. I've met a few other mini schnauzers who were fine with strangers, not overtly friendly, but they tolerated them. They are great dogs, and my mom who is NOT a dog person, fell in love with our Schnauzer foster pup and still 8 years later, talks about how much she loved Buddee.

All the best with your breed search. The most important thing, once you've picked the breed, is finding a reputable breeder. Especially when temperament is of the utmost importance. PLEASE DO NOT rush your search for the right breeder. Here's a good place to look for a reputable breeder in Alberta or if you're willing to travel/ship, you can find reputable breeders from all over Canada.

http://www.dogsincanada.com/breeders
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow,

Thanks so much for all the input. The Cairn Terrier is definately in the running. Does anyone have experience with Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Norfolk and Norwich Terriers for temperment? Specifically, a laid back easy going dog that will play nicely with my toddler, and doesn't bark and yip all the time? From what I've heard from owners, thats one of the things I like about mini Schnauzers the most...

Devon
 

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My favorite terriers are border terriers. My friend has two and they are awesome awesome little dogs. They seem a bit less 'terrier-y' than the other breeds mentioned. My neighbors had a cairn and a westie and both were neat dogs too.
 

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Wow,

Thanks so much for all the input. The Cairn Terrier is definately in the running. Does anyone have experience with Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Norfolk and Norwich Terriers for temperment? Specifically, a laid back easy going dog that will play nicely with my toddler, and doesn't bark and yip all the time? From what I've heard from owners, thats one of the things I like about mini Schnauzers the most...

Devon
I would not reccomend a Fox Terrier. They are active little dogs! Terriers in general are not what I would call laid back and calm. All of the Fox Terriers I met could give my Collie/Aussie mix a run for her money in the "hyperness and barkiness" genre!
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/foxterriers.html

Norfolk and Norwich terriers are very rare and will be hard to find. I've never personally met one so I can't attest to their temperment. If, however, you wouldn't mind the expense of purchasing and finding one from a reputable source, then I think they'd be a good fit from what I have read about them.
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/norwichnorfolkterriers.html

Cairns are great little dogs. I've met a handful that come into work and while some of them are psycho, most are very good dogs and not at all "terrierish". I typically don't like terriers and I like Cairns. :)
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/cairnterriers.html

Mini Schnauzers can be great little dogs. But as with any purebred puppy, make sure you purchase one from a reputable breeder. A Schnauzer with a bad temperment is a nasty dog.
http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/miniatureschnauzers.html

Also, please be aware that no puppy is going to be calm, laid back, and will play good with your toddler. Puppies jump, they bite, they nip, they chew, they tackle, and they are generally insane. If you want a calm, laid back dog that will treat your toddler with respect right off the bat then you are better off looking for a young adult/adult dog that has been raised with young children.
 

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Also, please be aware that no puppy is going to be calm, laid back, and will play good with your toddler. Puppies jump, they bite, they nip, they chew, they tackle, and they are generally insane. If you want a calm, laid back dog that will treat your toddler with respect right off the bat then you are better off looking for a young adult/adult dog that has been raised with young children.
I agree with this completely. Remember that your puppy will be a baby too. Don't expect the pup to treat your child with anymore grace and respect than another child would.
 

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I'll be honest, none of the terriers are THAT laid back, and mini schnauzers in particular are quite vocal. For every schnauzer I know who is good with kids, I know two or three who are nasty, although some of that can be chalked up to the fact that so many of them are poorly bred. I would actually suggest looking at the standard schnauzer (no, they're not tiny, but they're not a very big dog, either) as having a nicer temperament in general.

I like the Norfolk and Norwich terriers, but in my experience most good breeders are hesitant to place with toddlers, and they're not exactly calm dogs as babies. I *do* like rat terriers with kids, though, from good breeders or saintly-tempered dogs from rescue. RTs arenot no-shed but they shed considerably less than a double-coated breed like a lab, shepherd, or corgi.

It's also worth keeping in mind that ANY dog that doesn't shed or is low-shed is pretty much going to need regular grooming- either clipping or hand-stripping.
 

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I'm a big fan of terriers, but there are good reasons why they are not recommended for homes with small children. They certainly are able to learn to tolerate children, but most are not naturally that way. I'd say it's probably easier to teach the dog proper limits than to teach a 2 - 3 year old child appropriate behavior. You have some experience training dogs so if you're up for the challenge, you can make it work with any sound dog. SAR training would be a terrific outlet for terrier energy.

There are very different definitions of terms for different breeds of dog. "Quiet" and "laid back" mean very different things to terrier owners, than say, an English Mastiff owner.

I would actually suggest looking at the standard schnauzer (no, they're not tiny, but they're not a very big dog, either) as having a nicer temperament in general.
Standards are less popular in my area, but the ones I've met are pretty great dogs. We had one as a neighbor who was just freakin' great. He was probably 25% above his "ideal" weight, but hard as a rock from towing his little girl in her wheelchair. They kept up with her older brothers just fine.
 

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Also, please be aware that no puppy is going to be calm, laid back, and will play good with your toddler. Puppies jump, they bite, they nip, they chew, they tackle, and they are generally insane. If you want a calm, laid back dog that will treat your toddler with respect right off the bat then you are better off looking for a young adult/adult dog that has been raised with young children.
I agree completely! However, the only way I can be sure to have a dog that is ok with kids is to raise one with kids...I know this will mean constant supervision but any situation where dogs and small children are involved requires constant supervision.

Devon
 

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I agree completely! However, the only way I can be sure to have a dog that is ok with kids is to raise one with kids...I know this will mean constant supervision but any situation where dogs and small children are involved requires constant supervision.

Devon
I disagree. Many (if not most) rescue organizations foster their dogs in family homes and can therefore tell you a great deal about their dogs' personalities, including whether or not they get along with kids. In addition, a good rescue will take a dog back if it ends up not suiting its adoptive family.

Breeders are another place to look for older dogs that have already adjusted to kids. Sometimes puppies get returned to breeders and sometimes they never leave, for one reason or another. The breeders often sell these purebreds at a discount and they could certainly tell you how well they get along with kids.

Raising a puppy around children does not guarantee that the adult dog will tolerate children, let alone enjoy them. There are too many factors of breeding, personality, training, and environment to be able to make that sort of guarantee.

I don't necessarily recommend that you get an adult dog or older puppy, but I do think it's an error to say that the only way to get a dog that's good with children is to raise it from a puppy with children.
 

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half of a dogs behavior and temperment is purely genetic and can't be changed only marginally controled. Thats why it's important to meet the dam and sire of the pup and see what they are like.
 

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half of a dogs behavior and temperment is purely genetic and can't be changed only marginally controled. Thats why it's important to meet the dam and sire of the pup and see what they are like.
Agreed, which is why I feel that finding a good breeder is so important to me. Rescues have their place, but in my situation I feel that good genetics and socialization from early stages of development will give me a better chance at good temperament than a foster home's impression of the dog. A good breeder will be able to select a puppy that displays good temperament at about 8-10 weeks.

Thanks for the comments, I am still very open to other breeds as Norfolk / Norwich are really difficult to find here in Canada.

Devon
 
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