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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!
I've owned a female Labrador for many many years and I absolutely adored her, I think Labradors in general have such a sweet, fun and protective personality. A few years have passed now without her and I'm thinking of getting another dog, but a small-sized one to keep indoors. Do you perhaps know which small breeds have similar characteristics/personality of Labradors ?
(please don't suggest me to check in shelters, I already volunteered there for a few months, there aren't any small doggos :/)
 

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Best small dog I've had was my shih tzu. Lived to be 16 years old and was a great, loving, and fun dog. They are small (12-14 lbs) but are more sturdily built than some small breeds that have delicate thin legs. He loved his people and loved to play.
 
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You're going to find getting a puppy from a breeder takes time and patience too. A friend told me recently she had been trying since last August and only got the Frenchie puppy she wanted a couple of days ago. I've been trying for months myself and finally gave up on my first choice breed because they're popular enough good breeders have years-long waiting lists. I'm too old to wait 10 years.

I also don't think you're going to find a small, indoor-type dog that's really like a Lab, although you can certainly find sweet and fun loving in small breeds.

Anyway, I'd recommend going to the AKC website and putting in what you hope to find and reading up on some of the small breeds. There are other sites that supposedly help you find a breed by traits but some of them are unbelievably inaccurate. So research the breed you think you'd like pretty thoroughly. Make sure to read the website of the national club for that breed.

After that you get the long slog of finding a good breeder who will have a puppy available before the next millennium. Good luck.
 

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It might help to know what specifically you like about your lab and what kinds of traits are a priority to you. There's a ton of variation in the breed because they're so popular, from hunting line dogs who are on the higher energy, more intense end of the scale to service dog wash-outs who are extremely steady, even-tempered, and can handle most things without batting an eye. It'll make a difference if you want to prioritize breeds who are likely to be protective or breeds who are more on the sweet/fun and laid back side of things.

Also, what kind of coat care are you willing to do, and how much smaller is small-sized to you? Many smaller dogs have more high maintenance coats, so if you aren't willing to deal with something that needs extensive trimming every 6-ish weeks or something that needs regular combing to prevent matting/tangles, it'll narrow you're options.

In general, I do think spaniels are often underappreciated these days. I wish Cavalier King Charles Spaniels didn't have such awful health problems because I think they're amazing companions, but their heart and neurological issues are devastating and finding a breeder who's doing everything possible to try to avoid these problems is extremely difficult. American or English cocker spaniels are also lovely little dogs, though they'll be more comparable to a hunting line lab (especially the English) in terms of their energy, exercise needs, and prey drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're going to find getting a puppy from a breeder takes time and patience too. A friend told me recently she had been trying since last August and only got the Frenchie puppy she wanted a couple of days ago. I've been trying for months myself and finally gave up on my first choice breed because they're popular enough good breeders have years-long waiting lists. I'm too old to wait 10 years.

I also don't think you're going to find a small, indoor-type dog that's really like a Lab, although you can certainly find sweet and fun loving in small breeds.

Anyway, I'd recommend going to the AKC website and putting in what you hope to find and reading up on some of the small breeds. There are other sites that supposedly help you find a breed by traits but some of them are unbelievably inaccurate. So research the breed you think you'd like pretty thoroughly. Make sure to read the website of the national club for that breed.

After that you get the long slog of finding a good breeder who will have a puppy available before the next millennium. Good luck.
There are lots of breeders here where I live with available puppies, so that's not really a problem. The main issue is just finding the right breed for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It might help to know what specifically you like about your lab and what kinds of traits are a priority to you. There's a ton of variation in the breed because they're so popular, from hunting line dogs who are on the higher energy, more intense end of the scale to service dog wash-outs who are extremely steady, even-tempered, and can handle most things without batting an eye. It'll make a difference if you want to prioritize breeds who are likely to be protective or breeds who are more on the sweet/fun and laid back side of things.

Also, what kind of coat care are you willing to do, and how much smaller is small-sized to you? Many smaller dogs have more high maintenance coats, so if you aren't willing to deal with something that needs extensive trimming every 6-ish weeks or something that needs regular combing to prevent matting/tangles, it'll narrow you're options.

In general, I do think spaniels are often underappreciated these days. I wish Cavalier King Charles Spaniels didn't have such awful health problems because I think they're amazing companions, but their heart and neurological issues are devastating and finding a breeder who's doing everything possible to try to avoid these problems is extremely difficult. American or English cocker spaniels are also lovely little dogs, though they'll be more comparable to a hunting line lab (especially the English) in terms of their energy, exercise needs, and prey drive.
Firstly, thanks for the reply, it was very useful!
I did not have a hunting Lab, she was very sweet and laid back, not very protective.. Very naïf and friendly, especially with kids, she would've never bit anyone.
I'd prefer a breed that is short-coated or wire-haired, they are way less high-maintenance. 'Small sized' for me means any breed that has the same size of Dachshunds, Yorkshires, Chihuahuas, Corgis, etc.
I was checking out the Cavalier King Spaniel too but I saw they're pretty delicate since they are prone to many diseases as you said :(
 

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With those requirements, you might have luck looking into some of the small bulldog/short nosed breeds, like Boston Terrier, French Bulldog, or Pug. It's still extremely important to find a breeder who's screening for health and conformation issues in these breeds - those brachycephalic faces lead to some serious breathing issues when they're taken to the extreme or bred carelessly.

This is ESPECIALLY the case with Frenchies, who have had an enormous explosion in popularity these past few years and are now the victims of many people treating them like money-making machines, overbreeding dogs, pumping out as many puppies as fast as possible, charging in the tens of thousands USD, marketing their dogs as 'rare' because they're an unusual color or have long hair and pumping the prices up even more... sadly this has lead to a lot of unhealthy dogs and unstable temperaments out there. You want a breeder who really puts time into screening the parents, doing all the health tests necessary (this includes genetic screening, knee and/or hip x-rays, eye checks, etc. not just a vet saying 'yes this dog appears healthy at this moment'), and selecting for dogs who are stable and outgoing, never fearful, shy, or aggressive.

Boston Terriers are, as their name suggests, terriers so they may be a little more energetic and athletic than the other two on average, but they can be lovely companions and are famous for being good with kids. Obviously you still want to be looking for a breeder who's putting a lot of thought and care into their breeding program, but in my experience they tend to be less extreme than the other two breeds here in their head shape, which is a plus in my book. I do have personal experience with Bostons and while they were undertrained and underexercised, they were always sweet and sociable, if a little over-the-top excitable around people (which, again, may be more about their care than the breed, haha).

Pugs are real clowns and charmers. Unlike the other two they do have a proper double coat (more like a lab) and so will shed way more than you think they will, and also tend to have a lot more energy than people expect! Especially if you keep them at a healthy weight and don't let them become little barrels (seriously, all these breeds will balloon up if you let them and it'll destroy their health, so keep an eye on that!). They do tend to have extremely smooshed faces and many need special care in the form of making sure their skin folds are cleaned daily so they don't build up gunk or grow yeast. Again, responsible breeders are so, so important for these guys because they can have heinous health problems if they're bred carelessly - ones that need surgical correction and/or lifelong management. But there are people out there producing active and healthy pups.

I still say an American or English cocker may be good options too, especially if you want to avoid the extreme brachycephalic faces (Americans have a slightly shortened snout but nowhere near as extreme as the guys above). Normally I'd suggest looking up dog shows in your area and popping in to see these breeds in person, but if that's not safe in your area don't put yourself at risk. Something like breed-specific facebook groups might be a good option if you want a socially distant way to get some feedback from multiple owners of the breed you're interested in.
 

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I think that if you like a Lab then you would probably love a Boston Terrier. I don’t have any experience with the breed, but they seem to have a really similar temperament. Go, Boston Terrier, go!
 
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