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hi there everyone. :wave:

i am trying to decide on a dog breed that would best suit me this time around. i'm the kind of anal person who likes to research every possible thing to death before making a decision.

The net has proven of little to no use for me, as one site says one thing, another says this and it can get pretty disheartening.

i used to have a golden retriever. She was my first dog ever, and i had gotten her when i was 16. She lived to be ten yrs old. She was a remarkably smart dog who was easy to train and whom i loved very much.

it's been many years now, and i've not gotten another dog since her. But now i think i'm ready....

i love the Golden as a breed. They are everything i could ever want in a dog. However, -this- time around the Golden is just a little too big for me. i decided i want a dog who is a little smaller then a Golden Retriever but with the same personality traits and intelligence.

i was/am considering strongly a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

However, i'm thinking a Cavalier may be a little smaller then what i'd like.

Then i've been considering a Cockalier. Figure i'd get the best of both worlds with one of those...but i'm still not 100%.

So here i am hoping to get opinions from everyone here :) i've tried as many 'pick your right breed' questionnaires as i could find as well mind you...but i just don't think those things really -get- the person, ya know?

So, i submit to everyones thoughts on the matter. i will answer questions asked to better help decide as we go.

What i'm looking for:

  • Size - About the size of a cocker spaniel. If larger, not by much. Similarly if smaller.
  • Grooming - i'm willing/able to brush daily if required. So no preference there.
  • Exercise - i'm not a jogger or anything, but would be willing/able to walk the dog at least twice a day. Would like a dog i could take back in the woods/along the beaches etc on hikes occasionally, and not worry about tiring it out.
  • Personality - As much like a golden retriever as possible.
  • Train-ability/Intelligence - Would prefer a dog that trains easily and could be potentially trusted off leash at home/in the woods.
  • Other notes: i'm at home full time, so the animal would rarely ever be alone. i'd not like a yappy dog, or a howler.
Interested in hearing what you all think. i was thinking about just going with an English Cocker Spaniel, however i've read some horror stories about how hard they are to house break and all that stuff.
 

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This is a bias of mine coming out, but I'd really recommend against an English Cocker Spaniel. I had one when I was a kid. She had ear problems, eye problems, skin problems and hip problems. She had a seizure disorder and horrible teeth. She also was incredibly difficult to potty train and peed whenever strangers came to the house. She was a "show quality" English Cocker from a very reputable breeder. These problems just run in the lines of the breed, unfortunately. The dog was well trained, as my dad is a very knowledgeable dog person and was on the best food money could buy for most of her life. She got tons of exercise, had plenty of toys and basically everything a dog could want. She was just simply the least healthy and most unpleasant dog I've ever been around.

Also, when people think of dogs being human aggressive, the breeds that immediately come to mind are Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc. In recent studies, however, the dog breeds that are most likely to bite their owners have included Daschunds, Chihuahuas and you guessed it, both American and English Cocker Spaniels (though the American is considered the more aggressive out of the two).

I also don't think you'll find much support here for the Cockalier idea. If you look up information on designer dog breeds (which I'm sure you will, as you've said you like to research), you'll come up with a bunch of threads on this forum discussing how difficult it is to find a good breeder for designer dogs. Mainly because lots of "dog people" find it irresponsible to breed designer dogs and many of them are bred by backyard breeders without attention to genetics or health. If you get a Golden Retriever from a good breeder, they're breeding for the future of the breed, to produce healthy and happy dogs with minimal health problems. With designer dog breeders, they're strictly for profit as they aren't looking for a future for their breed at all. Also, designer dog breeding can create multiple instabilities in the dog's personality. I'd highly recommend avoiding any designer breeds.

Are you determined to purchase a pure bred dog? There are lots of shelter dogs who would fit your requirements and desperately need homes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The more i read about the ECS the more i keep cringing. All you mentioned as things i've read about the breed. Not to mention the potential rage syndrome.

i have as well read about what you mentioned in your last paragraph. in fact the term 'designer dog' makes me twitch, honestly. but i guess it is what it is.

i'm not entirely determined to get a pure bred dog, however, by doing so i will know exactly (or as close to as possible) what i am signing up for. i have very much considered a shelter dog, however, with shelter dogs, you rarely know exactly what breeds are in them, what their temperament is or will be, or even how large they will get. With a shelter dog, it's really just a 'best guess' scenario. And i would really also prefer to start out with the fresh slate of a puppy.
 

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The more i read about the ECS the more i keep cringing. All you mentioned as things i've read about the breed. Not to mention the potential rage syndrome.

i have as well read about what you mentioned in your last paragraph. in fact the term 'designer dog' makes me twitch, honestly. but i guess it is what it is.

i'm not entirely determined to get a pure bred dog, however, by doing so i will know exactly (or as close to as possible) what i am signing up for. i have very much considered a shelter dog, however, with shelter dogs, you rarely know exactly what breeds are in them, what their temperament is or will be, or even how large they will get. With a shelter dog, it's really just a 'best guess' scenario. And i would really also prefer to start out with the fresh slate of a puppy.
Yup, that totally makes sense. Smaller breeds aren't really my area of expertise, I just figured I'd comment on the English Cocker Spaniel idea.

I did a little research on spaniels, like the English Springer or Welsh Springer, but they seem to have more energy than what you're looking for. Terriers have quite a bit of energy, too.

I'm sure someone else will chime in and be able to give you some recommendations on dogs to start researching :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks very much tho, just the same for taking the time to reply to the thread! :) any feedback at all is much appreciated.
 

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What about a mini poodle? My husband and I started researching breeds, looking for a friendly, trainable dog. He met and very much liked a colleague's goldendoodle; I wasn't comfortable with a "designer dog" and started doing some investigation. I ended up being completely turned off to the doodle mixes, but in love with the st. poodle as they seem to have all the wonderful traits of a golden (friendly, biddable, good for first time owners) plus amazing intelligence. My research has been on the standard, but from what I understand, all three poodle sizes are very similar.

My parents had a cocker when I was in high school (don't know if it was American or English), but it pretty much turned me off to the entire spaniel class. Far too high strung for my taste.

A good rescue dog would be a great option, too. Based on my very limited experience, I'd recommend going to a breed-specific rescue or one that fosters their dogs with volunteers so they have a better idea about temperament.

Best of luck to you!
 

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It's good you're doing research as some people really don't understand what they're getting with each type of dog. I think for your situation, a good breeder to start from scratch or a rescue is suitable to pick a dog with known traits. Some dogs are difficult puppies, but remember it does pass so I wouldn't put too much stock on difficult housebreaking if you are dedicated to training.

I just want to chime in that I never met a Cavalier I didn't love. I have a large number of friends from ideal owners to some that are a bit dense and the cavaliers all are friendly and unnerved by new social situations so they're a pretty stable personality. What do you mean they're "too smart" like its a bad thing about them? They have the ability to be highly trained because of that.

My MIL has a American Spaniel and she is quite pushy for attention and has bitten kids in the face so she is not allowed to go out or have visitors come to the house. She has tried to bite my pugs (who let her have it so she knows better). My best friends mom has one too from a show breeder and she's hella annoying. Barks and snarls at people, even though she's seen me everyday for half her life.
 

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I'm going to second the opinion that rescues that foster their dogs in private homes are a great way to go. You can find puppies this way too, they're not all adults! But with fostering the foster parents at least have had the dog (usually) a while, and are very familiar with their temperament, attributes, and behaviors and you can visit the dog in a home and see what they are like before bringing it home to yours.

As far as recommending a specific breed, if you like Goldens but they're too big for you, maybe consider a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (I know, long name!). They're a lot like goldens in appearance, though somewhat smaller (40-60 lbs depending on gender/etc). They're very smart, work-driven. I've only known one but it was a great family dog. Maybe not quite as goofy as some Goldens I know, but very sweet.
 

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I have a Golden now and have been thinking seriously about what I'd like in my next dog. Basically, I have the same criteria- very Golden-like, but somewhat smaller. Myself, I'd like a dog that is still active, but maybe with a bit more of an "off button" when young.

Right now a Standard Poodle is topping my list. They are still a tall dog, but weigh much less than a Golden, I was thinking a smaller female may suit me as far as size goes. They also have "oversize minis". It's the coat and the grooming that would be the most change. Although I would keep my poodle very sporty- like the water retrievers they really are- not much frou-frou for me. The more I have read and asked around, the more I love the idea of them.

I also really like Cockers and Cavaliers, and it is also health issues that is making me think twice. Sad what has happened to some lovely breeds with poor breeding. If you are willing to go a little more high-energy than me, there are plenty of different kinds of spaniels such as the Brittany.

Nova Scotia Duck Tollers are worth looking into if you can handle very high energy, as are English Setters. I wish I had that kind of energy for those two, but I have to be honest, I don't.

Shelter dogs are always a possibility too. Right now on Petfinder in my area there is a Golden x Spaniel I'd love if the timing were right.
 

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You might want to check out the Corgis. For someone who hasn't trained several dogs I'd recommend the Pembroke (the corgi without the tail). I've had both breeds & while I love them but I wouldn't recommend the Cardi (the corgi with the tail) to beginners. My Pem was never a barker. My male Cardigan was the talking-est dogs you've ever been around. He would say, "Bow-whoa-whoa" about anything. He talked & danced when he was happy. He talked & grumbled when he was unhappy. He was a character. Two males of the same breed, raised by the same person. I loved them both but the Pem was the better of the 2 for someone looking for an easy to train dog.

I think one of the sizes of poodles would be good.

A smallish collie would also be dandy companion for you. Mine is on the bigger side, a bigger dog than either of her parents. So the old fashioned Lassie kind of collie might be too big for you. I've a friend who has a super nice female who is about 50-60 pounds. She's perfectly healthy just small. I wouldn't want to be without a collie. My girl is old now but she's the most trouble free, easy going dogs. She's the easiest dog to train that I've had. I teased her breeder that I think she found out I was getting the pup & sent them to training school so I'd endorse her pups. LOL Now of course, you have to be careful & get a pup from good solid parents.

I favor the herding breeds normally or the working breeds. I've been recently considering adding a Giant Schnauzer or an Airdale to our household. It's been so long since I've had a terrier in my house that I'm trying to decide if I'm really ready :)
 

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I would look into the other retrievers. As someone suggested, The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever might be a good match. There are also several other choices that might fit you.
 

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How about an Australian Shepherd? Very trainable, friendly and about the right size. My only concern would be the energy requirements. Aussies tend to be fairly energetic.
 

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How about an Australian Shepherd? Very trainable, friendly and about the right size. My only concern would be the energy requirements. Aussies tend to be fairly energetic.
My Mini (American) requires only two walks a day and some training...her size makes it easier to wear her out. I'm not sure if they are the size you want though.
 
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