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Hi all,

Well, I've been doing alot of research into dog breeds that would fit my life/personality style before making any purchase (or even if I can make a purchase). I've been going to dogbreedinfo.com for what appears to be quite good information on various dogs and their upkeep. Admittedly not all of it do I know what means, but well see. :)

My question is mostly looking for suggestions/comments regarding a dog that would fit me.

I'm a 23 year old, I just graduated from college, and I'm about to head to a new college. The new college is in Orlando, FL, so a lot of the dog breeds I liked (Akita for example) would probably not do so well there. I'm a pretty small guy, and so I definitely want a big dog..don't read that as a mean dog though. I want a smart dog, who is definitely also a gaurd dog. I want to find and train a dog to be nice unless something is amiss. I don't want to teach it to be mean to anything/one that goes by.

That said, I really do prefer big dogs, especially since, in my experience, its easier to tell what is right or wrong in its behavior. Its easier for my parents/friends to let a little dog get away with things they shouldn't because its "cute" versus that mastiff that is barking under the table or jumping on people...you get the idea. :)

Anyway...I will be living in an appartment so I will have to be taking the dog on walks, probably only once a day, but I want to be able to spend alot of time with him when I'm studying and things. I won't have time for the class work load and a job so when I'm not at class, I will be home with him. To be clearer, it will be an indoor dog, and it will get alot of attention. I will have a roomate as well, so the dog will even sleep in my room more than likely (speaking of, the best way to keep a dog in that room would be great, via cage, etc..)

There will be no children around, unless for some reason my sister comes to visit or something, and no other animals. Just my roommate and I.

Once again, it will be in Orlando Florida..so I dont think a dog with a thick coat would be very happy there. Originally I was going off the dogs I liked the look of, but I don't want a dog to suffer from the climate, so Akitas, Huskeys and so forth are sadly ruled out. The dog I am currently looking at is a Doberman. They are big, loyal, and only mean if trained to be mean from what I can find. They are also apparently very smart. I am not looking to just keep the dog for its puppy life, actually the opposite, I really would prefer a dog that is not a puppy because I highly doubt I am experienced enough to handle the puppy years, while being a student.

My real worry with a doberman is I am unsure of whether I am dominant enough or not for him. I really don't know what that means I think. I mean, I know the meaning of the words, but not the true behavior behind them.

Thanks for any input and advice, and thanks for reading through this really long post. ^-^
 

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First of all, throw the dominance malarkey out the window.

Second of all, if you're living in an apartment, be forewarned that most large breeds are banned from complexes based on weight alone....others are banned based on their breed (Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, etc).

The large breeds tend to also need a good deal of exercise...once a day walks aren't going to cut it for them. Mental stimulation is equally as important (if not moreso) than physical.

Also, don't confuse "mean" with "protection trained'. I have a dog that did some Protection work (minimal, but he did it), and he's a cream puff with people. I know several other dogs that are the same (schutzhund trained).

If you want an adult dog, I would look to rescue. You can find a good quality retired adult from a breeder...but it'll cost you a pretty penny
 

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Sounds like a mid-sized, young adult (3 or 4 yrs) shelter mutt is in your best interest.
 

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When you first started stating what you wanted, my mind definately went to the Doberman (but I'm also a big fan), so it sounds like you have two checks into Doberman so far.

Other breeds would probably be the Rottie, Boxer (depending on your drool likeness) or Pit Bull type breeds (though they will be more medium sized.)

As stated already, make sure you do research on what your landlord will allow based on weight, breed, and if he charges a fee for pets.

Edit - Also most of these breeds will require a good walk. It's fine that they are walked once a day, but make sure its a good one. That way they will be more prone to relax with you when your doing homework instead of pacing or getting into things to appease their energy.
 

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+1 for shelter mutt. Once you move, go to a local shelter and find a dog you like. Like was mentioned, a medium breed is probably best for you.

As for a specific breed, what about a shiba inu?
You said you liked akitas and the shiba looks similar. It's a medium smaller sized (~20lb) short coat dog that'd be perfect for an apartment.

I don't know if thick coat is necessarily bad in hot weather. You said the dog would live indoors so heat shouldn't be too much of a factor. You should walk your dog when it's cooler outside anyways (morning, evenings). The most important thing about heat i would say is keep fresh drinking water available.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Shiba Inu's are so awesome looking too..but I wasn't really sure about how smart they are, and how much of a gaurd dog they would be. I mean as I said, I dont really want a mean dog. But I would log a dog that will protect me if something is going wrong. Which, according to other sites, is basically a matter of good training. :)

Thanks to all for the other advice also, and yeah I am sure the dog will get nice walks :)
 

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Yeah I like the way shibas look too. I want to get one eventually.

They should make great guard and watch dogs "big dog in and small dog's body :)".

As for intelligence, from all I've heard, they are very intelligent. However, it doesn't make them the most obedient dogs. They are "independent" and though they may be easy to train, they might not always listen. I kind of like a little spunk in a dog though.

Dobermans are probably more obedient, but if you were originally thinking of akitas and huskys, then a shiba is about the same.

Edit: Oh I just read your original post about dominance. one word...NILIF (is that a word?)
 

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No clue what NILIF means :x

I've been trying to figure out about how big a Shiba is. I would think a doberman would come up to about my waist. (I'm really small...like 5'7) so I guess a Shiba would be around my knee?
 

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No clue what NILIF means :x
Nothing In Life Is Free:
pretty much, your dog has to do something you tell him before he gets what he wants: sit/stay before eating, lie down before going for a walk...etc.

as for size, yeah, a shiba would be probably around your knee in height.
 

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Personally, I'd stay away from the idea of a protection dog. A well-trained guard dog is only 50% of the equation; they need an experienced, consistent handler to function properly. A good guard dog is one that looks to its master for cues on how to behave in novel situations. If you don't communicate effectively and consistently, he will start making up his own rules of behavior. Add to this the fact that you're only expecting to walk it once a day, and it sounds like a recipe for disaster - an under-exercised, powerful breed that's getting inconsistent signals from its handler.
 

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I'd stay away from a SHIBA! No! No! No!

Do not get me wrong...they are LOVELY little dogs, but I've worked with many, and they are NOT for the first timer. They are, without a better frame of reference for you, like really small Huskies.

Very sweet, and they do love their people...but they're also EXTREMELY independent, can be very hard to train, and are aloof with strangers. Socialization is extremely important for this breed, and they are INCREDIBLY active! Small does NOT always equal low energy!

"What's over here!? Ooo! What's that?! Can I eat it?! Nope...I'll try anyway! Dude this squishy thing is AWESOME!" And there goes your water bed :p (Seriously)

I would third the shelter mutt idea. Think small/medium. Nothing that is over 50 pounds (Weight restrictions >.< ugh)...something a bit lower energy may suit you considering your schedule.
 

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Keep in mind that florida summers are brutal for paws - I'm in south florida. It's hard to go on real long walks (on sidewalks anyway), as it burns their pads. Also, when we first came here 6 years ago, the apt we rented had major pet restrictions that were not necessarily size-wise . They said due to insurance - no chows, akitas, pits, rotties etc. It was ridiculous. Seems like everything you are interested in, so you may want to check your lease before you fall in love with a particular breed/dog. Also not sure where your from but the first thing I was told was to beware of bull frogs as they are toxic to dogs. Good luck and welcome to Orlando ( I assume you will be at UCF?)
 

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I would check your lease agreement and see what they do allow, but also keep in mind you're not going to want to live there forever. You may be planning on renting a while too, and if you have one of the "aggresive" breeds it may be hard to find someone welling to let you keep him.

I would agree with everyone, go to the local animal shelter and try to find a nice dog there. I got my Tanner from the shelter and he's one of the BEST dogs I've ever had.
 

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Looks like you have:

2 -Doberman
2 - Shiba Inu -1
and
4 - shelter

I would check out the shelter and see whats there. You might find a very well trained pure breed that fits you perfectly and may not have crossed your mind before.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Keep in mind that florida summers are brutal for paws - I'm in south florida. It's hard to go on real long walks (on sidewalks anyway), as it burns their pads. Also, when we first came here 6 years ago, the apt we rented had major pet restrictions that were not necessarily size-wise . They said due to insurance - no chows, akitas, pits, rotties etc. It was ridiculous. Seems like everything you are interested in, so you may want to check your lease before you fall in love with a particular breed/dog. Also not sure where your from but the first thing I was told was to beware of bull frogs as they are toxic to dogs. Good luck and welcome to Orlando ( I assume you will be at UCF?)
I'm from Charleston SC. and I'll be going to Full sail University. :)

And I dont have the appartment yet, its going to be part of the factor for which I choose. So I have no lease currently, but I will later on. I'll be picking the appartment first, then the dog within that frame. I dont want to buy a dog then find I can't ever find a place that will allow pets period in downtown orlando. :) That would seem pretty irresponsible ^-^

As for the energy thing, I actually like energetic dogs. I have ADHD so I like it when they can keep up with me. My parents dog slept all the time and it really wasn't for me.
 

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While you might LIKE active dogs, you have to be able to provide them with energy outlets. In your original post you said you will probably only be able to walk the dog once a day and with the heat in Florida, walks won't be long. That is not enough exercise for a doberman.

I think a retired greyhound would be great for your lifestyle, but they aren't typically known for being big on training. They also have their limitations in regards to NEVER being offleash outdoors unless the area is securely fenced.

I would hit the shelter if I were you.
 

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I'd stay away from a SHIBA! No! No! No!

Do not get me wrong...they are LOVELY little dogs, but I've worked with many, and they are NOT for the first timer. They are, without a better frame of reference for you, like really small Huskies.
Um Kokopuff, when you first said you liked akitas and huskies was it for their looks? If so then definitely listen to Xeph.

Make sure you're ready and patient enough for their temperament before getting any breed. I've known people that have had huskies as their first dog and worked out great BUT they were ready for the effort needed.

And is there anyway you can get up early for a walk and walk again at night. Energetic mean they NEED enough exercise, not really optional, whether you exercise them or they'll tear your place down.

I think pretty much everyone agrees on a shelter dog so that's probably still your best option.
 

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Nooooooo to the Doberman! They are very physically and mentally active dogs. They will NOT be okay with one walk and then lounging in an apartment while you're at class and at home studying. For an apartment they would need much, much more exercise than you are describing. I really hope that some Doberman owners will come along to give you more indepth info about the breed.

You would also have a heck of a time finding an apartment that would accept a Doberman, GSD, or any of the typical guarding breeds. I live in an apartment with my two small dogs and in apartment hunting I've found lots of places that have no weight limit, but all have had breed restrictions.

Believe it or not, Great Danes can be good apartment dogs and their size will deter just about anyone.
 

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I live on the West Coast of FL (St. Petersburg), have Standard Poodles (the big ones), and forget walks during the Summer, unless it's late at night or incredibly early in the morning. We run along the beach (er, ah, THEY run, I meander:D), but, no beaches in Orlando (and it is HOT there!).

Whenever I'm taking the dogs in the car with me, I've got to let it run a bit, so the AC cools the interior before having the dogs get in. Believe me, you'll burn your legs on the seats, and your hands on the steering wheel!

Dobes are wonderful dogs, but for a first-time owner, a rescue would be chancy (you won't know his history), and a breeder probably wouldn't let you have a rehome adult. With apartment rentals, there's usually a weight limit (often 25 lbs. is max.), and also breed restrictions. Quite frequently, pet deposits are non-refundable, and often an extra monthly fee is required, separate from the set monthly rent amount.

If you're really set on a big dog, maybe delay getting a dog until you're done with school, back home, and can find a house to rent where you can have a dog of your choice. But, keep in mind that renting and dog ownership can be difficult, at best.
 
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