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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I would like to get a dog or two. I am in the military and have mild PTSD. My wife isn't a huge fan of the hair a family member's beagle leaves, so with that as a baseline...we'd like to get something that sheds less/little. When I'm around I'd like to be able to play frisbee/walk with the dog (don't do too much running now). When I'm not home something that can serve as a guard dog, but not something that is going to be barking at all hours. Crating would also probably be good. My wife needs to be able to manage it while I am away.

I have a half acre fenced yard and am in the South, but that will inevitably change at some point.
 

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Most of those things you mention are training issues. How much time are you and your wife willing to put into training and developing the dog's abilities? I wouldn't recommend getting 2 dogs/puppies too close together. . .you want to have the first dog grown and trained before bringing another in. Of course you CAN raise 2 at the same time if you're willing to do the extra work, but it's a LOT of extra work and I just don't recommend it.

Your options are limited if you want low-/no-shedding. Curly hair and wire hair are the low-shedding types. Are you willing to have the dog professionally groomed every month or two? It can be expensive. How big of a dog do you want?
 

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In general, the kind of dogs that are going to be athletic enough to chase down discs (frisbees) with gusto aren't quiet, easily managed, or happy in a crate for extended periods.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I would be fine with a mastiff, but my wife would probably prefer something the size of a shoe. She did have great dane's growing up, so she can handle fairly large dogs.

Practically, I think something that can be air transportable (my friend's mastiff is too heavy for it+crate to fly).

Looks wise my wife like Yorkie/Bichon mixes, GSDs, Grea0t Danes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Golden Retrievers...which of course is pretty much (with the exception of the yorkie bichon) opposes her dislike for shedding :doh:.

I've enjoyed working with GSDs, Mastiffs, and Huskies. From the "no-shed" breeds airdale terriers and schnauzers seem like good candidates. I'd even go for a retired greyhound, but my wife didn't go for that. Training the dog is really a challenge I look forward to.

I looked into grooming prices locally and they don't seem too prohibitive.
 

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An airdale or schnauzer will be high energy, but if you are prepared to spend a lot of time and work, one of them might be a good choice.

A greyhound would be very different in temperament and exercise requirements. They are generally pretty mellow, and would need much less exercise (though lots of walks is always good). Some people are just immediately turned off by how greyhounds look, and don't give them enough consideration. Is your wife like that? Maybe if she reads about them more she'll start to like the idea. The only thing is, they tend to be pretty quiet, so you might not get alert barking (you mentioned wanting a guard dog).

Another idea is a standard poodle. You can keep them in a simple short clip. They don't shed. They are athletic and very smart.

I agree with Willowy that you should really consider just getting one dog for now. So much can go wrong when people get two at a time. It's really not the best idea for most people.

Do you have any other pets already? Cats?

Also, with any of these breeds, you should consider rescue. Then you don't have to deal with finding a good breeder, which can be really hard. And you don't have to deal with a puppy. They are a huge PITA.

Crating and excessive barking are training issues.
 

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I assume by "guard dog" you actually mean "watch dog", as in barks to warn you of strangers? I hope, anyway. Any dog that's inclined to bark at strangers is going to need some training to control that.

Stay away from a short haired breed if you don't like shedding. The short haired dogs tend to shed more than the long haired dogs. Personally, I'll take profuse shedding over the grooming requirements of a poodle any day, but that's a personal choice.

I'd recommend two things: first don't choose on looks. That's a huge mistake. I know people tend to find greyhounds funny looking, but they're great dogs and lots of them are in rescue in need of good homes. Secondly, I'd get a dog through a rescue. There's no telling what you're getting with a puppy in terms of temperament and noise until they're grown. If you go through a rescue that fosters its dogs, you'll know those things in advance.
 

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As others have mentioned, if you get a breed that does not shed it will need to be clipped every 4-6 weeks. The natural cycle for a hair follicle is growth phase, rest phase, and then the hair is shed. To make a dog that is virually non-shedding, they were selectively bred so that the growth phase is extended to a very very VERY long time. Then at any given time only a tiny fraction of the hairs are being shed. So the coat is always growing, and needs to be clipped.

The first breed that came to mind was a Portugese Water Dog because of the non-shedding requirement. But this would only be a good idea if your wife really wants to be involved with dog care, exercise and training. These are smart active dogs and therefore would require more work than a placid laid back breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes..a watchdog that will bark and cause people to reconsider their intentions. She is willing to contribute but doesn't like dogs jumping/licking. Probably because she is 5' and had great Danes growing up.
 

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She is willing to contribute but doesn't like dogs jumping/licking.
That is a training issue as well. With training, everyone in the household needs to be on board. So if she doesn't want the dog jumping up on her, she will have to learn how to respond so that the behavior is discouraged. I think pretty much all puppies and untrained dogs need to be taught this.
 

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That is a training issue as well. With training, everyone in the household needs to be on board. So if she doesn't want the dog jumping up on her, she will have to learn how to respond so that the behavior is discouraged. I think pretty much all puppies and untrained dogs need to be taught this.
I've never met a dog that didn't have to be trained out of that.

I'm not sure why every person who comes here for breed recommendations includes "will make bad guys go away". Any dog of any size that barks at strangers (some breeds don't. huskies are one example.) will dissuade a casual burglar, so a chihuahua would fit the bill. Anyone determined enough to enter to ignore barking isn't going to care if you have an attack trained mastiff. After all, no dog is a match for a gun.

I'd let that requirement go, especially considering that you don't want a dog that barks for fun, which lots of dogs do.
 

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Plus all dogs are different, i have BC and she does not bark at the door, the postman is her friend, but my auntie's BC will and is a good guard dog, my auntie's BC also gives kisses, where as Holly does not, but she likes to lick arms and feet instead, Poppy is also a barker outside in her garden, only time Holly barks when she is in her garden is when another dog barks, you would never really know until you got the dog.
 

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A golden retriever sounds like a good fit...I have a golden that thinks he's a shepherd(very good guard dog) but the fur is unbelievable. How about a golden doodle? Very smart, likes exercise, very little to no shedding, easy to train, and they come in different sizes!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the input. I think my wife is just going to have to meet dogs and she will fall in love with something :) We won't be ready to adopt for another few months (she's currently not living here as she is finishing up stuff where we last moved).


Is there a good way to be exposed to various breeds and maybe pick up some training techniques?
 

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Is there a good way to be exposed to various breeds and maybe pick up some training techniques?
The best way I know of getting exposure to a lot of different breeds is to go to a local dog show, and talking to the handlers/breeders/owners about them.
 

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Schnauzers could fit the bill, but they can be very full-on dogs. They come in 3 sizes (13-14", 18-19", 23-27"), and their shedding is pretty minimal, but they do need clipping. I have quite a lot of experience with the standard and giant if you want to know more.
 

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+1

Schnauzers have great personalities.
+2 on the Schnauzer .... I had a neighbor with the big black Giant Schnauzer once ... intimidating bark and not only smart ... but beautiful and intelligent. I put one on my wish list. :)
 

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Chesapeak bay retrievers are low shedders, but as far as training, I would recommend the gsd. Im training one now and the eagerness to learn and willingness to please can't be beat....good luck!
 

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standard schnauzer owner chiming in. They are low shed, take alot fo grooming work, they do bark at the door, you will need to train them that "that's enough barking" at the door but that's doable. They can be a barky breed... now I am sure that there is someone out there that has a SS that doesn't bark it's head off when it wants something (totally a trainable issue) or when you leave the house (more difficult to train but sort of trainable) I personally don't have a quiet dog. They are wonderful dogs for many other reasons and I'm getting a second one soon (fingers crossed) So obviously I do love them. They take alot of work, and respond best to positive training techniques. I've always thought that the Giant was way more dog than I could ever take on, as in way more energy to drain off. The SS does have endless energy, need lots of training BUT they do have an off switch. Mine isn't going to tear the house apart if we get a week of snow/rain and I can't get out side.. I spend 30 min walk in the am, game of flirt pole in the back yard for 20 min, another 30 min walk in eve and that's it. My impression was that the GS would need more exercise than that. I also live in city (no endless countryside to romp in) and have a small child.... so the SS works for me. Different lifestyles suit different dogs. The ss seems to work well in ours. That's all I can say. Good luck int he hunt.

You could also volunteer at local animal shelter, spend time with all of the different dogs there and learn alot. You just might find one to fit your lifestyle there!
 

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Ditto on the animal shelter. You can also talk to the local Vets for suggestions.
A Golden is a good general family pet, - playful easy to train.
A Lab is like a Golden, but more forgiving - I think a 2 - 3 yo Lab rescue is one of the best first time dogs, adaptable, trainable, forgives mistakes.
For a portable dog, I consider that a Bichon to be a portable sized Lab.
 
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