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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm looking to buy a dog but I would like advise on what breed(s) would be best for me. I've owned 4 dogs in the past, however I'm not experienced with training because I was a kid and my family took care of them. I'm looking for a dog that isn't too hard to take care of (ex. how huskies are escape artists, or dogs that tend to be aggressive) that is a medium size, or large in necessary. Next summer I'll be moving on my own and would like the dog to be a companion to keep me company and allow me to feel safe when I'm on my own. I've already found a trainer who will help me with obedience training and done research on many breeds, from beagles to labs to rottweilers but I wanted advice from some experienced dog owners on what breed(s) would be best for me. Also, I already have a cat so I'd prefer a breed that's easy to socialize or advice on how to socialize the two. Thank you in advance and I really appreciate your answers.
 

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Okay, so medium-sized, cat-friendly, and a visual deterrent? That's a good start. Do you have grooming preferences (that is, do you mind a dog that sheds, or would you prefer a breed that needs to be regularly clipped by a groomer? How much brushing and general coat care can you do)? Also, how much exercise will you realistically be able to provide?
 

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I don't mind a dog that sheds a lot. I don't have too much experience caring for dogs, though I'm researching how to, but I've had a large variety of other pets and am fine with grooming often, though I would prefer if it didn't need as much grooming a husky or malamute. Either is fine, I'm willing to take the dog to a groomer if I have to. I should be able to provide 1-2 hours of exercise a day. I'm also looking for a place with a large yard for it to play in and to have a good area to train it. On weekends I can provide about 4-5 hours a day. However, I'll be starting university next year so more then 2 hours of exercise will be difficult, but other then those two hours I can spend lots of time with it. I suppose a dog that's not too high in energy would be nice. Thank you in advance for your help.
 

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If you'd like one that's a visual deterrent, darker colors are usually best. Even a friendly big black dog can look "mean" to a lot of people! You said you'd researched rotties; did you like the sound of them? They seem like they could be a good fit for you and would be fine with that amount of exercise. Some people wouldn't recommend them for a first-time owner, but you mentioned that you have a trainer on call and have been doing lots of training research, so you should be fine. A black lab could also work and might be a little easier for a first-timer to train. You could also go to the shelter and look at mixes; shelters are full of big black dogs in need of homes, and many of them already have some basic training and good manners. Many shelters can also tell you if the dog's good with cats.

Are you in an area where it would be easier to find more uncommon breeds, or should we stick to recommending easier-to-find ones? How much would you be willing to spend on a purebred?
 

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Actually I did like the sound of both rotties and labs. I'm a bit worried about getting a rottie because they tend to be aggressive but I've been around some owned by family friends and if I took the time to properly train it I'm sure I'd be fine. My sister owned a rottie/pitbull mix before the ban in our area. I've already visited the shelter. The one in my area has a no-kill policy, but they're over-packed so a lot of their dogs are aggressive and sick, and unfortunatly I don't have the time or knowledge to care for them. The city I live in is surrounded by other, smaller cities. I have access to many different breeds, though there's no guarantee I'll be able to find uncommon ones, but I can try. I don't want to have to spend too much, seeing as I have to buy food, toys, pay the trainer, possibly shots and fixing it, ect. In this area many breeders are willing to negotiate prices though, because there are a lot of dogs and not enough people to take them all. Most mixes range from 100-175, and purebreds are around 500-800. The most common breed available here are rottie/lab mixes and english bulldogs. I'm willing to spend what I need to, though I've fine with mixes too. Again, thank you.
 

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If you're in a big city, there are probably a lot of dog shows nearby. These are a great place to go and see a lot of breeds in person, and the breeders and handlers are usually open to answering questions about the breeds and letting you meet their dogs. I met some breeds at shows that I didn't like on paper, but ended up loving when I saw what they were like in real life (German Pinschers being the big one there).

A boxer could be another breed to look into, although they might be more energetic than you'd like. (2 hours a day is good for a lot of breeds, though!) I'm also fond of Gordon Setters, which are gorgeous black-and-tan dogs and pretty friendly (they're considered good family dogs).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We don't have any shows around here, but a lot of the breeders in the city are really nice and willing to let to spend time with the parents of the pups to get a feel for what they're like, so I'll probably look into them.

I'll take a look at the breeds you mentioned and see if I can meet them. Thank you so much for your help!
 

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Consider a German Shepherd or a Lab. They are medium to large, fairly common, easy to train, and can be trained to be a deterrent without being dangerous. Most people won't approach a barking Lab or GSD, and if you train them in Bite Inhibition and lots of socialization, they'll bark but won't bite.
 
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