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Discussion Starter #1
I will be moving into my first house in the next two months and am interested in getting a dog.

Our new house is relatively small (1100 sq. ft.) but has a huge backyard and we are within a half mile of three large parks. We are pretty active so exercise is unlikely to be a problem.

I have a 9 month old daughter and two cats. I want a dog that is going to be alert and protective of my family (my wife and daughter stay home throughout the day) but not agressive towards other animals (especially our cats) or strangers that it is apparent that we approve of.

Any recommendations (or other questions)?
 

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if you don't mind shedding, I'd say try a golden retriever or a lab. They are great family dogs, great with kids, pretty easy to train. They are highly active, so they need plenty of exercise, or they will use their excess energy for undesirable behaviors (ie chewing etc.) but you said you were an active family, so you would be fine as long as you exercised your dog plenty.
 

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I want a dog about the size of a Golden Retriever. Shedding is ok, but hair on furniture is kinda a Pet Peeve of mine.

Won't make much of a difference since my cats shed a great deal anyways...
 

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One breed to look into, is a Bernese Mt. dog. They are calm, but have energy at need, will bark at intruders, excepting of strangers (if you or you family approve of them), and they like cats. They are about the size of a golden retriever. I'm not biased am I? :)

Here's a link:

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/bernesemountain.htm
 

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One breed to look into, is a Bernese Mt. dog. They are calm, but have energy at need, will bark at intruders, excepting of strangers (if you or you family approve of them), and they like cats. They are about the size of a golden retriever. I'm not biased am I? :)

Here's a link:

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/bernesemountain.htm
That dog looks like a strong possibility. How is it going to adapt to the 90+ degree July's in central Kentucky?
 

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Weimeraner, if raised from puppyhood with the cat, generally they love their kids.

Smooth coat collie, great with kids and other animals. They're more of a watch dog than a guard dog. They'll bark, but not bite.

Australian shepherds. They're a bit smaller than the other 2 and a bit higher energy but they might fit your bill. These are also more of a watch than guard dog. They'll herd the kids around, but can be taught not to nip.
 

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We have 2 Bernese Mtn. Dogs and they are very tolerant with other animals. I have a parrot and both dogs don't even second glance the bird. We were at friends house over the weekend - we took our dogs to help socialize his 6 month old Doberman. They were great. Plus, they have a cat - my berners have never seen a cat. Curious, but no interest. I dont' have kids - but I included a picture of my niece and nephew visiting us for the first time (2 years ago) With any dog - you have to socialize them properly. They do shed quite a bit, and do not like the heat. Shaded area - or airconditioning of course is best. As for hair on the furniture - that is a choice to keep your dog off furniture.

 

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Since you don't have a very specific breed in mind, but have lots of qualities that you want your dog to have, you may want to look into rescue groups in your area. I would suggest finding a dog that is in a foster situation where it is living with a family. That way the foster family will be able to give you a more accurate assessment of how this dog is around kids and cats, as well as other qualities that are important to you. While each breed certainly has behavior tendencies, each dog also has their own personality which doesn't always match what the breed is supposed to be like. Getting a dog from a foster situation will help to negate that factor.

Good Luck!
 

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I agree with FawkesMom that that is an option, however, just be careful with any dog you get (either from rescue, shelter, or breeder). Since this is your first dog, I would avoid any abuse cases from rescues or shelters. I'm not saying that rescues or shelters are bad (far from it!). I'm just saying that as a first dog owner, be careful.

Corteo
 
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