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It's Much Too Soon, But, What Kind of Dog for Me?

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  • #21
    Throw me on the Cavalier bandwagon. I have friends who breed them, and I don't think I've ever met a breed that is so universally good natured.
    "Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." ~Mal, Firefly


    • #22
      We had a whippet and he was a fabulous dog. He lived in the house but we had a large fenced turnout area for him. They are very fastidious about being clean. Our whippet lived to be 14 before we lost him to cancer.

      When the girls grew up and left home and their childhood dogs of JRTs and the whippet passed away we got two chihuahuas to be "our" dogs. Both came from a shelter. Talk about a snuggly dog that is easy to transport and keep clean. We are crazy about our little pals. One of our chi's has the deer profile and the other has the Apple head. They get along fine with our four cats and the cats/dogs that our daughters bring home when they visit.


      • #23
        Originally posted by Nootka View Post
        Sonesta here on COTH is a Cavalier breeder

        I got my Cavaliers from Sonesta - all lovely, sweet dogs. They take their Lapdog duties very seriously. Patty has been known to sample laps during Group judging at shows, Willie is my Loyal Dog who follows me about during the day, and Star (who is pretty much my nephew's support dog nowadays) can push on air to snuggle deeper into a lap.

        All of them play with cats, and it's fun to watch their methods. Willie has my favorite: he'll wag his tail and wiggle backwards at the cat until he jumps on Willie's butt. Then Willie flops over and waves his paws at the cat as they play.

        Word of warning: they shed. You have to like brushing if you have a Cavalier. That said, they are lovely, sweet, easy to get along with dogs - a perfect beginner's dog. They are known for health problems, but mine are quite healthy.
        Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom


        • #24
          You might like a Boston Terrier, despite the terrier they are actually very nice level-headed dogs IME. Very smart and good company.
          “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


          • Original Poster

            All very interesting dogs, and they will definitely be on my radar when it is time. I knew that Sonesta was a breeder, it was one of the main reasons I first got interested in the breed. If Cavaliers are the breed I decide on, she will definitely be my go to person. I figure that, if she doesn't want one of hers to travel such a long distance, she can point me in the direction of a good breeder in my area.

            I took the test that one of you suggested, by the way, and was kind of surprised by the answer -- Miniature Schnauser! It's a breed none of you have suggested, and I wondered if anyone had any experience with them?
            If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
            Desmond Tutu


            • #26
              I haven't had a MS but I've really enjoyed every one I met as a vet tech. They were always calm, friendly steady little dogs. I like them.
              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


              • #27
                I just took the Animal Planet quiz and while my breed (Brittany) was in the top matches, it also gave me cocker spaniel, Aus. cattle dog and afghan hound! Pretty wide range, there! I guess I wouldn't put too much stock in it.

                I have known a few Cavaliers and they have all been great little dogs. My dog's breeder also has two Papillons and they are wonderful and quite athletic if you would like to be able to do any sort of active playing with them (or agility, for example).

                I have known a couple Miniature Schnauzers and they seemed like happy, sturdy little dogs. Definitely a different coat type than a Cavalier, so you might need to use a professional groomer (have to admit I have no idea what they would look like if they were ungroomed...maybe they are cute?)

                While I like Greyhounds a lot, there is something very nice about a smaller dog that you can pick up when you need to - to put in the car, at the vet, in an emergency, etc. My dog is an unaltered, adult male and only weighs 38 lbs...I feel like it's a great size and would not want anything bigger.

                I was at a dog show last year and had my dog out of the hotel for a last walk before bed. When I came back into the lobby, an older woman was taking a young male Wirehair Pointing Griffon out for his last walk. He saw my dog and wanted to either play or challenge him, and completely dragged his owner off her feet in the process. He was probably 70+ lbs of adolescent energy, on slippery floors at night and the poor owner fell and got hurt trying to restrain him.

                So if you're open to smaller breeds, I'd go smaller than greyhound just for the convenience factor.


                • #28
                  well, you don't have to be a "disciplinarian" to have a dog; in fact, it's best to NOT be a disciplinarian. Smart dog owners never need to "discipline" their dogs because they set their dogs up for success. Start now learning how to modify behavior- you can practice on your cats, and your co-workers, and your family, and your horses. A good place to start is Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot the Dog", a fairly short, easy read that introduces you to the science of behavioral modification. A more detailed book is "When pigs fly" by Jane Killion- it's how to train dogs that don't respond to "traditional" discipline-based methods of training, but these methods work with all dogs.

                  as to breeds, if you like cats, you'll probably like greyhounds. If you talk to the rescue, they can steer you towards one that doesn't have much of a prey drive. Other fairly easy breeds are pugs, cavaliers, poodles. Most of the other small dog breeds are terriers, and terriers are NOT easy. I wouldn't consider mini schnauzers to be an "easy" breed; many seem to be barky, snappy terrors.

                  When reading breed reviews, usually they will list things like "good for novices"- so look for those; also check the "exercise needs" because that is a real problem for many people- look for a breed that has LOW exercise needs. LOW usually means the dog needs at minimum a daily 30-minute leash walk to be well-behaved. Moderate starts getting into "needs to actually be exercised, aka taken for daily runs", and High exercise needs is usually far beyond the ability of an average pet owner to deal with. Since it is very true that "a tired dog is a good dog" make sure you can easily create a tired dog- namely, start with a dog with Low exercise needs.
                  Don't even look at any of the dogs listed as "herding, working, or hunting" because these dogs usually need actual jobs in order to be well-behaved.


                  • #29
                    I just cruise the local shelter - have picked up the dogs that connected and have not regretted the choices (currently includes Great Pyr cross and chihuahua cross so guess I don't have definitive 'type)
                    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by SGray View Post
                      I just cruise the local shelter - have picked up the dogs that connected and have not regretted the choices (currently includes Great Pyr cross and chihuahua cross so guess I don't have definitive 'type)
                      Haha...read to fast. I thought you said "Great Pyr - Chihuahua cross"


                      • #31
                        that would be interesting wouldn't it

                        actually the chi-cross belongs to the GP-cross that I got at 4 months from spca
                        Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                        The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                        • #32
                          My heart dog was a MS and while I adored that dog, he wasn't particularly easy. Very much a one-person dog and he was pretty aggressive towards strangers. He did get along fine with cats. Terriers are by definition busy so that's another factor.

                          I love the cavaliers. They seem to be the ultimate pet/love muffin type.

                          My mom has had two papillons - they are sweet, sweet dogs, but again pretty busy. Her first one was really yappy, but the female puppy she has now seems quiet. Both rule the house - my mom and dad aren't disciplinarians either.

                          A Boston is on my personal wish list. We have a Boston/Shih Tzu mix now that is a great dog - super cute, friendly and under 20 lbs.

                          Have fun choosing your first dog! Nice that you are taking your time with it and can really get to know if a particular breed/type your interested in fits your lifestyle.
                          If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Louise View Post
                            I took the test that one of you suggested, by the way, and was kind of surprised by the answer -- Miniature Schnauser! It's a breed none of you have suggested, and I wondered if anyone had any experience with them?
                            Emerging from lurker status to answer...

                            I've lived 40+ years with miniature schnauzers (since I was wee) and they are a wonderful breed! I currently have two males (3 and 7) that I compete in agilty. Have done competitive obedience, but found my joy in agilty so that's what we do when not at horse shows.

                            While this is my breed of choice, I generally tell people that these are not necessarily good first dogs. If they are bred true-to-standard (as all of mine have been) they are extremely high-energy, whip-smart, with super-big attitudes. Now, these are the things I lke about them, but it's not for everyone. They generally require rigourous, consistant training and socialization IF you want them to be well-behaved, good citizens. And, they most certainly need lots of exercise or a "job" like obedience/agilty/some sort of dog sport... otherwise pent-up-energy + bordom = destructive behavior.

                            And, they bark... anything moving outside my house--even across two backyards to the next street over--gets a reaction. They are extremely territorial and will guard their space, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

                            However, if you're a disciplined horse person and can translate that to your dog AND you want a dog that is highly engaging (meaning you need to have a high level of interaction in the form of training, exercising, and generally giving them something to do), the breed could be good fit.

                            They also have big, big heart and, if you have their respect, will give you their love, loyalty and desire to please endlessly.

                            If you find a good breeder (confirmation or performance) who can help pick a puppy for you--or maybe one that has a retired confirmation dog--he/she could help match a personality to your situation.

                            In my experience, a dog with a more dominant personality is going to be tougher to handle, while one that is more on the "soft" (common dog term) side will be a little easier to handle. Their personalities will vary widely. Oh, and I think the males are a little more gregarious than the females.

                            Possible health issues seen in the breed--skin allergies and, in older age, diabetes.

                            I did raise a female with a cat--the cat was just a year younger--and they were absolutly the best of buddies. They loved to play together and would take turns chasing each other around the house.

                            Hope this helps.

                            And, BTW, I (dog) train with a lady with Cavaliers and they are super-cool dogs. Definitely lower energy than my boys, but utterly delightful and eager to please--absolutely delightful.


                            • #34
                              Cairn terrier.

                              We had one. All of my elderly mother in law's friends loved him. He drove us crazy because he would go home with anyone. We had multiple instances of finding him in fancy cars, usually convertibles, cruising the neighborhood. Our fenced yard was no barrier if he saw a fancy car, preferably with older people who might pamper him.


                              • #35
                                a friend has a papillon that she takes everywhere with her

                                to my mind the dog acted like a cross between dog/cat -- she was cute
                                Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                                The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                                • #36
                                  If you like the looks of greyhounds but want smaller definitely consider a whippet. And, if you want an adult, network with breeders. They have a height standard so anything oversize not only can't show it is disqualified from coursing as well. They are one of the breeds that needs to "show" to win, no ears, probably not going to finish so some adult dogs might be available who just won't show. Also, some just won't chase plastic and can't be competitive in lure coursing (at least in my area entries are huge so if your dog isn't good and fast you are just wasting your money). Most of the whippets I've known have lived into their teens and they are better off lead than many of the other sighthounds like salukis and afghans.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Thanks, earsup, that's just the kind of information that I needed. I had a feeling that the Mini Schnauser would be too high an energy dog for me, but I had no experience with them. The two Giant Schnausers I knew were definitely high energy and, though I thought the world of them (one put herself between me and some possibly dangerous people one time), they weren't the kind of dog that I want to deal with, at my stage of experience and life. Cairns also sound a little too high energy for my lifestyle, AKB.

                                    You all are swaying me more and more to the Cavalier King Charles and Papillons. I primarily want a good companion, and both breeds sound like they would fit the bill. Does anyone know how they are to potty-train? One thing that puts me off of Pekes a bit is that they can be hard to consistently go outside.
                                    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                                    Desmond Tutu


                                    • #38
                                      Miniature poodles are awesome. Mine is the best farm dog. He obviously gets a ton of exercise, but he's perfectly happy to lay around also. My parents also have a mini. Mom takes Emma for about a 30min walk at night and that's about all the exercise she gets. She'll play fetch with her in the house (bonus with a small dog, the living room is big enough for exercise) during the day too. My boyfriends poodles get no structured exercise beyond just going out in the yard a few times a day.

                                      All of them want nothing more than to be with their people. They're all happy, friendly outgoing dogs. None of them bark excessively, only the occasional alert bark.


                                      • #39
                                        Cat people are often very comfortable with the sighthound temperament....most greyhound rescues do test them as to cats, or you could go with whippets or IGs. I have only briefly met "Silken Windhounds" (sort of a long coated whippet, controversial as some think there was a Sheltie cross in there), but they seemed charming and appealing to a cat person. Of course some smaller lurchers might be great too, if cat safe, say if you got them as pups and raised them with your cats. Generally hardy and long lived, too.

                                        IME Papillions and Cavaliers are a little more doglike as opposed to catlike in temperament, compared to sighthounds....and most toys are a little more difficult to housetrain, but I think that is because many toy owners are not as consistent as we tend to be with the larger breeds, maybe because the "accidents" are so small, rather than a lake! I usually housetrain a wolfhound with no "mistakes" in the house, or maybe one....very rarely have there been two.

                                        Personally I love living with sighthounds. I feel "violated" when spending time with many other breeds. They love you, are affectionate, super loyal, but give you your space.


                                        • #40
                                          my friend's papillion was box trained as is my god-daughter's long-haired chiuhauhua (as in cat litter box)
                                          Last edited by SGray; Oct. 19, 2012, 02:14 PM. Reason: typo
                                          Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                                          The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”