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**Update pg. 4 with pics!** What breed of dog is right for my family?

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    #21
    If I had a baby and wanted to get a dog, I would also consider a puppy. Yes, infants x 2....poo and pee x 2, possibility of needle sharp teeth... but... puppy is small and easily picked up and managed and you can be more sure of its temperament with toddlers because it will have grown up with your baby.

    I think that many breeders may not agree...or at least may not consider your situation the ideal home, but it may still be possible to find a well-bred puppy.

    I also suggest goldens...not sure I'd go with a setter. My understanding is that they would never be considered "low energy" no matter what the breeding.

    If you're still looking for an older dog, definitely check out golden rescue. We knew a foster family that had 5 "failures"....they kept every one of them (well, a couple of them were "special" so they felt that they may not find a good home either). But they were all wonderful.

    Comment


      #22
      Originally posted by Frivian View Post
      To get a good golden from a reputable breeder costs upwards of $2k in this area, and I could get a new horse for that!
      Many reputable breeders (small scale, family style where dogs live with the family rather than kennels) charge in the 1-2K range for pups - there are some blogs where the breeder has detailed the costs of putting the litter on the ground & all the health testing, working/showing the adult pair, then maternity care of female, vet care of pups, socialization of the pup (understands the mental devlopment of the dog & exposes pups appropriately) etc.

      A pup that is crate trained, has been socialized, has already transitioned from living in the litter pack to alone time, is well on it's way to being house trained etc, etc has different values for different people

      If you do get a pup, make sure you interact with both parent dogs & that you LOVE the temperament of the female (she should be relaxed & confident with her pups from birth to weaning, any female that has reacted with fear/aggression while in the presence of her pups, has taught them behaviors they will never forget - you won't see these in the babies, but as the pups mature e.g., 9-12 mo, 18 - 36 mo, depending on the dog & breed).

      I suggest you get an imaginary dog or pup for a couple weeks & see how it feels
      if you can actually foster or dog sit for some friends, even better

      Comment


        #23
        Originally posted by alto View Post
        Many reputable breeders (small scale, family style where dogs live with the family rather than kennels) charge in the 1-2K range for pups - there are some blogs where the breeder has detailed the costs of putting the litter on the ground & all the health testing, working/showing the adult pair, then maternity care of female, vet care of pups, socialization of the pup (understands the mental devlopment of the dog & exposes pups appropriately) etc.

        A pup that is crate trained, has been socialized, has already transitioned from living in the litter pack to alone time, is well on it's way to being house trained etc, etc has different values for different people

        If you do get a pup, make sure you interact with both parent dogs & that you LOVE the temperament of the female (she should be relaxed & confident with her pups from birth to weaning, any female that has reacted with fear/aggression while in the presence of her pups, has taught them behaviors they will never forget - you won't see these in the babies, but as the pups mature e.g., 9-12 mo, 18 - 36 mo, depending on the dog & breed).

        I suggest you get an imaginary dog or pup for a couple weeks & see how it feels
        if you can actually foster or dog sit for some friends, even better
        Oh, I'm not doubting that a puppy costs up to that to put on the ground and find a well-matched home for - I just don't know if I want a puppy that badly! I can definitely see the advantages of a puppy vs. an older dog with an unknown history. Thanks for the tips on picking out a breeder/puppy litters.

        Comment


          #24
          Boxer! They are the best family dog. That being said even the best on the planet can bite a child and it is far to much to expect of any dog, that it needs to be 100% bombproof.


          I would go to your local shelter, there are ALWAYS amazing dogs looking for homes.
          "No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world."
          -Dead Poets Society

          Comment


            #25
            I was 2 when my parents brought home a 2 yr old boxer. He was great as I grew up, and tolerated an immense amount of little girl behavior from moi. As adult I've had a bunch of shepherd mixes, all w/ less edge and better hips than a pure bred. All have coped w/ cats. One was crossed w/ Coonhound, and I'll say that if I could have cloned him, I'd be a rich woman. He loved EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME. The neighbor little girl and friends used to take him over to play. He had several cats. He liked horses - from a distance. He made me laugh every day for almost 14 yrs and will always be my heart dog.

            Comment


              #26
              Originally posted by alto View Post
              If you do get a pup, make sure you interact with both parent dogs & that you LOVE the temperament of the female.
              I know I say this every time someone posts this same suggestion, but the chances that a good breeder does not own both the sire and dam are very high. You *may* be able to interact with both if you are lucky, but it is not unusual at all for the sire to be from across the country, out of the country, or dead.

              So...not really much help, but don't presume because you cannot interact with both parents that the breeder is not a good breeder. If the breeder is recommended, and the temperament of the bitch is great, I would be satisfied with not meeting the sire.

              Comment


                #27
                Like you, I had always had dogs growing up, but then a period of time where I just couldn't have a dog, for various reasons. When I was ready to get another dog, my kids were early elementary age. I went to the library and got a couple of books that listed all the various breeds of dogs. Then, I made a list of my must-haves and must-not-haves and started going through the breeds to see what fit.

                My number one must-have was a dog that was not territorial or particularly protective. We lived in a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood teaming with kids who roamed in packs among all the homes on our street. I did not want a dog that would object to kids coming into our yard and house or who would try to "protect" my boys when they engaged in rough-and-tumble play with other kids.

                I also wanted a sturdy large dog (see rough-and-tumble boy play, mentioned above).

                I was really surprised to find that only 3 breeds of dog ticked all my boxes - labs, goldens, and flat coated retrievers. We ended up with a middle-aged Golden Retriever whose owner had passed away. She turned out to be one of the best dogs I've ever had. Even my Mom loved her, and my Mom is not a dog person.

                All of the dogs that we have had since then have been mutts that came out of foster homes, which was really nice because they could tell us all about the dog and we could make an informed choice, selecting a dog that was a good fit.

                I have a friend who has 3 young boys. They have a standard poodle that they got as a puppy and they love him.
                "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                that's even remotely true."

                Homer Simpson

                Comment


                  #28
                  If you are looking for a shelter dog, I would take a look at some hound mixes. In your situation it sounds like you don't need a lot of obedience and you are contained so the hunting instinct is not a huge problem. IME hounds tend to be very tolerant of kids and other dogs (Big generalization, I realize). If they have been raised around cats, they are fine with that too.
                  I mention this because you may have a selection of hounds in foster situations available to choose from. So you may be able to avoid the true hunting dogs and those who would look at you cat as a tasty treat!

                  Comment


                    #29
                    OP, since you have some understandably set requirements (good with children, good with the resident cat and good with other dogs), I would NOT recommend going the adoption route through a shelter. It is just too difficult to adequately get a reading for a dog's actual temperament in a shelter environment.

                    I would recommend finding a reputable rescue and working with them. Look for an organization that keeps their available dogs in foster homes, and evaluates them for at least 5 weeks before making them available for adoption. If you go the rescue route, this is the most reliable method of finding the best match for your home and lifestyle.

                    If you decide to buy from a breeder, please be aware that a good breeder who has done everything "the right way" (i.e. health tested parent dogs, had some form of independent evaluation of breed worthiness of parents dogs, etc.) will cost more than hopping on Craigslist and finding a puppy for a couple of hundred dollars. A well bred, trained and socialized dog is a joy to live with, and going to a great breeder stacks the deck in your favor.

                    Perhaps, once you decide on a breed, you could find a breeder and ask about retired show/breeding dogs.

                    I love the Irish Setter. They are glorious to look at and sweet, happy dogs. However, they are on the higher end of the energy scale. Most of them are waaaaaay on the higher end of the energy scale. You can't beat a good Poodle and some of the smaller Standards or larger Minis are very child friendly. Again, you score big time by finding a great breeder and adopting a retired dog from them. Poodles don't shed, which is a huge plus. But like any dog, they need training and exercise and consistent attention-not to mention a place in the home, with their family.

                    Good luck finding the perfect match. Take your time and be very, very demanding in your criteria.
                    Sheilah

                    Comment


                      #30
                      My advice is to go with a smaller dog for now. Your next dog -- when your kids are older and bigger -- can be a large breed.

                      My neighbours have a lab. Until quite recently (kids are 11 and 12), the lab was just too much for them. She's a nice dog, but big and can knock you flat if she bumps into you. The kids much preferred the company of my Havanese.

                      A Havanese is a 15-lb, sturdy, happy companion animal. Sturdy enough for play with and handling by kids. Happy just to sit and hang out. Very even-tempered and trustworthy with unfamiliar children. Unfazed by cats. Non-shedding. Highly recommended, but I'll admit the breed is not spectacular or distinctive to look at, and most people will say 'A what?' when you tell them your dog is a Havanese.

                      (I've had a number of highly intelligent dogs -- heeler, border collie, Chihuahua x -- and really appreciate the straightforwardness and user-friendliness of my Havanese.)

                      Comment


                        #31
                        Originally posted by alto View Post
                        Many reputable breeders (small scale, family style where dogs live with the family rather than kennels) charge in the 1-2K range for pups - there are some blogs where the breeder has detailed the costs of putting the litter on the ground & all the health testing, working/showing the adult pair, then maternity care of female, vet care of pups, socialization of the pup (understands the mental devlopment of the dog & exposes pups appropriately) etc.

                        A pup that is crate trained, has been socialized, has already transitioned from living in the litter pack to alone time, is well on it's way to being house trained etc, etc has different values for different people

                        If you do get a pup, make sure you interact with both parent dogs & that you LOVE the temperament of the female (she should be relaxed & confident with her pups from birth to weaning, any female that has reacted with fear/aggression while in the presence of her pups, has taught them behaviors they will never forget - you won't see these in the babies, but as the pups mature e.g., 9-12 mo, 18 - 36 mo, depending on the dog & breed).

                        I suggest you get an imaginary dog or pup for a couple weeks & see how it feels
                        if you can actually foster or dog sit for some friends, even better
                        Don't be put off if you cannot meet the sire. In this age of shipped fresh-chilled semen it is very, very, common for just mom to be on site. Heck, in some cases with the use of frozen, the sire may even be deceased.

                        I would suggest either a Lab, Golden, Poodle, or possibly a Brittany. One option might be to get in contact with breeders who might be looking to place a retired show or breeding dog.

                        Comment


                          #32
                          I'd look for a good shelter or rescue and ask them to look out for a gentle dog, preferably an owner surrender and definitely not a guard or fighting breed, who adores children. The sporting breeds, Beagle and Sheltie mixes are all likely candidates. I say "adores" because tolerant isn't good enough for a household with infants and toddlers. A tolerant dog may one day bite a kid if the stars align wrong - the dog has a sore paw, it's been a long day, the 5yo is having a birthday party and all the kids are screaming and running around, the cat scratched his nose earlier, etc., and then a kid steps on that sore paw. A gentle dog who adores children only bites if she's being vivisected. I had one, and she was priceless. And from a shelter.

                          Comment


                            #33
                            Poodles are wonderful dogs. My favorite in fact. I have a toy poodle. A standard poodle is very intelligent- 2nd smartest dog breed. They need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise to really thrive. They also require grooming. If you can't brush them daily to prevent painful mats then a short retriever clip would be ideal. Also due to the nature of their mouth and the lips being close to the gums they tend to have dental problems if their teeth aren't taken care of from the beginning. Keep these things in mind
                            https://www.gofundme.com/SOMDCAROUSE...tion_receiptv5

                            Comment


                              #34
                              Originally posted by Frivian View Post
                              Hi Jhein -

                              I agree about the Labs. I love them but every one I've ever met has been super high-energy. Don't mind the shedding as much as we're gonna be getting a cleaning service to help with that sort of thing.

                              I loved my golden growing up, but I'm wary of the health issues they all seem to have. To get a good golden from a reputable breeder costs upwards of $2k in this area, and I could get a new horse for that!
                              The purchase price is only a fraction of what will go into a lifetime of owning an animal. I would be shocked to hear that a reputable breeder is asking $2k for a 2-4 year old dog they are placing in a companion home. $2k will get you a nice show prospect in nearly any breed. Some times BYBs jack their prices up for white goldens and weird variations but $1.1-1.5k is pretty standard, especially for a pet quality adult.

                              Comment


                                #35
                                If you have a fenced in yard and can live without letting your dog offleash, you might look into a greyhound. Most rescues will have tested them for cats/small animals; some can and some can't share a home with one. My cousin has had a half dozen over the years, and every one has been kind, quiet (one woof if someone knocks), good with other dogs, and extremely tolerant of kids. They really are the "45 mph couch potato."

                                They do have a few fussy food and vet needs (they are sensitive) but hers have also all lived to a good age for a large breed (12ish).

                                Comment


                                  #36
                                  Another vote for standard poodles are if you don't mind professional grooming.

                                  Ours is quite protective of me and the house in general. She's friendly with visitors. She LOVES kids. She thinks my friend's kids are the best thing ever.

                                  I would absolutely check with breeders. Best way to do it would be go to a show and meet some of the breeders. A lot of them don't actually advertise anywhere.

                                  My friend bred our miniature poodles (we have two minis and a standard) and every year has at least one dog she's either kept to show and it didn't work out for some reason or she she's finished the dog and it just doesn't fit into her breeding program. This is in addition to the litter or two she breeds every year. She doesn't ever advertise anywhere when she has a litter or an older puppy to rehome. She also only breeds her bitches 2-3 times before retiring them. She typically rehomes them at that point. There are at least 10 people BEGGING for my boy's mother when she retires her next year. She has more problems deciding who gets a puppy than finding homes for them. The older ones she's rehoming have all been around kids, travel well in a car, are crate trained, are completely housebroke and have great all around manners.

                                  Another thing would be to contact some trainers in your area. There are often people who have contacted them about a dog that needs a new home.

                                  Comment


                                    #37
                                    I'm currently helping my sister with a similar checklist (though her kids are older), so I'll try to run through what I've discussed with her. This may be lengthy and is chock-full of opinions!

                                    Adoption:
                                    To start, I would not go the traditional adoption route and pick a dog out from the local shelter. The dog you see in the shelter is rarely the dog you get at home. I foster and I don't believe you get an accurate picture of the dog until you are 4 weeks+ into it. I think a foster-based rescue would your best bet, and a breed-specific rescue would be the route I'd go. Usually you'd put in an application, they'll interview you and do a home check, and then contact you when they have a dog that might fit.

                                    I know that's not an option that appeals to some because you aren't "picking" the dog yourself, but I've known one too many people adopt a dog at a shelter because he was "quiet and cuddly." Then they come home to a destroyed house because "quiet and cuddly" translated to separation anxiety. I'm not saying it always happens, just that it does and I'd want to avoid that especially if I was in your situation.

                                    Breeders:
                                    If you go the breeder route, most of the reputable breeders I know have a waiting list, so this would take at least a couple months (in my experience). As other people have mentioned, a breeder may have or may know someone who has an older puppy or adult. These would usually be retired/'failed' show dogs, retired breeders, or dogs who were returned for some reason.

                                    I wouldn't expect to see the sire. I've been told it is even sometimes a negative, because it could mean that the breeder chose the closest stud, but not necessarily the best match. Not always the case, however. Interacting with the breeder's other dogs and talking to other puppy owners (forums are great for this) would be a good idea.

                                    Breeds:
                                    I'm not a fan of Beagles for families, but it may have just been the people I know weren't the right fit for the breed. I like Shelties, but I'm met a lot who had bad cases of the "barkies." Since you mentioned being concerned about health issues and also mentioned looking into Bernese Mountain Dogs, I have to say that I've known several and none lived past 7. In addition, mostly because of the cat and the young child, I'd be cautious about "primitive" breeds (Shibas, Huskies, etc) and some terriers.

                                    I like American Eskimos for families. I recommended my sister get a Standard, because her husband doesn't tolerate small and yippy. Other ones on my list for her: Papallion (small size), Field Spaniel (probably hard to find), any size of Poodle, Brittany. I fostered a Keeshond and he was absolutely phenomenal. Ended up going home to a family with three kids between 2 and 8.

                                    Also consider how old you'd be willing to go. An older dog in your breed of choice might be a good fit.
                                    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. - Oscar Wilde

                                    Comment


                                      #38
                                      Growing up, we had a great lab X shepherd type (plus something smaller, because he was only about 60#) who was a FABULOUS family dog. My brother and I were older by the time we got him (I'm the youngest and I was about 10), but he would have been the perfect dog for smaller children as well!

                                      Now, I have an AmStaff X hound and while I love her, she definitely falls into the high-energy category and while she's not bad with children, she is not the ideal dog for a family because of her strength.

                                      I recommend looking for a dog that's in a foster care situation- that is how you get the best read on their personalities because a shelter is a very different situation, and the first few days-weeks in a new house most dogs don't let their full personality shine!

                                      Comment


                                        #39
                                        Originally posted by todaysspecial View Post
                                        Another vote for a Newf.
                                        a newf mutt would be amazing.

                                        Comment


                                          #40
                                          One factor I would consider is the lifespan of the breed. If you have small children, you may not want a dog with a very short lifespan.

                                          As for breeds that work with children and cats, I, or family members have had a rough collie. several Australian Shepherds, lab mix. I love many of the breeds mentioned here, especially the poodles, but an Australian shepherd is hard to beat as a cat and kid friendly dog.

                                          I remember (years ago) when I questioned why someone would get an adult dog over a puppy. I don't question that any more - getting an adult dog definitely has some advantages. Working with a no-kill, rescue, or a good kill shelter where the dog has been really evaluated is a great way to go. I wouldn't be paying $2000 for a dog for a pet. My brother got show quality Australian Shepherds from a breeder with great dogs, parents on site, for $300 each. (Yes, at the same time - and those puppies are the perfect family dogs great with cats and kids.) It's sort of like the scene on the TV Show friends where Rachel had bought a cat for $1500 and she extolled its virtues - it's sweet, cuddly and purrs (or something ) to which the other character said "It's a cat. Ally cats do those things, too."

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