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Bec11

Choosing A Dog Breed And Dog Breeder

58 posts in this topic

Bec11   

Hi, we're in the process of looking for a family dog. We have two young kids (5 and 3) and one Burmese cat.

The cat has some issues. He was our "baby" before the kids came along and then a combination of small children chasing him and then a traumatic interstate move - he got stuck on an airplane for 10 hours during during a bad thunderstorm - he started marking his territory all over our new house and all over the kids' stuff. This was two years ago. In desperation (I cried at the vet clinic) we have put the cat onto anti-anxiety medication and he's been doing really well now this past 12 months. We have our lovely, cuddly, playful Bumese cat back (he's 8).

We've always wanted a dog as well, but wanted the kids to grow up a little and also not be working as much (we both worked full-time demanding jobs prior to having the kids). Things are now settling down, the kids aren't babies any more, I'm working two days a week and my husband is getting home earlier then he used to. Time wise, kid wise and financially wise it's a good time for us to get a dog.

We have a good sized secure backyard in the 'burbs (ie cat can't get out of it) and some great parks in walking distance. I'm guessing a good 75% of our suburb have a dog of some sort. We anticipate the dog will be a family member and have free access inside and out. Neither my husband nor I have had a dog since childhood. He grew up with a golden retriever and a retriever/cocker spaniel cross and I had a cocker spaniel growing up.

So far we've thought of getting a golden retriever or maybe a cocker spaniel (although both of us have found the cocker spaniel to be a little bit 'dopey' and tend to go wandering if they get out of the house). My father in law's wife has a schnauzer - as do friend's of hers - and we fell in love with the dog. We were warned that she hadn't had much experience with kids and we kept a close eye on them together - but she was wonderful with them and they all played together very well. She was a very well trained dog - better trained then any of the dogs my husband and I had while growing up.

So now we are looking beyond our original idea of which breeds might suit and are open to suggestion! We're looking for a medium sized dog that doesn't shed too much and is good with kids and won't annoy the cat too much. Looking at Schnauzer breeders there doesn't seem to be many in Perth (family has contacts interstate for us).

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What are you wanting to do with the dog and hoping for in terms of exercise levels, trainability, intelligence, etc? There are many breeds that suit the requirements you have suggested but that number will decrease once you narrow your requirements down a little more.

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Bec11   

We're not an overly active, sporty family and in terms of training we were planning to take a dog to obedience classes. Mostly we want a dog that will come when called, walk on a lead, play catch without all the wrestling and chasing that involved with the cocker spaniels we had (although that was probably a lack of training). Take it to the beach. I don't really know what else we'd train a dog to do (lack of imagination on my part there I think - I'm sure there's tons more). Walking - a dog would get 30-60 minutes a day (longer walks on weekends) - plus the backyard's a good size for the suburbs (200sqm back yard).

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raineth   

I am also thinking along the lines of one of the gundogs.

The tend to be pretty trainable and easy going, and a reasonable chance they'll enjoy playing with a ball. I'm thinking along the lines of English setter, golden retriever, and pointer.

Some of the terriers seem to love balls, and are very fun, but they also might have a tendency to be a bit much for the cat.

A lot of the hounds have lovely dispositions but may not want to play ball and are usually more challenging to teach recall, and have a tendency to wander.

Ofcourse everything is down to training in a way, but you want a breed that is going to be the easiest fit.

Edited by raineth

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I have had working kelpies all my life, but since having kids 6, 4 and 2, we got a labrador. She has been amazing. I did basic training with her, sit, come, stay etc right from the sart and she had it down within a couple of weeks. We walk her about 1km to the bus stop morning and arvo and being on a farm somedays she gets to run with the motorbike and swim in the dam. She has a beautiful calm nature and if we are not outside with her she just lays on the verandah. She does shed a bit though and chewed a bit as a pup. Fantastic with the kids after a short period of teaching her not to jump up or mouth. Love her and we will always have a lab from now on. Temprement and early training is vital.

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Nekhbet   

Stay away from the 'working' dogs then. A cocker, yes from the right breeder and with some training will be a great dog. Brittany, no, way too active for what you want from the dog.

Cavalier is a good choice also.

The best thing to do is go visit a breeder, their dogs, see the personalities and if you can live with it for over a decade :)

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minimax   

I hope you won't let the kids terrorise a dog like you let them terrorise the poor cat :eek:

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A Tibetan Spaniel would fit the bill I think.

I'm biased, but it could lol! Also there are a couple of breeders in WA.

'Come when called' - hmmm, this takes a LOT of proofing with tibs, it does with all dogs, but their independant nature means that if they are sniffing something/someone exciting you have to offer a whole lot more to get them to come.

Also their coat may not be ideal for a beach dog, and I haven't heard of many that live swimming.

Other than that they are perfect :)

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Bindo   

If you already like the breed, why not a schnauzer? They're great dogs and seem to fit all your requirements, including the cat issue. I've had two from 8 weeks old, who came into a household with a cat, and there was never a problem. My latest girl, a rescue at 7 years old who had never lived with a cat, didn't bat an eyelid at the existing 13 year old cat and visa versa. Now the cat grooms her beard :laugh: .

Of course, there will always be individual personalities, but I know lots of 'schnauzer friends' where they live with cats without problems. :)

Edit to add: We also spend a lot of time in the bush/at the beach and they are a great breed for not wandering when off lead, staying within eyesight and training a good recall.

Edited by Bindo

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RuralPug   

I would not recommend a Standard Schnauzer as a first dog. They are totally wonderful when trained properly but can be a challenging breed to train.

I agree with Nekhbet, stay away from the working breeds and their mixes, I would also avoid the all purpose gundogs as those tend to be fairly high drive dogs also.

Don't put too much emphasis on the shedding, all dogs shed but regular thorough brushing usually cuts down on loose hairs about the place. Deciding on how much time you have for grooming is a better way to sort breeds.

One good way to see different breeds in the flesh is to attend dog shows. Once you have decided on your breed of choice, then contact the breed club and ask for the dates of their Fund Days and/or Member's Competitions etc. when you can meet many examples in a fairly relaxed atmosphere and then find a breeder who you "click" with, who can guide you.

You have stated your preference for a medium size dog, but be aware that golden retrievers are considered "large", so your search should probably include "large" but NOT "giant" breeds.

For a first dog owner, I would actually recommend an adult dog rather than a baby puppy or, heaven forbid, an adolescent. Baby puppies are a lot of really hard work for a busy family.

Well bred adult companion dogs are available from breeders from time to time for various reasons and I urge you to consider this possibility as well.

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Rebanne   

and have a tendency to wander.

most dogs will have a tendency to wander if they are allowed to by poor fencing or poor shutting of doors and gates.

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Bindo   

I would not recommend a Standard Schnauzer as a first dog. They are totally wonderful when trained properly but can be a challenging breed to train.

Should have clarified, my experience is with mini schnauzers.

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If socialised from a young age Brittanys are good with kids and cats, don't shed too much and would cope with 30 mins a day exercise provided they get mental stimulation as well as being able to spend lots of time with their families. However Brittanys like most Gundogs bred to go and find birds will take themselves hunting if they aren't otherwise occupied.

With my two I can be doing agility/obedidence etc off leash and they stay with me and work but if we are in an off leash situation and I've not given them a job they will start hunting and can be hard to recall once they are on a scent without lots of training. However we do have breed meets and some dogs are less driven to hunt/explore and want to hang around their owners while others will be playing fetch fixated on a toy the whole time.

If a really strong recall with minimal training is important for you and you want a Gundog I would avoid breeds that were originally bred to go and work semi independently to find game (Setters/Utility Gundogs/some Spaniels) and focus on a Retriever or similar that was bred to look to their handler for every direction.

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Nekhbet   

Even minis can be feisty little dogs. I've seen one bail up two dog trainer students in a corner :laugh: he was a stubborn, cantankerous thing.

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A lot of the hounds have lovely dispositions but may not want to play ball and are usually more challenging to teach recall, and have a tendency to wander

I agree with this but will say they do have fabulous personalities and are amazing with kids :). Mine loves her toys, i never really taught her to fetch but I have no doubt she would(she tries to steal the toy off my kelpie when she is in the midst of fetching it LOL), recall is harder with a scenthound but I can comfortably let her off in relatively contained areas and her recall is pretty good, I pop her back on a long line when i notice she's getting more distracted. Scenthounds do follow their nose but frankly if they got out it would be my kelpie that would lead the charge, scenthounds follow their noses if they get out, other breeds follow their eyes or their ears or just gleefully trot down the street till they find something interesting to roll in, it all comes down to good fencing.

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I wonder if you are being seduced by the lure of a well trained dog (completely understandable) and judging more on that than breed?

I'd be a bit wary of a toy breed baby puppy with a toddler unless you manage the situation very very closely.

What sorts of characteristics are you looking for in a dog? I'm hearing biddable and trainable but what else?

independent or people focussed?

Intense or laid back?

Coat type?

Social with other dogs?

Social with strange people?

A watch dog or one who shows the burglars the silverware.

How likely are interstate moves in the future?

Edited by Haredown Whippets

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choosing a breed and a breeder...

it might help if you go to some All breed dog shows and meet the breeders and show people there. Make sure you check they've got plenty of time to chat and not about to have their turn in the show ring (they could be all stressed out then).

That way you find breeders in your area, you get to meet them and their dogs and they get to meet you. You find out who the puppy farmers are (have loads of bitches and 10s or 100s of litters a year...), and who among the not-puppy farmers are planning a litter soon and whether or not you'd be a good fit.

Treat it as a bit of a social get to know you kind of thing. Get schmoozed by lots of gorgeous dogs and get an idea of what is available in your area and whether the breeders think one of their puppies would be suitable for your home.

Don't expect to find the right breeder or puppy the first time you go. Think of it as a multi step project where you might have to go to a few shows and then a few breed club events to find the right fit for you.

You also want to check for genetic problems with the breed - find out which ones are preventable and get to see any DNA tests or get promises in writing. However once you get a puppy home and then find it has genetic preventable problems - it might be hard to give it back knowing its fate is almost certainly PTS. But that's a worst case scenario.

Get any promises that are important to you - in writing.

Be aware it can take up to a year for the right puppies to happen (finding suitable partners, waiting for the bitch to come in season, being pregnant, puppies growing up to at least 8 weeks old - before you get one).

DogsWest should have a list of what shows are on in your area.

Or you could skip all that and find a puppy on petrescue.com.au and get the info you need (and they need) from the dog's foster family. And you take your chances on genetics.

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Dogsfevr   

I would not recommend a Std Schnauzer unless you are prepared to do alot of work .

They are wonderful dogs with the right owners who respect them as the working dog they are,trained correctly great dogs.Not trained they are nightmares & very quick to out smart there owners.

Owning a Std is like owning a Dobe,Rotti .Powerful breed that must be well socialized & trained .

They don't do well when bored .

There is one breeder in Perth & she does show ,doesn't have litters often .

The most important thing is a Std is a true working dog ,they are a dog that loves jobs & using there brain ,they are commonly referred to as the dog with the Human brain & this is so true .You can not compare the 3 sizes equally ,Stds aren't big Minis & require a different lifestyle,training & owners .

Stds won't tolerate non sense though ,your kids are young & stds will challenge the owners & house members the leader of the pack role so everyone needs to be on the same page .

I agree don't be fooled by the relatives well trained dog ,it seems they where the right owners for the breed who have trained there Std to be a good member in society

As for dogs wandering any dog will ,no different than letting one of your kids loss as a youngster & expecting it to know the rules .

Minis shouldn't be fiesty although Black/Silvers are tad more on there toes within the colour range but they are territorial .

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