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Labrador, Golden Retriever, Rough Collie


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A young family I know (children 8 to pre-schooler) are looking for a medium to large dog breed and the Labrador, Golden Retriever and Rough Collie are their top choices.

The family is very active but also want a dog who can relax when need to. Shedding and grooming is not an issue. The dog will be inside and there is almost always someone home. They will also put in time and effort in training and continue with ongoing obedience and maybe some other dog sports.

I know Labradors and Goldens can knock over small children without meaning to and that Labradors are maybe more sound to loud noises and kids but Rough Collies may be more gentle and sensitive.

I already have a Labrador but he hasn't had daily exposure to children and would probably try to play a bit too much with them and knock them over from his happiness so I'm not a lot of help there.

Does anyone have any experiences or opinions on which one might be more suitable? The good and the bad. Other breeds are welcome but they really want a medium to large dog and those are their top choices.

Thanks!

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I thought my lab might be rough with kids, but when he met my 3 year old nephew he was like a lamb... They were at the same head height. There was no face licking, he just followed him around :) I think pre-schooler age would manage well and be quite adaptable. But I'm also of the opinion that getting knocked over occasionally during rough play isn't really a big deal either.

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I have two labs and a three year old. They are the most gentle dogs and just gorgeous with small boy. Literally since we brought him home they have adored him. We trained them to be quite inside and don't allow crazy behaviour in the house.

Small kids can be rough with dogs it's just a matter of teaching respect .

Highly recommend them as a breed for a family with kids .

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Ernie is a loon outside but I've trained him from 6 months that inside is quiet. We're mostly successful - he still can't help the odd zoom of happiness.

Next door has a 2 year old girl. I must admit I was nervous when she came over as I thought Ernie's exuberance might be too much but weirdly, he was very quiet with her. She smacked him on his head a couple of times, he licked her cheek and then settled and just watched her. Oddest thing.

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Collies raised with kids are usually good family dogs. However temperament is completely different to Goldens and Labs.

The thing with Collies (aside from the seasonal coat drop) is that you do find some of them like the sound of their own voice. They are also not always the easiest dog to do dog sports with as they are so sensitive, the gun dogs can be more forgiving in that regard. I do obedience, rally and tracking with my collies and they are easy to train but when I get worked up they get worried. On the other hand they tend to be calmer and quieter than a lot of the gun dog breeds. I have had Collies for 30 years and they are just lovely family dogs but they are very different to the other two breeds you mention so it would be a matter of meeting a few and seeing what sort of temperament you prefer.

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My advice for any family with pre-schoolers, especially those wanting a larger breed, is to first consider an adult dog with known temperament that has been reared or fostered successfully with young children.

There are a heap of reasons why this is a less stressful choice on the family. Some of the major ones are:

(1) busy families tend to have less time for actual puppy training - remember that training the kids to respect the dog is nearly as time consuming as training the dog

(2) an adult has its full growth and usualy can be swiftly involved in all the family activities without worrying about strain on growing joints etc

(3) final temperament, being 50% genetics and 50% environment, is a known quantitiy

I have known too many families who insisted on a baby puppy with all the best intentions in the world to raise it as an indoor dog with their kids. After the second or third indoor poop/wee had been crawled through by toddlers the poor baby puppy is banished to the yard and ends up a frustrated garden ornament. frown.gif

Having said that, not all families are the same, and if Iknew that the family had already successfully raised indoor dogs and kids together, or if I knew they were willing to use indoor pens or crate training from the beginning and were the kind of family I thought would put in the effort, then I would say "Go right ahead, Choose a puppy from an ethical breeder."

Re the breed choice, I would probably put Golden Retriever first, then Labrador and Rough Collie last, not because of any inherent fault in Colies, simply that because they are more sensitive that sometimes anxiety can arise from loud squalling children around them (won't apply to a pre-tested adult of course!).

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Goldies are the ultimate family dog in my opinion. :D

Mine is exceptionally gentle and affectionate with small children yet can be very active with older boisterous kids too.

We adopted her from Golden Retriever Rescue- we decided on an adult (she was 2 at the time, she's now 8) because my daughter was nervous of dogs & puppies were too jumpy for her.

If your friends are concerned about the littlies getting knocked over, they might consider an older dog past the jumpy puppy stage.

I've met many goldies since owning one, & they all exude a lovely sweet calm temperament.

Obviously there are bound to be exceptions to the rule but I've yet to meet one. Even the big bouncy puppies tend to be easily calmed when overexcited.

Edited by dee lee
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Of course I'm going to say Labrador BUT ...

Unless you are sure the breeder has listened to you and given you a pup with the temperament you want - I second getting an older dog whose temperament is already apparent. Ernie is lovely and laid back and I think he will mature into a lovely calm dog but I developed a good friendship with my chosen breeder, missed out on a litter and waited 18 months for my boy.

And he's still a pup. He's a loon and does zoomies and digs if he's bored and drops disgusting things in your lap and sneaks in wet slobbery kisses every chance he can and destroys all his toys and chucks a tantie if he thinks we are ignoring him.

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Sounds a lot like my Lab Stressmagnet. I am starting to really see him mature into a really good dog but it takes a lot of work and patience and so amazing to see.

Thanks everyone! I don't know any Goldens but I have read that they can sometimes be a bit more sensitive to loud noises and kids so a lot of people choose a Labrador instead but it sounds like either would be great.

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Another on the list… a Newfoundland. But are they suited to a active family and what kind of dog sports do they enjoy once fully grown?

Newfies as a rule have a sweet, loving and fairly bombproof temperament.

On the minus side, they are a giant breed and therefore much more expensive to maintain than a large breed - especially with feeding, medications and any surgery.

Being a giant breed, they are not fully grown until 3 or 4 years old and whilst growing, climbing, jumping, and running should be minimized.

Giant breeds in general are not best for agility or most dog sports as their size already puts a strain on their heart. Swimming however is a favourite activity of the breed, although I'm not aware of any water based dog sports except dock diving, for which I don't think the breed is really suited.

Edited to add: You would really need a dog trailer if you wanted to fit in a giant breed, two adults, three or more kids and all the paraphernalia that pre-schoolers need for an outing. Or two cars...

Edited by RuralPug
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Newfoundlands are beautiful dogs but have a bit of a barge ar$e way of doing things with limited spacial awareness as young dogs. They can be very destructive young dogs too. Good breeding is essential with this breed too. All that said, once mature they are wonderful calm child friendly dogs.

I wouldnt recommend them for an active family as it is at least 18 months before they should be exercised beyond playing until tired. They take up a lot of car space and slobber a lot. Are not terribly heat tolerant either.

Their sport of choice is anything water oriented, or weight pull, cart pull etc but they can achieve in general obedience.

I worked extensively with Newfoundlands and as much as i love them, I would choose a Golden Retriever over a Newfy for an active family.

Edited by GrufLife
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Comparable to the Goldie and the Lab are also the Curly Coat Retriever and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

If they would be open to a dog that needed clipping maintenance, the Portuguese Water Dog. (which can be kept in a utility pet clip and doesn't have to have the breed profile 'lion' clip! )

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HI I own 2 golden retrievers 1 7 year old female named Shelley and 1 14 week old male named Axel. We also have a 3 year old living in the house. Both my goldens get on well with the 3 year old and take everything the child does to them, but in saying that if the child or dogs get a little rough we do intervene. But within a few seconds Axel is back at her wanting to play. I also have a whippet and a chihuahua I can only say my whippet and chihuahua aren't the best with children specially if there rough like the 3 year old living with us.

Golden retrievers are 1 of the best breeds for children, they can be active when you are and can also laze around too. Between my goldens and whippet I can say my goldens make better indoor/outdoor then my whippet. My goldens are calm when inside the house and when outside, They are only active when I want them to be. At the moment Axel my puppy is a litle destructive eg chewing and ripping of plants and lawn and is alot more active then my female but thats cause his a puppy. My whippet on the other hand can't keep still when inside the house but when outside will not move from her bed. She is always active and ready for anything,she is also hard to keep weight on, my female golden is the other way around hard to keep the weight off. Axel my male golden is alright in the weight department at the moment and hopefully stays that way.

I would say getting a puppy and raising it with your children and training it the way you want etc is actually better then already getting a adult dog. I would say a golden retriever would suit pretty well with a family with children. Any dog can be scared of loud noises etc, My 2 are fine with loud noises the only thing that scares my female is when you raise your voice when she has done something she shouldn't have. My goldens are also very easy to train, They love to please there owners. I have trained all my dogs without the need to use food rewards.

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