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Which Dog to buy in Australia?


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A book on which dog to buy?

09-06-2021, 02:45 PM
I have broken my question into two parts so as to identify an author whose one book should suffice (once you have shortlisted such an author and chosen your dog then I could read specifically about the dog:-
Part I:-
Do you know an excellent book that gives you detailed explanation on dogs (I prefer larger dogs though at times smaller dogs may be better so I don't want to limit myself),
- cost of ownership during its lifetime
- how smart it is,
- it's food habits,
- how it treats children, threat to children,
- what type of owner would be able to manage it,
- which will advice me on it's suitability in Australian weather conditions. Australia is very hot 9 months and very cold for 3 months.
- size of house and land required
- friendliness with others and barking habits
Part II:-
The best book on training the dog; difficulties associated with the training on different breeds, feasibility of training dogs by myself or is an experienced trainer required?
Why I decided on owning one:-
My brother and sister-in-law are pushing me to buy at least one dog. I met two boisterous dogs that were taller than me when it tried to lick me yesterday in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The wife and husband told me it was a European breed of dogs which is very large and that the dogs were being friendly.
My interest only increased and now I would like to know which one to own.
Or is there a club that gives better information than books?
Dogs I shortlisted:-
- Alaskan Husky
- German Shepherd
- Weimaraner
- Rottweiler
- King Charles Cavalier
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I would suggest you visit local dog parks, local dog obedience clubs, or local dog shows :) see REAL DOGS , and talk to owners . THEN  find a book or a club on the dog/s which you think you may want to live with for 12 years 

As a first time dog owner you would be better prepared by doing this than by just reading books. 
 I believe you really need to see the dog, the size/activity level/how it behaves/what the coat is like ....THEN do your homework :)
Maybe even do some voluntary work at a shelter- learning to handle dogs - learning a bit about how dogs behave , so you are better prepared if you do get one of your own .It can be VERY disheartening having this creature in your house, and not understanding why it is behaving in a certain way /how to manage it. :(

if we are to help you we usually like to have more information like :
Why do you need a dog?
Where will the dog sleep?
Will the dog be home while you are at work?
Do you have a good sized backyard with excellent fencing? 
Are there dog training clubs etc near your home where you and your dog can go ? 
Have you had a dog before ? if so, what ? 


Edited by persephone
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You seriously need to visit a dog show or two :) Talk to breeders, they aren't trying to sell their breed, just advising suitability.  Books are good, real life is better. I also guarantee you'll meet breeds not on your list. :heart: Many breeds have hobbyist clubs also, great to join once you choose your dog.


Training IMHO doesn't purely come from a book either. Best training is where you are with your dog and have chosen the right trainer who is interested in worthing with both of you.


It does sound like you might be getting influenced by others, try to follow your own path. 

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Cavaliers are known as Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (not King Charles Cavaliers).  There are King Charles Spaniels but they aren't the same and they don't have the word cavalier in their title. Just for your information :)
I've owned Cavaliers King Charles Spaniels for many years.
Info on each breed in the DOL dog breeds 101

Edited by julesluvscavs
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Also, dogs are individuals.  For example, I've known Rottweilers that are friendly and some that are hostile to both people and other dogs.  I don't believe it's all in the upbringing.  You need to talk to the breeder and find out what temperament they breed for and learn a little about temperament testing in puppies. 


For starters I would strike huskies from your list. They are wonderful dogs, and smart.  But they have thick coats ill suited to Australian summer, and they tend to employ their brains to pleasing themselves (particularly escaping and going walkabout) rather than pleasing you.


I think you might learn more by going to obedience trials than conformation shows.  They reveal more about trainabity. 


I don't recommend getting two dogs to start out with.   It's harder to train two than one.   Many will tell you about littermate syndrome.   That doesn't worry me as much as the imperative that pups/dogs be separated for training.   So it takes twice as long, and as a big softies, I hate to separate dogs who are attached to one another.   Also, unless you are quite strong, controlling two large dogs can be challenging.  Say you are walking on leads and they decide to persue a cat or rabbit or to visit with a neighbour's dog.


Edited by sandgrubber
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I agree with the above - books come after meeting dogs and owners. 


Your list is extremely diverse - in size, temperament, exercise, potential noise,  training style (and trainability) and 'living with a dog' lifestyle.  What drew you to them (I suspect it may have been googling 'most popular dogs in Australia' or 'which dog makes the best pet' (or something similar).   Not a bad starting place - but a bit like googling 'what are the best shoes' when deciding to go from walking around the block to running a marathon - a tweeny bit of the picture.


I would recommend sitting down and writing a list of pros and cons about getting a dog and deciding if *you* want one.  And if the decision is yes, write another list with:

  • how much time do you have each day - exercising (mind and body), feeding, grooming etc
  • inside or outside
  • what is your lifestyle (if you like to 'get a way for the weekend' often and/or at short notice, then either you need to take the dog with you or make arrangements for their care) - eg: if you like camping, as long as you go to 'dog friendly' places, then that is great.   But if you 'like to go to Melbourne/Sydney/wherever with friends on short notice' then you will have to consider that
  • do you have work commitments (if you need to travel for work even a couple of times a year for 2 or 3 days, you either need to have a friend/family who can look after them or find a good boarding kennel)
  • hair - unless you get one of a few breeds, you will have hair around the house - only question is how much :-)
  • slobber - are you ok with this, or is it a deal breaker
  • grooming - do you want to brush regularly, or not
  • other members of the household - what do they think and like
  • aesthetics.  I know some people 'poo poo' people who like a certain colour or a certain look.  I don't agree with that as a blanket statement.  As long as what you like is not detrimental to the dog, then why not get what you like.  Big, small, long coat or short coat, boofy head and body or fine and slim etc

Don't get a dog because family says you should.   If you decide you want a dog, then go to dog parks, obedience trials, dog shows - and talk, watch and talk some more.  You will soon find out that in every breed there are different temperaments and behaviours.   In each of the breeds you have listed, I have met dogs I would love to live with - and also ones that I could not have coped with for 2 minutes.   Not to say they were 'bad dogs' - just not dogs for me

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12 hours ago, sandgrubber said:


For starters I would strike huskies from your list. They are wonderful dogs, and smart.  But they have thick coats ill suited to Australian summer,



This has to be the biggest load off garbage I have read .


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Posted (edited)

My mother owned a German Shepherd when I was young. He was loyal and died at my mother's feet by coming and lying there. Out of grief my mother never got another.


I take care very often of other dogs and know a lot about them. But none of them are those I have listed. I have taken dogs to Eastwood dog training oval. I like the Siberian Husky or the Alaskan Malamute but don't know how to survive together with them in Australia. From reading, a Siberian Husky is naughty and fast while an Alaskan Malamute is stronger. I saw two of them being taken for a walk in Epping. Similarly I fell in love with two Rhodesian Ridgeback's being taken for a walk by a couple last week in McLaren Vale as the dogs tried to get friendly with me. Experience suggests that I take one dog first and then the second later because by then I would be the owner of a larger new home that can fit both dogs.


I don't know?:

- if to de·sex 

- will they develop any bone or muscle injury due to climbing on staircases or jumping a larger obstacle at a young age

- how much training time is required?

- of hobbyist clubs - can you suggest some?

- get different breeds rather than two dogs of the same type

a) two Siberian Husky's or get two Alaskan Malamute's instead?  

b) two Rhodesian Ridgeback's which are as tall as me.  (They feel just as hot with their hair as do the husky and malamute).

Edited by suchit
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They are working sled breeds, very independent and many are wonders at getting out, friends daughter in law races them and she doesn't even bother with fences, they are in roofed, concrete floored kennels. 

In Alaska they are on individual chain and kennel setups.

they love to work and they love to have a job. They have been bred for sled work not family pets or herding so very different temperament compared to German shepherd, different as chalk to cheese.


A cavalier is very interesting breed.  devoted as a German shepherd and very trainable, but no initiative. 


Fascinating demo by a chap to show the difference in the herding breeds with initiative and the cavalier with little to none, with all three dogs CDX,  a Kelpie, a German shepherd and a  cavalier.  Put a treat under a can and told all three it was ok to eat it. the Kelpie and the German shepherd hit the can so hard it was still in the air as they ate the treat. The Cavalier circled the can perplexed at how to access the treat.

then he put all three at sit and stay. dropped a light tablecloth over each of the three and called come.  both the Kelpie and the shepherd came at the run with cloth flying off them.  the cavalier? turning in circles looking for the way out?



any breed will develop injuries if allowed to jump at a young age, friends lab puppy she bred its owners let it jump off a veranda and it fractured both elbow joints.


Looks like you have already decided


The Kelpie, German Shepherd and the Cavalier have in common the strong desire to please you.


As my friends daughter in law commented, her sled dogs desire is what can you do to please me?   and being allowed to run in harness is their idea of heaven so they are happy doing what she loves too, flying along the trails.


Actually, another breed that will lift that paw and eventually ask you, "Whats in this for me?  is the Chihuahua. Very independent thinkers.

notorious for being hard to house train, love dark places under furniture, (what u cant see you cant get upset over)   especially when its raining.


good luck, fortunate you are experienced

Edited by asal
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You may be experienced with other people's dogs, but as I'm sure you understand .. it's like other people's children ... you don't have to do all the preliminary stuff,a nd you can give them back.


Seriously .. IMO , it's better to start with a breed which is more likely to want to learn and to please you.   My experience with other people's dogs of the three large breeds you have mentioned, is that they are quite difficult to train for happy and safe urban living, because of the primary purpose for which they have originally been developed.  They are also less common, and therefore your opportunity to choose is more limited.


I would counsel ... definitely 1 dog at a time, and get that dog pretty well trained before you embark on the next one.  Think seriously about why you want a dog ... what do you envisage yourself doing with the dog, how much time and money are you going to have to spend on purchase, training, vet bills etc.


I would also be looking at breeds which are inherently more likely to want to interact with you and play and learn with you.    This will b e breeds that are specifically bred to work cooperatively with humans .. like the herding and retrieving breeds, and the primarily companion breeds . .. some of which can be super smart and capable of learning and performing all sorts of things .. like Papillons I know who have gained Tracking Champion titles, Agility Champion titles,  and Dances with Dogs and Obedience titles.


There are no absolute guarantees about long and healthy lives, but researching and choosing breeders carefully, looking at their lines and the length and quality of life of dogs in their lines.   But you have to remember that accidents can happen, as can just pure bad luck.


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THE most pressing question - WHAT function will the the dog have ? 
Jogging partner?
Hobby/obedience/dog sports?
Cycling partner?
curl up on the couch and watch netflix buddy?
greeter of guests/ambassador of its breed and your training?
travel partner/work companion?

When you have THIS clear - then look at your chosen breed and see how they will fit the role .

Will they be happy with a 20 min walk every day or two, or because they are more a working breed, will YIOU be happy going out twice a day ? Are they going to (once they've matured) be solid and trustworthy to jog several km with? Will you have a houseful of shed hair?

Do you think neighbours will mind when the dog gets bored and barks at birds/possums/cats? Is your chosen breed too large/small to curl up with happily? Do you have members in your family/friends'circle who may be reluctant to visit it you have a medium/large dog? What will you do to allay their fears? 
These are all things to consider. Oh - also consider that everything maintenance and medical - costs go up with the dog's weight/size - that's important @ Food/anaesthetics etc  obviously cost more , the larger the dog. 

There are dog breeds I would love to own , however where I live and how I live now means it wouldn't be in the dog's best interests to live with me , but I have a wonderful 'pack' who chose me  and suit exactly where we are :)  One day, I hope to own one of my  'wished-for' breed.... maybe :)
Choosing a new companion is difficult - especially if it is your first , and I wish you all the best . DON"T HURRY into it. The right dog will find you if you take things slowly .... :love: 

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Where do I buy a puppy (I don't know any breeders):

- a Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Malamute?

- Rhodesian Ridgeback

- German Shepherd


How much does one cost?


Is there someway I can try these puppies for some time until I commit a few months later? 


I currently look for these functions but then this could change later:

- guard me 

- curl up on the couch 

- training puppy is worth my effort

- trekking companion

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16 minutes ago, suchit said:

Is there someway I can try these puppies for some time until I commit a few months later? 

I Doubt this very much :( Puppies bond with humans , and learn from them . Imagine if people had "try before you buy" programs , and then returned puppies - who would be stressed and missing their humans...plus having learned a household's habits, only to have their whole world changed again ? No, This would be most unfair. 
This is why it is well worth spending weeks/months -  maybe longer spending as much time as you can with dogs of your chosen breed/s so you KNOW what to expect. You can NOT get the experience from books. It's like having a baby . Books are fine - but a real- life crying baby hasn't read the books!! LOL 

Edited by persephone
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Another thing to think about is veterinary costs over the dog's lifetime... the larger the dog, the costlier any surgical procedures will cost - including desexing, which is recommended if you are not looking to breed with the dog in question, and may soften any undesirable hormonal behaviours from developing.


Also, Huskies, Malamutes, and German Shepherds are double coated breeds, so VERY regular coat maintenance will be mandatory - and they will drop their undercoats at least 1-2 times a year, which will require a LOT of grooming while this is happening, and you will have dog hair everywhere also.


Larger breeds can also be prone to structural issues if not sourced from breeders who selectively breed to minimise this possibility - but there are no 100% guarantees that an issue will not happen, as there is always a environmental component in effect that can cause problems with fast growing larger breed pups.


My advice is the same as some others here... look up DogsSA and find out when and where dog shows are happening, then go to a few and talk with some of the people there about the pros and cons of living with the breeds you are interested in. Find out from those who own them exactly what amount of work they will be to raise and keep happy and healthy - you won't find that level of experience or good advice in any book, that's for sure...


All that said, my choice that may cover the reasons you want a dog (from your last post) would be a Rottweiler... I am a bit biased because they are my favourite breed, but if you source from a good/reputable breeder, you shouldn't be disappointed with what you get.



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  • 2 weeks later...

A husky will not guard you nor will they curl up on the couch with you (unless you keep your internal house temperature below 0 degrees C). They are independent and extremely challenging for first time dog owners. Not to mention they shed a LOT of hair, they cannot be offlead and while they are smart and trainable that doesn't mean they are biddable, they do what suits them not you.


When looking at breeds think about their working origins. Huskies were bred to pull sleds in the harshest of conditions. They want to run and if they are off lead they will run and run and never come back, trust me on this. They are bred to seek very little direction from their human, their job was to listen to go, stop and turn. Everything else was up to them, so they do not seek guidance nor permission from their owners.


Compare this trait to other breeds such as herding dogs, they will often check with their human and look to them for direction. Look at the breeds that are often doing well in obedience, an obedient husky is rare.


Guarding is hit and miss in non-guardian breeds, you need to speak to individual breeders they can tell you if their dogs are likely to have some guarding capability. Again no husky will guard you, some individuals can be a little protective but they are notoriously friendly to strangers. 


A husky also needs to be engaged, if they are not mentally and physically stimulated they will find ways to occupy themselves that you may not like. This can include chewing up everything, stealing stuff (I lost a wallet for months because the dog stole it), digging, escaping etc. You don't want to let a smart dog get bored or restless.


Please keep researching before you decide, it seems highly unlikely to me that a husky will fit your needs. Don't be swayed by their looks there are many huskies in pounds and rescues because they are not suited for many lifestyles. 


Talk to breeders of ridgebacks and shepherds, they will be able to help you decide whether these breeds may be more suitable for you. Breeder contact details are on the DOL breeds pages, also checkout the Breeds 101 forum to get some more information on the breeds you are interested in. 


Best of luck in your search! 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a Shepard for 18 years , beutiful long haired shepard , who shed a  shopping bag of hair  a day and drove my wife mad ,, around the house ,   but i've had a lot of dogs over the years we have never been without one , and for me the best  dogs i've ever had were the rottweilers ,,, they just seemed to be a bit aloof with people and other dogs ,  which makes them easy to control ,,  another great dog i had was a stumpy tail blue healer  ,, fantastic dog  , but he was to energetic for me , i wanted to walk  him he wanted to jog , sort of thing , so i gave him too my son who would go jogging with him every night  and he still has him , he's the best familly dog with the kids you can find .


End result suited to aussie climate ,  easy to handle   i say a heeler or a rotty , ,,,,

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