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  • Best Dog for my Family?

    I am looking for our first Family dog. I have two girls, 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old. I like medium sized dogs in the 25 lb to 40 lb range. The dog has to be kid friendly and preferable low on the shedding meter. I appreciate any help you can give. Thanks.

    Adam

  • #2
    Bearded Collies

    Growing up, my family had bearded collies. We got our first one as a puppy from a breeder when I was 3 and my sister was an infant. They are very smart. They do not shed at all and have long fur which can be cut short (like a puppy cut). They are very nice dogs and definitely medium size... our largest one was a male who was about 45 pounds. We never had any major health problems with any of them either. You can find reputable breeders or there are Bearded Collie Rescue groups that you can contact as well. My mother worked with a local rescue group in our area and we acquired 2 more beardies that way. Both were wonderful dogs that just needed more compatible homes. Since you have small children and this is your first dog, it may be a good option to get a young adult (of any breed) that is already housebroken, etc from a rescue group/shelter. There are many wonderful family dogs out there that need great homes! :D

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    • #3
      Thank you. I will look into this. I am leaning towards the Portuguese Water Dog but I am open for any suggestion.

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      • #4
        "Kid Friendly" has a lot more to do with early training ahd socialization of the puppy, and the strict training of the children in how to behave around the dog.

        Supervision is PARAMOUNT. Dogs are not stuffed toys or babysitters. They should not be expected to tolerate the (accidental) rough behavior of kids.

        A dog the size you want will be the idea height to steal food from little hands.

        A dogs head is almost always near a child's face. Children must be taught not to tease dogs, to keep their heads and faces away from a dog's head and face, and how to control the dog.

        Your older child is BARELY old enough to learn how to properly interact with a dog. The 3Yo has several years before she will understand.

        I suggest your speaking to several breeders of the breeds you are interested in, and get their take on dogs and kids.

        Picking the person from whom you buy your puppy will be the SINGLE most important decision you make.

        Find a breeder who shows and titles dogs, whether you want a show dog or not.

        A good breeder should quiz you about why you want one of their dogs, offer sales ONLY with a signed legal contract, they should REQUIRE the spay/neuter of all dogs sold as pets. They should offer a good health guarantee, they should be testing all of their breeding stock for inherited issues common to the breed, and they should be members of their National Breed club.

        Once you find this sort of breeder, your job becomes a lot easier. Good breeders support their puppy buyers for life, and will take the time to help you get the resources you need to properly raise and train your pup.

        Start at http://www.akc.org on your search for breeders. You can find links to the National Breed Club web sites off the breed standard for each breed.

        Best of luck, if you have more questions, let us know.
        Redyre Rottweilers
        "Penny" U-CH Eternal Moon Finders Keepers
        "Didds", TT * "V-"PeeWee" BH AD IPO 1 TT
        Waiting at the Bridge...
        V-Roxy CD, ASCA CD, TT, TDI, HIC, CGC
        Best in Vet Sweeps, ARC Reg. IV Specialty, 9/01

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        • #5
          You can't go wrong with an English Springer Spaniel. My sole complaint with them is that they tend to be abysmal watchdogs. My ESS (Sherman, a.k.a. The Shermanator, Slayer of Osama bin Muskrat) is a perfect example. You could kick in the door to my house, holding a severed head in one hand and a bloody machete in the other, and Sherman would run up quietly with his tail wagging and his tongue hanging out.

          If you're amenable to adopting, here is an excellent resource:

          http://www.springerrescue.org/

          Good Luck!

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          • #6
            You would be QUITE remiss if you did not mention several things in relation to the English Springer Spaniel:

            RAGE SYNDROME http://www.essfta.org/Health_Research/aggression.htm
            hip and elbow dysplasia, eye diseases, seizure disorders, allergies, heart disorders, and
            PFK http://www.essfta.org/Health_Research/pfk.htm

            Find out all about ESS here: http://www.essfta.org/index.htm
            Redyre Rottweilers
            "Penny" U-CH Eternal Moon Finders Keepers
            "Didds", TT * "V-"PeeWee" BH AD IPO 1 TT
            Waiting at the Bridge...
            V-Roxy CD, ASCA CD, TT, TDI, HIC, CGC
            Best in Vet Sweeps, ARC Reg. IV Specialty, 9/01

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            • #7
              Springer Rage

              "Rage syndrome" is discussed on rescue the site linked to. Additionally, I researched the disorder pretty extensively before I acquired Sherman. The number of animals affected is very small, and is no more prevalent in Springers than in Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Dobermanns, English Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs and St. Bernards.

              Cockers appear to be the most prone, particularly red/golds, as opposed to parti colored.

              This spotlights an advantage of adopting, particularly from English Springer Rescue America. Their animals are thoroughly vetted & evaluated – any disorder will have been discovered and disclosed; and a “rage” dog will have been deemed unsuitable.

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              • #8
                My point is, there are pros AND cons to EVERY breed.

                This should be disclosed right up front for anyone who might be considering a certain breed.

                For example, in my breed, you must consider, in addition to the wonderful characteristics of my breed the fact that most will guard, many may have hip or elbow dysplasia, even with RESPONSIBLE breeding, and they shed. A lot.

                With Springers you also must consider the costs of grooming, which can be extensive. They don't look like those dogs in the photos without lots of grooming.

                I LIKE ESS, but it's important, in my opinion, to present both sides of the coin right up front when you are describing any breed to a person who might be considering owning one.

                :D
                Redyre Rottweilers
                "Penny" U-CH Eternal Moon Finders Keepers
                "Didds", TT * "V-"PeeWee" BH AD IPO 1 TT
                Waiting at the Bridge...
                V-Roxy CD, ASCA CD, TT, TDI, HIC, CGC
                Best in Vet Sweeps, ARC Reg. IV Specialty, 9/01

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                • #9
                  With all due respect, it seems as though you may have an axe to grind, with nothing positive to offer. I’m sure ALW is doing his homework; as I did before I decided on an ESS; as presumably you did prior to acquiring your first Rott.

                  He asked for a recommendation, and I gave him one.

                  Incidentally, I have found grooming costs to be negligible. And while Sherman does shed, he doesn’t shed as much as my girlfriend’s Lab.

                  By the way, ALW: I was raised with a PWD, and currently have two friends with PWDs - Awesome dogs.

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                  • #10
                    No axe to grind here.

                    Positives of breeds are easy to see.

                    If you are involved in rescue, you should know the numbers of dogs that are dumped because the people who own them did not understand the possible drawbacks and responsibilities BEFORE they got the dog.

                    I love all dogs, and all breeds have certain wonderful qualities that distinguish them from others.

                    Each also has some not so sterling qualities that I feel should be disclosed UP FRONT if you are going to recommend a breed.

                    My sole purpose in playing devil's advocate and speaking up front to the certain less than desireable qualities that are inherent in each breed is to make sure people understand what they are getting BEFORE they get it.

                    It is only to help ensure that dogs go to forever homes.

                    And that can't be a bad thing, now can it?

                    :D
                    Redyre Rottweilers
                    "Penny" U-CH Eternal Moon Finders Keepers
                    "Didds", TT * "V-"PeeWee" BH AD IPO 1 TT
                    Waiting at the Bridge...
                    V-Roxy CD, ASCA CD, TT, TDI, HIC, CGC
                    Best in Vet Sweeps, ARC Reg. IV Specialty, 9/01

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                    • #11
                      It seems ALW, that some more information about your lifestyle would be helpful in recommending an appropriate breed. Are you an active and athletic family? Are you a calm and introverted family? Do you have a desire to get really involved in "doggy" acitivities, like agility, fly ball, obedience, or frisbee? Are you looking for a "couch potato" pet? Do you want a dog that loves everybody or is more bonded to just you or your family? Do you want a dog that is known to be easy to train, or are you willing to put extra effort into training in order to obtain other characteristics you like? Do you have a large backyard or are you in a small apartment?

                      Providing this kind of input would greatly facilitate knowledgable dog folks in making a good recommendation for your particular family.
                      In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

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