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Old 02-07-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Espoo, Finland
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Default Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?


I'm a 26-year-old female animal lover from Finland, and new here.

Iím thinking about getting a dog in a few years when I move to my summer home in the Finnish countryside, but would like some recommendations as to a suitable breed.

Iím looking for a nice, friendly dog to encourage me to go out for walks (and be tired out by the end of our eight-kilometre walk around the block, if not sooner!). Low to moderate activity levels would be good, as would playfulness (within reason). Easy trainability would also be nice: Iíve already been teaching my three rescue cats to do tricks with varying levels of success, so I donít imagine Iíll be doing any less training when it comes to the dog.

Iíve never owned a dog before although my parents received a puppy as a wedding present several years before I was born. Dadís mother was allergic so she insisted they rehome the dog in short order. Mum might or might not be living with me, but between the two of us weíd pretty much be dog-owning novicesÖ

The house is about 160 square metres on two floors with about 400 square metres of yard. Itís currently unfenced, but obviously Iíll be having it fenced in before getting the dog in order to conform with Finnish law, which requires all dogs be restrained in some way at all times (except when hunting).

As I said, I already have three cats. The dog should therefore, of course, be from a cat-friendly breed. It would also be nice if the dog werenít too much bigger than my cats (the biggest of whom is Silky, my five-kilo ex-tom who seems to think heís a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in catís clothing). I might also have little nieces or nephews by that stage, so something like a Pekinese is definitely out of the question!

Weather tolerance would also be a good thing: summer temperatures in Finland have been known to reach 30+ degrees Celsius, and in the winter it can be as cold as -30 C (although not usually as far south as our country place Ė itís normally more like -25 C). Push comes to shove, since Iím not planning on showing the dog, I can strip its coat down pretty heavily during the summer using a Furminator Ė something I already do with the cats.

I wonít mind brushing every day etc., but since we wonít have a groomer just down the street it would probably be best if the dogís coat were relatively low-maintenance. Shedding wouldnít be a problem: with three cats already, Iím sure we wouldnít even notice a little more hair!

The ability to teach the dog to bark once or twice when someone enters the yard or rings the doorbell would definitely be a big plus!

Thanks in advance!

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