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Old 05-21-2008, 04:17 PM   #1
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Default Help! What breed/cross breed to choose for first dog

Hey all, still getting to know the site but hopefully this post will still make sense (and in the right section).

Im looking to buy my first dog but I am aware that every breed is different. I will give you a summary of my circumstances:
  • Full time student that will be home for the summer, but after that, the dog/puppy will have to be left on its own for 4 hours a day but very little time apart during the weekend.
  • Owns 2 cats
  • Owns a whole bunch of chickens (40+ including chicks)
  • Smallish house with relatively large garden with 4ft fences (might have to adjust them haha!!)
  • A dog that could comfortably sleep outdoor with shelter
  • No other dogs in the household
  • Medium sized dog preffered, one that likes to sleep on beds :P
  • Close proximity to a river/long walks and large open fields.
  • Enjoys peaceful country walks
Also, puppy or fully grown dog?

I was thinking along the lines of lurcher/ fox terrier/mungrel?

Basically, Im an active young girl who is looking for a canine companion

Any suggestions on breed guys? Ofcourse I would make adustments where necessary. I figured a forum would be the best place to ask, full of the knowledgables!

Thanks for reading. Hope to hear from you soon

Jessop x

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Old 05-21-2008, 05:00 PM   #2
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Hi Jessop I think a Whippet would suit you. Provided you had some form of heating in the kennel for the winter. You would also have to raise the height of your fence for a whippet or any Lurcher breed as they are good at jumping. I would go for a puppy as that way you can train it to live outside whereas it you go for an older dog it may be used to being in the house and would not settle outside.

Whatever you choose I hope you will keep us posted and that it works out well for you.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:21 PM   #3
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Hello Borzoi mad.. A whippet sounds like a fantastic little dog to have. The outdoor arrangement would only be during the day, just so it had some fresh air rather than being cooped up in a house (unless that is what the breed likes?)

I tend to get a bit carried away when it comes to making animals comfortable (even my chickens have an extra deep layer of straw to snuggle into at night)

I could even provide the little dog with a comfortable sofa inside the shelter during the day, so it can snooze away in the sun, what ever would be best for the dog.

As for temperment, what would you suggest to be more relaxed around other animals: Male or female?

Thanks for the feedback

Jessop x

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Old 05-21-2008, 07:08 PM   #4
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Since you are in the UK, I don't know which of the retriever breeds may be available there. I have found Labradors to be in the medium size range. They are known for all out running and playing when in the field, yet can just lay and snooze when the owner is not at home. They tend to be very friendly with other animals, but at the same time, very protective of their handler. They can handle the minus 40 temperatures here in Canada, so the UK should be no problem in the winter.

One drawback is their ingrained retriever aptitude. If one of your chickens starts flying over the coop fencing, making like madman, the Lab will immediately go after it, sometimes with dire consequences.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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A good starting point might be to chat to a few rescue centres near you. It sounds like many different types of dog could potentially work in your situation so it may come down to personal preference. If you don't have your heart set on a particular breed it can be very rewarding to offer a home to one in need. You need to be selective, but it is certainly not true that all rescue dogs have problems, most are simply unwanted through no fault of their own. Explain to the centre that you are a first time owner, and meanwhile research a local dog training club for friendly support.

Once again, any age of dog could work and rescues have puppies as well as adults. Bear in mind that puppies are a huge amount of work initially, and will need 24 hour a day supervision or confinement initially. Timing the arrival for your summer hols would be a great idea. Having dogs outdoors whilst they are home alone during the day can be a good arrangement assuming the set up is suitable with shelter and adequate fencing. It sounds like your place is rural so may work well, but bear in mind that if the dog can see or hear cars or people etc coming and going they are likely to bark and potentially disturb neighbours. Four foot fencing won't be secure enough for most medium sized dogs left unattended.

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Old 05-21-2008, 09:31 PM   #6
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I would go for something with a low prey drive, so that basically rules out hounds... of course there are exceptions to every rule, but with the chickens you may not want to take the chance. Also, terriers have a high prey drive and would not be suitable for the chicken issue.

Although I am biased, I would suggest Golden Retrievers. They are not as hyper/drooly as labradors, and are, in my opinion, gorgeous with their long golden hair =). Another breed that may appeal to you some sort of herding breed? They require more exercise and although they don't have as much of a prey drive as terriers, they would need some training in that area (as would all dogs). If you raised them from pups though, with lots of socialization with the chickens, there is probably little risk. Hmm, I'm just trying to think of a few more... of course mutts adopted from your local pound or rescue center can make wonderful companions, although you have to be careful as they do come with their issues. They can be hard to overcome for the first time owner, but you can get puppies from shelters as well.

Also, how about a spaniel of some sort? They come in all shapes, sizes, and energy levels. My friend has 3 springers that are just lovely dogs, very beautiful as well. Most gundogs (goldens & springers are both in this category) are generally very human oriented... they love to be with you. Alternately, herding dogs and sighthounds are more independent dogs. I find it depends on what you want in a dog, and what your personality is. Also, check out this breed selector 'quiz'
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:40 AM   #7
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Hi Jessop,

In your situation there are a lot of breeds that might suit you, but as Meggie said, Terriers are probably a very bad plan considering you have chickens - they are far more likely to have a high prey drive and go after them.

If you're not fussed about a particular breed, I would recommend getting a rescue dog. There are so many out there that need loving homes and it sounds like you could help one. Speaking as the owner of 2 rescues, I can say that often they are more grateful for what they have - if that makes sense?!

If you go to most dog shelters, they will get you to answer loads of questions about your home, lifestyle etc and then they will work out which of their dogs would fit in perfectly and you can choose from them. They'll have tons of mixbreeds etc, it's hard to pin down which cross would suit as in any cross you can't predict which characteristics will be stronger.

I'd say that any of the herding/gundog breeds might suit you, I have a rough collie and a cocker spaniel (one of each) and I find that they suit me. They get about an hour of exercise in the evenings, half an hour in the morning and are quite happy to snooze for a few hours if I go out. IMO the gundog/herding breeds contain some of the most beautiful dogs you can get, and some of the gentlest. Gundogs like labs, retrievers and spaniels tend to have a 'happy-go-lucky' attitude to life and are usually very loving and playful.

Border collies are great if you want a challenge, you will need to channel that BC energy but if you want a high-drive dog for agility or running etc they are great.

Good luck with your search!

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Old 06-16-2008, 04:45 PM   #8
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Hi I think that you should get a lurcher or greyhound as there is many in rescues but as you've got chickens unless there in a secure run maybe you should get something that is trainable so maybe a collie if you would be happy to put in lots of training or maybe if you would consider getting a larger breed of dog a German Shepard!! Don't know what you would think of this. But any type of dog if you get it from a rescue would be happy to be in a home plus very grateful.

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Old 06-16-2008, 05:09 PM   #9
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As for breed, dont bother looking for a certain one. All dogs are individuals, just like people. Like everyone has said, toddle along to your local rescue and if you meet a dog that is perfect for your situation, then do some research into their breed/breeds. But all dogs are individuals, so dont just rule out whole breeds

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Old 06-18-2008, 12:23 PM   #10
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I would suggest a labrador, as they are a medium sized dog that will be left alone without causing havoc. They are laid back so would not be too fussed about the chickens or cats and if you would like to get another dog in the future, they are brilliant together aswell. Also Staffie's are gorgeous and very loving, would be ok to leave. But it is entirely your choice. Any breed would be a nice choice, but i wouldn't recommend a Springer/Cocker spaniel as they are usually very high maintenance and need a LOT of attention to keep them calm, they could run all day .
Hope this helps you

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