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Old 12-04-2006, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default Looking for the best breed for our needs

Currently we have 2 cats and a Bichon (male, just over one year old). We've narrowed down what seem like the best breeds for us to just a few:

Finnish Spitz
Norwegian Buhund (we've read they may not be good with cats so this one may not be an option)

Obviously breeds known for not getting along well with cats (or those that have strong chasing instincts) are a bad fit for our needs. Also large breeds would obviously not be a good fit for us because we still may not have a decent yard for the dog's needs to run around, and exercise would be limited to a few long walks through the city each day and trips to the dog park a few times a week (plenty of exercise for many breeds but not adequate for all).

We do not plan on getting a 2nd dog for another year or so. We will be living in a larger apartment or duplex at that point. Things that are not really an issue are
maintenance of the coat (we have to brush our Bichon daily and it is not an issue with us, we don't mind this)
exercise needed (with the exception of course being dogs that require a large open area to spend most of the day in)

What we would really like is a dog that is very playful and will want to roll around and play inside with us. Our Bichon was not well socialized with people by the breeder, but spent his first few months with the other dogs in the house (12 total with the litter of 6 and the 6 Bichons the breeder had as pets) so he is great with other dogs but not very playful with people (very loyal to my girlfriend, but when inside he tends to lay on the couch and refuse to play, seeming to be only happy when around other dogs or around my girlfriend). We would like to find a breed that would like to play a lot and possibly even wrestle around a bit, not a fragile toy breed. We also hope that since our Bichon is so happy around other dogs, he will become less bored when my girlfriend is gone. Our first cat slept all day until we got a 2nd cat, and now the first cat is healthier and happier and plays most of the day rather than sleeps. We're hoping our Bichon will change as well if he has a canine companion.
If anyone has experience with these breeds, or has suggestions we are very open to any information that would help us. We want to spend a lot of time making sure we find the best fit for us, and sometimes finding all the negative qualities of a breed can be difficult when those who know most about each breed are those who are fond of that breed and fail to mention many of the negative aspects or things to be aware of before committing to taking in the dog as a pet.

edit: Just in case any of you are wondering why our first dog was a Bichon, our options were limited because we live in an apartment with new white carpet. It is not a large apartment. So we had to find a dog that doesn't need much exercise, and we wanted one that does not shed. We are not necessarily looking for a dog that has any of the same qualities as our current dog (lap dog, very needy of human company at all times, able to learn tricks easily and eagerly, etc). However we work different schedules and one of us is usually home, so a dog that needs constant human companionship is not out of the question. There are days where crating the dog may be necessary (or leaving it alone for more than 4 hours at a time), but this is not a major issue as it is easy to find walkers in our neighborhood to come over and walk the dog when we're gone.

Last edited by zookeeper; 12-04-2006 at 12:39 AM..

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Old 12-17-2006, 10:14 PM   #2
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I have a purebred keeshond, and if you want a dog that is quiet in doors and doesn't chase cats, you're barking up the wrong tree with that breed.

She also is small dog aggressive, regardless of how much socialization she has had.

Besides, the grooming needs are immense. They have to be groomed to the skin (quite a feat if you've never had a double coated dog) twice a week to keep their coats free from mats.

Also, they blow coat twice per year. That is where they loose all undercoat. If you have never had this happen, imagine a dump truck full of dust bunnies poured on your floor. Not even vacuuming twice a day will keep you safe!

My dog is also extremely hyper, even with an hour walk a day.

Keeshonden are stubborn to no end. They require experienced dog owners and experienced training to harness their intelligence for good.

I suggest that you go with a different breed entirely. Almost all spitz breeds can be characterized by what I've just told you.

Another thing you should watch for if you decide to get one of these dogs anyway is that they are prone to epileptic seizures. If you do not get your dog from a reputable breeder, these dogs can have a host of health problems, such as luxating patellas, alopexia x, and hip displasia.

Perhaps you should go with a small spaniel of some type. I believe they are more of what you are looking for then a spitz.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:35 PM   #3
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Unless you are interested in showing, have you considered a rescue dog / puppy? I have also spent ages agonising over the pros and cons of each breed in the past, but one of my current dogs is a very unique cross breed from the SPCA who is just perfect. You need to agree the size / type / age etc beforehand then visit some shelters and see if they have a dog that might fit your needs. You can take along your existing Bichon to check whether they will get along before you make a final decision, and will have the satisfaction of knowing you have made one little dog very very happy.

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