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Old 02-07-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?

Hi!

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!
Kutoja

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Old 02-08-2014, 09:14 AM   #2
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Hi Kutoja and welcome aboard to Df glad you have joined this happy helpful community Are you considering a puppy or young adult dog which may have had some training and is good with cats? A puppy is like a blank canvas so it's up to you to 'paint' a beautiful picture and create a well balanced dog at the very least Do your research on Breed types plenty of good sites just by Googling that not only cover the breed's history but covers things like breed traits and characteristics to trainability to exercise requirements etc,etc
For Eg: I own a staffordshire bull terrier (see Avatar!) but they need a strong minded leader and are often very stubborn, but on the plus side very loving and loyal

As for barking when some one comes to your property well personaly this is a instinctive trait I believe and my Nipper will let me know when some on is at my front door Hadn't trained her to bark she just does it
Good luck and let us know how you get on please And enjoy the forum!!!!
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Old 02-08-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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Kutoja, welcome to the forum. Bigboy gave you some good advice. We adopted Dunbar from a shelter where he had been around cats, and he fit right in with our feline babies. If you adopt an older dog (Dunny was 11 months old when we adopted him) from a good shelter they can usually tell you how the dog is with cats. Also, you do not want a dog whose breed has a high prey instinct. You can research that on the internet. Good luck.

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Old 02-08-2014, 12:01 PM   #4
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I did consider the shelter (that's where the cats came from), but Finnish shelters only ever have about two adoptable dogs at one time, if that. We don't (yet!) have a problem with strays or pet overpopulation, since any strays are caught in pretty short order.

So far in my research (starting with the Dog Breed Info Center list of Low-Exercise Demand dogs, and then adding in factors like child-friendliness and tolerance toward other pets, plus temperature tolerance - where I could find it - and grooming needs), I've come up with the following breeds: Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Havanese, Papillon, or Toy Poodle. Most of the other breeds on the combined lists were struck out by tiny size (I thought they might be at a disadvantage if they were to get into a brawl with Silky the dog in cat's clothing) or flat-out-unavailability over here.

Do you think any of the above breeds might work for a first dog? Does anyone have any experience regarding their weather tolerance? As I said, I'm not planning on getting a show dog.

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Old 02-08-2014, 12:22 PM   #5
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Welcome to Dog forum Kutoja!
Any dog you get will have to get in out of the weather at some times. If your mother is allergic, do you have a place the dog can get inside?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:29 PM   #6
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No no, I'm looking for an indoor pet! It was my gran who was (well, is) allergic, but she's not going to be living with us. She might even no longer be with us by the time I get the dog!

I'm just thinking in terms of heat stroke etc. when out for walks or travelling in my car. No point in getting something like a chihuahua and having it freeze its tail off during the long, cold Finnish winter!

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Old 02-09-2014, 01:14 AM   #7
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Kutoja, welcome to the Forum! I have a question for you. Are your cats dog friendly? I am asking, because cats can do major damage when they are angry. I used to own a cattery and showed/bred Persians. I have 2 dogs now, but I do know cat behavior. I've seen a mid-size dog taken down by 3 cats. The dog only wanted to play, but the cat did not. The cat went after the dog, and 2 other cats joined in. It can sometimes just be a hit or a miss when you have adult cats. Sometimes they accept a new family pet, and sometimes they don't.
Your cats will need plenty of time to get used to the dog. They will probably hiss, run and hide, and then do the "rubber necking" thing that they do. Real low to the ground, and peeking around corners, to see where the dog is. Cats are also very territorial and do not like change. I'd suggest you wait a good 3 months after you move, before getting a dog. The move alone, will be stress enough for the cats. They will need time to get used to their surroundings, their new home.
It's been my experience that adult cats seem to do much better will puppies. I think it's the size, and the fact that puppies have no fear. All they want to do is eat, sleep, and play.
For me, I'd go with a Papillon. They are not too tiny, and their coat is manageable. They are also lap dogs.
Again, welcome!

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Old 02-09-2014, 06:25 AM   #8
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I actually don't know how dog-friendly the cats are. They do growl (Silky) and hiss (the girls) when they see dogs at the vet; however I'm not sure how much of that is because they don't like dogs, and how much is because they're in this scary, strange-smelling place outside of their own territory and have now been confronted with a big, hairy monster.

For what it's worth, I seriously suspect Silky might have been raised by a human and/or a dog (and not by his mother): he has no clue about feline etiquette and has an awful lot of doggy traits (he even plays fetch!)

I'm not a stranger to introducing one animal to another - I had to do it twice with the cats - and puppy-to-cat intros don't seem too different from cat-to-cat intros. We'll just take it as slowly as necessary.

I was actually already leaning in the direction of a papillon puppy, since they don't need (professional) grooming and their temperament sounds about right for us. The unintimidating size even when fully-grown also helps: I'm not sure I'd have the strength to hold a large dog back since I'm short (157 cm) and not in the best of shape. Plus there are several breeders in southern Finland!

Thanks for your help, everyone!
Kutoja

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Old 02-09-2014, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kutoja View Post
I actually don't know how dog-friendly the cats are. They do growl (Silky) and hiss (the girls) when they see dogs at the vet; however I'm not sure how much of that is because they don't like dogs, and how much is because they're in this scary, strange-smelling place outside of their own territory and have now been confronted with a big, hairy monster.

For what it's worth, I seriously suspect Silky might have been raised by a human and/or a dog (and not by his mother): he has no clue about feline etiquette and has an awful lot of doggy traits (he even plays fetch!)

I'm not a stranger to introducing one animal to another - I had to do it twice with the cats - and puppy-to-cat intros don't seem too different from cat-to-cat intros. We'll just take it as slowly as necessary.

I was actually already leaning in the direction of a papillon puppy, since they don't need (professional) grooming and their temperament sounds about right for us. The unintimidating size even when fully-grown also helps: I'm not sure I'd have the strength to hold a large dog back since I'm short (157 cm) and not in the best of shape. Plus there are several breeders in southern Finland!

Thanks for your help, everyone!
Kutoja
You really can not base your cats on how they act at a vet, that is for sure. Once you take them out of their environment, put them in a carrier, it's over. They are just scared. I watched the Westminster agility show that was on last night. It is the first time they allowed mixed breeds in the competition. They called them The All American Dog. There was a beautiful Papillon in the competition. I just love their ears!

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