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Old 02-17-2007, 04:32 PM   #1
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Default Help with decision on breed selection

Hi Everyone,

I am new here so I hope this is the right place to post this query - it seems appropriate.

My husband and I currently have a 12-1/2 year old doberman male we have had since he was 10 weeks and a 6 year old RottX female we adopted from our local SPCA when she was about 4 mos. old. Since our dobe is getting on in years I thought now would be a good time to start researching what breed to select our next dog from. We know we don't want another dobe. We have a 3 year old daughter who is very active and loves both our dogs but is too overwhelming for them sometimes. Unfortunately this past summer our dobe snapped at our daughter when he couldn't take any more of her pestering and happened to catch her under the eye resulting in 2 stitches to the top of her cheek just under her left eye. Not the dog's fault, not the kid's fault, my fault for not being more attentive and I am thankful every day that it wasn't worse. I am not suggesting that dobermans are not good family dogs - they are - in the right family, but their high activity level no longer makes the breed an option for us.

That being said, I have been searching around for some alternative dog breeds that I think would better suit our family "personality". My criteria:
1) the breed must have a natural fondness for children
2) the breed must not be an overly active breed (ie: border collies and belgian malinois need not apply ) and must be a low energy/active breed in the house, but appreciate a good 1 hour walk/romp daily but not have the need to have a job to do in order to be happy
3) the breed must not require any professional grooming, a "wash and wear" breed is preferred
4) the breed must be fine with being in an outside kennel for periods throughout the day (ie 3-4 hour stretches, I work from home) and overnight in mild temperatures (spring, summer, fall), we live in British Columbia, Canada
5) I would like a guard type dog without a "hair trigger" (ie: a dog that is for the most part a watchdog unless one of us were threatened, then it would be nice for the dog to act).
6) it would be nice if the dog didn't have too dominant/assertive a personality

I know that many of these issues can be overcome with proper socialization, training and breeding. And that even within a breed personalities vary amongst individual dogs. But if we could speak in generalities here, it would be most appreciated. I have taken our dobe thru level 2 obedience, he knows sit, down, come, stay, stand and hand signals for sit, down and come. Our rottx the same. So although I don't have a problem with an assertive type breed, it would be nice not to have to deal with that considering we have a young child now, although I know that comes with the territory when considering any of the guarding/working breeds. I have my eye on the Leonberger as a possibility but don't know just how well they would be at protecting us if the need came about? Anyone here know?

Thank you all very much for your time taken to read my ramblings and for any information that any of you are able to offer.

Cheers!
Ellen

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Old 02-17-2007, 04:49 PM   #2
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I'd recommend a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever for being kid friendly & on the large side. They're both on the higher activity levely but don't have to have "a job" but will gladly take one on if you give it to them. As far as guard dog issues, neither really fits the category with anything other than warning barks. I think you have to give up some protection traits if you really want your first criteria to be kid-friendly (and both those breeds are the kinds that kinds can absolutely almost maul to the complete satisfaction of the dog).
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:02 PM   #3
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theres plenty of breeds to choose from in that category labrador,Golden retreiver, greater swiss mountain dog, chesapeake bay retreiver, Rhodesian ridgeback (<--my personal favorite), bernese mountain dog, or an airdale terrier, thats just a few i can think of, but i think its better to adopt a dog from the shelter than to buy a puppy plus you can choose a dog that fits your lifestyle and is already housebroken and older so you dont have to go through the puppy stages (having kids myself i know how hard it is)
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:32 PM   #4
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My family has owned,leonbergers,for the last 20 yrs.We've had only males,non neutered.Great guard dogs,have litterally pushed people,out of the property, by putting their paws,on their shoulders and pushing them,out.They are very impressive and most people won't leave their car,until they've been told to come out.Good with kids,My nephew learnt to walk,by holding on to one.Now,with all breed,you need to be careful with kids and obviously train them.Yes,I would recommend them as a family dog.Would own one,here,if I had the space.Forgot to mention,they love to swim.
PS:Make sure that the breeder is reputable.
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Old 02-17-2007, 05:37 PM   #5
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I would recommend a Boxer being great family dogs, naturally protective, Low coat maintenance, they are high energy and not 24/7 outside breed though. They are ppl dogs and want to be with their ppl. They are very easily trained I do highly recommend Obedience. Other than the high energy they fit I think what you are looking for.
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Old 02-17-2007, 07:13 PM   #6
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I used to live in BC too! I really miss it a lot.

If you live in the lower mainland, how about going to some dogshows in Cloverdale? Or dog shows elsewhere in BC, if you don't live close. It's great to get up and personal with the different dog breeds and talk to breeders personally. In Cloverdale especially, you can visit the grooming building to talk to people. (Unless things have changed since we moved).

Basically all the smooth coated breeds you can think of do shed hair in varying degrees. But I guess you'd be used to that. I find the Airedales to be particularly attractive and endearing--our neighbour babysits one frequently. A really nice larger terrier with low grooming needs. Labs of any kind are quite nice and docile in general. Good luck! Hope you keep posting and giving updates.
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Old 02-17-2007, 07:33 PM   #7
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You could try a smaller dog that could live inside with no real trouble.
The dog I reccomend totally is a Cavalier King Charles. They are extremely affectionate and the sweetest dog I have ever known around children.
I worked in the Kindergarten class last year and every few days the techer would bring in her cavaliers and they were absolutely brilliant animals with the kids!

They don't need as much excersize as you posted, about 15-30 minutes per day. They have gorgeous colours. The only thing is that they might not be too happy with having to stay outside. In that case, I reccomend the Golden Retriever, like many other people here!

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Old 02-18-2007, 12:30 AM   #8
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Look into the sporting breeds, would be my suggestion. Though, they do have some coat, if you go for shorter coated dogs it shouldn't be all that big a problem.

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Old 02-19-2007, 02:17 PM   #9
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Default Thank you....

to all who took the time to respond to my post. I really appreciate all of the thoughtful answers I received. I have considered a smaller dog but we have cougar and bear in our area so I feel more comfortable with a larger dog. As well, my husband works away from home all day leaving myself and our daughter alone at home for long stretches and sometimes he is away overnights for work too. I just feel better with a larger dog watching out for us. I have given careful consideration to some of the breeds mentioned like the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and Rhodesian Ridgeback. But I read that the GSMD takes a long time to housetrain and the Ridgeback is a bit smaller than I would like. I was very pleased to hear the comments made by golden&hovawart about the Leonberger. I honestly think that they would be a wonderful choice for us. We live about 25 mins from a lake and live on 5 acres which they could be taken for long walks on. I like that they are generally quiet unless aroused and that they are fairly inactive when in the house but enjoy romping with you when outside. I thought that with Great Pyrenees in their makeup that they would be wonderful guard dogs, but the information I found did not make reference to their suitablility as a guard dog, only that they were good watchdogs - of course everyone has their own definition of what a watchdog and a guarddog so it can get confusing. I was also told by a breeder who I contacted that they weren't a guard dog but only a watch dog. I need something that will act if need be and it seems from what golden&hovawart said and some other anecdotal evidence I have found on the net, they will.
Thanks again to everyone for their time and assistance. I have made my decision - a Leo it is! Now to find a breeder

Cheers,
Ellen

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Old 02-19-2007, 02:53 PM   #10
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Golden Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Saint Bernard

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