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Choosing a Dog for Family Pet
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Advice about Pets >
Choosing a Dog for Family Pet
We are researching dog breeds. I'd love to hear what experiences
other families have had with pet dogs. We have had mixed breed dogs
in the past and plan on purchasing a purebred puppy or finding an
older dog through rescue. Our son is now 2 1/2. We want a dog that
will be ok being left alone while we both work, and will be satisfied
with daily walks during the week for their exercise needs.
We too have gone the route of having mixed breeds and then getting a pure
bred. After a lot of research and observation of different breeds we
decided upon a St. Bernard. On the plus side:
1. gentle as can be -- they love people
2. they sleep a lot -- they are real happy to only have to walk once a day
3. they are very loyal to their families
4. they do not bark a lot -- we have neighbors with "sensitive ears"
5. they are really good with small children
6. they like lots of attention
On the down side:
1. they eat a lot
2. they are really big -- ours, when it stops growing will be about 175 lbs.
3. they get a lot of attention in public -- this may not be a negative
Good luck in your dog search
Regarding dog breeds. We have a Belgian Sheepdog. She's fairly large
(60-70 lbs) and has a lot of characteristics similar to Collies and German
Shepards. They are a very intelligent breed and have been used as search
and rescue and police dogs....although more-so on the East Coast. I believe
there is a Belgian Sheepdog rescue org. somewhere in the Bay Area.
She is very loving and has adjusted wonderfully from being an only child to
sharing the house with our 9 mo. old son. She has even tolerated
hair-pulling reasonably well. They tend to be a very emotionally attached
breed and are great watch dogs. She has a fierce bark (but only when there
are visitors...never without good reason...she won't even bark when other
dogs bark at her) and looks fairly wolf-like (black w/long hair and a
German Shepard shaped face).
She is fairly high-energy, but seems to be fine with daily walks and play
time, and stays home in the back yard while we're at work. When we're home
she's definately a "house dog" and doesn't want to miss out on anything the
family is doing.
I would highly recommend a female of this breed (I think the males can be a
little more agressive), if you can find one. They don't seem to be that
common in this area...we feel like we lucked out when we got her 3 years ago.
With regards to the question on dogs. When I was growing up, we had an english
springer spaniel who, despite the fact that I love our two current muts, I call
the best dog ever. I was a teenager when we got her but she was good with kids
and very easily trained. She even got retrained when she was about six to not
go in certain parts of the house which she had been able to go to when my mom
put in new carpets and started practicing what my father called, carpet worship.
Patches did shed some but we really did not keep up with brushing or grooming
her which really would have made a difference. She did alright during the day
by herself but loved it when people were around. Good Luck in your searches,
Re Dogs. We have a dalmatian and I wouldn't recommend it for
people with small children because it is so incredibly high energy, the
child could be injured by accident. Also, ours is so protective of family
that she has threatened playmates. Our day-care provider has two full-size
collies and, if you can deal with the maintenance of the fur issue, they
are fabulous. They are docile and loving and generally place themselves
between "their babies" and strangers at the door. The babies have learned
to walk hanging onto their fur and the dogs are great watchdogs, although
they bark a little too much for my taste. One of these got over that habit
after wearing one of those barkless collars for a month or so (It zaps them
mildly when they bark.) These are excellent kid dogs and I have seen them
actually grab the sleeve or pantleg of the older children to lead them to
or from. If you consider a collie, check for decent eyesight and with any
larger dog, hip dysplasia. Most purebred dogs have some health weakness
due to breeding for beauty and most of those are well-known and published,
such as dalmatian's tendency toward deafness and kidney problems.
We are on our 2nd West Highland Terrier. These are great dogs with kids.
They combine terrier energy and intelligence with an outstanding and
gentle disposition. Very friendly, and also, very attractive dogs. Easy
to care for, and they don't shed. The white fur can get dirty but they
are easy to bathe. At 20 lbs., ours have been a bit above average in
A dog breed that I think is wonderful for kids/families is the golden
retriever. I've had a dog most of my life--from small mutts, a German
shepherd to a golden retriever--and enjoyed them all. I am, however,
biased towards the golden. Though a giant at 105(!) lbs (LARGE, even
for his breed), Duke is the sweetest dog I've come to know. We got
him through the NORCAL Golden Retriever rescue when he was 3 and we
all adjusted very well. Now 8 and the eldest member of the family,
he's very docile and extremely patient with our 4 yr-old and 17 mos
old kids. I am impressed with his calm disposition, quiet undemanding
nature, and trainability. All he really wants from us is to pet him
and if he could, sit in our laps!
Dog breeds aside, I would suggest that you check with the different
rescue organizations to get more info about the type of dog you're
considering in terms of temperment, medical conditions some breeds are
prone to, and even to weigh the pros and cons of getting an adult dog
vs. a puppy.
I was a volunteer with the rescue and fostered a puppy for a short
time. I was in for a real eye-opener--puppies demand a lot time,
energy and patience.
A breeder is Donna Prentice in Antioch, 757-1411. I can give you a contact
for recommendations/better deal, etc if you contact me.
this page was last updated: May 4, 2011
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