Never owned a dog…which breeds should I consider

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    I have owned cats but never a dog. I have two kids under 6 yrs, would take a dog walking a few times a week, live in a single family home with a medium sized yard. Any suggestions on which breeds to consider? I would want a small to medium dog.



    Hi, I would love to put my two cents in. I love dogs (and cats, and birds, and … okay you get the picture!), so I hope you will take what I say and do with it what you will. I love mutts for many, many, many reasons. Even DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) prefers mutts for their drug dogs! I have had Chocolate Cockers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks (pureblood line from South Africa), and others. Purebreds are great as well, and there are many things that you can count on them to be, but many purebreds have health issues (that a good breeder will be honest with you about). I think it would be a FUN Family Event to go to a local shelter, humane society, etc., with your kids and take a look. You will get a chance to see MANY dogs, and how they react with your kids, and how your kids react with them. You may actually find the perfect dog…one that is a bit older and potty trained, comfortable around kids, that would be so GRATEFUL for a home. I would love to hear what you decide to do, and what type of dog you end up with. Lots of luck, have fun! Lisa



    I would not consider a small dog with kids so young, nor a puppy. Something medium sized over at least a year & mixed breeds are a great choice too. Are your kids under control or are the yelling, screaming, running etc in the house? Have they been around dogs enough for you to know how they will behave? Are they good about closing doors? Very important with a dog. Anyone have allergies? Walks several times a week is not nearly enough. At least two 20 – 30 minute walks every day, depending on age & breed often more. Will you have time for obedience classes? How much dog hair can you tolerate? There are no dogs that don’t shed & the low shedding ones need regular grooming with brushing in between. Are you willing to housebreak if needed? Just some things you need to think about before getting any dog.



    I agree that going to your local shelter is as a family is your best bet. The main advantage with purebred dogs is they have similar temperments and diet/exercise needs. Another good point made is not to get a dog which is really small, with young children around it could get hurt or scared too easily. While staffordshire bull terriers keep getting a bad reputation a cross can be an ideal family pet. They are active, enjoy playing with children and can become very protective with them, making them a good guard when your children are old enough to walk it alone. My nephew has had two staffies in his household and I currently have a staffy cross of my own and they adore each other very much. As with all dogs they should never be left unsupervised with children, especaily young.



    I agree. I have got a 9 month old staffy which is my first dog and I have two children. They are great fun and although they need regular excercise, they don’t need as much as some other breeds. They love lounging around and are nick named ‘nanny’ dogs here in UK because they love kids.



    I would love to add a plug for my pup, a Bernese Mountain Dog, but it sounds like you wouldn’t want such a big baby. They can grow anywhere from 75 to 125 pounds depending on the lineage and the sex, they need TONS of excercise and require diligent grooming.
    I agree that a small dog with children would not be a great idea.
    I also agree that a mixed breed from a shelter would probably be your safest bet at the moment. Purebreds tend to have more health concerns, which equals more expensive, and being a single mom with two kids, I’m sure your money is pulled in enough directions as it is.
    If I were you I would look at one year old or older, medium sized short haired dogs.
    I’m sure you children will be super psyched to help pick out the new addition to your family.
    Best of luck!!



    Get a pug, they are by far the most adaptable breed I’ve ever seen!



    Pug might not be a great idea because it can be expensive due to numerous health problems. My suggest go to humane society and talk with a co worker there. They will be more than happy to find you a good companion for your family. I would say any mutts would fine.



    Labrador mix… they come in a variety of sizes, so you can aim for a smaller one. They abound at the shelters and rescues, so many such dogs need a home. They seem invariably to be fantastic with kids- smart, loving, protective and not only tolerant of the rough housing kids do, they love it and join in. Best bet all around.



    I want to thank everyone so much for your replies.
    I think I’ll be making a trip to the local shelter this weekend.
    I looked at the Stafford Bull Terrier breed as suggested, that’s about the size dog I would prefer. Do they shed a lot? Do they bark much? I have all but one neighbor with dogs and they bark all the time!
    My two boys are very active but have been respectful around friends dogs.






    I will share my story of looking for a dog since we are in similar boats and I have been considering this decision for about 2 years. I will need to get a child friendly dog because I want to be able to take my dog with me everywhere (except work) and children are always a consideration in the future. I have decided to use as opposed to just going to the local shelter (although most local shelters are on there) because there is such a huge selection and they usually give great information about the dog and you can narrow down your choices and then go see them. I live in a large metroplex area so this may not work as well if you live in a small town. Most of the rescues on petfinder make you fill out an application and have specific requirements before you can adopt one of their dogs so I know they really care about where the dog goes. I plan to find a few that I like and then when I talk to a person at the shelter/rescue I will tell them all about my situation and let them suggest which dog they think will work best for my family. I know I will easily fall in love with any dog so its exact looks don’t really matter. So, that’s how I’m gonna do it, maybe that will work for you.
    One thing I would like to reiterate, there is no dog that will be adequately exercised with only a walk a few times a week. No matter how well a dog fits in with our lives there are considerable accomodations that must be made to our lifestyles.



    imaginit, just one word of caution here. Before you get to caught up in the pit bull craze, please check with your homeowners insurance carrier & see if they allow them. If you get the dog & they find out later & they don’t allow them, they will make you get rid of it. Also, be sure there are no local ordinances forbiding them. A Staff is the same as a pit for this purpose. Going to PetFinder was an excellent suggestion. Altho there are tons of AC’s & shelters that don’t advertise on there it is the largest of its kind. You should also be able to see if there are any age restrictions on their web page. Good luck & keep us posted



    I agree that a shelter dog or a rescued animal is the way to go. These dogs know you have saved them and will repay you. I have found German Shepherd mixes to be very smart animals and great companions. I had a Shepherd/Akita mix who essentially I could talk to in PARAGRAPHS and he would respond. I now have a Shepherd mix (probably with Border Collie) who is likewise very smart. Both have been very loyal and kind to kids.



    IMAGINIT – With regards to whether staffys shed much fur. They don’t shed too mush as they have short fur and mine doesn’t bark at all unless we are playing with her. I don’t know anything about ‘pit bull craze’ or staffy’s being dangerous dogs in your country but in UK insurance is not a problem for staffys but pit bulls are illegal.

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