Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by ross_hy, Jun 13, 2013.
Hey, I'm owned by a schnoodle too! Great little dogs, mine is smart as a whip too....
I adopt mutts from shelters, but I rule out at least 75% of the dogs even before I start. You have to do that if you want to adopt a dog you are right for. I think that researching the characteristics of breeds is a good idea before you decide on a dog to adopt from a shelter because mutts do reflect the breeds that make up their mix.
I can't say I know how you could do it otherwise.
ETA: and if someone who has allergies still wants to adopt a dog, I think its particularly important for them to find a dog that doesn't trigger their allergies and breed mix is going to be the best way to start out to finding a dog that a person can commit to for the long term.
How often do the Bichons need to be taken to a groomer? One thing I read said every 4 weeks, and I'm not sure that I can afford that. They appear to be a little smaller than I was hoping for, but I can get past that.
I've taken several online quizzes to see what some options might be. More than one has recommended a French bulldog. Anyone have a thought on that?
I still am drawn to the Westies. I'm wondering if I get an older one (maybe around 2), he at least wouldn't have the puppy energy and could still be trained. Thoughts?
Thanks so much for all the replies! Proves again that FSU people know a little bit about everything.
We took ours about every 6 - 8 weeks - but I think it depends on how often you brush them. Their hair is very prone to matting, since they don't shed. One of my colleagues has a Bichon who she only takes to the groomer every 6 months.
I think with any hypoallergenic dog, actually, you need to be prepared to brush them and have them groomed on a regular basis.
And grooming costs range from $40-100 depending on where you live. Groomers will charge extra if a dog is matted. A lot extra because it is a lot of extra work. And two-year old dogs have just as much energy as a puppy. If you're looking at an older dog hoping it will need less exercise and attention, you're going to have to go senior citizen not young adult. My 5-year old Standard Poodle is just as energetic now as she was at 5 months.
Frenchies are wonderful little dogs, but all dogs come with their own health issues and needs.
Do factor costs into pet ownership. I can't stress that enough. Even if your pet never has a serious health issue, annual costs for heartworm and flea prevention along with key vaccines and annual checkups will cost between $500-1,000 depending on where you live. One place you can look for a pup is your local vet's office. They often know of available dogs and their health histories. Stop in whereever you would plan to take the dog and get to know them and see what's on their bulletin board.
The heart problem in Cavaliers is mitral valve disease. It is more common in Cavaliers than other dogs. However, it is more common in many small dogs than larger dogs. The CKCSC is taking great pains to breed healthy dogs. The form of mitral valve disease that is genetic occurs in Cavs before the age of 2. Therefore, good breeders do not breed a dog/bitch under 2. I have had 3 Cavs. My second one did develop mitral valve disease. But, he developed it at age 7, so it is not the genetic form. And he was no more at risk than any other dog breed. All dog breeds run the risk of heart valve problems, just as humans do. He was put on Lasix and Prinivil. He lived another 3 years after he was diagnosed. He ultimately died of liver cancer.
Also, all dog breeds have breed specific problems. For some it is heart, for some eyes, hips, spine, etc. If we only chose dogs with no health risk, there would be no dogs to choose.
It can also be their saliva. I am not allergic to dog's dander. But, if some dogs lick me, I get hives.
Many mutts are of unknown breeds. They may have been mutts for so many generations that it's impossible to know the last ancestor that was a breed. Maybe no ancestors were ever breeds. So many dogs are categorized as "shepherd mix" which really means, we have no idea. In addition, the way a dog looks is not that great an indicator of its breed background. As with humans, some physical phenotypes are dominant, so it looks a certain way, but the personality genes are unknown.
When I adopted my late dog, I did no research on breeds, and it was a great decision.
I suggest visiting a reputable no-kill shelter. Those animals have often been there longer, and the staff knows the animals personality better. Good shelters will be honest and open about the animals' personality.
Good for you, but that strategy doesn't work more often than it does and results in people taking purebreds to shelters or returning a mixed breed to one when they aren't happy because a terrier mix acts like a terrier and chases small animals or children or a beagle mix acts like a beagle and they were expecting a quiet companion who doesn't want to chase squirrels and bark. Understanding what you are getting on the front end saves a lot of heartache and expense later on.
If your concern is about the good of the dogs, then you want people who intend to adopt to have an idea what they are getting. Doing some breed research beforehand is a very good idea, even when you go to a shelter to adopt where you can expect them to help you with information about the dogs.
I know that some folks have extreme views about breeding but it would be a while even if all dog breeding were outlawed today before dogs would no longer reflect the breeds of their mix.
People ask me all the time what kind of dog mine is and I say, "no idea" because he's a very muttly mutt. Yet he's a muttly mutt that clearly has lab and shepard and when I got him I knew what he would be like personality-wise in part because of that. I'm not going to a shelter blindfolded so I can't tell anything about the dog who comes home with me!
Of course, I don't do "research on breeds" because I know enough after having adopted four dogs over my adult lifetime from shelters; three of them middle aged dogs. I think people are doing the right thing if they learn about dog breeds before adopting a dog.
Keep in mind that some breeds come with health issues caused by how they're bred to look. Brachycephalic ("short-headed") dogs like pekinese, bulldogs, and pugs often have trouble with breathing, which in turn can cause overheating. There are videos on YouTube where clueless owners have captured the "adorable" noises made by pugs, and how "cute" it is when their bulldog falls asleep sitting up. These are both symptoms of a dog who can't breathe properly; a dog who by design is denied the ability to fulfil its most basic need without struggle. Just because some egghead breeders, kennel clubs and dog show judges decided that a flat face was "desirable" in some breeds.
Also, the curly tails of pugs are linked to spinal deformities, which can lead to problems with manouverability and incontinence. And apart from the heart condition that cavalier king Charles spaniels suffer from they're also prone to syringomyelia, which means that the skull is too small for the brain.
The way I see it, anything that would be classed as a deformity and/or handicap in humans - brachycephaly, curved spines, excess skin, stunted legs, etc - is also a deformity/handicap for a dog (or cat/horse/bird/fish/etc), even if the breeders who have worked hard to get their animals to look like that tell you that's what they're "supposed" to look like. It doesn't mean that the animal in question can't be perfectly happy and loving and adorable, I just wish more people would choose their companions based on personality and how they fit with their lifestyle, rather than what they look like.
So, Ross_hy, if you decide to get a dog from a breeder (I guess hypoallergenic dogs might be tricky to find in shelters), find out what kind of issuses the breed might be prone to, and ask the breeder about them. Have they had their dogs tested for things? How are their previously sold litters doing? In terms of health and temperament, not how many Best in Show awards they've won. It's hard to keep a cool head when there are adorable puppies around, but I don't think anyone here would want to support a breeder who cares more about awards, money, and dogs that "look right" than the health and welfare of the living, breathing animals they're bringing into the world.
And sorry for ranting a bit. Animals bred to destruction for the sake of looks is one of my pet peeves, so to say (be glad no one's mentioned white tigers). I saw a couple of British documentaries called Pedigree Dogs Exposed a few years ago, and after seeing the second one I once dreamt that I was a pug. It was a nightmare, and I woke up literally gasping for breath. I can't imagine being born and spending every day of your life doing that, just because you were bred that way.
Sorry, double post.
Syringomyelia is rare in the US. And technically it is not that the skull is too small, it is a malformation, the base of the skull cuts/curves in too much and blocking spinal fluid and putting pressure on the spinal cord. The discomfort can range from mild irritation and scratching at the neck, to excruciating pain. It is most common in the UK. Cavs in the US are bred larger than they are in the UK. And the base of their skulls are better formed because the dog is generally larger. This is also present in many small breeds.
There was a big to do a few years ago because the winner of the most prestigious Brittish dog show was a Cav with syringomyelia. This dog became very popular for studding. Not good!
I have a purebred german shepherd (rescue, no papers) and as idiotic as her backyard breeder was, at least she has a normal back. However, the show standard here in the States is to have this unnatural sloping back. Our neighbors have two that they breed (also backyard breeders), and the poor things look like they have so much trouble walking with those low back legs.
My Heinz 57 was a private acquisition (a friend of a friend's parents passed away and she couldn't keep their dogs, I had just closed on a house and wanted a dog). My purebred, though not papered, Pembroke Welsh Corgi is from county animal control. Around here, the county shelter will often be a majority of purebreds-mostly hounds, some toys, and there was a GSD in the last time I cruised through. (Though frankly how he made it to adoption row I have no idea. His behavior was not confidence-inspiring.) At our county, once they make it to "adoptable" they're there until taken. There are plenty of dogs never given the option (unclaimed bull terriers and other pit-type breeds are all euthanized if they're not claimed by an owner and are never available for adoption.) And it can be very hard to gauge behavior and temper in a shelter situation, plus even when they allegedly know the dog's "history" they can be wrong or missing important information. Responsible breeders (and AKC, NEVER CKC as that's pretty much admitting to not being a responsible breeder) are well acquainted with their dogs and can give a reasonably confident guarantee what the new owner is going to get, health and general behavior wise. And they will take back puppies who do not work out.
Purebred are not why there are so many dogs in shelters (let alone why there are so many mutts in shelters.) People who refuse to spay/neuter their unregistered, unworked/unshown pet-quality animals and don't take care to make sure the dogs never have a chance to breed are the reason. Nonregistered/CKC-registered 'designer breeders' who produce mass quantities of dubious animals are.
I would not, by the way, necessarily recommend a Corgi for the OP--the behavior would probably work out, but Corgis have two shedding seasons, both six months long. The amount of hair is staggering.
This is my impression, though I haven't researched it. Puppy mills and dogs not spayed/neutered are the things that contribute to there being so many dogs without homes. Responsible breeders are not the problem as far as overpopulation is concerned (breed standards are a different issue.)
I guess you could say that every dog adopted as a puppy from a breeder means a shelter dog without a home. But I just don't feel its up to me to be that judgmental on people who who decide for the breeder option. I'd rather just applaud everyone who gives a dog a good home.
There are always hounds at the shelter I go to. I love them, but I always rule them out beforehand. I simply don't have the right situation for a hound. I know this because I've learned about hounds. Not to repeat myself but to repeat myself, so let me repeat myself, I think its really good to know ahead of time about breeds when adopting from a shelter because many of the dogs do display characteristics of breeds that are in their mix.
The first dog I adopted from a shelter I didn't really know anything. We'd had a spaniel growing up so I was looking for something like that. There was a nice little 5 month old puppy there and my mother said, Oh that looks like our kind of dog. So home he came.
He turned out to be a German Shorthair Pointer mix--this was obvious if you knew anything about breeds but then I didn't. And a GSD is nothing like a spaniel in terms of behavior even though both are sporting dogs.
I loved him; he was the greatest companion for 15 years but I'd never adopt a GSD again. And a lot of people would not have kept him through the first two wild and crazy years, I'm quite sure.
I saw a couple last night with a Weimaraner and a Hungarian Weimaraner. They made a gorgeous pair. I'm talking about the dogs. So jealous!
To the OP, after your breed research, definitely go to the pound or local humane society. I have no statistics for this, but I think that mutts are healthier and hardier. Of course they may eat sticks and rocks like other dogs who end up at the vets, but you don't hear about them with displasia or other chronic disorders.
It's good to see you are realistic about what you'd need.
That would be because no one tracks them. A dog who's half a breed prone to displasia can still get it, but no one keeps records on it. There's a myth that mutts are "healthier", but the reality is they get cancer, kidney failure, shorter/longer lifespans based on the breeds they come from just like any other dog can.
Mutts can be great dogs. Mutts can be sickly or viscous dogs. The major difference is if you're getting the dog from someone who either doesn't know the history or hasn't spent a lot of time working with the dog, you can't predict its behavior or potential health risks based on knowledge of the breed. The average animal shelter doesn't have the time or resources to work extensively with each dog, so you are risking a lot on your own ability to assess the dog. The whole "gotta save 'em all" mentality regarding shelter dogs in recent years can lead to people winding up with dogs they don't know how to deal with that aren't appropriate for them.
Agree with this entire post. Would add that because people rescue dogs they cannot handle, some dogs wind up back in the shelter.
True. Its a nice myth about mutts being healthier but it really just depends. You can adopt a dog from a shelter and find it has a serious health problem. That's the case with my current dog. My last mutt/rescue dog died of kidney failure unexpectedly.
The key thing is to know what you yourself are able to deal with, what kind of dog you can best provide for, how much risk you are able to take. Do a lot of research and thinking ahead of time. Go to a shelter if that's right for you, or a reputable breeder if that is what is right for you.
If you are concerned about there being more dogs than homes, please have your dog spayed/neutered. Treat your dog as he/she deserves. These are the things that matter.
A big problem is that many people impulsively buy or rescue a dog. Or they get pressured by their kids. Then it doesn't work out. So, the dog gets sent away. Too many people do not get that they need to choose a dog that is suitable for their lifestyle. Do they work long hours? Do they have children, and how old are they?
My dog was not neutered until recently, he is 6 years old. We were considering showing him, but changed our minds. And, I had read some articles that neutering dogs can sometimes cause genetic health issues to occur at a younger age. My vet worked on that theory, at U. Penn Veterinary School. He said that it was inconclusive, but there is some merit to it. And, if the dog is behaving well, no reason to neuter him. We eventually did, because his prostrate became enlarged. Neutering resolved that. I think the biggest reason there are too many dogs are puppy mills, not owners neglecting neutering/spaying. The puppy mills fill a market. And people buy them. As long as people buy puppies bred in such appalling conditions, unhealthy and unstable dogs will wind up in shelters. Not saying that dogs bred by reputable breeders don't ever have health problems. But, they have a much better shot.
Dogs are amazing animals. They love unconditionally. All you have to do is love them back .
I think I'm leaning towards Schnauzers. From what I can tell, they would be good inside the house as well as for allergies. I also read that their hair needs clipping only twice a year. Does that sound accurate? Also, do they do a lot of barking?
Have you considered a Shih Tzu? My sister has SO many allergies but she had owned Shih Tzus for years and has no reaction to them whatoever. An adult Shih Tzu weighs anywhere between 11-16 lbs. Yes, they do have long hair, which requires grooming. That may, or not may be, a problem for you. But, if it IS a problem, you can always keep the dog clipped in the "puppy cut," which is really cute (short). I think maintaining the "puppy cut" requires trimming 3-4 times a year. Shih Tzus have hair, not fur. They shed very little and have much less dander than most breeds. Just something to think about ....
Well, plenty of people who adopt purebreds turn them into rescues as well.
I got both of my two dogs from people who might be considered 'backyard breeders' since we couldn't afford the cost of a breeder. The first was a lab shepherd cross, the second a golden retriever without papers. The third dog was the puppy of my neighbours, who live in the basement suite - an odd mix of Sharpei, blue heeler and border collie. She was never intended to be my dog but was taken from her mom too young due to extenuating circumstances. She spent the first few weeks of her life with me and my other dog, and became my dog.
I like to start out with a puppy because of the bonding that occurs. And I intend to get a puppy for my next dog - probably a golden from a breeder this time - because I really want to train a dog right for once. I didn't really formally train my first dog and got the second when the first was aging and having health problems. I didn't start training her formally (with a train) until she was 3, and never did get the desired results.
Next time, I hope to get it right - and am holding off getting a puppy until I'm done working with the older dog, as my trainer suggests.
I make no apologies for this. A dog of mine will never go to a shelter barring death or dismemberment, and that is one less dog in the shelter. And, I choose my breeds/mixes with care to make sure they fit with our lifestyle.
The next puppy will probably be my last (I'm almost 55) and after that, I'll get older shelter dogs.
Oh, yes, you are right. That's why this is so important:
I'm just the opposite (at the same general age). I think maybe I'll get a puppy when I retire because then I can devote time to it. I get older dogs in part because they are capable of spending more time alone and don't require the same amount of time for training.
I have to say, though I strongly encourage anyone who can take on the expense to get a middle aged or older dog, that my experience has been that it will be costly in terms of vet care. The three middle aged/older dogs I've adopted have been the most wonderful dogs you can imagine but I'm on number three, and only had the other two 3-4 years each. Its definitely not for everyone. But if its for you, its more than worth it.
ETA: ross_hy I don't have any personal experience with schnauzers, but I do know that in my neighborhood of apartments and working people, there are quite a few of them. They are lovely little dogs. Well I assume you mean the little ones. There's a giant schnauzer down the street from me too; the folks got it as a puppy and boy did they put a lot of work into her! But she's turned into a lovely, if BIG!, dog.
My old skating coach had a mini-schnauzer (I think she was sort of...well, it started out as his mother's dog and he somehow wound up with it.) Dog thought it weighed 300 lbs and was a guard dog.
My parents have a bichon frise as well and they both work full time. Very cute little dog and again, hypoallergenic.
It's difficult to get numbers because people have their agendas. Researchers at universities are less likely to have conflicts of interest, so I've relied on those papers for these statistics. All statistics are for the US in one year.
Number of planned puppy births in private households (mostly breeders): 3.38 million
Number of unplanned puppy births in private households: 2.60 million
Number of puppies bought at pet shops (almost all puppy mills): 170,000
Obviously, many dogs born at puppy mills never get a home. But if you do the math and compare the number of puppies bought at pet shops vs. the number of unplanned births in private households, that's a difference of 2.43 million. To calculate their numbers, puppy mills first estimate how many they can sell and go from there. For the number of puppy mill births to equal the number of unplanned private household births, puppy mills would have to produce 14 times more puppies than they can sell.
Unwanted births from unspayed/unneutered kittens are an even bigger problem.
Some places, like Santa Cruz County, require spaying/neutering unless you apply for an exemption certificate. In the ten years following the enactment of the law in Santa Cruz County, the number of dogs taken in by shelters decreased 65%.
If you don't spay/neuter your pet, you better have a damn good reason for it.
Well, I've taken the next step. I applied to a couple of rescue groups about either a schnauzer or a bichon frise. The only reason I applied to two was because I applied to one before and they have never gotten back with me and balked about my lack of a yard. Therefore, I didn't want to put all of my eggs into one basket.
Thanks for all the help on here! I'll keep you posted.
Follow me on Twitter: @OlympicRoss
Pet store owners unfortunately keep the puppy mill business alive. The puppies at least get out and have a chance of a good life - it's the moms kept pregnant constantly, living their entire life in a tiny cage, that are truly heart-breaking.
I believe that California does not allow pet stores to sell puppies. If pet store owners would stop using puppy mills, they would cease to survive. I've never understood how pet stores could support puppy mills. And there mark-up is already three times that of breeders some time. I know someone who spent $3000 on a young Pekingese puppy and $2000 on another that had been there six months. That poor puppy grew into a dog with a lot of problems.
That is a brilliant idea. More places should implement the same requirement.