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  1. #1
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    Need help choosing a dog breed

    I'm finally in a good position to get a dog, but I need some help in picking the right breed. Here are a few qualifiers:

    -Needs to be OK in the house while I'm at work [I live in a townhouse, only have a small back patio]
    -Needs to be OK with my allergies [My Jack Russell used to make my nose run constantly]
    -Should probably be a smaller breed but not a toy/purse type dog

    The ones I've been considering are schnauzers and a couple of terriers [soft-coated wheaten and westies]. Those three are on lists I've seen about being good for apartment-style life and for people with allergies.

    Thanks for the help! And apologies if there's already a thread about this somewhere, the board won't let me search.

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    I know that Maltese are good for people with allergies, but may be a bit too small for you. Good luck in getting one that will work for you.
    I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.~W. C. Fields

  3. #3

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    I wouldn't go with any type of terrier unless you have some space or have the time to really get them out and about. Terriers have a lot of energy, which you probably know since you had a Jack Russell (now known as the Parson Russell Terrier), and they need to get out.

    Any kind of poodle mix (cockapoo, labradoodle (as long as it's 2nd generation or more) would be good as far as allergies are concerned. Lagottos are about 30 pounds and also good for those with allergies. Wheatens (also terriers) can get bigger than the breed standard, and often are.

    I know you'll probably laugh, but I really think Xolos are some of the best dogs out there, and they do come in a coated (versus hairless version). Read about them: http://www.terrificpets.com/dog_bree...itzcuintli.asp

    I'll be excited to hear what you decide! And photos are always most welcome

    O-

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    How many hours do you spend at work in an average day?

    How much time will you be able to spend playing with and exercising the dog when you aren't at work?

    I think those are critical questions, because there are a lot of differences in vigor and energy in dogs. If you get a young, high-energy dog like a terrier and leave it home alone all day, the dog will likely exercise itself by tearing up your house. And even with that, you will need to spend a lot of time working with a dog like that--they require a lot of play and running. If you are gone a lot, I'd recommend looking for a mid-to low level energy dog. You won't spend hours throwing a ball for a dog like that (well, you can, but it won't take the dog long to start looking at you like "Really?") but you will still get some play and a lot of companionship.

    This may help: http://www.selectsmart.com/DOG/

    This book http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=9SZ0slk2EOsC, while it is a little out of date, is a good resource. It was written by a vet who specialized in dog care and he discusses the issues of vigor and energy specifically, as well as many other things like grooming time and temperament. He also warns you to never trust the AKC or like groups and their descriptions of dog breeds, which he considers way too idealistic.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

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    Poodles are good for allergies and are super smart.
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  6. #6

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    I never considered myself a small-dog person, but my mom fell in love with two puppies that were "cavachons" -- a mix between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Bichon. They were brother/sister and she couldn't take the male. So she took the female and asked me if I wanted a puppy for Chanukah.

    Both of our puppies have great traits. They are very smart, energetic and playful, but not hyper like I've found terriers to be. They are bigger than toy size, so I don't think I have an overgrown rat. They also are very affectionate and loving. I am not 100% clear on whether their fur is hypoallergenic; some people say it is and others say it isn't, but it is less likely to trigger allergies than other dogs' fur.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    How many hours do you spend at work in an average day?

    How much time will you be able to spend playing with and exercising the dog when you aren't at work?

    I think those are critical questions, because there are a lot of differences in vigor and energy in dogs.
    If you are going to be away for seven-nine hours per day, five days a week, I'd advise you to get an older dog or use a doggy day care service or have a dog walker come in mid-day. If you are going to give the pup an hour of play/time/training before you go to work and an hour after, maybe you could get away with it. But even a small-breed puppy needs attention (lots!), companionship and play.

    Even with an older dog, someone working that much would have to have a real commitment to getting the dog out in the morning and getting home right after work to get it out again. Seven-nine hours is a long time for a dog to be alone.

    I agree that the poodle is a great choice for the allergies, it is the only dog I know to be hypo-allergenic, although there must be some others. You could get a small one, but not a toy. However, poodles tend to be smart dogs - the standard for sure, not certain about the smaller ones - and smart dogs are more likely to get bored and get into trouble.

    The Westie is a great little dog, but high energy as a terrier. I don't know about the King Cavalier, they are known to be gentle.

    The Pekingese might be an option, if you like how they look and the allergies aren't an issue. They were bred to be decorative and aren't too demanding in terms of attention.

    My neighbours have a Pekingese and a Shi Tsu, and the dogs exercise themselves weary racing around the back yard together, which they have access to at all times. Getting two is a good idea if you will be away a lot. But I don't know how well two such dogs would do kept a long time indoors.

  8. #8

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    Westies are great little dogs. A friend of mine breeds Scotties who I also think are great dogs. She recently had a Scottie and Westie day at her place where I got to meet lots of Westies.

    Not sure about Poodles. Every poodle I have met has been a temperamental little sh*t.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  9. #9
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    I'm allergic to dogs as well and my family has had three Bichons over the years. The smallest one we had was only 6 pounds or so, but I think an average size for the breed is a little bigger. In my experience, they aren't the smartest breed, but ours were all very easygoing and incredibly sweet. I had a Bichon while living in an apartment by myself and had no problems - in my experience, they don't need a lot of exercise, are relatively quiet, and can be fairly low-energy. The best part about Bichons, in my opinion, is that they have great personalities and love people. My Bichon's favorite activity was sleeping on my lap.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    Even with an older dog, someone working that much would have to have a real commitment to getting the dog out in the morning and getting home right after work to get it out again. Seven-nine hours is a long time for a dog to be alone.

    .
    This. I devote a big chunk of my non-work time to my dog. If you can afford a dogwalker or doggie daycare you can have more flexibility I guess but having a dog if you live alone means the dog is your life.

    Of course that's the way I like it.

    I adopt middle aged dogs because they can deal with their person being away during the day. Puppies can't.

    I don't know anything about smaller dogs so I don't know if they require less exercise but even so they need the stimulation of time spent with their person.
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  11. #11
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    I have a Schnauzer/Poodle mix and they are great dogs that meet most of your criteria. However, I use a doggy daycare if I'm going to be out longer than 4 hours at a time (I work partially from home, so that helps). I've never left my dog by herself for a full 8 hr work day, so I don't know how she would handle it. I also have a friend with a Havanese that also seems like it would be a good fit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    How many hours do you spend at work in an average day?

    How much time will you be able to spend playing with and exercising the dog when you aren't at work?
    I spend 8-9 hours a day at work, but I come home for lunch nearly every day (it's less than 10 minutes away). I don't really go anywhere, so I would have plenty of time to devote to him/her.

    I've considered the more "designer" breeds, but I really want to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, so it's been hard to find. Some of these groups aren't very good about getting back with me, and some won't consider somebody who doesn't have a yard.

  13. #13
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    I have two Standard Poodles (they are most assuredly not tempermental---the toys tend to be). They are energetic and when puppies, they were crated about 6 hours/day. No more. As adults they do fine while I'm at work, but that is still no more than 7 hours at the max. I also had an Akita that while a very large dog, is also a very low-key dog. She was fine with my being gone and a good long walk when I returned, but even then I wasn't gone for 9 hours which is not uncommon if you work an 8 hour day and allow for travel time. No puppy, regardless of breed, can be left alone that long and not have problems. Housebreaking alone will be a real issue. I actually stayed home with all my dogs when they were puppies for at least two weeks. I planned my vacation around them and dealt with breeders so I knew when the pups would be ready. This is a critical time in a pup's bonding and housebreaking. I then gradually increased the time at work until they were 3 months old and could be crated for 6 hours. I'm fortunate with my job that I could do this or I would not have got the dogs.

    Do plan before your get a dog. It's excellent that you are thinking ahead. Look into doggie daycares if there are any nearby, but make certain to check them out and that ALL dogs are required to be fully vacinated. I don't use them because of this, nor do I take my dogs to a dog park. My vet and I are in agreement about vaccines which can be as bad as the dz (we do titers on the dogs before giving boosters), but the only way to reduce vaccine exposure is to reduce exposure to other dogs. So, do your homework. Ask questions. And enjoy your pup. There is nothing like a dog.

    And, most rescue groups will not let you have a dog if you don't have a fenced yard. Keep in mind, many dogs from rescue groups or even shelters will need extra care and attention due to heatlh or behavioral issues. That's not to say they won't make good companions, but you have to be prepared for the unexpected. You will know more about the dog's potential health issues if you know the parent's history. And, lastly, be prepared for the expense. Dogs are expensive. If you can't afford quality nutrition and the inevitable vet expenses, don't get one. It's not fair to you or the dog. You really have to factor this into your decision. I would strongly advise against a so-called designer breed. Most of those dogs come from puppy mills and from people with little understanding of genetics or the breeds they are mixing. Many dogs that end up in shelters or even breed rescues came from exactly this background and have the inherent problems to show for it.
    Last edited by rfisher; 06-13-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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  14. #14
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    I have and love Cavalier Spaniels. Most people on this board already know that . with your allergies, I would not recommend one. They shed, a lot! But, they are mixing Cavaliers with Poodles - Cavapoos. http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/cavapoo.htm They have more of a poodle look, curly, non-shedding hair. And they usually don't have the standard Cavalier head - large, wide set eyes, shortened nose. But they are very cute and usually do have a Cavalier personality. Very calm, very loving. They weigh up to 20 pounds.

    I understand you want to adopt, but do not feel bad if you go to a breeder. Yes, saving a dog is a wonderful thing. But, buying from a breeder you will have more information about your dog. A lot of rescue dogs are from puppy mills and inexperience breeders. You have a higher risk of getting a dog with problems. My daughter rescued a pure bred (backyard bred) English Cocker. It is a beautiful dog, but he is a maniac! He is 1 1/2 and still chewing/eating everything in sight - shoes, clothing, underwear, paper. He is not as house broken as he should be at his age. He barks constantly. I love him, but he is exhausting!

  15. #15
    AYS's snark-sponge
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    Quote Originally Posted by ross_hy View Post
    I spend 8-9 hours a day at work, but I come home for lunch nearly every day (it's less than 10 minutes away). I don't really go anywhere, so I would have plenty of time to devote to him/her.

    I've considered the more "designer" breeds, but I really want to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, so it's been hard to find. Some of these groups aren't very good about getting back with me, and some won't consider somebody who doesn't have a yard.
    Don't bother with breed rescue groups. They believe their dogs are of vastly more value than you, the lowly human being. Shelters are best; all breed rescue groups can be good. I live in a neighborhood with lots of dogs in apartments and a lot of them are rescue dogs so dogs are adopted to people without yards.
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  16. #16
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    My parents have had two very good experiences with Michigan's springer spaniel rescue, so I wouldn't paint all breed rescues with the same brush.

    OTH, I have had two experiences with all-breed (non-humane society) rescues and both were unknowledgeable about the dogs they adopted out. One had some pretty severe health problems (who with our time and $$$ lived to a ripe, happy old age) and the other probably should have never been adopted out without serious breed instruction (our neurotic German Shepherd - fortunately, I am an experienced enough dog owner to realize I had no clue as to what I had on my hands and sought help to make sure I did the right things to make her a reasonably well-adjusted dog).

    Humane societies (at least the one I volunteer with) at least have more expert knowledge and possibly time with their animals to be able to properly counsel people on the dog they are adopting.

    Re breeders (and I have owned two breeder dogs), there are good ones and not so good ones. Research is the key.

    ETA - we don't have a fenced yard, and have never had a problem adopting with rescues or the Humane Society (or the breeder, for that matter).
    Last edited by sk8er1964; 06-13-2013 at 04:58 PM.

  17. #17

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    I have a cutie precious maltese and he's fairly smart and has not bothered my allergies. I spent more than many hours at the lab at times(esp lately), even not making home sometimes, but he's been doing just fine. (Any dogs would be fine as long as you make sure they get properly hydrated and fed)

    He's now 5-year-old, and you should also know that I took him in when I had a lot of time to be with him at home(first two years, I think).

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I have two Standard Poodles (they are most assuredly not tempermental---the toys tend to be). They are energetic and when puppies, they were crated about 6 hours/day. No more. As adults they do fine while I'm at work, but that is still no more than 7 hours at the max. I also had an Akita that while a very large dog, is also a very low-key dog. She was fine with my being gone and a good long walk when I returned, but even then I wasn't gone for 9 hours which is not uncommon if you work an 8 hour day and allow for travel time. No puppy, regardless of breed, can be left alone that long and not have problems. Housebreaking alone will be a real issue. I actually stayed home with all my dogs when they were puppies for at least two weeks. I planned my vacation around them and dealt with breeders so I knew when the pups would be ready. This is a critical time in a pup's bonding and housebreaking. I then gradually increased the time at work until they were 3 months old and could be crated for 6 hours. I'm fortunate with my job that I could do this or I would not have got the dogs.

    Do plan before your get a dog. It's excellent that you are thinking ahead. Look into doggie daycares if there are any nearby, but make certain to check them out and that ALL dogs are required to be fully vacinated. I don't use them because of this, nor do I take my dogs to a dog park. My vet and I are in agreement about vaccines which can be as bad as the dz (we do titers on the dogs before giving boosters), but the only way to reduce vaccine exposure is to reduce exposure to other dogs. So, do your homework. Ask questions. And enjoy your pup. There is nothing like a dog.

    And, most rescue groups will not let you have a dog if you don't have a fenced yard. Keep in mind, many dogs from rescue groups or even shelters will need extra care and attention due to heatlh or behavioral issues. That's not to say they won't make good companions, but you have to be prepared for the unexpected. You will know more about the dog's potential health issues if you know the parent's history. And, lastly, be prepared for the expense. Dogs are expensive. If you can't afford quality nutrition and the inevitable vet expenses, don't get one. It's not fair to you or the dog. You really have to factor this into your decision. I would strongly advise against a so-called designer breed. Most of those dogs come from puppy mills and from people with little understanding of genetics or the breeds they are mixing. Many dogs that end up in shelters or even breed rescues came from exactly this background and have the inherent problems to show for it.
    This is excellent advice!

  19. #19
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    My stepmom has a long haired Chihuahua named Dixie. She's loving and very smart. She'll let you know when she needs to go out. She'll also let you know when someone has arrived to visit. I have some allergies, and she's never bothered them even with her long hair. She also does very well if you have to leave for work or run to do errands.
    Angie
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    The Pekingese might be an option, if you like how they look and the allergies aren't an issue. They were bred to be decorative and aren't too demanding in terms of attention.

    My neighbours have a Pekingese and a Shi Tsu, and the dogs exercise themselves weary racing around the back yard together, which they have access to at all times. Getting two is a good idea if you will be away a lot. But I don't know how well two such dogs would do kept a long time indoors.
    Wrong! Pekingese were bred exclusively to be COMPANION dogs and, thus, require a load of attention and companionship. Likewise regarding Pugs. No dog is or was bred to be decorative unless it is made of porcelain.

    O-

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