Planning ahead-looking for the right breed

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Member Since
Barked: Sat Sep 1, '12 4:30pm PST 
Hello, I'm hoping to get a dog in a year or so, so I am starting to do my research now.

I would like a medium to large size dog, that has plenty of energy for going on walks, jogging, playing at the park, playing frisbee etc, but still knows when to 'chill' at the end of the day. I would also like a dog that is friendly and sociable, intelligent and easy to train.

I was originally looking at Border Collies, but it seems they don't have much of a 'chill' mode lol. Is there such a thing as a somewhat mellow BC? I've also been researching Australian Shepherds. Do you have any other breed suggestions?

I am planning to adopt my future dog, so I could always wind up adopting a mix, or something else entirely =)


Edited by author Sun Sep 2, '12 6:16pm PST

Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Sat Sep 1, '12 9:37pm PST 
Labs and Golden Retrievers might fit your bill. They can be very active and boisterous as young dogs, but generally have a pretty good "chill mode" once mature (and provided enough exercise and social time with you.)

Super-duper trainable, ball and frisbee lovers too (since they ARE retrievers.) Some people seem surprised at how athletic these common couch-potato breeds are- but it's because most of them never get the chance to live up to their full potential, and they're easy to overfeed and make obese, which slows them down (since they love food). Keep a Lab trim, give him serious exercise every day, and you'll have a killer canine athlete. They also have a reputation as dumb- not so! Both retriever breeds are tops in competitive obedience, as detection dogs, guide dogs, SAR dogs, etc.

I love Aussies too, but keep in mind, many are NOT friendly or mellow, they can be kind of intense and always keyed-up. Not ALL of them, but it's common enough in the breed. Often one-person or one-family dogs, fairly territorial and sometimes intolerant of strange dogs. A typical herding breed, in other words. smile

I think if you're looking to rescue, don't let breed labels influence you too much- often shelters get them just plain wrong. Or a dog may not be a typical representative of their breed. I would just try to keep an open mind and find a dog with the traits you want. They're definitely out there. Lots of mutts that will go jogging, play fetch, and be plenty bright.

Gunna get \'em!
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 5:28am PST 
Hi guest! I agree with Bruno. If you truly plan on providing a good amount of exercise, and you really want to rescue, a lab or mix thereof would be a great option. They're abundant in shelters BECAUSE of their energy and train ability. People bring them home and don't realize they have a working breed that has energy. From your description here, it may be a great place to start!

Also, if your town allows them, a pit mix may work well too. Pit bulls are full of energy and life, but let me tell you, they are the first to snuggle up to you at the end of the day. They can make awesome frisbee and ball players (they love to play!) and many are mixed up with lab. My parents have a labXpit cross that they adore. He lives on their farm and is sooooo gentle and friendly with everyone (except stray dogs). He also follows them all over 400 acres by running next to the ATV. If that isn't athletic, I don't know what is! laugh out loud

Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 6:56am PST 
Ok, these suggestions are only because I'm on a sighthound kick right now, but anyway:
Ibizan Hound

I'm not sure if you have or are planning on having small animals in the future, but it's something to consider before looking into sighthounds. Of course I'm not sure exactly if you prefer them or the Retriever family of dogs...in which case:
Golden Retriever
Flat Coated Retriever

Herding types:
German Shepherd
Old English Sheepdog
Rough Collie big grin

blue dog

Edited by author Sun Sep 2, '12 7:05am PST


It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 10:16am PST 
I'm a bit biased but there's alot of AmStaffs out there who need homes...Sophie will hike for miles, can leap like a gazelle and turns into a big lap dog when we get home.
We had a BC for a few years and she even ran in her sleep, BC's can be quite um...energetic...beautiful dogs though

Love me.
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 1:35pm PST 
I'm pretty sure Twist is a BC mix. As a youngster, he was quite the handful; but once he got past age 2 he matured and now has a wonderful 'off' switch indoors, but is still like an energizer bunny outdoors.laugh out loud I think a mix would be a great idea, there are a lot of them. There are also lot of pit bull types as others mentioned in shelters that would make great pets. You could also adopt an older pet that already has a known personality...and not have to wait the 2 years or so for them to chill out a bit, lol.big grin

If you like BCs, have you considered Australian Shepherds? eta part 2, yah just reread where u already mentioned the Aussies. I think they would make a good choice. Have you looked into any of the Spaniels? Some of them might be a good match.smile

Edited by author Sun Sep 2, '12 1:39pm PST


Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 4:32pm PST 
Australian Shepherds might be a good match for you - but you just have to well-prepared (which I am sure you will be) to finding the right individual.

All the Aussies I have known have been friendly and non-aggressive. They probably won't run over to a stranger and start licking their face ... but they shouldn't be overly timid or reserved. I think they are the perfect balance of social and smart - my Aussie WANTS to meet new people (and of course - ALL new dogs), but he will run up, stop within a few feet, and then approach with caution (often with a wiggling butt first lol). I wanted a dog that would listen to me over other people and bond closely with the family... but never show aggression if a small child caught him off guard.

I wouldn't ever describe him as intense - but compared to other dogs he has a lot of energy. When he's running in the woods with his friends off-leash, he's usually the crazy one running laps and trying to get all the other dogs to play. But if I were to switch directions and call him, he's be by side in a second. If I let him run off-leash for an hour alone or 30 minutes with other dogs he's mellow indoors and fine with a bathroom breaks, and a couple 10 minute fetch sessions for the rest of the day.

I'm definitely a dog-person and don't mind spending my free time doing dog-related activities. Aussies love to be with their people which is a trait I love - others might not.

Anyway, since you mentioned you want to rescue, just beware that you may see dogs with personalities that are on the extreme end of the "acceptable" spectrum (as in the desired characteristics as described in the standard). This might include separation anxiety, food possessiveness, timid/anxious behavior in new places, barking, etc. But increased issues in rescue dogs go for all breeds and shouldn't necessarily deter you if that is something you strongly want to do.

Once you find a breed you know you'll want, I would start getting involved with the breed's rescue club as soon as you can. That way, when you do get a new dog you'll be much better prepared (and perhaps be more confident what you want) and the adoption advisors will already know you.

Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 4:37pm PST 
I would advise against a sighthound if you want a really "doggie" dog. I loved my Whippet mix's personality - she was super sweet, loved to cuddle and bury herself under the covers. I'd like a purebred someday, but they aren't the "hardiest" of breeds. They might not like too much activity (they need exercise - but are very lazy once they've had enough) and aren't always trustworthy off-leash (high prey drive, independent mind). Greyhound in particular don't have a lot of stamina for activities and would rather lounge on the couch after a walk than start training. And they NEED coats, boats, snoods in the winter & fall (depending where you live). Whippets and Greyhounds are wonderful companions, but they might not want to do all the activities you'd like your future dog to do.

Member Since
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 6:16pm PST 
Thanks for all the information and advice everyone! It's all been very helpful =)

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Sun Sep 2, '12 6:37pm PST 
If you are seriously interested in border collies, and in rescue see if you can't find a reputable rescue group. Volunteer to be a foster for a while and see what you're getting yourself into. Border collies can be lived with as pets.. but you have to be prepared to keep them interested. It isn't so much about physical exercise as is about mental exercise. Sports like agility, flyball, tracking and so on can keep a dog entertained. But you can't only want to be a weekend warrior with them. You have to be prepared to come home after work and do something with your dog. They're fun dogs but they're a serious responsibility to live with.

Baring that you might look into a rough or smooth coated collie. They can be fun, and active without being overboard.
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