Doing my research for a potential First Dog...

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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Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 10:59pm PST 
Sorry, I missed reading you would prefer a larger dog.

A greyhound might be good for you, maybe an ex-racer, as most of them are homebodies who just like one nice burst of exercise a day. They also tend to get along well with other people so that would be good given the dog will be hanging out with your roomates. They do tend to prefer a quiet atmosphere.

The only consideration is their prey drive, some can never be let off leash because of their chase instinct, but that's fairly easy to manage.

Some local laws also require them to be muzzled in public.

ETA: As for chows, I still don't think this is the dog for this particular situation. It will be spending a lot of time with other people while the OP is away which I don't think is ideal for such a loyal, dependent breed.

Edited by author Fri Oct 5, '12 11:05pm PST


Have Beach, Will- Swim
Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 11:35pm PST 
I just realized, would a Greyhound be ok around my roomates rabbit? He is a house rabbit and therefore is prone to wandering about; any dog could potentially be kept separate from him very easily, but it's something I need to keep into consideration.

You guys got anything to recommend in the medium dog size range?
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 11:57pm PST 
Oooh, no, maybe a greyhound would not be a good choice with a free range bunny. However, you might find the odd one who is. A rescue will be able to help you with that. As I understand, as a coursing dog, their instinct is aroused by fast moving prey. A slow moving house rabbit might not garner any reponse at all. Ring a greyhound rescue and ask, maybe?

Your first choice the Shiba would be no good either, and I think eskimo dogs, being spitz, have high prey drive too.

Another idea might be a medium sized mutt or mix who has been fostered with small animals and a family, so you absolutely know what you're getting as far as prey drive and human friendliness goes.

Natasha - 美花- ~Beautiful- Flower~

Let's play tag!- You're it!
Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 12:03am PST 
I'm sure with training, a Greyhound *could* be safe around a free-roaming house rabbit, but I wouldn't recommend it. Any dog *could*, with training, be safe around rabbits, but breed does play a strong role here(but of course, NO dog should ever be left alone with the rabbit!). And since the rabbit was there first, it's needs and well-being should be considered in which breed of dog you decide on. Sighthounds and some terriers in general should probably be avoided unless you learn of an individual who is known to be safe around small animals(foster homes should know this). Has the rabbit been around dogs before?

I would recommend a Rough or Smooth Collie, but my only experience with the breed is the three months I've owned Natasha. She is an awesome dog, but has great anxiety around loud noises and people. I do not know if this is a breed thing or not, I always assumed it was because of the way she was raised(in a cage near a very busy, loud street).

Do you know of a particular type of dog you would be more interested in over the others, such as spaniels, setters, terriers, hounds, retrievers, etc? thinking

How do you feel about Cocker Spaniels, Gordon Setters, English Springer Spaniels, and English Setters?

Edited by author Sat Oct 6, '12 12:10am PST

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 12:50am PST 
If you got a rough Collie, I'd recommend a rescue as they DO need plenty of exercise - from my experience, an hour a day wouldn't cut it for many herders, including Collies. But there are ALWAYS exceptions to the breed. Always.

I own a Beagle with two rabbits(Beagles were bred to track rabbits). My rabbits are very safe with him, but ONLY because I take precautions. My rabbits ARE NOT free-roam and are actually only allowed roaming time in my spare room where there's a door and I usually lock up my dog when the rabbits are out just for the extra safety measure. Keeps the rabbits safe and my dog from getting overly excited - he ignores them if they're in the cages, but all bets are off if they're hopping around and actually a visually MOVING prey. So... Greyhound would be iffy and definitely not recommended if the rabbit is a free-roamer.

I like the sounds of a Cocker Spaniel for your situation. Generally sweet, affectionate and fairly laid-back when it comes down to it.

If it wasn't for the rabbit, I'd go out on a limb and even suggest a Basset - but I'm not entirely sure that a Basset would do well with a rabbit either(once again would be up to the dog that makes the exception).

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 3:34am PST 
As a general rule, I would stay away from terriers and hounds, with a rabbit in the house. Yes, there are exceptions, but generally speakingsmile

You may want to think about your long term future plans as well. Dogs can live 15-20 years and things do change in that space of time. Things like significant others, future children, different living situations,ect. Having said that, here are some ideas.

I have no personal experience, but I have heard that Labs can be very good with other animals and of course with people. I checked out Petfinder in Boston, and they do have some Labssmile

If you want to go even bigger, how about a Bernese Mountain dog? They are good with everybody and everything. The downside is the potential health issues, but that can be mitigated somewhat with a good breeder.

Another choice ( and possibly my next dog) is a Standard Poodle. big grin Good with other animals , people, intelligent , amazingly versatile, and the bonus of non shedding!

A medium size choice could be a Pug, also good with other animals and people.

Now , just to throw it out there wink a Chi or Chi mix could be an good choice for a small dog. They are usually awesome with other animals , can be great with other people( although as a general rule , not so good with children) but would still be "your" dog at the end of the day smile

Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 6:47am PST 
I was thinking this over .... and you know, there's no reason you can't visit multiple breeds in person! I highly recommend you attend a dog show - even if you want to rescue. It's a good place to get an idea of a wide variety of dogs. Most people (unless they are about to go into the ring) would love to assist you. It's also good to have a general idea about their breed, but people who are passionate about their breeds will be able to give you great information. And visit local shelters too ... a mutt might perfectly fit your description too.

Breed Selectors are funny. I use them for fun - but the breeds I'm recommended are usually ones I have absolutely no desire to own. Like a Brittany, Cocker Spaniel, or Standard Poodle. They are lovely dogs on paper and ones I should like .... but my in-person experience and feeling with those breeds is very different. Standard Poodles are athletes - if you are looking into them, they need A LOT of exercise and mental stimulation .... very, funny smart dogs too!

I volunteered with a Greyhound rescue in the other part of the state for 4 years and owned a whippet mix. If you go through an adoption group, they are very hesitant to adopt to someone who is still in school or undergoing major life changes. The other option is to get one directly off the track, but thats difficult in quarantine MA due to the laws and because theres no tracks here. Wouldn't recommend it to a new grey person. It's very, very hard to find a Greyhound in this state that isn't associated with racing.

Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 6:48am PST 
And just so I can plug in Chows again .... my female lived with a free-range rabbit for six years! smile

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 7:14am PST 
I will recommend a Keeshond here too! They are beautiful, sweet, friendly, relaxed, not overly prey-driven. They need lots and lots of brushing though.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sat Oct 6, '12 7:19am PST 
For the record, here's the skinny on Chows:

WIDELY over and POORLY bred, so if getting a puppy you need to go to not a good, but an exceptional breeder. As a breed they suffer a lot from misunderstanding and mismanagement... which isn't wholly the fault of the dog's. Chows are a SHARP breed, meaning their tolerance for improper handling is low and they have no qualm with letting you know it. They are not what I would consider a "serious guardian" breed, protection isn't something on the mind 24/7, though they are certainly capable of those instincts and have the ability to back them up if they so choose. They are fluffy, bear-like little dogs and that is their ultimate downfall.. because as much as their physical appearance screams "TOUCH ME!", they absolutely do NOT appreciate being groped my strangers. And yes, they CAN be snappy in those circumstances, especially when not bred and raised with absolute precision and perfection.

I love Chows, grew up around them and will own them someday down the road. And I honestly don't think one is a BAD choice for you in your situation, as many of the things you are looking for can be met with a Chow. However, as someone who has not dealt with dogs like this before, you would seek out an older rescue who has been in a foster environment long enough to know the full details of the dog. Pick a dog from that scenario who best fits your lifestyle and temperament requirements, and I think you would be quite pleased with this breed.

Its hard, outside of that suggestion, to really recommend breeds to people who want large protective dogs, but also can only commit to a certain amount of time/training with them. Truthfully, any OLDER rescue of just about any breed could potentially fit your criteria, its just a matter of selecting a breed YOU like and trying to find the right individual for the job. You haven't said your heart is set on buying from a breeder, and that you don't have to have a puppy... so really, your options are wide open.

One thing I can recommend to you as well, is check out your local German Shepherd rescue. For starters, being a painfully popular breed the rescues are typically overflowing with them... so you have a broad enough selection to choose from. Look for older dogs, maybe 4-5 years old, who are starting to slow down but are still alert and spry. They are a working breed, but there are plenty of GSD (especially mature adults) who would be fine with an hour of running a day, and bumming around with their family for the remainder. They are protective, but not shut off from people, VERY attached to those they consider family, and can be good around rabbits/cats/etc barring you select the right individual and take care to introduce them properly.
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