Help me narrow down my choices!

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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Barked: Sat Oct 27, '12 10:49am PST 
What do you do if you like ALL dogs? I can see my self owning virtually any dog breed there is.... it doesn't mean it would be a good descision lol but I just love and appreciate all dog breeds for what they are!

However, I think I need to narrow my choices down to a few potential breeds. My personal background is that I have had experience with both terriers and labs... and they both don't gel with me. I loved the labs and terriers I grew up with, but those are two breed (types) I can see myself not owning. As for lifestyle, I go to school for 2-3 hours in the morning, and work 4 hours in the afternoon/evening. I am decently active and can give a dog a good long hour walk a day, or multiple shorter ones. I live in an area surrounded by both water and forests, so a breed that can be a "get up and go" kind of dog would be perfect. I also love to socialize, so a dog that can be around people (I know EVERY dog needs socialization, but some breeds are more people dogs than others) at the same time I am a single woman, so a dog that is naturally alert would be great.

Basically my "wants" are:
Low shed/low grooming
trains fairly easy
can be around people but still slightly protective
around 26in or larger (love big dogs) but smaller ok too
and is NOT a "heartbreak breed"
not a dog aggressive breed
low prey drive

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Sat Oct 27, '12 11:06am PST 
Have you thought about a pet-bred German Shepherd (one that is not from working lines)? Of course they do have their health issues so it is wise to find a reputable breeder to ensure a healthy dog. They do shed but a nice brushing a couple times a week should help keep that in check. Besides being a good size and sociable, they would probably love the water and forests around your home and would also be a good deterrent for a single woman. There are also breed-specific GSD rescues you could look into.

Since your criteria isn't too narrow, have you considered looking into rescue mutts? There are many older and younger dogs (puppies as well) in rescue that would fit your criteria, and many large black dogs (which are "intimidating" in appearance).

Edited by author Sat Oct 27, '12 11:07am PST

Star BN RN- RA

Barked: Sat Oct 27, '12 3:57pm PST 
I would take a couple different "breed selector tests" and then give us more info, the tests (although not all that great) do give you more things to consider that you might otherwise not even think about. I would also look into a rescue, most rescues get puppies and young dogs along with the older guys, heck there is a dog that I know in a rescue in my area who would be PERFECT based on your description (im in MD, if your close pm me and i can give more info on him).

There are a bunch of breeds which match what you want; most breeds in the working fit your needs (depending on coat of course), some in the herding (like the GSD and some others), non-sporting, and even some hound breeds would work (i know they are not known for being trainable but my doxies are wonderful ob/rally/agility dogs!).

A lot of the aggression towards dogs and people will be based on you and the amount of socialization the dog gets.

Member Since
Barked: Sat Oct 27, '12 4:31pm PST 
The dogtime selector gave me:
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Black Russian Terrier
or (if including small dogs)
German Pinscher
Portuguese Water Dog
Standard Schnauzer
American Water Spaniel

The Eukanuba test said my perfect dog is a Sussex Spaniel

The Animal Planet Test said my perfect matches are:
German Shorthaired Pointer
Caanan Dog
Chesapeak Bay Retriever
German Wiredhaired Pointer
Gordon Setter

Its all over the map! smile But, I was consistant answering the questions they gave me across all of them, so the algorithm they use to "match" is obviously vary different for each site!

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 10:40am PST 
I'd be hesitant to recommend a German Shepherd since the first thing on your list of wants is low shedding. Brushing and a good diet help a lot but whatever you do, they're going to shed a fair bit. They also often have a decent bit of prey drive, so you'd need to specifically look for one with low drive, and even GSDs from great breeders end up with health problems fairly often.

Many of the giant breeds are fairly laid back as far as prey drive, but they also tend to have more than their share of health issues, so a good breeder would be a must. What about a Smooth Collie? Very trainable, shedding isn't too unreasonable, and you could probably find one with lower end prey drive.

Unless you're set on a breeder dog, I agree a dog from a shelter could easily fit your requirements. Any dog with erect ears is going to look alert, and big, black dogs often get adopted last, if at all, so you should have a good selection. Although honestly, any large dog is generally going to be enough of a deterrent, even if it's light colored with floppy ears.

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 10:43am PST


Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 1:30pm PST 
One thing about GSD is that they are NOT low shedding. They are one of those dogs that is constantly dropping hair, much like a labrador, and requires frequent sweeping, vacuuming and lint-rolling. I work with a lot of dogs that are crated for the same period of time .... when the Shepherds get up, you can definitely notice A LOT more hair on their crate floor. Just something to keep in mind smile

I have an Australian Shepherd which is my perfect breed - just the right amount of friendliness, spunk, energy, and loyalty that I need. Larger breeds that I love include Rhodesian Ridgeback (amazing dogs) and Dobermans (though very different from Aussies and may not fit your needs).

What breeds do you like yourself? I have never trusted breed-selector tests, they sure are fun to play around with, but my ideal dogs are never in my top answers .... I always get something obsure that I will likely never own - like a cocker spaniel or a Canaan dog. Also, its very important where you get your dog - responsible breeder or a reputable rescue organization are your best bets for a solid, even-tempered dog. smile

Member Since
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 2:22pm PST 
So my "dream" dog breeds are: American Staffordshire terrier, American Bulldog, Black Russian Terrier, Bull Terrier, Borzoi, Boxer, Black and Tan coonhound, Greater Swiss Mountain dog, German Pinscher, Hovawart, Ibizan hound, Irish Wolfhound. They don't really have much in common and it's difficult to choose just one! With the exception of the Borzoi, BRT, and the Ibizan hound, I have met one if not several of each breed! Basically how do you CHOOSE! I mean... I'm going to not have a dog forever if I am being this indescisive! However, I know how much work goes into a dog, and I want to get the "right" breed to fit with my lifestyle.

Edited by author Sun Oct 28, '12 2:32pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 2:34pm PST 
I know not all of my dream breeds meet my "criteria", I guess that is why you call them dream breeds lol!

Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 4:02pm PST 
I think its great to have dream breeds .... I have a long, very diverse list running through my head - not that I'll go out and buy all these breeds tomorrow, but they are nice to keep in mind when the time is right.

Here's my take on the ones you posted:

American Staffordshire terrier - High energy, chewing-crazy, sweethearts! They are not very tall (for your heigh preference), but stocky. Also not recommended if you rent (unless you have a generous bank account that opens your opens for suitable properties). Dog aggression can occur, so early and constant socialization is a must.
American Bulldog - I love them! So sweet and lovable ... really big goofballs. They can also be easily discriminated against and stubborn to train. I've known a couple that were good off-leash, but prey drive (including small dogs) can be an issue. Also very common in rescue though - so you could easily adopt a wonderful adult! smile
Black Russian Terrier - Don't know much about them .... they seem like too intense, driven, and working of a dog for me.
Bull Terrier- Don't know much either ... though a friend of a friend shows and loves them, just be aware of health issues.
Borzoi- Love sighthounds and borzois are amazing dogs. They can't be off leash (unless in very controlled, safe circumstances), and aren't the most obedient breed.
Boxer - Smart, usually very stable breed. Young Boxers are full of energy and need routine and training. But they can be wonderful family dogs at a young age and great for families. I think they meet most of your criteria too. I would definitely look into this breed smile
Black and Tan coonhound - Training can be a challenge as they are independent thinkers. And they have a loud bay and high prey drive. Wouldn't recommend them off-leash either. They shed a moderate amount and do have a bit of a doggy smell. But often they sweet and lovable, and available in rescue!
Greater Swiss Mountain dog, German Pinscher, Hovawart - not familiar with enough
Ibizan hound - As with Borzois, I love this breed. They are such incredible, funny, smart dogs ... full of zest and a playful attitude. They can be a challenge to own, and a fenced in yard is highly recommended.
Irish Wolfhound - Huge, sweet, and very pony like. Lovely dogs, not always the most playful with others but should tolerate strangers. Can have a high prey drive too...and their size might be an issue since they do take up a lot of space (and nearly everything you buy will cost more).

Hope that helps a bit smile

Member Since
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 4:14pm PST 
Thats pretty much the gist of my own conclusions. I might got sighthound route as they tend to be lazy buggers when at home, and I wouldn't feel so guilty being gone during the day. shrug But Who knows! Its SO HARD choosing the right breed, I can't be the only one that feels like that? smile
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