Is My Husband Asking for Too Much in a Dog 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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Marlowe, RN,- CGC

Seize life by- the big stick!
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 10:44am PST 
Hey everyone, haven't been on in a while, but am in a dilemma and thought I'd drop in and ask the smart people on here.

We're looking for a second dog to help keep Marlowe company and to be more my husband's dog, since Marlowe is very much "mine". I had assumed we'd get another Curly, but he's decided that there are things about Marlowe he doesn't want in "his" dog. Soooooo, let the new breed search begin!

His Criteria:

--Very smart and trainable, learns new things quickly
--Low/medium grooming requirements
--Not a drooler
--Absolutely perfect with kids of all ages, intuitive understanding of how to behave around them
--Friendly but low-key with strange people, very affectionate with family
--Able to go pretty much anywhere and be around strange people, dogs, and other animals without drama
--Able to be off-leash without running off
--Calm in the house
--NO Obsessive ball/herding/play/working drive; Marlowe is obsessed with retrieving, and hubby hates that he won't just hang out and chill if there's even the slightest chance we might throw something for him. (I just congratulate myself on having a proper retriever. wink)
--People are the most important thing to the dog. Hubby wants to be the absolute center of the dog's universe, and wants his approval to be as much or more of a motivator than food or other rewards. He wants a dog that lives and breathes to make his people happy, and is just as happy to perform a command the 100th time as the first.

I told him that he's asking too much, that most breeds were bred for a specific purpose and have those internal drives that need to be satisfied outside of just doing what the people want to do. Of course, I think Marlowe, in all of his quirky, pushy, serious, goofy, independent, sweet, obsessive, give-you-the-middle-finger-if-you-ask-for-the-same-command-too-many- times glory, is the perfect dog, so I'm biased.

We've been through the breed lists and keep coming back to Smooth Collies and Golden Retrievers, but I've met Goldens that were hell on wheels. I've never been around Collies.

Any thoughts on how these breeds match up, or suggestions of breeds we may have missed?

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 10:57am PST 
*Most* dogs that have that deep need to be with people are usually working dogs, specifically herders and retrievers. I'd say that maybe a smooth collie is your best bet; MOST of them have phenomenal temperaments and many of them don't have that intense working drive that other herding breeds have.

They're a very sweet breed on the whole, and MOST of them adore kids.

I don't know whether they are as velcro as what your husband would want, though. They LOVE people, but they aren't an in-your-face type of dog like labrador retrievers are, for example. then again, I don't like labs at all, so I don't see the appeal in a dog that *NEEDS* to be around people like those guys do.

Golden retrievers really shed alot. They are not a medium maintenance dog when it comes to coat.

Honestly, you guys may want to check into collie rescue and see what you find. It seems that he has some very specific requirements, and sometimes puppies don't always turn out as planned.

I am making a bet with myself that someone suggests standard or mini poodles to you all. Any reason why you aren't going with a poodle? You've already got one curly breed, why not two?

Edited by author Tue Jun 26, '12 10:59am PST

Hucky and- Ringo

Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 11:10am PST 
LOL. Seems everything your husband wants in a dog (except the obsession to play) is right under his nose, the Lab. My Ringo is everything you described. Huck is half lab and half rottie and is everything also, except the desire to play.He could do without chasing a ball or frizbee. He's more on the lazy side. I'll chase the ball when I want to chase the ball and not when you tell me to chase the ball. Maybe you should look into a lab mix. Ringo is definetly a mammas boy and althought Huck loves me, he tends to be more of a daddys boy. Good luck. I'm curious as to what you decide.thinking Another suggestion is that maybe your husband should consider a stuffed animal.laugh out loud

Edited by author Tue Jun 26, '12 11:23am PST


Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 11:29am PST 
Research the Chinook breed... They're quite expensive as they're very rare but I'm pretty sure everything you mentioned is everything that is desirable about the Chinook puppy

Good luck though, that's a rather long list lol.
Maci & Harley & Jigar

Golden butts
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 11:31am PST 
What I think is the hard part with his requirements (and I would love for a breed suggestion otherwise though) is he wants a dog that loves to train and will be happy doing tricks, obedience, whatever for hours. A dog like that is going to have a high drive and who is really going to want the reward...meaning they will be obsessed about something smile

Gunna get \'em!
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 11:52am PST 
From what I just read, his requiements scream smooth/rough coated collie. I think Tiller did a thing on them once that you may want to try and look up. They thrive on their human affection and "get" training. From what Toller was saying, a WELL BRED collie is pretty much "the" perfect family dog. They're child-proof, brilliant, extremely biddable, and not crazy herdy like, say, ACDs, for example.

Note that they do suffer from extreme separation anxiety if left alone too much, so make sure you and hubby have time for him. Their sole goal in life (again, remembering Tiller's words here) is to take care of their family.

This isn't a breed you want to buy from a terrible breeder, though. Find a top-notch breeder to avoid some of the other health issues inherent in them.

You're hubs list of requirements looks a lot like mine! LOL! wink And I have thought for YEARS that a collie would be a perfect match!

Another breed he may consider (minus the grooming requirements) is a standard poodle, or mix thereof. Doberman (American bench bred) may also appeal to him--they are known for being incredible and ultra protective of their family babies. They're terrors as puppies, but when they "flip a switch" owners can't seem to get enough of them!

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 12:59pm PST 
I adore Collies (they are my second favorite breed) and in many ways they fill the bill, but for a couple of points. The smooth collie is a bit harder and drivier than the rough collie, but the rough has all that hair and upkeep is tons of work. They adore their humans and would give their lives for them, but they are not the repeat a command a hundred times kind of dog. I have a friend who competes with her Collies in obedience and she has told me that they don't like repetition.

I do think there is a basic issue that willingness to work (repeat commands) is a part of driviness.

I also don't think a poodle would work. They also are not dogs that thrive on repetition and are more self-centered than a Collie (or many breeds) so they are less likely to have that intense need to please their human.

This may be a situation where Tiller would recommend an American GSD, maybe not. A Dobe may also work in terms of the bond, but I am not sure about repetition.
Marlowe, RN,- CGC

Seize life by- the big stick!
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 2:31pm PST 
Thanks everyone! We considered the GSD and the Dobe, but worry about being able to bring them everywhere and have them be around our in-laws' animals when we go on vacation. I know SSA can be an issue with GSDs, and I'm worried about them with our cats. Besides, it's such a minefield trying to find a dog in that breed right now. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Dobes, but hubby doesn't want a dog that people are going to be afraid of, and there's still a lot of prejudice towards Dobes by people not familiar with the breed or dogs in general (basically, our entire family).

Standard poodle has been considered, and hasn't been rejected. If we kept it clipped short, that would be fine. I haven't spent enough time around them to really get a feel for them. At shows, they seem so self-possessed and aloof, but I know they can be big, goofy clowns.

I asked him again about the repetition, and he back-pedaled a little. He said the important thing is that the dog does commands because he asks it to, not because it's expecting rewards. (I asked him if he'd still go to work if they weren't giving him a paycheck, but I don't think it really sank in. wink)

Whoever said "stuffed animal" might be on to something! BOL!

Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 2:31pm PST 

Although some (read, not all) can be difficult to housetrain once you get over that hump they match everything else he is looking for to a T.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 2:46pm PST 
Actually, I'd be far more worried about a doberman having SSA then a german shepherd. especially a male doberman. german shepherds are a wonderful breed of dog, but they're alot more intense then a rough collie.

german shepherds aren't friendly, either. aloof is really how a stranger should perceive them.

also, there really shouldn't be a whole lot of difference temperament wise between a rough and smooth collie as they're born in the same litters here in the US. it should really just be literally that one has a short coat and one has a longer coat, and then whatever individual genetics the parents bring to the table.
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