|First, Hi. I've read, at this point, over 2000 posts here.
Second, I would very much like help with our choice of breed. We're most likely getting a puppy from a breeder (not yet chosen - there are so many to sift through!). Yes, we're prepared to wait for months/years, which is why it would be great to pick a breeder sooner rather than later.
The following is all the information I think you'll need, but if you have any questions, I will answer as best as I can. If anyone who has owned or experienced both a Rottweiler and Doberman could chime in to explain their differences to me, that would be fantastic. Or maybe, Tiller, who seems to be magic here, could do the topic justice. I haven't yet found a post on the subject.
Kid safe (I know this is socialization, but some breeds are more naturally inclined than others)
Cat safe (controllable prey drive – *our* cat(s) are sacred, disinterest would be nice for everyone else's)
< 2 hours of exercise per day
SSA, DA – it'd of course be nice if the dog was tolerant...
Grooming – a blown coat twice a year is okay; weekly or biweekly trips to the groomers are not
Size - closest to medium is preferred
We're relatively small in stature and weight – both < 5'5", 130 lbs.
Handler soft preferred – SO is not nearly as good at enforcing boundaries as I am. SO is learning.
What I am looking for in a dog:
Aloof with strangers
Discerning – low reactivity, steady nerves, a studier
Protective – will back it up
Relaxed dog indoors
I view dogs first as having a purpose: protection, next as a source of fun: play. They are to be well-mannered and under control at all times – it may take a full 4 years to get them there (and the rest of their life to keep them there), but fun is never at the expense of self-control. Fun comes out of impulse control. I can give them the world if I can trust them.
What my SO is looking for in dog:
Affectionate – cuddly, adores owners
Isn't scary (No really. I had SO meet some Dobermans to prove that they are "nice." She likes them now. )
My SO views dogs as cuddles, affection, and general fuzziness. Dogs are trained so they are livable, but no high precision is necessary, because SO has no high demands. She has only experienced mutts from the shelter that were saved because they looked sad or wouldn't otherwise be adopted.
Current living situation:
Own a townhome with small yard (under 300 square feet)
Lots of open green spaces within walking distance
One 12-year-old cat
SO works full-time, outside of the home
I work (primarily) from home, but could go back to full-time, outside at some point
We typically do our exercising indoors
There are a lot of great places to walk near us, but we are disinclined to walk about after dark without a dissuasive presence accompanying us.
No children yet; no immediate plans
What we're reasonably prepared to do:
We are prepared for a 30-minute walk in the morning, possibly play. We are prepared for 45-minute play, walk, and interaction for the dog's sake at night, not including any interacting/exercising that are just a part of life together. To be honest, if the dog loves to play, they will most likely get more than 45 minutes at night. My love of play cannot be understated. We still want the flexibility, however, that if one or two days of walking/etc are missed occasionally (talking biweekly/monthly basis), we do not have hell to pay. That's not fair to the dog.
I would like to do Mondio/PPD-type activities with the dog, but I'm not going to commit to that. Achieving that level of trust/relationship/control with the dog seems awesome, joining a club/competing does not.
The dogs we're considering:
We have considered a Beauceron and pit-type mutt from the shelter. I excluded the Beauceron after hearing that the dog needs to be run on a treadmill (every day, for hours) if not worked in sport to be manageable. We cannot make that commitment. The energy needs, temperament, and prey-drive of a pit-type dog are also not a great match. We have been told that they will run for hours and that most "have never met a stranger."
So now I think it's between a Doberman and a Rottweiler.
Rotts are large, have health issues, and can be incredibly stubborn/dominant. They also have lower energy needs than a Dobie. Dobies are slightly smaller, but have health issues and higher energy needs. I'm also not entirely convinced that they are any less dominant than a Rott.
I have Rottweiler experience from growing up. I now see where our family went wrong in his socialization/training process. I also know that having no legal responsibility for him is very different from raising him myself. I am prepared for that. I know how dominant/stubborn they can be. I'll be honest, I don't know (yet) how I would problem solve every issue, but I'm not sure how to do that with a 15-lb. dog, either. It'd be something I asked about *before* getting a puppy. I have no experience with the other breeds we're considering beyond the occasional out-of-control-because-it's-not-exercised-enough pit-mix. I have always admired Dobermans. For reference, I consider beyond my abilites: BRT, KBT, GS/SS, Malinois...
Edited by author Thu Jul 19, '12 6:08pm PST