Large Breed Suggestions

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: Wed Jan 23, '13 7:58am PST 
I am starting the inevitable task of narrowing down breeds for my SO and I next dog. Unfortunately, Kodie (our s'poo) is getting to that time when we are evaluating the amount of good days and bad days he has. We are the type of people who always have two dogs and so no matter how long Kodie has, be it a month or another year, I'd like to at least start honing in on the best breeds for our lifestyle now and for the next few years.

This is the first time I've had to consider someone else's desires in a dog, since I adopted our boys (Kodie and Toby) back when I was single. As such, an outsiders view is greatly appreciated...I don't want to be bias on my desires outweighing his.

As for what we are looking for it is a rather long list and somewhat contradictory at times, so any suggestions or thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Size: We are looking for something in the large to extra large range. Anything smaller than 55 lbs would be too small for my SO. He loves the extra large dogs, so even 55 looks a bit more medium than large to him, and therefore less preferable.

Temperament and Personality: We are looking for a sociable dog who will either get along with everyone or who can tell friend from foe. I don't mind aloofness to strangers, but I want a dog who will warm up once he gets to know family. Def. more dependent than independent. SO loves them to be under his feet basically, while I prefer a bit of independence.

Training: A dog who likes to learn would be ideal. I've had stubborn and I've had happy to learn news tricks, so either is fine. However, we need a dog who is likely to be okay off leash with proper training.

We visit our families a lot and stay with them (they all have dogs of their own), so a dog needs to be comfortable in a variety of settings. Obviously this has a lot to do with socialization, but a happy go lucky type breed may have an easier time adjusting. All the families have young kids, and my SO and I will probably be starting a family in the next 3 or 4 years so we want a dog who with proper socialization will enjoy kids not just tolerate them.

Activities: We would like a dog who could hike on the weekends, do a couple miles a day walk, enjoy the beach (water affinity a plus!). We also work full time so we need the dog to be okay with this as an adult. He would have company with Toby, and we would end up doing doggy day care a couple times a week and dog walkers during the day. Right now either one of us can hop home for lunch too. We like movies and tv time as well, so a dog who can just hangout would be great.

Additionally, a dog who will fetch good be great. It is not a must but Kodie is extremely toy/ball driven. He drops it or throws it at you, and in his prime he could go for an hour with a doggy chuck-it. My SO loves this about Kodie, and it would be ideal if we could find a breed where finding this level of retrieval isn't impossible to find in a puppy. This is not of huge importance but just something we like.

Health: I know all breeds have their issues, however, I'd like a breed where with proper research and the right breeder we can actually have a chance at a healthy dog. Kodie and Toby are both rescues from shelters, and from what we learned later, Kodie was born at a hoarders house and Toby a BYB. Honestly, health is a big issue for me. Or at least knowing what the health issues tend to be so I can make sure a pet insurance would cover it or we know what to look for.

Looks: Both SO and I love the retriever look, spaniel, and the big teddy bear look (e.g.: berners, neewfie). Prefer long to very short coat, but the contradiction is that I hate shedding (hence why I own a bichon and s'poo). However, I have warmed up to the shedding issue and would just prefer a breed where it doesn't have a tendency to stick to everything. Again not a big deal, and something I realize I need to get over.

Heat tolerance is an issue. We live in the midatlantic, where we freeze in the winter (it is 14 degrees here today!!), and humid in the summer. We love the Berners but we are so worried about the humidity/heat factor! We don't want a dog we can't do anything with in the summer. Obviously all dogs have a limit, and shouldn't be out in extreme heat but we would still like to hike and go to the beach with a dog when it is a bit warmer out.

Soooo with that novel of information, any thoughts? Feel free to let me know if I've missed an area of information that is needed. Thank you!

blues- are- cool
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 3:42pm PST 
how about a collie?
Savannah- (2003-2014)

Noms? Noms?- Noms?
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 4:34pm PST 
Screams Golden Retriever to me. Or Lab. Savannah will fetch til she drops, and absolutely loves water. Most Goldens and Labs are good with strangers and other dogs. Good all weather dogs. Love to be with their people. They do shed, of course. Cancer is the big health issue with Goldens, so something to consider when choosing a breeder. Other than that you want to see tests on hips, elbows, eyes, and heart. And since you like the look of retrievers, they could definitely be a good match.


It's all about- me.
Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 4:43pm PST 
wave We have close friends with Berners cloud 9 and they do Agility with them...not the typical Agility dog...which is why they are number 1 in the nation with theirs.

We live in Pocatello, Idaho...high mountain desert. Our high for today was 11 and the past several weeks we have been in the sub-zero temps.

In the summer, our temps can reach 108 and very dry. Our friends travel with their Berners to Agility trials through out this area....March thru November. They just provide PLENTY of water for them to drink and to play in...you know...they have one or two of those kiddie pools that they keep clean and full.

Their Berners are also registered therapy dogs...wonderful breed.

Barked: Wed Jan 23, '13 5:01pm PST 
Golden retriever yes they shed but its not the little prickly ones that stick everywhere.

Barked: Thu Jan 24, '13 5:33am PST 
Bryce: I hadn't thought of collies, but they are def. an option worth looking into. Do they have any major health concerns?

Savannah: I like the idea of a golden retriever, there are just some concerns that always crop up with them. First is definitely the health issues. Hips and cancer just seem to be the norm in the breed these days. Additionally, I've gotten very concerned about finding a stable temperament amongst a golden litter. Before grad school I worked in animal shelters and the amount of goldens that came in with food/object aggression or dog aggression was, well, I was shocked at the amount. Does it depend on the breeding or are these issues becoming more common in even the well bred goldens?

Sonja: I love the berners. Interesting to know that people do have success keeping them in warmer climates. Berners are also a concern for cancer, it seems almost a given in that breed. Well that and they don't live as long as a lot of other breeds. I would love to do therapy work if possible, so good to know they can be trained for that. Any more cons to the Berners that you can think of?

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Thu Jan 24, '13 9:06am PST 
As to Goldens, cancer is the biggie...most Goldens will die of cancer and if a breeder tells you that they don't have cancer in their lines, run the other way....they ALL do, regardless of type or origin (English Goldens have big time cancer issues too). However, the average age of Goldens is about the same as other breeds their size, that means when other dogs are dying at 11 or 12 of other things, Goldens are dying at that age of cancer.

Hip Dysplasia is far less of an issue if you go to a good breeder who has generations of good hips behind the breeding pair.

With temperament issues, unfortunately resource guarding is becoming more and more of an issue, which drives me crazy since that is one thing that should never happen in a retriever (their original function (retrieving and giving up the bird to hand) is the opposite to resource guarding). I have never an issue with resource guarding and that is due to my dogs' innate temperament. My dogs try to put their favorite objects in my mouth or hands. As to dog aggression, that is a bit trickier since some very well-known studs are known for producing some pups who are dog aggressive. Once again, it is a big No-No as far as the original function of the breed since retrievers were commonly hunted together with strange dogs. My suggestion, besides getting personal recommendations is to look ask for a description of the parents. If they say, "He (or she) loves everyone and has never even growled at another dog" I would be happy, if they don't say that, look elsewhere.

My suggestion about Goldens is that you need to go to a great breeder who has a good reputation in the golden community and happy puppy owners. Most Golden Retriever clubs have a puppy referral person who can guide you to well-bred litters.

Edited by author Thu Jan 24, '13 9:11am PST


Barked: Thu Jan 24, '13 10:27am PST 
yeah, cancer is a problem in Berners too. Our friends have had the majority of their dogs live between 8 to 10 years of age. Olive was 11 when she passed. They did have one of their females die at age 5 from cancer.

Unfortunately, Most x-large dogs (no matter what breed) do not have longevity on their side.

I love this breed....awesome temperaments. They do have a LOT of coat to care for.

blues- are- cool
Barked: Thu Jan 24, '13 3:02pm PST 
no really major ones, like any large dog hip dysplasia is possible.

the is what they call collie eye, or collie nose

nose is nothing more then a bad case of sunburn

collie eye is not really common. parents should be tested. it can lead to blindness

bloat is possible to

Barked: Thu Jan 24, '13 6:11pm PST 
Selli- I want your golden's temperament and love of toys! I just hate that I can't be guaranteed to get that! I have that with Kodie even though he isn't a retriever....though poodles were bred to retriever ducks. He loves, loves, loves toys, but the fun is in the retrieval so he never hoards, growls at other dogs, plays keep away, or anything like that, because he wants to give it me. If we don't want to play he starts tossing toys and balls at us with a flick of his head or he starts going through every toy in his toy box to entice us to throw it. However, I once saw a golden be returned to our shelter twice once for guarding toys, and the next time was guarding a tissue......yes, a tissue. That he then hoarded under a table and snapped at the family over. I just dread getting a puppy that despite socialization grows up to do this sort of thing.

As for Berners, I suppose knowing the health risks is the first step towards being proactive. One question i do have about dogs that large, can they jump into SUV's? I was thinking about our jeep and mastiff's I have seen going up ramps. Are they able to jumps up or are they too heavy? Maybe a stupid question, but I don't want to be trying to lift 125lbs of dog!
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