Originally Posted by violetdelusions
Flat coated retriever
Greater swiss mountain dog
Nova Scotia duck retriever
Entlebucher mountain dog
Breeds/types we don't want:
I know some of our choices are rare and probably unavailable, but I wanted to add them to give an idea of what we're looking for. Ideally, we'd like a lab or retriever for their disposition and love of water (we spend a lot of time near rivers, lakes, and the ocean).
Lastly, anyone know any reputable breeders in Oregon/Washington/Northern California? XD
I'm a little lazy in going through all the posts so if i repeat something someone said, sorry!
For a PSD I would not recommend a GSD. They're GREAT workers BUT being protection dogs, it's very common for GSDs to get washed because they end up feeding into their owners emotions. Ideally you want a dog than can see you in your lowest point and not feel those emotions. Quite a few people have reported needing to retire or wash their GSD PSD because it fed off their anxieties and ended up trying to protect their owner from strangers because it felt the owner was upset and thus it's natural instinct kicked in. Although, if you find a line that has successful history in PSD work or a good trainer, you can work on this. I just heard from a trainer to had to ask her client to wash her GSD out because the poor woman is so anxious her dog became dog aggressive but only with her. When the trainer handled her, she was phenomenal. But as soon as the feels the anxiety her owner has, it's like she's a completely different dog.
Retreivers have an AMAZING work ethic. Very food motivated, very play motivated, love to please, etc etc.
I have a lot of friends who have a difficult time training their huskies. Not bad dogs, just very independent and love to roam. Again, a good trainer to help with this but just something to keep in mind.
I've met some great Viszla's and know a few people who use them in SD work. Be aware of their prey drive. I would try and get a show line, it can be really tough working a dog out of their natural instincts.
I know you don't want an "aggressive" breed but please please please don't look past these breeds just because of their reputation. I see way more bully breeds in SD work than any other breed these days. They're phenomenal, really.
Same with herding dogs for the above. BCs, Aussies, and ACDs make amazing working dogs. But like every other dog, they have quirks. If you have the time for high energy and to work out of their herding tendencies they make great SDs, though they are a little out of your suggested size range.
I have a PSD in training, she's what we believe to be an am staff x acd x retriever mix. Honestly, probably the perfect starter dog for an active person. She's absolutely nuts about the outdoors, I take her hiking every week and she's in heaven there lol. Great swimmer and loves the water. She's great with kids and we aren't really around kids very often. She was actually the hit at my soon to be sister-in-law's baby shower. This kid about 7-8 wanted to pet her so i asked him if he wanted to give her a treat and after that first treat he fell in love. I also had a black lab there and he dissed her for my mutt lol. She takes treats extremely gently, she can take treats from my mouth without scratching, nipping or anything. She had never met him and listened to every command he gave her (granted he only asked her for 'down' 'paw' and 'sit' :P) and at one point they were rolling in the grass together and she smothered him with kisses. He was so excited he had her follow him all around the party showing all the adult how 'cool' she was and showing off her 'tricks.' It was adorable. She's also great around babies. A friend of ours has a 1 y/o who met her for the first time this year. She sat for the mom and let the baby pet her, even gave her a kiss, and when they baby was walking around (still a little stumbly) she gave her space not to knock her over. I never spent time really teaching her to be around kids, this is her natural instinct with them. She's also great energy. Not as crazy as a lot of the herders I meet but not as lazy as a lot of the bully breeds i meet lol. She's quiet when I need her to be and attentive when i need her to be, all the while being the most social dog I have every encountered. She loves all things. She has been attacked 3 times and thankfully has never once shown an ounce of aggression or even uncertainty with other dogs. She's polite in that she will offer her belly to anyone who's unsure of her, she's great at reading body language and energy. I will admit though she has been extremely socialized since we got her at 7-8 weeks. I am a little biased because she is like my guardian angel. She's currently starting her task training and PA, had her first PA outing last weekend and did way better than I expected. I thought she was going to sniff everything in sight but she was able to contain herself.. for the most part :P. She's also gotten a great start to medical alert and response, behavior interruption, dpt, grounding and crowd control. Honestly, her biggest fault is that we need to tone down her friendliness. She did just turn a year last month so I know this will take more time and maturity, but she's not the best at ignoring drive-by pets lol.
Rather than pick by breed I really would recommend writing a list of what you want the dog to do, not just socially but with task training. Some breeds may be a better choice based on what you NEED vs what you WANT. It's always a good idea to look for a trainer with SD experience, they would have some great suggestions based on your needs and lifestyle. They would also be a great resource on picking the specific pup from a litter. Not that you HAVE to hire a trainer to pick out your pup, but it is recommended to ensure you're heading in the right direction. Plus, washing out a dog is no fun
I hope this is helpful for you, feel free to ask any questions and I wish you the best of luck with your search and training!