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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

my partner and I have been thinking about getting a puppy or adopting a dog younger than 6 months. It will be our first dog.
I’ve always been around very active dogs - most of my friends and some of my family own husky’s, cattle dogs, shepherds and Labradors, which made me specifically fall in love with those smart, active breeds.
I’ve spent a good couple of weeks researching those breeds and making sure I understand the commitment and responsibility it will take having a working dog, but now I’d like to hear from experienced owners if you think my situation would be suitable for those kind of breeds.
The dog would live with me and my partner in a 2 bedroom house (ground level) with a very small paved, but secured courtyard.
We live in a city suburb near multiple dog friendly parks, one of them only a 3 minute walk away, the other ones about 20-30min by walk, so there’s plenty of playtime with other dogs and running available.
My partner works evening shifts (5pm - 10:30pm / 5 days a week) whereas I usually work from 10am to about 7/8pm, for 3-4 days a week, so one of us is pretty much always at home. The dog might be on his own for 2-4h for about 3 days a week. I set my working schedule each week myself, which essentially gives me complete flexibility as well.
I understand the dog will need to have at least 1-2h of proper physical and mental exercise a day, which we’re happy to provide, but I’m still worried that our house might not be as suitable as we don’t have a garden where we can let it run freely and secured. We’re planning on moving to a house with bigger courtyard in the next 1-2 years, but currently we’re happy where we are.
I will be the main carer for the dog and my partner will be involved as much as he can, when I’m not around. I intend to take the dog with me wherever possible, if it’s the local dog-friendly pub/cafe/park or my friends. I’m looking for a companion to spend my free time with and I’ll make sure the dog is cared for when we’re unable to do so.
I’m also intending to go to puppy school and continuing dog training classes once a week for the first couple of months or year, depending on how things go.
We don’t have any other pets and no children and are not intending to have any for the next 3-5 years.

I know we can’t offer a big property to run or a farm, but I’m wondering from your experience if you think that our lifestyle and living situation will still make a active dog happy?

I personally really feel ready for this chapter, but I wanna make sure I consider all possible challenges. Any advice or experience with your cattle dog / shepherd would be appreciated.

Also if you have recommendations for other medium to large sized dog breeds more suitable, let me know. (based on my initial preferences)

Thank you all for you help!!
 

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Hello and welcome
Huskys, Labs, and GSDs are very active dogs indeed, and from what you say, they will require more space and exercise than a small area can provide. HUSKYS ESPECIALLY!

In my area (Nevada USA,) Dog parks are not a good place to bring a dog. Too many unruly dogs (and owners) and disease is rampant.

There are many alternative dogs that you can get that would do better and be happier in a smaller area. I have no recommendations but there are many here that can chime in.
Good luck with your search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello and welcome
Huskys, Labs, and GSDs are very active dogs indeed, and from what you say, they will require more space and exercise than a small area can provide. HUSKYS ESPECIALLY!

In my area (Nevada USA,) Dog parks are not a good place to bring a dog. Too many unruly dogs (and owners) and disease is rampant.

There are many alternative dogs that you can get that would do better and be happier in a smaller area. I have no recommendations but there are many here that can chime in.
Good luck with your search.
Hi there!
thank you for your reply!
I live in Sydney Australia, parks here are very safe and friendly usually, especially the ones in my area. But I appreciate your concern.
Due to the hot climate I was more thinking of getting a australian shepherd or cattle dog, those are my preference. I just thought about huskies as I’ve grown up with friends having them when I used to live in cooler climate in Germany and knew too be around active dogs. But Aussie cattle dogs / shepherds are just as active.
So you reckon even with a lot of outdoor activities a small place isn’t ideal? That’s what I feared
 

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My garden is 4 m wide by 14 m long.
But it wasn't designed for letting dogs run around him it's quite Japanese my dogs do go out there for the odd wee but it is not their main space , we take the time to walk about 10 km a day with them.
Of course if your dog is going to spend most of its time indoors at home you need a decent space for it to play in but if you're going to be active and out as nd about with your dog then the space at the house isn't so crucial. I also used to have a border collie who was very active and he had no troubles in this house at all.
 

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Your parks sound good!
I have owned 2 Aussies. One has passed and my other one is about 7 yrs old. They are also very active and intelligent dogs that require tons of exercise. A few laps around the park will just get them warmed up. I have never had a cattle dog, but think they are in the same league.
I have 3 dogs now and they all exercise with each other and have a large fenced yard for them to romp in.
This one passed a few yrs ago
rebba1 11-2014.jpg


This is my larger "Mini" Aussie and he requires the same exercise as the full sized girl did,
250840
 

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. My two bigger concerns would be your fence security and, what else are you going to do after the walk? Some working dogs settle really well, but others need/thrive on a job for the majority of their remaining waking hours. It doesn't necessarily have to be the job they were bred for, but it's got to be something.

I think you have a pretty workable situation that just needs fine tuning. For example, age. While young puppies should do ok with a 2 hour gap, 4 is too long. You'd likely need someone to pop in halfway or choose a pup closer to 5 months.
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum.

As this is your first dog, I'd suggest refraining from a working breed. Not saying it's not doable, but may be a little more than you bargained for.

What about checking out the local rescue centres and getting a medium sized mixed breed? Especially one that fosters their dogs out? That way you're

A) saving a life
B) helping a charity
C) know what you're getting (because a good foster would be able to tell you a lot more about that individual dog)
D) more likely to have lifetime backup and possibly access to a behaviourist if you need one.
 

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I also recommend trying a rescue in your area to see if they have a good dog for you.
It sounds to me as if, assuming you get a dog who is suited to your personalities, you will provide a good home for a dog. An ACD mix might work out well for you, and is probably fairly easy to find there, but I'm not so sure I'd recommend a purebred ACD. See what the rescues and shelters have available. Tell the rescue org. what your lifestyle is and see if they don't match you up with just the right dog for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
. My two bigger concerns would be your fence security and, what else are you going to do after the walk? Some working dogs settle really well, but others need/thrive on a job for the majority of their remaining waking hours. It doesn't necessarily have to be the job they were bred for, but it's got to be something.

I think you have a pretty workable situation that just needs fine tuning. For example, age. While young puppies should do ok with a 2 hour gap, 4 is too long. You'd likely need someone to pop in halfway or choose a pup closer to 5 months.
Thank you for you answer! There’s definitely a lot of good points.
We have a small courtyard, about 2m x 15x / it’s not big, but that pet would be secured. It just doesn’t offer a lot of room for running around.
The job situation I’ve been reading about a lot, that’s one thing I’m worried about, as I don’t know if I can provide enough work to do when just relaxing at home.
I’m planning on taking the first 1-2 months completely off work to settle the dog at home (in case it is a puppy) then after do 2-3 shifts. My work luckily allows this kind of flexibility! So I’d make sure the dog is old enough to be alone for a few hours occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also recommend trying a rescue in your area to see if they have a good dog for you.
It sounds to me as if, assuming you get a dog who is suited to your personalities, you will provide a good home for a dog. An ACD mix might work out well for you, and is probably fairly easy to find there, but I'm not so sure I'd recommend a purebred ACD. See what the rescues and shelters have available. Tell the rescue org. what your lifestyle is and see if they don't match you up with just the right dog for you.
thank you for your answer! :)
This is something we’ve been considering for sure!! I don’t necessarily need a pure breed, in fact would be happier with a cross. I saw an add for a staffy x cattle, which I thought could be a great option. Staffy’s seem to be much calmer in their personality from what I heard?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi, welcome to the forum.

As this is your first dog, I'd suggest refraining from a working breed. Not saying it's not doable, but may be a little more than you bargained for.

What about checking out the local rescue centres and getting a medium sized mixed breed? Especially one that fosters their dogs out? That way you're

A) saving a life
B) helping a charity
C) know what you're getting (because a good foster would be able to tell you a lot more about that individual dog)
D) more likely to have lifetime backup and possibly access to a behaviourist if you need one.
That’s in a fact a great idea! I’ve already been looking online for different rescue places and have been seen a few mixed breeds that sound great. I don’t even really like the idea of getting it from a breeder necessarily and don’t need a pure bred at all - But we were just thinking about getting a puppy or young dog (less than 6 months old) as it will be out first dog and we’d like to train and bond from the beginning. (I know that’s what a lot of people say, but I’m just really excited for all the stages of a dog, from puppy to adult)
I guess we’ll be able to find a fit if we keep our eyes open though. Thank you for your reply!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Your parks sound good!
I have owned 2 Aussies. One has passed and my other one is about 7 yrs old. They are also very active and intelligent dogs that require tons of exercise. A few laps around the park will just get them warmed up. I have never had a cattle dog, but think they are in the same league.
I have 3 dogs now and they all exercise with each other and have a large fenced yard for them to romp in.
This one passed a few yrs ago
View attachment 250839

This is my larger "Mini" Aussie and he requires the same exercise as the full sized girl did,
View attachment 250840
Oh what beautiful pups! Thank you for your response. I love aussies. Definitely one of my favourite breeds, maybe a mixed breed with something calmer might be the right the right fit for us as a first dog and matching our property size.
 

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We have two rescues, a young male shepherd mix and an older female red heeler mix. She has a super chill, easy going personality, and she is not a typical high energy cattle dog at all. She is a great hiker and adventure dog, but some of her happiest moments are on the sofa with her pillow and her people. She would do great in a situation you are describing. My girlfriend got her when she was already about a year old, so her personality was already pretty formed. From the start, she was just a great, reliable dog. I got my shepherd mix at 3 months, and he developed into a really cool but intense and high energy working dog that would not be the best match for your situation.

Would you consider an adult dog or is your heart set on a puppy? With slightly more mature dogs, you can know much better what you are getting yourself into, and it might be easier to find the personality that would be a good match for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
We have two rescues, a young male shepherd mix and an older female red heeler mix. She has a super chill, easy going personality, and she is not a typical high energy cattle dog at all. She is a great hiker and adventure dog, but some of her happiest moments are on the sofa with her pillow and her people. She would do great in a situation you are describing. My girlfriend got her when she was already about a year old, so her personality was already pretty formed. From the start, she was just a great, reliable dog. I got my shepherd mix at 3 months, and he developed into a really cool but intense and high energy working dog that would not be the best match for your situation.

Would you consider an adult dog or is your heart set on a puppy? With slightly more mature dogs, you can know much better what you are getting yourself into, and it might be easier to find the personality that would be a good match for you.
We are pretty set on a young dog. My partner more so than I, to be fair. If the right fit comes around I’d be the last person to deny it only because it’s not a puppy. I have a friend who owns a cattle dog mix, which I’ve been sitting here and there, but he’s already a bit older and calmed down much over the years. Amazing dog.
My brother has a extremely active Labrador with some behavioural issues. He was supposed to be raised in a house with big yard but it took them longer to build it, and so the dog ended up living in a small apartment with not enough activities, for its first 1,5 years, which just wasn’t great. I don’t want that for my pet! Your cattle mix sounds just like what I’m hoping for. Active and fun, but also able to relax when chilling at home.
Maybe a staffy x cattle, or any mix with a non working breed? Do you know what your cattle is mixed with if you don’t mind me asking?
 

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We are pretty set on a young dog. My partner more so than I, to be fair. If the right fit comes around I’d be the last person to deny it only because it’s not a puppy. I have a friend who owns a cattle dog mix, which I’ve been sitting here and there, but he’s already a bit older and calmed down much over the years. Amazing dog.
My brother has a extremely active Labrador with some behavioural issues. He was supposed to be raised in a house with big yard but it took them longer to build it, and so the dog ended up living in a small apartment with not enough activities, for its first 1,5 years, which just wasn’t great. I don’t want that for my pet! Your cattle mix sounds just like what I’m hoping for. Active and fun, but also able to relax when chilling at home.
Maybe a staffy x cattle, or any mix with a non working breed? Do you know what your cattle is mixed with if you don’t mind me asking?
She actually seems very close to ACD, both visually and livestock instincts. But her litter mate that she was found roaming with, looked to be an ACD-boxer mix.
 

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That’s in a fact a great idea! I’ve already been looking online for different rescue places and have been seen a few mixed breeds that sound great. I don’t even really like the idea of getting it from a breeder necessarily and don’t need a pure bred at all - But we were just thinking about getting a puppy or young dog (less than 6 months old) as it will be out first dog and we’d like to train and bond from the beginning. (I know that’s what a lot of people say, but I’m just really excited for all the stages of a dog, from puppy to adult)
I guess we’ll be able to find a fit if we keep our eyes open though. Thank you for your reply!
Rescues get puppies in too. ;) Some are even born in rescue. You just have to be quick because puppies sell like hot cakes.
 

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Well, I don’t think there is much to be said on this discussion!
I agree that you should get a rescue dog. Honestly, an Aussie mix doesn’t sound like a bad idea. A pretty good one actually, especially if it‘s with a calmer breed. So that‘s what I’d go for.
Also, for your age preference, are you sure you can’t extend it up to a year? A 7 month old dog could still be just like a puppy, only a bit older.
Well, that’s all I have to say! Good luck on your puppy finding journey!
 

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Eveee...........rescues and shelters get puppies, too. sometimes a whole litter, or a pregnant female. I don't know how it works where you live, but I kind of doubt it's very different from here, how things work with a rescue in terms of timing. Puppies always go fast.

So the best thing is to send in applications to all of the rescues in your area you might want to adopt from. The process of being accepted to adopt will always take from a few days to a couple of weeks or even more depending on how busy they are and how thoroughly they investigate potential adopters. If you wait until you see puppies on their website, it may be too late by the time your application is accepted.

You may not get a mix you have thought of in advance, but something completely different. I recommend staying open to adopting a dog that is not what you thought you wanted, because sometimes the rescue will match you up with a dog that is not what you pictured, but is right for you.

And..........puppy raising is an adventure in itself! Everyone does it for the first time when it's the first time, so if you are up for all of the things that come along with it, no reason you shouldn't get a rescue puppy if one comes along. We can definitely be here for you when you want to brag on how smart they are, or ask for advice. And we love puppy photos. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Rescues get puppies in too. ;) Some are even born in rescue. You just have to be quick because puppies sell like hot cakes.
Yes exactly, just have to keep my eyes open and be fast :p
Well, I don’t think there is much to be said on this discussion!
I agree that you should get a rescue dog. Honestly, an Aussie mix doesn’t sound like a bad idea. A pretty good one actually, especially if it‘s with a calmer breed. So that‘s what I’d go for.
Also, for your age preference, are you sure you can’t extend it up to a year? A 7 month old dog could still be just like a puppy, only a bit older.
Well, that’s all I have to say! Good luck on your puppy finding journey!
I fully agree! I spoke to my partner about this today, we agreed that a puppy would be nice and all, but that we’ll start looking for anything up to 1 year or even 1,5 years, as long as it suits our lifestyle and personality.
I’m so glad I started this discussion here, helped me a lot to reevaluate the situation and understand what we should look out for!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Eveee...........rescues and shelters get puppies, too. sometimes a whole litter, or a pregnant female. I don't know how it works where you live, but I kind of doubt it's very different from here, how things work with a rescue in terms of timing. Puppies always go fast.

So the best thing is to send in applications to all of the rescues in your area you might want to adopt from. The process of being accepted to adopt will always take from a few days to a couple of weeks or even more depending on how busy they are and how thoroughly they investigate potential adopters. If you wait until you see puppies on their website, it may be too late by the time your application is accepted.

You may not get a mix you have thought of in advance, but something completely different. I recommend staying open to adopting a dog that is not what you thought you wanted, because sometimes the rescue will match you up with a dog that is not what you pictured, but is right for you.

And..........puppy raising is an adventure in itself! Everyone does it for the first time when it's the first time, so if you are up for all of the things that come along with it, no reason you shouldn't get a rescue puppy if one comes along. We can definitely be here for you when you want to brag on how smart they are, or ask for advice. And we love puppy photos. :)
Thank you for the lovely answer! I love this forum already haha
 
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