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Hi everyone, my name is Livi and I'm brand new to this forum. I've read the rules, but please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong!

I'm graduating college this May, and I would like to get a dog of my own now that I'm not going to be at school 24/7, but I want to choose a breed that won't make myself and the dog miserable if it isn't a good fit for my lifestyle.

Size: I'm okay with medium sized dogs, but really like big dogs. I am a 6ft tall female, who will be living alone. I'm strong enough to control and lift a big dog, I have an SUV, and I would like a possible stranger deterrent because I will be alone (because of size, not aggression). The only small breed dog I would consider is a French Bulldog, but I hesitate because of their health issues.

This will be my only dog for now. No cats.

Behavior: I don't want to have to deal with any dog or people aggression issues, if at all avoidable. I don't have the training experience to handle those types of problems and I'd like to visit dog parks.

I would like a dog that likes to be near me and to be loved on. Not super interested in the aloof personality type. "Velcro dog" would be nice. Dog would travel with me.

Coat: In terms of grooming, nothing excessive. I can deal with shedding but would rather not have to do high level grooming every day.

Activity: I can do a 45min walk in the morning, have a dog walker come by around lunch time, and another hour walk after I'm home from work. Plus I love fetch, so I could do that for at least an hour after work too. Some hiking and bike rides on week ends but that's the extent of my activities. I am interested in urban mushing and possibly training a dog to pull a bike, but that's a project for a little farther in the future. So, a dog that would be happy and comfortable within those levels (~3 hours exercise on a good day). I don't want a mental, under-stimulated dog on my hands.

Breeds I'm not interested in:
Labs (family has had them forever, looking for something new)
Pitbull (I love them, but i've had trouble finding housing with a pitbull (owned b my cousin) in the past)

Breeds I'm thinking about but am not sure:
Doberman: I really love the look of dobermans, and their velcro dog personalities, but I want to be sure I can handle the energy level and like I said, don't want to deal with aggression issues. Would a doberman work for me?

Great Pyrenees, Vizsla

Irish Wolfhound: hesitate because of the short lifespan. Not sure if only getting 8 years would be enough for me.

LASTLY: I will be adopting from a shelter or a rescue, not buying from a breeder. Would be fine with ages 0-4, nothing older than that.

Any suggestions? Breeds I should stay far away from?
 

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Dobies are great dogs and they shouldn't be aggressive. I did consider them but they are a bit more active than I was looking for. How about a rottie? A dane meets most of your wants, but they can have a shorter lifespan and health issues. But a healthy diet and lifestyle along with a dog from good breeding can counter that. My dane is still young, just over a year but she is amazing. Velcro for sure, she always wants to be near or touching. She is smart and learns quickly. Very friendly, but because of her size many people avoid us. I couldn't imagine not having a dane, I've found my breed. Some danes can be very active, but will chill out too.

As far as aggression goes, with any breed, it is more of an individual thing. It can happen in any breed. Some dogs are leash reactive and that is mistaken for aggression.
 

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I have to say that unless you plan to dedicate all your free time to your dog, a Dobie would likely not fit. They are SUPER smart, typically high energy and I've met quite a few (at least from rescues) who are prone to dog-dog reactivity and not really the best breed for a dog park. They are fantastic dogs but I think at this point in your life one might be overwhelming. I would say a Vizsla would fit better than a Dobie but they're rare so you're probably not going to find any in a rescue. If you do, it will likely be elderly, special needs or have serious behavior problems. The same goes for Irish Wolfhounds, who are also very rare. I don't think a Great Pyrenees would be a good fit. They are flock guardians so they are typically more on the aloof side, and they shed like CRAZY.

Personally I think a retired Greyhound would be perfect you. They're calm, affectionate velcro dogs, do well in apartments, large, have short hair/minimal grooming, and are happy with moderate exercise. You can easily find Greyhounds for adoption under age 5 in rescues across the country. I WOULD say caution on the dog parks though, because retired racers can have a deadly predatory drift (instinct to chase and kill small animals) that can be very dangerous. But depending on the dog and size of dogs in the park, it is sometimes ok.
 

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If you're planning to go through a shelter / rescue, I'd suggest you contact them (you may be able to visit a shelter, but rescues often have dogs in foster homes) explain what you're looking for, and meet some of their dogs. Breed is less important than the individual dog when you're considering a rescue.

There's a really nice article about the difficulty of identifying breeds in mixed breed dogs, but I can't find it now (of course). One of the pictures is of a basenji, cocker spaniel, and their offspring who look nothing like either parent (more like pointers, maybe). Found the picture: https://animalfarmfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/aff-2.png?w=554&h=415

As suggested above, a dark-colored, male greyhound could be a good choice. One of the other retrievers might work for you, but I'm not super familiar with them other than their temperaments are a little harder than labs and goldens. I'm not sure how easy they are to find in rescue, either. A smooth collie might work, too.

I'll put in my usual plug for a standard poodle. A larger, dark-colored male in a super shaved pet trim would be a visual deterrent and easy to care for. My smaller girl has a surprisingly deep bark.
 

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I agree, if you're looking to go rescue/shelter, I would explain to them what you're after. There is surely a mixed breed out there that would meet your needs.

As far as your listed breeds, GPs are very aloof, they like to patrol their space and are quite happy to be doing their own thing. Vizslas and Dobes (at least the ones I've met) are extremely high energy. The Vizslas I've met are also a little bit anxious. Irish Wolfhounds are quite rare. It's difficult to find a breeder, let alone one in shelter.

What about a Mastiff? Big dog, short coats, and pretty friendly (My Aussie is BFFs with one). Or maybe a Great Dane?
 
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i second poodles, because they're awesome, they're adapting easy to all kind of lifestyles and they don't need loads of grooming if you keep coat short.
they're fun, they're not seen as "scary" by people, which is very relaxing and they usually don't a big amount protection drive, which is also better for most people looking for a companion dog.

Short hair Collie could perhaps also be something to look into. I'm not really knowledgeable about them, but the ones I met were great.

Pinscher breeds and schnauzers could work when you're willing to exercise them and train them properly, I'd not consider them as typical beginner dogs, but they're not totally difficult either.
You've got to be okay with the chance of preydrive though.

Viszla's are hunting dogs and so of course often they've a bit prey drive too and depending on how strong the drive is there's the chance you can never let them walk without a leash.
They're said to be very active so you have keep in mind to keep them exercised, eventually find an alternative for hunting to keep their mind occupied.
like Dobermänner they're also said to be handler-soft and you've got to be careful to not be too harsh with them.

the Pyrenean Mountain Dog has been bred for a very different purpose than the rest of the dogs.
he's a dog that is bred to think, decide and act independently of the owner, instead of working very closely together with him, like the Dobermann, Viszla and Poodle.
While the Dobermann also is bred for protection and for this needs the ability to make it's own decision in case of danger he's much more people orientated in the way he works than the PMD.
they can be territorial too, which can be great or terrible or great depending on your living situation.
it's a big dog with a certain protection drive and with an own mind, so they're not the greatest for every family but can be awesome dogs for some families. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for all the responses guys!

In terms of your advice, I hear what you're saying about Dobermans, and I might definitely wait until I have a stable household and job situation before I own one, but I'm still very interested in the breed for the future.

I agree that Vizslas and Wolfhounds will be next to impossible to find from a shelter and thanks for the info about Great Pyrenees!

Your suggestions:
Greyhound- They sound wonderful, but I just don't love the looks of them, to be completely honest. Very skinny and whip like, almost skeletal I'm just not a fan. Thank you for the suggestion though!

Rottie - I know absolutely nothing about this breed other than they have a bad wrap and definitely look intimidating. Is there a reason they have this reputation (like I said, I want to avoid any aggression problems if possible), or have they been unfairly judged?

Great Dane - will definitely consider, but I'm still a bit wary about health and lifespan, especially since I won't be buying from a breeder so I can't be sure about genetics.

Poodle - Again, this is just not a look that I'm personally fond of, so I probably won't go with a poodle.

Mastiff - Any mastiff breed in particular? English mastiffs look particularly delightful, though I've never had to deal with drool before so I'm not sure if that's easy to get used to or just sort of icky all the time.

Short hair Collie - Intriguing! I've never considered a collie before, but these guys are super good-looking so I'll definitely do some more research.


Mixed Breeds: I'm definitely open to a mixed breed dog, in fact I'm pretty sure most dogs I'll consider from the shelters will have a mix of breeds in them. I just want sort of a baseline breed to start my looking from, if that makes sense.

Any more thoughts on: (These are just dogs that I like the looks of, but haven't extensively researched- feel free to shoot them down if they aren't good for me!) I'm pretty fond of pointed ears and tallish athletic, lean builds in my ideal dog.

Bernese Mountain dogs?

Boxers?

White Swiss shepherd (I saw someone on here mention the breed and they sound fantastic, though rare so I know I might have troubles finding one)

Leonbergers?

Samoyed? (These guys are fluffy, and I know I said I didn't want to deal with a bunch of fur but for a good dog I could, but temperament wise?)

Weimaraner

Wirehaired Pointers: I just really like the look of the faces on these guys.
 

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Now, I haven't met a ton of these dogs, but I'll give you my two cents on the ones I have met:

Boxers - Very high energy. They can go way longer than my Aussie or Border Collie. I find their energy to be more on the high-strung/anxious side which I don't really like, but maybe that's just the ones I've met.

Berners - Very sweet dogs. I really like them, and that is a true testament of their personalities, because there is one at doggy daycare that I freaking hate, but I still love the breed in general. Very fluffy though, decent amount of brushing.

Leonbergers - Stunning dogs. There's a couple who go to a dog park every Saturday, and they brush them there because the amount of fur that comes out is INSANE. There will be huge clumps littering the park until the next time they come back. Again, fairly aloof.

Samoyed - I really like Sammies. They're not called "Smiley" for nothing, they are SO sweet. The only issue is that the ones I've met, do seem to enjoy barking.
 
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Rotties have earned the reputation. This is not to say they aren't great dogs, but they are powerful dogs with intense personalities who can be territorial, resource guarders and reactive to both dogs and people. They're also not a breed that I would say in general does well in dog parks. Sometimes other dogs will target certain larger dogs just because they look intimidating too, even if the Rottie is nice. Again, they can be great companions, family dogs and even service dogs, but if they're not socialized or trained well they can be deadly.

You have to keep in mind that you said you want a rescue dog. You're going to have a lot of trouble or =no luck at all finding healthy/young Leonbergers, Smooth Collies, Wirehaired Pointers, White Swiss Shepherds or Berners. You might be able to find Weimeraners, and MAYBE Samoyeds. You can find White German Shepherds/White Shepherd mixes, but not specifically the Swiss one. I think a Mastiff type might fit but all dogs over 100 lbs typically don't live longer than 10-11 years, so that would be no different than a Great Dane's lifespan. Plus the drool is gross. Boxers might fit well too and you can find plenty of purebreds and mixes in shelters. They can be a bit crazy though if you're up for that. If you like the Wirehaired Pointer face you might like Schanuzers. They have a similar type of face and beard.

Also I'm not trying to be judgmental but try to look past appearance when it comes to dogs. Because truly, a Greyhound would fit just about everything you want. I'm not going to try and pressure anyone into any dogs they don't want, but look past appearances and instead spend some time with certain dogs even if you don't like the look. It might surprise you.
 

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Rotties have earned the reputation. This is not to say they aren't great dogs, but they are powerful dogs with intense personalities who can be territorial, resource guarders and reactive to both dogs and people. They're also not a breed that I would say in general does well in dog parks. Sometimes other dogs will target certain larger dogs just because they look intimidating too, even if the Rottie is nice. Again, they can be great companions, family dogs and even service dogs, but if they're not socialized or trained well they can be deadly.

You have to keep in mind that you said you want a rescue dog. You're going to have a lot of trouble or =no luck at all finding healthy/young Leonbergers, Smooth Collies, Wirehaired Pointers, White Swiss Shepherds or Berners. You might be able to find Weimeraners, and MAYBE Samoyeds. You can find White German Shepherds/White Shepherd mixes, but not specifically the Swiss one. I think a Mastiff type might fit but all dogs over 100 lbs typically don't live longer than 10-11 years, so that would be no different than a Great Dane's lifespan. Plus the drool is gross. Boxers might fit well too and you can find plenty of purebreds and mixes in shelters. They can be a bit crazy though if you're up for that. If you like the Wirehaired Pointer face you might like Schanuzers. They have a similar type of face and beard.

Also I'm not trying to be judgmental but try to look past appearance when it comes to dogs. Because truly, a Greyhound would fit just about everything you want. I'm not going to try and pressure anyone into any dogs they don't want, but look past appearances and instead spend some time with certain dogs even if you don't like the look. It might surprise you.
I agree with what traciek88 said. If you're looking for a rescue, breed doesn't matter as much as the individual dog. Some of the breeds you've mentioned aren't common in rescues, so you'll wait a long time to find one and even then, it's not guaranteed it's the breed claimed.

I'd also set aside looks for the moment. I swore I'd never have poodles for multiple reasons - appearance being close to the top of the list. But, the suit me and fit into my life well. They're still not my ideal look, but they've grown on me.

What matters is that you find a dog you can live with for the long term. Again, if you're looking at rescues, look at the individual dog. Is his temperament one that meshes with yours? Can you live with the dog in front of you.

Boxers, vizslas, and pointers likely will need more mental and physical stimulation that you can provide (based on your post). Leonbergers, samoyeds, and white Swiss shepherds are not often found in rescue (at least in my area). A berner might work, but again, they're not common in rescues.

If you want an older dog, you might consider contacting breeders to see if they have dogs they are rehoming. They may have been returned or maybe didn't work out for the breeder's goals.
 

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Tracie mentioned schnauzers, and I assume she mean a standard of a giant since you said you wanted a big dog. While they fit some of your criteria I absolutely no not recommend them for a first time dog owner. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastic dogs, just not easy dogs. And unlike some breeds, you will pay for training mistakes.
 

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I don't know anyone who has one or have any personal experience with them, but based off of what qualities you're interested in, I would think a boxer would be perfect based on description alone! Seems like every shelter has at least one too. Little bonus is is that they are hilariously photogenic!
 

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If you are going to be adopting from a shelter, you are not likely to find a purebred dog. If you want a purebred you'll have to go through a breed specific rescue.

I have Rough Collies, they are my breed of choice and always will be. I have very limited experience with Smooth Collies because I do not like the short hair at all.

Rough Collies are great dogs - I have 8, all from rescues. They are very intelligent but do not generally get destructive like some other highly intelligent breeds. They have what I call an on and off button. If you want them to be active, they will but they are also okay staying home on the couch for a day.

They are very easy to train. I have owned 17 Rough Collies and worked with many fosters and have never met an aggressive Rough Collie. They are extremely friendly, but protective dogs. Generally, they will protect their family. I have a couple who won't let anyone in the door without me there to let them in, others watch closely. One would let anyone in. They are amazing with children, the best dog IMO, and very protective over them.

Their grooming needs depend on the dogs coat, which depends on the genetics. I've had worse luck with females coats than males. Two of my females have short but very thick coats and shed a lot. Two of my males have long, medium density coats that require very little maintenance. I could brush them once a week and they'd be fine. The rest are in the middle, they could get by with being brushed every 3 days or so. The brushing doesn't take long, maybe 15 minutes if you stay on top of it. As long as you are on top of brushing, they don't shed a lot (with the exception of the winter coat).
 

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Regarding drool, you do get use to it. Luckily Freyja doesn't drool much, after eating/drinking and when excited. I try to keep a rag on me to wipe it off her, but it really doesn't bother me much anymore.
 

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Have you considered a Border Collie? They're not very big, but they're generally good dogs, they have a beautiful coat that requires minimal grooming, they have fairly high energy, but with that many walks (and dog park time) it'd be fine. They tend to have a good ''off switch'' where they calm down once done ''working'' unlike other breeds that just go, go, go. They LOVE fetch and are wonderful at it. They're easy to train because of their intelligence (but be careful, no training can leave them bored and that's a disaster). They are known for their friendly nature, obedience, and I have yet to meet a reactive/aggressive one (I'm assuming because they're so focused on their owner). Velcro dog like you'll never believe, and certainly not aloof. They're also very common dogs so they shouldn't be hard to find. Not to mention they don't have those bad stereotypes, and hence aren't usually taught aggression (like you may find with a Dobe with a questionable start in life).
 

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@Yaminotenshi I think a Border Collie would be a very poor choice for the OP. In my experience Border Collies are actually NOT known for an off switch. They're one of the most high energy, smartest and intense dogs. If you have a Young BC you typically need to dedicate your life to making sure it has something to do so it doesn't drive you nuts. If a Dobie is too much for her a Border Collie is WAY too much for her. I have also met plenty of reactive, resource guarding, downright nasty BCs. They can get like they if they're cooped up or just poorly bred.
 

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Fwiw, I would first a foremost wait until you've graduated and settled in a home/apartment before adding a dog. Def narrow down your list, but keep an open mind and research some small and medium breeds as well. Many of these breeds being suggested tend to be difficult to find rentals that allow them. Dobies, rotties, mastiffs, boxers, etc. tend to be on restricted breed lists. Also many rentals have weight restrictions. It's not uncommon to have a 30-20lbs and under rule.
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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you for the continued input and suggestions!

If I every get the chance to spend some time with greyhounds or poodles, I definitely will jump on it, and maybe that will sway my opinion.

I am 100% waiting to even seriously start looking for a dog until I'm settled in my new home/job, so no worries about that. I will make sure when I choose a place to stay that they aren't restricting a breed/weight limit that I want to get. I definitely don't want to get a dog and then be accidentally homeless because of it, haha.

I don't think a border collie is for me, agreeing with what traciek88 said, but thank you for the suggestion!

Smooth/rough collie-wise, I'm very interested in smooth collies, I actually love the short coat, and what you said bugz (I don't know how to do that little link thing with usernames, I'm sorry!) about rough collies seems very positive and it sounds like you really love the breed. Do the temperaments of rough and smooth collies differ widely or are they similar dogs with just a difference in coats?

Lastly, there's a question I want to ask, but I really don't want to offend or step on anyone's toes in asking it, so please know that I mean well and I'm not attacking or judging anyone. How do you buy a dog from a breeder and not feel guilty about not adopting a shelter dog? I ask BECAUSE I would like to buy from a breeder, because it sounds like a lot of breeds on my list are going to be nonexistant in shelters and I want a mentally and physically healthy dog. I'm not trying to say "why would you ever buy a dog when there's so many in shelters, how could you?!"

I'm asking because whenever I consider the breeder route, I do feel bad. I don't know how to think about this in a way that would alleviate that guilt. I respect everyone's preferences/methods of getting a dog, I just want to know if there are any thoughts on this hurdle I'm coming to in my own head about breeder vs shelter dogs. Again, offense is not intended, I'm sorry if I did, I just want to know and learn
 

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Rough and Smooth Collies were bred for slightly different purposes. Rough Collies worked in colder climates, often alone. Smooth Collies worked with their humans. Some people say there are slight personality differences, I haven't met enough to confirm that. All dogs within a breed can vary a bit.

Collies do come with some possible negatives. They are known for barking like a lot of herding breeds are. Some have a very strong herding instinct and will try to herd you, other animals or kids. Nipping at your heels is a common behaviour that some Collies can have. 2 out of my 8 do it. They can also corner you in a corner and try and keep you there, 1 of mine does that. It's solved with training (though it may never fully go away - it's what they were bred to do), giving them something else to herd (lessons) and stimulating them in other ways. Personally, if they have the strong herding instinct I like to work with that and put them in herding lessons.

3 out of my 8 Collies have herding instincts, the rest do not.

They are family dogs and cannot be left alone all the time or kept as outdoor dogs. They are sensitive dogs that get very attached to their families.

Collies can have health problems. 3 out of 4 Collies have Collie Eye. Good breeders will test their dogs for it, and the puppies. 7 out of 8 of my Collies have CE. 2 are completely blind, the rest are fine.

They can also have a gene, Multi-Drug Resistance Gene (MDR1). This is something that you need to have them tested for, at Washington State University College of Vet Medicine. It's a simple blood test or saliva test that you send in. 70% of Collies have this gene. If your dog has it, you need to be aware of medications and anesthetics that are given. I've had 1 dog die because he was given a medication for heartworm and it causes neurological toxicity. 6 out of 8 of my dogs have this.

They can also have hip and elbow problems. One of my dogs has a yearly surgery for her elbows. However if you go through a good breeder who tests their dogs for these then it's not something likely to pop up.

As for going through a breeder or rescue, that is a personal decision. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a puppy through a good breeder. But the key there is GOOD breeder. If you are going to buy a puppy though a backyard breeder, or someone who doesn't test their puppies then you might as well rescue one.

A good option is a breed specific rescue. Most of my Collies have come from the Collie Rescue Network.

If I wanted another Collie and there was none that needed a home already, I would buy from a responsible breeder.
 
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