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Hello. I have been researching dog breeds that would be a good fit. The breed I really want is a golden retriever, but I live in a small apartment and probably will forever.

I live alone, work outside the home 40 hours a week. There will be a cat as well (socializing dogs and cats will be another question thread another time).

I am low-energy and not very active-I would like a companion to take on short walks (30-45 minutes). Maybe even cruise around the town or take on the bus to the local park (I don't drive a lot).

Other than the apartment, size is not a consideration. I live in a rainy climate but it doesn't get very cold. It doesn't get very hot in the summer; however, there is no air conditioning which can be uncomfortable.

My main concern is trainability. I am not very confident in my ability to housebreak a puppy-so a forgiving breed is essential.

Other considerations-I cringe at excessive barking and drooling. I don't mind shedding or grooming.

So I looked for breeds that are:
  • Small to medium sized
  • Easy to train
  • Good for cat people
  • Good for novice dog-owners
  • Minimal barking and drooling
I took several dog-breed selector quizzes. The same breeds showed up frequently and I have narrowed it down to three:

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel - This is a top pick and I kept secretly hoping this breed would be a good fit. My concern is the health problems-I don't make a lot of money. I am also concerned about their trainability (they get mixed reviews) and separation anxiety. I do plan to have a cat and hope that they will be buddies, but I am gone all day.

Papillon - This breed probably showed up in my searches the most consistently. I hadn't given much thought to it until I met one recently and conversed with its caregiver.

American Cocker Spaniel - Showed up consistently in my various searches and I haven't given much thought yet. What are your thoughts?

I would love to hear your feedback on selecting a breed that is a good fit or your experience with the above mentioned breeds. Is there another breed I should also be considering?

Thank you.
 

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I would look into an older dog adoption as well if you are set on a dog. Puppies are a lot of work to housetrain. A lot. And then you have all of the other issues (general obedience, nipping, etc). And a puppy is always a question mark as to the final personality, no matter what the breed or breeder.

With an older dog, you will get a dog with a fully formed personality that you can see right away regarding barking and the other things you mentioned (cat-friendly, etc). I adopted an older Shih Tzu and she came fully housetrained. The easiest dog I ever had and one of the sweetest.

The only thing I would be concerned about is the 8 hour work day. Will you be able to come home at lunch to take the dog out or hire a dog walker? Just something to think about.

As far as breeds, I really like yourpurebreedpuppy.com for general info on breeds. The info is in a pro and con format (click on each breed). I find her recommendations are quite good and honest, so maybe check those breeds against that site.
 

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Thank you for the feedback. I looked closer at the papillon and I don't think it is the right breed for me. The cocker spaniel could be if it isn't neurotic and it sounds like those are hard to find.

One of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breeders in my area occasionally re-homes a retired adult breeder. I think this would be ideal and since I'm not in a rush, I can wait a season or two before getting a dog.

Unfortunately, there is no way around my work schedule. My plan was to have a neighbor or dog-walker come take my dog for a short potty walk 1-2 times during the work day.

I have been browsing the available shelter dogs on petfinder. Unfortunately, most of them need "special" care due to neglect or being abandoned. I don't feel experienced enough with dogs to be able to help a dog that needs specialized attention and work. I've only had one dog in the past and he came to me as an adult and was basically perfectly behaved.

I've always had cats and really miss having a dog. I understand that there is more that goes into caring for dogs, but there are rewards to having a dog as well.
 

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Yes there are many rewards to having a dog, but one needs to put the dog's needs before one's own. I think an older dog that doesn't require as much exercise or training would be great.
 

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Kudos to you for really looking into the breed characteristics. A dog walker is a good plan for any dog. I know what you mean about Petfinder. But you would be surprised, if you keep looking ones will pop on that might be a good match. The thing is that the ones that are the easiest to manage also are adopted quickly.
 
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