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Hello, my 13 year old daughter has set her heart on a dog that looks like a wolf, pointy ears a must, simply because she is absolutely loves wolves and has never has had her own puppy. Isobel and I want a happy loving home, but she wants a dog that looks "wolf-like" and is not "small". This will be her dog. The problem I am finding about Huskies, her favorite, is the prey instinct which could be a major problem for our 3 year cat. The cat is male, and used to getting alot of attention from me. He keeps his distance from my daughter, because when he was young, she treated him like a puppy. Not great from a cat point of view. He is territorial although he has been spade and only has back claws, so also a house cat. Can anyone give me suggestions for a mix breed or what I should be looking for. Girl? Boy? Are there any personality traits of the parents I should look for? How old of a puppy for maximal bonding with my daughter and cuteness factor, but to deal with the cat?Percy the cat is very affectionate and acts like a dog in that he follows me around the house, always wants to sit and lay on me and is very connected to everything that is going on. Very curious, very loving, very involved. The cat might try to be the alpha, but I am not sure that will go over with any dogs of the wolf breed. I dont want to keep them separate or worry the dog will kill the cat. Any and all suggestions would be helpful. I am new to dogs.
 

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Hi NewDog67,

Welcome to the Dog Forum! I think it's really great that you are asking questions now before bringing home a new puppy for your daughter.

Since you all are new to dogs, I'd like to ask you to go down this list and give more detailed feedback about the kind of dog would best work for your entire family:

http://www.dogforum.com/new-additions/how-choose-right-breed-11760/

I can understand that your daughter, like many young girls, is fascinated by wolf-like dogs, but huskies are not ideal dogs for first-time dog owners. As her parent, you need to look past her romanticized notions of her perfect dog because a husky is probably not her perfect dog.

I can provide my own experiences as a novice dog owner as a case in point. Two years ago, I decided that a lab would be the "perfect" dog for my teenage son and headed out to the local shelter. I set eyes on a very handsome lab-like dog (he turned out to be a Great Pyrenees mix) and loaded him into my car. My son quickly lost interest, and the new dog became my sole responsibility. I found this site a week later, completely overwhelmed by a dog whose training and exercise needs were great. I spent hours and hours a day with him, and after two months of much effort and much frustration, I gave up and found him a new home.

A few months later, I adopted a much different, and a much more compatible dog to my lifestyle (a Pekingese-Shih Tzu mix). I still think labs are great dogs, but I don't think that even if I had initially brought home a lab that my first dog-owning experience would have succeeded.
 

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Just because a dog looks similar to a wolf does not mean it is part wolf. A husky is not a "wolf breed". They are 100% dog. That said, in my personal experience with huskies, they can be fine with cats when they are raised around them. I have a friend who has 3 that are fine with her cats. Another friend also has one and he's probably the only dog they have that would be ok with a cat.

However, huskies are a difficult breed for most. They have a lot of energy, they are very good at escaping, they don't bond very well to people, and they are difficult to train. It's probably not a good choice for a 13 year old.

I tend to agree with Susan....Please do not pick a dog based on appearance. Your daughter at this age needs a nice, easy dog that she can train and bond with. Appearance should always come secondary to personality and temperament. You can probably find a nice dog from the shelter or a rescue if you ask about dogs in foster homes. They will be able to tell you more about that dogs personality and whether it'll fit in your family, and there is usually some training and socialization already accomplished. Lots of really great dogs come from the shelter.
 

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I'll echo that Huskies are not a good breed for first time dog owners. They are cat like, they are heavy shredders, they are highly energetic, and they are independent. They are also notorious escape artist.

You really need to answer some questions, decide on what breeds are going to best fit your lifestyle and family, and let your daughter decide on which of those breeds she'd like best. Do NOT decide on looks alone, it's never a good idea and is often doomed to failure. Some questions to consider.

What weight range is going to best suit your family? Take into consideration the larger the dog the larger the bills, and the more space he's going to need. Large dogs, in small living spaces, mean you need to spend more time exercising him outside to meet his exercise needs.

How much time are you willing to put into grooming a dog, or spend on having him groomed?

How much time are you going to be able to spend exercising the dog. Putting the dog in the backyard by himself so he can run around does not count.

How much time are you going to spend training the dog?

Are you looking to get into dog sports?


Depending on the temperament of the dog and cat they may or may not get along. My Chow Chow x herding breed x who knows dog was 3 years old when I got her and my kitten was around 6 months old. The dog was one that had been allowed to roam the streets and he likely chased plenty of cats in her time, she looked at my kitten, started to chase him, I stopped her and told her no. She never again tried to chase him and after that seemed to view him as her "puppy", even though she continued to want to chase any cat we saw when out on a walk. My terrier mix was the same, he had a HUGE prey drive but knew to leave my cat alone yet viewed any cat on the street as fair game. (Both dogs were kept on leash so the cats were not in any danger when we went on a walk).
 
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Echoing TiggerBounce and Rain's comments, personality, temperament, and energy level are far more important qualities to consider than appearance. I think it's really helpful to think about the kind of task that a particular kind of dog has been bred for and then to consider whether you can replicate it. Looking back, I can see that I had no business bringing home a livestock guarding dog. There's nothing remotely close to my home or lifestyle that resembles what a Great Pyrenees dog would experience in his natural habitat. A husky has also been traditionally bred for a very specific task: pulling a dogsled across miles of snowy terrain. I think you need to ask yourself whether you can provide a comparable outlet for a husky's need to run (and run and run).

In my case, I realized that the best dog for me would be a classic "companion" dog and hence, I ended up with a lovely small dog. Maybe your daughter would enjoy a Pomeranian, a Papillon, or an American Eskimo Dog. All three breeds sport a Nordic look, but are perhaps more suitable as companion dogs for your family.
 

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i agree with everything that has been said above, (i have owend huskys for the last 25 years), its true they need allot of exercise, if they dont get it, they get very destructive, they are great escape artists, you wouldnt believe what tiny gaps a husky can squeeze through. they are very intellegent, and the hairloss is terrible, all the time, but especially in spring,
i must say i always had smaller animals with my huskys. like cats, guinea pigs, and a rabbit. my husky Laika, i could have in the garden, when the Rabbit was hopping about. but i read in books, that certainly isnt the norm. my experience is, they can separate our family pets, from strange cats etc, as they wanted to chase cats out on walks. plus consider, at 13 your daughter wont be able to hold back a husky that wants to bolt and get off or after something.
i would start with something smaller and easier to care for.
 

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But I agree with the previous posters, that I'd definitively look more into the personality, the needs of the breed and the requirements in the family.
Dog breeds differ much more from each other than cat breeds, so it seems to me.
A person that is a great sighthound owner can be terribly overchallenged with an average herder breed dog and a happy herder breed owner can be very unhappy with a Nordic breed.

Make sure that the traits of an average dog of your prefered breed fit together with what you want in a dog.
make sure that you also have the time and commitment to spend at least 1-2 hours every day on training and exercising your dog. for breeds like the Husky it is more, since they need more physical exercise.
A bored dog often means a pretty destroyed home...they find ways to entertain themself.

the most Nordic and Spitzbreeds, that still look a bit like wolves (which wouldn't fit the German Spitzes, like Pommeranian/Zwergspitz or Wolfspitz/Keeshound) need a lot of exercise and training. the Nordics are said to be not so easy to train and a lot of the Nordic and Asian breeds were also used for hunting, so it is very likely for them to have preydrive, which can include prey animals like cats or rabbits.
Some can be trained to leave the other pets of the family alone (but will likely still chase prey they don'T know), but not all of them will be reliable in that point.

how about DSHs?
German Shepherd Dogs, like many Spitzbreeds, can look very Wolf-like, especially the grey ones.
here in Germany the DSH and DSH mixes are one of the most common breeds in shelters and while most of them have a certain similiarity in their personality (like to work a lot, often very velcro towards their human partner, aloof towards people and dogs they don't know) , some of them would make very good family dogs and are a bit calmer.

perhaps you should visit your local shelter with your daughter or be just a dog walker for a while to let her experience how it is to handle a dog and to find out what kind of dog fits the both of you.
All dogs can be very cute, regardless of the age (different than humans, who get less cute with the amount if time they spend infront of gaming console, PC and tv. ;)).
I think especially older dogs, that already have a basic training done, are great partners to make the first steps in dog ownership and handling.
 

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I very much support the idea of adopting an adult dog. A three-year-old dog might be ideal for your daughter.

I would, though, suggest that you bypass your local shelters and contact rescue groups that foster their dogs in home settings. Going to a shelter with a young teenager who's going to set her eyes on pretty husky is not the best way to choose a dog. That's pretty much what I did with my first dog, the Great Pyrenees mix. He was a handsome dog with soulful eyes, he seemed to walk well on a leash, and the shelter volunteer assured me that he'd be a great dog for my family. I was so very, very naive. If you click on my username and then statistics, you can find all of my Maru threads.

There are lots of huskies to be found in shelters because they are escape artists, they are destructive, and they can be challenging dogs for inexperienced handlers. And, you won't be able to discern the true personality of a potential dog by meeting it at a shelter. You simply don't have the experience.

Rescue groups are a much better option, especially when they foster their dogs in home settings. A rescue group will be able to give you more detailed information about the personality, behavior, needs, and quirks of the dogs they foster, and a good rescue group can better direct you to dogs that will fit your family and your home. If you can, try to arrange a trial period for your new dog, so that you have a couple of weeks to make a final decision.

I know you're getting a lot of cautionary posts, but imagine your daughter at sixteen begging you to purchase a Ferrari as her first car. As a parent, I'm sure that you would want her to have a safer, easier-to-handle first car. :)
 

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My husband's uncle has always had huskies and, at the same time, a lot of cats and kittens. He's never had a problem with the dogs and cats. In my opinion, he's probably been partly lucky and partly used behavior management. Perhaps those huskies have been cat friendly. It's more dependent on the specific dog, not the dog breed.
I know puppies are so adorable, but they are also so much work. I made the mistake before of getting a puppy specifically based on his breeds. Learn from mine and other people's mistakes. Don't do this. It's more important to judge each dog individually- as in, look at that specific puppy's/dog's temperament, energy level, personality, etc. You can find some lists online that help you do some basic temperament tests on puppies. It's not a guarantee, but they're a good place to start to help you learn what to look for in a puppy.
The puppy I adopted was from a rescue and we provided a good foundation and loving home for him, but, in the end, was not the right dog for us. He had a working dog's energy level and I have a chronic pain condition I'm dealing with. Probably like your daughter, I want a dog that will be a companion to me. The puppy, now a dog, lives very happily on a farm with a few other dogs. :) He's in the perfect home for him. That's important to consider also- not just what is right for us, but also considering what is right for the dog. Both of these need to be in line. This was a tough lesson learned for us. Good for you for asking others. :)
If it were me, I would get an older dog. That's ultimately what we have now. We re-homed somebody else's 5 year old dog. It may not be the puppy she wants, but I'm sure she can find an older dog she finds adorable too.
I'm a therapist and have worked extensively with children and families. My suggestion would be to build up the image of an adult dog to her. If her parent(s) get excited about the cuteness, etc. of an adult dog, she probably will too. A 3-5 year old dog would probably be more the companion she wants. Additionally, you can have a much better idea of what type of energy level, temperament, etc. the dog has. Then you can adopt that mellow, low key dog that's content to lay by your daughter as she plays. :) And if he's mellow enough like my dog, she can probably learn to walk him, as in holding the leash with you there. How fun would that be for her?! Again, this is something else you can build up for her. Many children see puppies in a certain way. They see a puppy as this cute little animal that loves to be held and will sleep by their feet and on their bed all night long and is content to just be near them. We know this is not a realistic image. Instead, puppies grow out of the sleeping all day phase pretty quickly and soon the puppy is not content just laying around and cuddling. :) They need a lot more as I'm sure you know. My point is that through a little, dare I say, "manipulation", you can probably get your daughter to love an adult dog just as much as a puppy. And generally, an adult dog is probably the best idea for first time dog owners.
My adult dog already knows a lot of commands and is very laid back. I was able to specifically search out the qualities I wanted in a dog and now he has the perfect home and I have the perfect dog, for me. :)
 

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Sorry, I missed she was 13 years old. But, I would still build up the idea of an adult dog for her. How cute they can be, how easily managed they can be (compared to a puppy), and how she will more likely end up with the dog she wants. One idea is to take her to a couple shelters so she can visit adult dogs and see how great they can be. I'm sure she'll also find some she thinks are cute.
Another suggestion: since she's 13, keep her involved in this. Let her read these replies so she feels involved and listened to and part of the decision, even if you decide to not get a puppy.
Assign her some reading to do first. Perhaps a book or websites that describe huskies and/or Alaskan malamutes. Then discuss them with her and challenge her with questions. Does she really want to give up a lot of time with friends, time on the computer, time watching tv, etc. to care for a puppy? Draw up an example of a schedule for her so she can see what her weekly and daily schedule/responsibilities would be. Make sure to schedule in the things she likes too, so she can see how those things will be affected by time spent caring for a puppy. This will give her a visual of the time it takes to care for a puppy. Don't forget that puppies need to be monitored whenever they're out of their crate. They can't just be let loose in the house until they're older. So again, this is another aspect of her time. They also need to be socialized and exposed to lots of different situations like busy roads, stores, vacuum cleaners, other dogs large and small, car rides, leash walking, etc. Time has to be committed to doing these things as well. For us, the socialization and exposure part was one of the most time consuming aspects to raising a puppy. So don't forget to block out time for these things as well.
To compare, make another one, but assume you have an older dog. Let her see the difference.
Also, there are miniature huskies and another breed that I can't remember the name of that looks like a small husky too. I don't know anything about them, but maybe you can look into those.
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask anymore questions.
 

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Thanks you all for your responses! Food for thought for sure. We are going over your responses and will check back to see if there are additional suggestions. I really appreciate the time and candor of everyone.
 

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Thanks you all for your responses! Food for thought for sure. We are going over your responses and will check back to see if there are additional suggestions. I really appreciate the time and candor of everyone.
Hi NewDog67,

Definitely post again if you have questions. I'd like to encourage you to enjoy this forum and read as much as you can before you make your decision. After I rehomed my first dog, I spent a lot of time here learning as much as I could from the experiences and advice of others, and when I was ready to adopt again, I knew exactly what I wanted. I really have a wonderful, delightful companion that fits my lifestyle perfectly because of this forum. I very much see a dog in your family's future, and I know that it will be a wonderful experience for your daughter. Good luck!
 

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I was about 15 when my family got a Husky. Like your daughter, I was so excited to have such a beautiful "wolf-like" dog. My mom had had one (or at least something similar) back when she and her family lived in Alaska for a year (before it was a state!). She remembers that dog as loyal and always with them everywhere she and her sister went. Waiting for them patiently at the door/on the steps of wherever they were, a constant companion who loved to do tricks and was just so much fun. Keep in mind this was a dog that CHOSE THEM. She had belonged to another family and simply decided she preferred my mom's family.

Fast-forward to our Husky. She was NOT loyal, did not follow us around everywhere, and had no interest in doing tricks or much of anything like that. Someone mentioned them being more like cats, and that's exactly how she was. She also roamed incessantly (we lived in the middle of nowhere and didn't pen her up), and eventually decided she preferred our neighbors to us. The neighbors weren't really interested in having a dog, but they kind of liked that Husky and it was more-or-less agreed that if she wanted to stay there they'd look after her needs, and if she wanted to come back to us we'd do the same. We sort of had "joint custody" for several years, and as she got older she stayed at the neighbors' more than at our place. We got a new dog in the meantime, a black lab who was the epitome of "loyal companion" and the Husky lived out her days at the neighbors' house. They'd update us every so often on how she was, and when she passed away they told us. They grew very fond of her, but said even with them she was rather quiet and aloof. It was just her nature.
She was a BEAUTIFUL dog, and she lived a long life doing exactly what SHE wanted. I have no desire to ever have one again.

If I was going to pick a "point eared" breed, LOL, I'd choose a German Shepherd Dog, but only if I have the time and ability to put in a lot of training and give the dog plenty of exercise. And I'd look at rescues.

Good luck!
 
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