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Hello and thank you for taking the time to help me in choosing my next dog! I apologize for the length but feel it's best to be thorough.

I am a couple years removed from college and feel prepared to finally have a dog of my own. My family has always had at least one dog in the house, 4 labrador retrievers (1 litter which we owned the mother and father of and kept the pick of the litter) and 2 great danes. Needless to say I have my fair share of training experience and general dog knowledge.

I am currently living in the midwest with access to a lot of rural land. I am planning a move this fall/winter to the Denver area. Because I will be moving out there alone, I'd like a fury companion to be there with me. I felt like this summer would be the best time to get a puppy while I will have plenty of time and space to dedicate to its early months.

I live an outdoor lifestyle running, biking, hiking, and camping any chance I can get, but will most likely be living in an apartment after my initial move. I hope to soon move to a more desirable home but feel it is important to keep the apartment living in mind as I do not know how long that will be my residence.

I am looking for a medium breed that will be okay going with me the majority of the time I leave home, whether it be for a hike or just lunch on a patio in the city. I personally would like a dog that enjoys a lot of exercise but also need to make sure it will be okay in an apartment while I am at work. The breeds that I have looked into are Australian shepherds, Australian cattle dogs, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and Vizsla.

I am looking for any suggestions, experiences with the breeds I've mentioned, or general advise you can offer. Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post.
 

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I live in an apartment with a miniature Australian Shepherd. He's just a puppy, but doing great so far. A dog of this breed will love coming with you everywhere you go, and by the sounds of it you're active enough to meet its physical demands. I'm not sure about being left alone while you're at work. I work from home so this is not a concern to me. I know they get lonely easily and can get very destructive when bored, but the person who owns Finnegan's parents told me they're content to lay around the house as long as they get enough daily exercise.

Like I said, though, Finnegan's just a puppy and I'm fairly new to dog ownership myself. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be able to give advice :)
 

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From your list, I think a vizsla would be a good choice. They're usually active and hearty, friendly and social, and very versatile, adaptable dogs. I think they would make a very good first dog for a person as long as they live an active life. Personally, I'd advise against getting an Australian cattledog/blue heeler as your first dog on your own. While they are an active breed, they tend to also have more high maintenance personalities. While you have some experience with dogs, having a dog on your own is a very different experience, it might be better to "play it safe" with a hunting breed than to jump right into herding if you want an active dog. However, Australian shepherds do tend to be more laid back than heelers.
 

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I'm sure that a sheltie is a great breed, but their look just isn't for me.

I did mention that the dog may need to be alone for 8 hours during the day, but ideally I am going to get a job working for a more laid back company (maybe a little easier to find in CO) where I would be able to come home for lunch to spend time with my dog.

I do like the vizsla but have read that it's not a protective breed, which is something I would prefer but isn't required. I have been reading a little bit more about miniature american shepherds, any thoughts on them? And I did not know the Toller breed was so new, does anyone have any experience with them?
 
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