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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My family and I have recently completed a permanent move from England to our holiday home located in Ibiza. We are looking to get 2 new dogs (of the same breed and as puppies) to join our family in October/November. I need help choosing which breed is best suited for us as there are quite a few requirements!

Context:
  • We have one daughter (9 years), one son (20 years - who will be staying in England to study at university), as well as a gardener who lives on the property in his bungalow.
  • Between us all we have had several different dogs in the past.
  • The property we have consists of two houses, one swimming pool, and a workshop shed all within 3 acres of garden that has walls with fencing surrounding the entire perimeter.
  • The property was my Father's and at one point he had 11 dogs of 7 different breeds all living happily here; and none ever escaped!
  • We would definitely be willing to invest considerable time making sure that both dogs are fully trained and played with.
Requirements:
N.B. I completely appreciate that there probably isn't a breed with exactly all of these characteristics and so would be willing to make compromises to find the closest breed to what we need.
  • 2 dogs of the same breed that can get along and play with each other.
  • Medium-Large or Large dogs.
  • Dogs that are loyal and obedient to our family once trained but that are also very friendly and playful with us.
  • Dogs that are relatively protective over the land and us. We do not want a serious "guard dog" but we would simply like dogs that would bark during the day or at night if they felt that were was an intruder or somebody unwelcome. Having said that, we obviously do not want dogs that are going to constantly bark all the time!
  • We need dogs that are going to be able to live outside all day and sleep in a dog kennel/home (NOT caged/closed) outside our house at night. We would of course let them into the house if the weather is particularly bad one day or night. We are really aiming to have 2 dogs that are independent and who would enjoy being able to freely roam our enclosed garden.
  • Following on from the above, the dogs would need to be able to cope with the heat and humidity of Ibiza in the summer (25 degrees Celsius average in August) and then the cool air in winter (12 degrees Celsius average in January).
  • Dogs with short hair that does not shed too much.
 

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Before you run out and buy 2 dogs, please look up Littermate Syndrome. Frankly I would not risk it, especially if this is your first time owning dogs or you haven't owned dogs in a while.

If you are planning on having outside dogs, be aware that independence and "friendly, playful, good with kids" rarely go hand in hand. I would urge you away from any sort of retriever, shepherd, companion or herding breed, as they really don't fare well without human company. That really only leaves hounds or mastiffs.

Even then, remember that dogs aren't called man's best friend for nothing... With rare exceptions, dogs can have the biggest backyard in the world and they would still really rather be with YOU in the house. There's a name that those involved/working with animals have for dogs kept outside: Backyard Dogs. It is usually never a good thing if you hear this about a dog. It means that their behavior and emotional health have been negatively impacted because of boredom, lack of exercise and lack of human companionship. I'm not saying that there aren't great dog owners who have outside dogs... But they are the exception, and probably spend more dedicated time with their dogs than most dog owners can afford to spend. Usually the easiest way to entertain your dog and make them feel like part of the family is to keep them with your family.
 

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I concur with Kelly.

Used to be years ago people mainly kept their dogs outside. However, even urban people spent much more time outside and hence with their dogs. (no internet/computer games, kids roamed around and played, dad was out in the garage tinkering or in the garden)...and homes were smaller.

Dogs don't get much out of just hanging out in a large yard or garden, except bored and then often destructive out of boredom.

It seems to me you need to decide the purpose of your dogs. If you are going to have them mainly as pets, with any additional security they provide being icing on the cake, the go for it. If you are mainly getting them to dissuade the local burglars, and pets secondarily...get a security system.

Now, on to dog breeds. Something to think about is it is frequently hard to move dogs from one geographic area to another. Not sure how it works with moving dog from the UK to an island in the Med, but I expect there will be some quarantine requirements.

I would suggest getting to your new home, getting settled, and then talking to the locals. I am sure there are going to be people who can sell you pups from local dogs. Heck, you probably have access to some uncommon breeds (either formally recognized, or landrace), and you'll be getting dogs that are acclimated to the area.
 
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