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Hi all. Happy New year.

In November, my family lost our beloved dog Brownie. The holidays were rough. It is a new year and it is time to find a new dog for our family. We have kind of a unique situation. We live on a 20 acre unfenced farm with a large free range chicken flock. We have frequent visitors of all ages, including our grandchildren. Instead of explaining our situation, which take a small book, let me just describe what our new dream dog would be like. Hopefully that will be enough to get us started.

Our new dream dog will.....

1. Be small enough to be a couch cuddle buddy, but large enough to be outside on our remote farm without being taken by predators (Around 20 pounds)

2. Be calm and controlled (not hyper).

3. Have medium to short straight hair and not shed a lot.

4. Be a family dog that does great with children and adults.

5. Be smart enough to be off leash on our un-fenced farm without running off.

6. Have a good bark, but be smart enough to know when and when not to bark (Not be a yapper that barks at it's own shadow and flies).

7. Have good hunting skill, but not be controlled by it (i.e. Run off chasing a scent and get lost).

8. Be smart, easy to train and eager to please.

9. Be kind and gentle with strangers.

10. Will not chase chickens.

11. Be a healthy breed with no known genetic health defects.


This all I can think of for now. Feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for the help.
 

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Hey John,

I just wanted to start by saying I think it's fantastic that you've given so much thought to what you and your family need and want from a dog and I'm sorry to hear about your loss of Brownie, its great that you feel ready to take in another dog!

In my opinion your dream dog is certainly possible, I'm not going to pretend to know much about individual breeds or breed traits and I'm hoping someone else may be able to help in this area, what I will say is I think whatever dog you get is going to have a hard time ticking off all those points straight off the bat.

You may be able to pinpoint a certain breed who offers some of these traits such as breeds with a natural tendency to guard for instance but while these will certainly make your life easier, any dog will need training, you can teach your dog to like children for instance, being smart and eager to please is something only you can control and is ruled only by how you behave and act around your dog and again, with the chickens, a natural breed instinct not to chase would be an advantage but there's nothing to say this can't be handled with management and training.

I just wouldn't want you to miss out on an awesome real-life dog because your dream dog got in the way you know?

It's all about you, your dog and the training you do!

Good luck!
 

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I'd start checking shelters and rescues. The traits you are looking for are more individual dog rather then breed, and some are training related.
 

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I agree, a lot of the points you brought up are things you will need to train-no dog will tick those boxes on their own, but many dogs will certainly be capable of learning those things.

As a side note, I find breeds with shorter fur tend to shed more. My husky/GSD sheds, sure, but it's seasonal and easy to manage and clean. The JRT? Sheds small amounts that get everywhere and are harder to clean. Plus, if you have a dog running around, they'll be coming in dirty no matter what. Just something to think about a bit further.

I would start by pinpointing what energy level you want (your description seems to be low/med energy) and go from there. Energy should match your family's needs first and foremost-everything after that is semantics, mostly.
 

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As the other posters have said, most of what you want on your list are trainable features. Is there a kind of dog that you like the look of? If you're looking for a 20 lb dog then there are plenty in that range. My first thought would be a schnauzer, they have a short coat, good hunter but can be trained to not overly obsess about it, not too yappy. Or a Cocker spaniel, also requires less grooming than say a poodle, good at hunting small prey like mice/gophers. But then those 2 breeds have been on my mind lately - search for next dog an all.

Also, 11. Be a healthy breed with no known genetic health defects. - the only way you can have some certainty on this is to go through a registered, reputable breeder who extensively health tests. Even then, there is no guarantee that your pet won't have a health defect. Unfortunately what humans have done to dogs in general has created genetic defects in pretty much every breed.
 

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As someone who is trying to keep a dog from sneaking off of my fenced 7.5 acre property to chase the neighbors on their 4-wheelers, I can understand the importance of having one that will stay put.

I think your dream dog will actually become that with the effort you put into him/her. If you're getting a puppy, especially from a shelter or rescue, it will be hard to know how that individual will fit the bill until he starts coming of age. But at least if you get him young, he won't have any vices due to mistreatment or mismanagement from previous owners. A blank slate. Just remember that puppies will not tick off several of those boxes on their own and will need guidance from you. And there may be times when you wonder just WHAT the heck you have gotten yourself into. But usually dogs that are given as much freedom and exercise as yours is bound to have will be easier to train and will have far fewer problem behaviors to work through because he will be actively involved in the day-to-day of your ranch.

Every dog I've owned has been 50-100 lbs, and I snuggle them on the couch. LOL. But I can tell you that except for the hair coat length, my neighbors Border Collie/Australian Shepherd cross is without a doubt the sweetest, gentlest, calmest, most reliable dog. She roams free most of the time and she never chases anyone (except whatever she brings you to throw for her to fetch), never barks at anything, and is just a love. She's probably 30-40 pounds and I'm sure would snuggle on the couch with anyone that would let her. Such a doll. And that I know of she's had no formal training. She's just a good girl.

Anyway, good luck on your search. I'll be watching this thread because your dream dog sounds like MY dream dog! LOL.

Oh, and just another thought...what about a Corgi? I really have no idea if they fit the bill, but they're a bit smaller, and I know horse show folks LOVE them and take them everywhere with them. I'm sure they'd be right at home on a ranch and probably on a couch too. ;)
 

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Our new dream dog will.....

1. Be small enough to be a couch cuddle buddy,
I just had to address this. I know opinions differ but IMO any size dog can cuddle on the couch. As I type this I have a 47lb basset snoring behind me, a 110+lb Great Dane curled next to me with her head in my lap and a 65lb lab/pointer mix next to her.

Actually a pointer or mix may fit many of your wants. But they are a bit larger than you want. My boy(after training) is great off lead, has a short coat but it takes after labs so he sheds. Pointers have a shorter coat but I'm not sure how much they shed. If it's like my dane's coat it's not much. Pointers are good family dogs and good with other animals. They are med/high energy but the breeders I've talked to say they are calm inside. The biggest conflict I see with what you want is you say has a prey drive but not to chase the chickens. From what I've read many dogs have issues with chickens. Even LGD can. My boy wouldn't bother the chickens, but he's afraid of most other animals. Which is not a lab or pointer trait. It's just him.
 
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I just had to address this. I know opinions differ but IMO any size dog can cuddle on the couch. As I type this I have a 47lb basset snoring behind me, a 110+lb Great Dane curled next to me with her head in my lap and a 65lb lab/pointer mix next to her.

Actually a pointer or mix may fit many of your wants. But they are a bit larger than you want. My boy(after training) is great off lead, has a short coat but it takes after labs so he sheds. Pointers have a shorter coat but I'm not sure how much they shed. If it's like my dane's coat it's not much. Pointers are good family dogs and good with other animals. They are med/high energy but the breeders I've talked to say they are calm inside. The biggest conflict I see with what you want is you say has a prey drive but not to chase the chickens. From what I've read many dogs have issues with chickens. Even LGD can. My boy wouldn't bother the chickens, but he's afraid of most other animals. Which is not a lab or pointer trait. It's just him.
Agreed, my 70 lb lab mix is the best couch and bed snuggled around. In fact my last dog was around 15-20 lbs and had no interest in snuggling at all.
 
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