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This will be the first dog with my family - but I always had dogs growing up (mostly collies and terriers). Wife has never had a dog and we have 3 kids all over 7.

We are basically looking for a good family dog, that is playful but not crazy energetic, easy to train, and no crazy grooming requirements, we don't want a dog that is too large or strong willed that my wife won't be able to control them.

We live in the suburbs and have a fenced yard (approx. 1/3 acre). We've narrowed it down to the following:

Collie - had one growing up - best dog of all time but my mom recently reminded me of all the hair balls floating around the house - so that is the only downside really in my mind

Brittany - perfect size, good energy level, but I hear they run away a lot and are chewers - which could be an issue

Goldendoodle - my wife really likes these but to me they are more of a mix than a purebred and the testing seems to vary from breeder to breeder.

Any input or thoughts on the breeds above would be great - we looked at a ton of other breeds (labs, etc...) as well as rescue and these are the ones that seem to fit us best.
 

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If you like collies how about a smooth collie. They still have a double coat but much less than a rough.
My experience with Brittanys is that they are pretty high energy. As for any of the designer dogs, I'd be very careful. Being mixes you don't know what traits are going to show up in any individual dog. Many of these 'breeders' are in it for the money or don't really know much about breeding. You can end up with dogs with bad personalities. If you really do like these mixes you can also go look for young adults in shelters. You'll be able to get a good idea of what the dogs personality is like.
 
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Collies would be great- like annageckos said you could look into a smooth coat instead of a rough, which will cut down on the amount of hair you see around. Collies seem like a good mix of wanting to hang out with you and being up for anything but really good at chilling out when you aren't doing anything, a nice medium energy level, and not especially prone to anxiety or fearfulness; just generally a solid breed.

I would be weary of Brittanys. From what I know they tend to be VERY high energy and seem to fit best into families who either hike very often or jog daily. They can also have wicked prey drive (especially those from hunting/working lines) and some will even search the sky for birds which can be really frustrating. High energy often goes hand in hand with a terrible puppyhood with a lot of chewing, as well. I think separation anxiety as well as general anxiety seems to be an issue, and a lot I've met seem to have issues with movement/noise like skateboards, bikes, people running past, scooters, etc. They're not a dog I'd suggest for someone looking for an easy first dog, personally.

Goldendoodles are a VERY variable group of dogs, and often aren't really what people are imagining them to be. They often don't inherit the low dander count and non-shedding coat of the poodles, and may end up just as bad shedders and dander-y as the Labs, meaning they might be good for allergies or the worst possible choice. I've heard their different coat texture is VERY hard to maintain when its long because it tends to matt quickly and very close to the skin, meaning that good, deep brushing is needed often. Also, there are a LOT of bad breeders out there turning out really poor temperaments and unhealthy dogs, so they are a group you need to really research the source you're getting them from. There are some really great ones, but you do have to look carefully and be very selective and critical of breeders. Because they are mutt there's not a set temperament, either, and they may end up more std poodle like or retriever like, and let's just say that a standard poodle has a VERY different (and not as easy) temperament than a Golden. I have an aunt and uncle who have Standard Poodles and they sound like a real handful in terms of energy and smarts and also sound like they're pretty destructive in their youth. Definitely not a breed I would recommend unless you're a competent trainer already or willing to put in the time needed to become one.

If I had to choose between the three breeds I would DEFINITELY suggest a Collie (so long as you mean Lassie-type Collie and not a Border Collie).
 

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Brittany's and both have no off-switches IMO. Having walked and trained dogs for 3 years I am especially weary of doodles in general. My overall experience is that they are totally off their rockers-- very sweet but they are a LOT OF DOG. If I could rank them energy-wise they would be right up there with border collies, Belgian malnois, pointers and Brittany spaniels. They want to do nothing but GOGOGOGOGO all day long.

My recs?

Smooth collie
Wheaten terrier
French bulldog
Havanese
 

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My friend has a Cavoodle and a Moodle and finds them both great. The only problem is the Moodle sometimes barked at night. After letting him be an inside dog, the barking stopped. They do walk them both quite often but they also work a lot too so they do go days without a walk and they don't have any problems with that.
I'm trying to find the right breed at the moment. I'm trying to decide out of a Poodle cross or a pure bred Poodle
 

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From a grooming stand point the doodles are by far the most difficult type of coat to maintain unless you plan on having your dog shaved bald every 6-8 weeks. Even a rough collie coat maintenance is a walk in the park compared to the nightmare of doodle coats.
 

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Doodle coats are a mess from a groomer's perspective and many of the familys I see bring them in were sold a much different dog then the reality. If you are not prepared for some SERIOUS grooming responsibilities, (including daily brushing the entire coast with a slicker brush, then going over it all again with a fine tooth comb; no matter the dogs grooming tolerance) please do not get a doodle. Their coats are so difficult to maintain and when they get mats it's 99% of the time extremely close to the skin, which is painful to the dog and will end up being shaved by any reasonable groomer.

I'm not sure about the other breeds you mentioned from an energy stand point, because I have no knowledge there, but I always try to be super clear to people about the requirements of some of these designer breeds, because sadly a lot of times breeders won't be.
 
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