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Hi Everyone!

I'm new to the forum and this is my first post! I'm hoping that there are a few people that can empathize with my situation or help me get answers that I'm looking for. I'm also looking to connect with people and learn more about dogs.

My situation:

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I'm 26, Newly Married (we've been together for 4 years), I have a stable full time job as a legal assistant, and we've just recently moved into a pet-friendly apartment. Last year I was told by my doctor that my chances of being able to have children are very small. At this point in time we're looking to grow our family and we would like to get a dog. We both love dogs and my sister-in-law has two amazing Puggles that we absolutely adore. I didn't grow up around dogs, but I do like them and have had interactions with them at my friends houses. My husband had a dog when he was very young; however, his dog Flash passed away when he was 10 and his family didn't want to get another dog.

We realize that having a dog isn't a responsibility to be taken lightly which is why I'm here. I'm looking to find answers to questions and learn as much as I can.

We are interested in possibly getting a pug or a French bulldog. We want a breed that would fit into our lifestyle and be okay living in an apartment. What breeds do you suggest?

Also, we were thinking of going to a breeder? What should I know? The health of the dogs is extremely important to us so we want to make sure we're looking for the right things and asking the right questions.

Also, would people recommend adopting or going to a breeder for novice dog owners?

Sorry for the novel I just wrote, I'm just not sure where to start. I look forward to getting to know everyone.
 

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@diadiamond

Hi and welcome!

I applaud you for doing your research before getting a dog.

I'll probably answer your questions out of order-sorry haha

Adopt or breeder: despite what some people say, IMO one is not better than the other. Of course, it's wonderful to save a dogs life and give a home to a dog that doesn't have one. The reality is that sometimes people have specific needs/wants/ideals and a breeder makes more sense. As long as it's not a BYB, I don't judge anyone's choice. My current dog is a rescue; my next dog may be from a breeder.

What is your lifestyle? Are you active? Are you content coming home every night and hanging around watching Netflix?

Some 'apartment' dogs (without knowing your lifestyle) that come to mind are: Greyhounds, Chinese Cresteds (I LOVE these guys!), Bulldogs (health issues though), Bichon Frise (requires grooming)... I'm sure others will chime in with more, or maybe correcting my list- I'm no expert! :)

Those dogs don't need a ton of exercise. Now, I know people that live in apartments and have high energy breeds: labs, aussies, border collies, etc... but they are experienced dog people.

I would also recommend looking at young adult dogs. They are a good start to getting your feet wet when it comes to being a new dog parent. You can usually find them housebroken and sometimes with some basic obedience training. If you insist on a puppy, please be aware that the puppy can't hold it's bladder while you're at work all day. If you can't get home, you'll need to get someone to let the pup out. Housebreaking is zero fun and is a great way to hate your first dog experience haha

Please ask a LOT of questions here! We have great members. If you post in the General forum, you may get more answers as there's more traffic in there.
 

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You could go to a breeder but rescuing is so much more rewarding. I would start by going to your local shelter and maybe take a few of the younger ones out into the play yard for some fun. Little puppies are a lot of work and if you choose a 4 to 6 month old pup from the shelter you will skip a huge portion of the up all night ( O my god portion of puppy hood ) Since you have never raised a pup the may be a better choice for you. I have always gotten my dogs from the shelter and have had may lovely dogs over the years.
 

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Breeder or rescue is 100% up to you and neither is right or wrong. If you go to a breeder first do your research on the breed and see what common health problems are. When looking for a breeder ask them if they test for those problems and see proof.

What breed? Ask yourself what you want. Energy level, grooming, hair type, activities, size.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for your responses! I feel like I've learned so much and you've definitely given us a lot to think about. We aren't very active people we do like to go for short walks, but running marathons is just not us. After work we usually just flake out on the couch watching netflix.

Our lease agreement states that we can have a pet under 25lbs. So we are looking for a breed that doesn't get that big also, I would feel guilty having a big dog without a large yard or a lot of space inside. We would also prefer a dog that doesn't have extensive grooming needs. We are interested in Pugs, Puggles, and French Bulldogs, but are still open to other breeds as well. I've heard that the breeds I mentioned tend to have respiratory problems because of how their faces are structured, but we still really love them. We are open to considering other breeds as well.

A calm temperment is important to us as well. We do live in an apartment and have to respect our neighbors so I'm hoping there's a breed out there that won't bark too much.

I'll definitely be around on the forum asking tons and tons of questions. I hope no one minds.
 

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Hi Everyone!

Thank you so much for your responses! I feel like I've learned so much and you've definitely given us a lot to think about. We aren't very active people we do like to go for short walks, but running marathons is just not us. After work we usually just flake out on the couch watching netflix.

Our lease agreement states that we can have a pet under 25lbs. So we are looking for a breed that doesn't get that big also, I would feel guilty having a big dog without a large yard or a lot of space inside. We would also prefer a dog that doesn't have extensive grooming needs. We are interested in Pugs, Puggles, and French Bulldogs, but are still open to other breeds as well. I've heard that the breeds I mentioned tend to have respiratory problems because of how their faces are structured, but we still really love them. We are open to considering other breeds as well.

A calm temperment is important to us as well. We do live in an apartment and have to respect our neighbors so I'm hoping there's a breed out there that won't bark too much.

I'll definitely be around on the forum asking tons and tons of questions. I hope no one minds.
Ask as many questions as you would like!

Honestly, I would recommend looking into adopting a retired Greyhound. They are wonderful dogs! :)
 

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A calm temperment is important to us as well. We do live in an apartment and have to respect our neighbors so I'm hoping there's a breed out there that won't bark too much.
I wonder how well a Puggle would fit since it is a cross between a Pug and a beagle. I know beagles can be noisy with their baying. Since this is really not a recognized breed, there is no way of knowing what Pug or beagle traits would be more dominant. Really do your research on these dogs - there are a lot of less than reputable breeders who will take you for a lot of money for this mix and a good number of them end up in shelters.
 

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But Greyhounds get over 25lbs. They are great dogs though, very mellow. And it's a myth that big dogs need big yards/homes. Many of the biggest dogs are very laid back and actually need less exercise than smaller dogs. The problem with 'puggles' is that they are not a breed, they are a mix. I don't know of any responsible breeders, most are either mills or back yard breeders. I'm not really a small dog person, so others will be more help with breeds. I know frenchies and pugs both can have a lot of health problems. I personally stay away from the brachy breeds. You need to be careful in the heat and humidity and they can have skin issues too. I read something about pugs having spinal issues due to the double curl of the tail. But if these are possible issues you are willing to deal with then go for those breeds. All breeds have pros and cons. Papillons are nice little dog, but the opposite of what you seem to like.
 

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A calm temperment is important to us as well. We do live in an apartment and have to respect our neighbors so I'm hoping there's a breed out there that won't bark too much.
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Haha, have you spent a lot of time with Frenchies? They are crazy. :p
 

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They are often labeled as low energy by the general public/people who do not have much experience with them but Pugs really tend to be more medium-high energy. ;)

That said, provided with plenty of toys, chews, etc. and that daily walk and play, one will likely be fine. My mom's (5) and my sister's (2) pugs have 2 settings. Pretty much either asleep or playing/running around/demanding loving. They are just busy, playful dogs, but because they are small it's not a big deal to have them running around inside and are pretty good about entertaining themselves with their toys.

Either route, breeder or rescue is fine.:)

In either case for health, choose a dog that isn't overly exaggerated. Look at the nose. Nostrils should be nice and open. Listen for little/no heavy breathing, snorting, snoring, etc. Exception being panting after exercise/play, and even then should be fairly normal. If snorting, gagging, making a snore like sound when panting, then something is causing it...

The breathing issues are the result of different conditions including stenotic nares (pinched nostrils which you can see), elongated soft palate, and a couple other conditions that would need vet diagnosis. Can be a single issue or a combo. Often can be surgically helped, though can be pricey. And a longer nose doesn't necessarily mean the dog is free of issues either, contrary to popular opinion! One of my mom's pugs has a bit of length in her nose/muzzle, yet she was the one needing a ''nose job'' (just widening nostrils as everything else was ok). Have also had a couple puggles come through the shelter and my classes needing issues fixed.
Here's a bit on the breathing issues. Would apply to Frenchies as well.
https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/brachycephalic-syndrome

Also some general info and health info for pugs:
http://pugcanada.com/therightpug.html
Pug Dog Club of America » Pug Health Guide

And the testing you should be asking for from a breeder. It's a list by breed. Just click on Pug, French Bulldog, etc. to view the health tests.
Canine Health Information Center: CHIC Breeds
 

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I grew up with a Boston Terrier (another brachy breed) and now my first dog as an adult is another Boston. I will say brachy breeds are not for everyone.

1) Brachy breeds are prone to gastrointestinal problems. That is to say, expect farting. A lot of farting. You do get used to it quickly, but it is something to be aware of before you share your life with one. They also snore- even the ones with more of a pronounced snout. It can be pretty loud.
2) they are not tolerant to weather extremes. Most really don't like cold (expect to invest in a good sweater and coat, maybe even booties). They are REALLY not good in the heat. There were a few close calls growing up where my Boston nearly got heatstroke (she had a pinched nostril as well which complicated her breathing further)- it was a strict family rule that she was never to be left alone outside in the summer and if the weather was above 70* we had an AC on all day, above 85* she didn't go outside expect for a few minutes to go to the bathroom. My Boston now has a much longer snout and much less difficulty breathing but still pants hard from normal exercise in 70* weather. When it's in the 70's at the dog park it's not uncommon for me to see Frenchies, English Bulldogs and Pugs there making horrible retching noises as they pant because they can barely breath just from normal play.
3) They are pretty much all prone to horrendous health problems. My Boston growing up got Cushings when she was around 6 and ended up being very, very sick for the rest of her life. We had to put her down at around 9- still fairly young for the breed. After that experience I tend towards wanting to know where my dogs come from and wanting to know genetic backgrounds. I would think hard before rescuing a purebred brachy breed.

For a first dog, honestly, I think a (responsible) breeder can be a really good choice. You know roughly what you're getting in terms of size, temperament, and energy level based on breed and an experienced breeder can further narrow those things by matching you with the right puppy in their litter. They can also offer a good support system and can point you in the right direction in a lot of ways. I know it was a blessing to go with a breeder with my first dog (despite her health problems) because my parents had never had a dog of their own and they had 2 9 year old kids when they got her; the breeders pointed us in the right direction from everything from puppy food, when to get her shots, and the best collars/harnesses.

Alternatively, getting a young adult rescue can from an organization that fosters its dogs in homes can give you a good read on those things as well and give you a bit of an early support system. You will know less about genetic background and health, but better than a young puppy from a rescue which can be a shot in the dark on everything.

As said before, if you do go with a brachy breed, try to choose a dog that has less exaggerated features (ie, more of a snout and less of a barrel chest). This may not be possible if you do go with a responsible breeder, though. Unfortunately if a breeder is keeping good track of their lines and breeding dogs without congenital diseases they are likely also breeding to the breed standard and showing their dogs- brachy breed standards include very short muzzles. Hopefully breeders balance this with being able to breathe but they don't always do a great job on that front.

Also, as others have noted- young Pugs and Frenchies can both be fairly medium/high energy. Luckily a few twenty minute sessions of catch spread through the day plus one or two twenty or thirty minute walks is enough to knock them out. They definitely are still dogs, though, and will require you going out of your way to give them the right amount of exercise.

Also, I am obviously biased, but you might look into Bostons as a breed as well. They're very similar to Frenchies in a lot of ways, although they're a little leggier and more athletic.
 

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Having taken in an ice-encrusted dog in Winnipeg years ago during winter, it is important to remember the cold up north. A nice fur coat helps a dog cope. A smooth Chihuahua may be cute, but should the heat go out -- as ours did (radiator system problems) the dog could suffer badly, perhaps even die. Electric blankets could be a lifesaver. Think about all aspects of care, including the unexpected.
 

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Love Frenchies, all the ones i've met were cute as a button but dumb as a post.

Most dogs have their ups and downs. long hair dogs are great in winter, not so much in Toronto's humid summers. Lived there for 6 years, couldn't handle the heat.

Bichons are great, like a 2 year old that doesn't grow up. They don't need to be show dogs. Shave them down for the summer, let them grow for the winter, regular brushing. Overall not too bad grooming wise. not a fan of pugs, but that's a personal thing.

Now whether you have a quite relaxed dog or a barker is up to you.
 
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