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Hi,
This is my first time posting, and I am looking for some advice on what breed puppy to get. Some background information about me: I am a 20 yr old college student who takes a few classes every other day. I am looking to add a to our family puppy to in the beginning of summer so I could be with him/her 24/7 for the first few months.
I have another dog, Luna, living with my dad and me. I'm home every three hours to walk her and feed her. Luna was meant to be my dog. She's a rescue newfie mix, but she attached greatly to my dad. I'm not mad about her attaching to my dad so much because she has had such a hard life before moving in with us. I know she was being hit, and underfed, and I understand that being with the 'alpha' of our pack 24/7 makes he feel secure. However, the reason for having a dog and living with my dad is that last year in college I got really depressed living in dorms and the whole lifestyle wasn't working for me. By luck my dads job moved him to the area, and I moved into a real house with him. Luna really helped me get back into a healthy mental state by giving me a reason to get outside everyday and live more adventurously.
Another reason for looking for another dog is that I think I'm tiring Luna out. When I rescued Luna she was a really hyper in-your-face kind of dog. I know its good that she's becoming more secure with herself, but I am really attracted to dogs that are all love all the time. My dad and I walk or swim her at least 3-5 miles a day. She's not physically hurting by any means, but theres little energy left over for her to be overtly affectionate at the end of the day (unless my its my dad).
I've been looking at newfoundlands just because I love the look, size, and temperament of the dogs, but I'm also interested in vizslas and dobermans. I know that all of these breeds are really different, but i am completely willing to adjust my life to cater to my dogs' needs. Any other suggestions for dog breeds that I should consider? And any recommendations for reputable breeders near Des Moines?
 

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I highly recommend doing some research on the topic of being 'alpha' - by the English definition, this can only happen between animals of the same species, and the things we've studied about wolves really don't apply to dogs anymore-they branched off a long time ago.

That aside, the most important part of finding a puppy is one that matches your energy. This can be a bit tricky since breeders can only do their best to guess what it will be-you may find a 1 year old adult at a shelter fits your needs better if you haven't thought about it already. I am actually fostering a JRT that is so lovey all the time but needs some tlc. The benefit of adopting a dog like him is that you know the temperament well in advance-a puppy might not be what you want in a year when they grow up and aren't as energetic as you hoped. Since you're so flexible on breed this would be a nice way to go I think :) You would have an easier time finding what you need and rescues are pretty good at pairing dogs from a foster home to a person who fits.

Since you're so varied in what type of breeds you're looking at, a better question after you decide on energy level might be how do you want to interact with your dog? Do you want them using their nose? Eyes? Would you like a dog that will kill other small animals for you? Alert bark? Do you have a size range in mind? What about refining the type of energy you want-do you want your dog constantly harassing you and demanding play time, or do you want a dog that can go for a 5-10 mile walk and who will curl up with you afterwards? Newfies aren't know for high energy levels by any means, so 'more energy' has a very wide range of implications. You may be comfortable changing, but maybe you run out of energy after 24 hours of throwing a ball and your dog is still ready to go.
 

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You sound like you can handle an active dog, which is great! Most people get active dogs and then don't want them after they realize how much work they are.

I really don't think another Newfie would suit you, because while they're good for accompanying you on a camping or hiking trip, like the previous poster said, they're not a "high energy" dog. As the previous poster said it would also be helpful if you mentioned what sort of activities you hope to pursue with your new dog. Mostly a companion for human activities such as running, hiking, swimming, etc? Are you interested in pursuing dog sports like agility or frisbee? And of course, do you have dog experience outside this dog you mentioned and do you feel you can handle a strong willed dog?

I think Dobermans and Vizslas are a viable option. I definitely like Dobermans. They're highly intelligent and can be trained to do so many things, and fiercely loyal and loving to their owners. They are just very powerful animals so you need to feel comfortable controlling and training a dog like that. Vizslas aren't really my cup of tea. They can be prone to anxiety but they are a very active dog that would do well with an active owner. In terms of other breeds that popped into my head, I think you would definitely enjoy the German Shorthaired Pointer. High energy, very sporty, intelligent, very affectionate. If you enjoy swimming and want your dog to swim, good ol' Labs and Golden Retrievers love swimming, are affectionate, and are typically high energy (the American bred stock of Labs are higher energy). A rarer, active breed that often enjoys swimming is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

You really do have a world of dogs open to you that would not fit with many people's lives, so that's exciting. I know you mentioned breeders, but would you consider a rescue dog? A common reasons medium to large breed dogs are surrendered to shelters is they are too active for their owners. Typically these dogs are between 6 months and 24 months, so young and prime for training and a new life. You will be able to find many Lab/lab mixes, and Dobermans in rescues who would love an owner like you. Pit Bulls and Pit mixes are often very high energy, can be excellent activity companions, and you can easily find little puppies in rescues. You will not find a more loving dog than a Pit Bull either!

If you do insist on a purebred from a breeder exercise caution. You mentioned you're from Iowa and while I don't know of any good breeders there, I know of a lot of bad ones. Iowa is one of the worst states for having puppy mills and commercial breeding facilities that are cruel and breed inferior animals. If you pick a breed and look for breeders we will help give you tips on finding a good one.
 
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