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After many years, we've decided to get add a puppy to the family. I know many families do so when their children are young, but I just wasn't sure it was the right decision for us. But they're a bit older now (12 YO boy and 9 YO girl), and the decision finally feels right.

We think we'd like a puppy that won't grow to be TOO large (we have a townhouse), and from what other pet parents have told me, it might be a bit difficult on their hips.

After having researched for a about a month, I think I've narrowed it down to the Terrier Group (Border, Norfolk, or Glen of Imaal). The latter seems to be the easiest to train, but the former two may be better with families. There's only so much you can glean from research though :confused:. I'm also thinking of a Shetland Sheepdog, but was warned that they can bark a lot. I'm not sure if this is instinctual, or owing more to how they're trained? Maybe a bit of both :)?

Do any pet parents out there have any experience and/or tips? Other suggestions are also welcome :)
 

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What traits are you looking for? Coat type? Do you mind grooming? Drooling? How much time do you have to exercise and train it?

Terriers can be independent dogs, and they have a high prey drive. I had a scottie growing up, she was a tough dog. She didn't listen to anyone but me(I trained her). They also need to be groomed regularly. They can be barkers sometimes too. I've never had a sheltie but I've known a few. They are a herder and can be barky, they may also nip to herd. They are also pretty high energy, but as long as they have an outlet for it they should be ok.
 

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Terriers are tough. A lot of people on the forum have them and love them, but be aware they're tough dogs. @Rileysaur has a Sheltie, so maybe she can weigh in on what it's like to live with a Sheltie.
 
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I love Shelties, but they can be vocal - not just barking, but other noises as well. I think they could potentially live in a townhouse with hands on training and management, but it would probably come down to the specific dog as well. You'd also have to pay attention to breeders, and watch for fearfulness - it can be pretty common.

Terriers can certainly be firstly and headstrong, but they can also be a lot of fun. Have you considered a shelter/rescue pup? I've got a terrier mix from a shelter who is a delight and I constantly see cute little generic terrier mix pups and young adults pass through. They won't be purebred, but sometimes that can take the "edge" off too.

IMO, all of the terrier breeds you listed you're going to have to find a breeder for, and some are probably rare enough that there aren't too many bad breeders out there, so before you write them off completely why not find a breeder and see if you can ask them some questions, both about the breed and their dogs. Maybe you can even meet them to see if it's a good fit.
 

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@PoppyKenna gave some solid advice. Shelties can vary a lot. I have a sheltie that doesn't bark much. He's a good watch dog and will alert bark if there's anyone on the property. I was aware of their reputation before I got him, so I made an effort to discourage barking as much as possible early on. If you have any specific questions let me know :)

Are there any specific traits you're looking for? Just from my experience, I think shelties are more interactive and much less independent than the terrier group. By this I mean, they thrive on doing things with you. Not to say that the same isn't true for terriers, but terriers seem to like you doing things for them. If that makes sense..
 

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Living in a town house, you probably need to think about how much exercise will be required. Also think about shedding, do you mind, or would you rather a dog that does not shed. Just some more food for thought.
 

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What traits are you looking for? Coat type? Do you mind grooming? Drooling? How much time do you have to exercise and train it?

Terriers can be independent dogs, and they have a high prey drive. I had a scottie growing up, she was a tough dog. She didn't listen to anyone but me(I trained her). They also need to be groomed regularly. They can be barkers sometimes too. I've never had a sheltie but I've known a few. They are a herder and can be barky, they may also nip to herd. They are also pretty high energy, but as long as they have an outlet for it they should be ok.
We're looking for a puppy that will have its own sense of independence, but still get along okay with older children. We don't mind grooming. From the research I did there were only a few breeds that weren't big droolers; it's not such a big deal. We can take as much time as we need to train and exercise him or her; I just worry that for some of the dogs folks have said can be more difficult to train, I want to make sure we get it right (if that makes sense). I know shelties are popular with children, I just worry about the barking.
 

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Living in a town house, you probably need to think about how much exercise will be required. Also think about shedding, do you mind, or would you rather a dog that does not shed. Just some more food for thought.

I agree; we'll make sure the puppy gets their regular exercise, but I certainly don't want him or her to be cramped as they grow (which is why we've been thinking about the smaller sizes.
 

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I love Shelties, but they can be vocal - not just barking, but other noises as well. I think they could potentially live in a townhouse with hands on training and management, but it would probably come down to the specific dog as well. You'd also have to pay attention to breeders, and watch for fearfulness - it can be pretty common.

Terriers can certainly be firstly and headstrong, but they can also be a lot of fun. Have you considered a shelter/rescue pup? I've got a terrier mix from a shelter who is a delight and I constantly see cute little generic terrier mix pups and young adults pass through. They won't be purebred, but sometimes that can take the "edge" off too.

IMO, all of the terrier breeds you listed you're going to have to find a breeder for, and some are probably rare enough that there aren't too many bad breeders out there, so before you write them off completely why not find a breeder and see if you can ask them some questions, both about the breed and their dogs. Maybe you can even meet them to see if it's a good fit.

That's a really good point, and one of the only hangups I have with a sheltie. We are also definitely considering shelter/rescue pups :). I've looked up some of the breeders, but they're all quite far from me. Perhaps they wouldn't mind an email or phone call though
 

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We have a poodle/bischon mix, she is about 16 pounds. Believe me they are just as great a companion as larger dogs, and much easier to manage in smaller quarters. We knew we wanted a smaller dog, and we knew we wanted one that did not shed. We adopted Samantha six years ago, and she is absolutely ideal for us. We found her at the local shelter, she was about a year when we got her, about to turn seven now.
 

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We have a poodle/bischon mix, she is about 16 pounds. Believe me they are just as great a companion as larger dogs, and much easier to manage in smaller quarters. We knew we wanted a smaller dog, and we knew we wanted one that did not shed. We adopted Samantha six years ago, and she is absolutely ideal for us. We found her at the local shelter, she was about a year when we got her, about to turn seven now.

Those are some of the traits we're looking for; not too large, but a good companion. We were first drawn towards the terrier group, but I've only been researching for about a month, and I'm willing to spend as much time researching, visiting breeders, and talking with other pet parents as we need to make sure we make a good decision :). Plus I want our pup to be happy with us too! Our son was very much "Please, not a poodle, mom", so I think we'd have to do some more educating there haha
 

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Are you open to adopting a dog? I might suggest that you contact the rescue groups in your area and share with them the qualities you're looking for. I think that even more important than breed is a prospective dog's personality, behavior, and adaptability to life in a townhouse with children. Look for rescue groups that foster their dogs in house settings, and if possible, see if you can arrange a trial period.

These, for example, are rescue groups in my area. Both have some of the sweetest companion dogs:

Perfect Pet Rescue

The Dexter Foundation
 

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Shelties are bred to be vocal, although it has been pointed out that individuals vary. We have two females (11 year old and 3 year old) and the older gal is far more "drivey" and high energy and is extremely vocal. The younger female is a good alert
dog and makes noise while playing but she has more of an "off" switch. It really depends...but they are a lot of fun and very athletic, not to mention a easy size to deal with. The 11 year old we have is 23 lbs, and the three year old is 18 lbs (should be more around 12 lbs...lol she tends to gain weight easily)
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Shelties are vocal... depends on the dog but barking constantly while excited isn't uncommon. Mine were all great dogs. They can be highish energy but all 3 of my shelties were very adaptable dogs exercise wise. They can nip a lot at running kids though... And need more grooming than most breeds. Very sensitive though and easy to train. Can be pretty quirky.

If you like terriers but want a milder terrier, what about a rat terrier? I think show bred border terriers are also supposed to be a bit easier than other terrier breeds.
 

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Are you open to adopting a dog? I might suggest that you contact the rescue groups in your area and share with them the qualities you're looking for. I think that even more important than breed is a prospective dog's personality, behavior, and adaptability to life in a townhouse with children. Look for rescue groups that foster their dogs in house settings, and if possible, see if you can arrange a trial period.

These, for example, are rescue groups in my area. Both have some of the sweetest companion dogs:

Perfect Pet Rescue

The Dexter Foundation
We are completely open to adopting a dog! I've been looking at some of the rescue groups and their websites and trying not to fall in love with every profile I see, and focus!

I like your point about rescue groups that foster their dogs house settings (which I did not know was an option) or a trial period (which I also didn't know was possible; I just worry about the kiddos becoming attached to a dog and vice versa in case it doesn't work out :( :( ). We've looked at these breeds, but I guess I should say that FTR, I'm not wedded to any specific breed yet. At the end of the day, I want a pup/dog that will be a good match for us, and for him or her too.
 

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Shelties are vocal... depends on the dog but barking constantly while excited isn't uncommon. Mine were all great dogs. They can be highish energy but all 3 of my shelties were very adaptable dogs exercise wise. They can nip a lot at running kids though... And need more grooming than most breeds. Very sensitive though and easy to train. Can be pretty quirky.

If you like terriers but want a milder terrier, what about a rat terrier? I think show bred border terriers are also supposed to be a bit easier than other terrier breeds.
Yep this is what most folks seem to say :); shelties are vocal (not a bad thing! I just wonder hmmm what about our neighbors?!) I don't mind high energy; I just want to make sure they have enough room. With our family they'll get their fair share of attention and energetic workout. I was warned about the grooming :ponder:. I suppose it's easy to say "Oh I think it will be fine!" But I wouldn't really know, right?

A rat terrier is an interesting suggestion. I will dig into that. Thank you :)
 

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We are completely open to adopting a dog! I've been looking at some of the rescue groups and their websites and trying not to fall in love with every profile I see, and focus!

I like your point about rescue groups that foster their dogs house settings (which I did not know was an option) or a trial period (which I also didn't know was possible; I just worry about the kiddos becoming attached to a dog and vice versa in case it doesn't work out :( :( ). We've looked at these breeds, but I guess I should say that FTR, I'm not wedded to any specific breed yet. At the end of the day, I want a pup/dog that will be a good match for us, and for him or her too.
The shelter that we adopted Samantha from, has a 'behaviorist' on staff. She spent a lot of time with us, and then when we first met Samantha she was there to watch interactions. She told us after she spent time talking to us and watching Samantha with us, that she felt Samantha was a perfect match for us. She was right. See if your local shelters have a behaviorist on staff that can help you make this decision.
 

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The shelter that we adopted Samantha from, has a 'behaviorist' on staff. She spent a lot of time with us, and then when we first met Samantha she was there to watch interactions. She told us after she spent time talking to us and watching Samantha with us, that she felt Samantha was a perfect match for us. She was right. See if your local shelters have a behaviorist on staff that can help you make this decision.

Thank you for the suggestion! We'll check with the local shelters and see if any of them offer this!
 
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