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Hi! I'm planning to get a puppy/dog from either a breeder or a rescue group at some point in the next few months, and I'm trying to figure out what breeds would be the best fit.

I'm a college student, I live in an apartment, and I plan to keep living in apartments after college because I really enjoy apartment living. My current apartment has no weight limits and relatively few breed restrictions (Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chows, and Spitz). It's a very dog friendly apartment complex and community in general.

I'm looking for a cuddly, affectionate dog that can also be a jogging/hiking buddy or just happy going on long (3-6 mile) walks. I want a dog that is trainable and typically a friendly and nonaggressive breed, because most places I go outside of school are dog friendly and I want to be able to take this pup places with me. Beyond not being hairless, appearance doesn't matter to me (I am a sucker for floppy ears, though). As for size, I'm thinking anywhere in the 20lb to 80lb range? I'm pretty sure I want to avoid the teeny tiny dogs and the giant breeds.

Right now, based on my own research, the breeds at the top of my list are Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers, but I'm completely open to advice and other suggestions!
 

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A couple of questions:

Will this be your first dog? What kind of previous experience do you have with caring for puppies? adult dogs?

What is your daily schedule like? How much time do you realistically have every day to care for your new pet?
 

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How long would the dog be alone during the day? I'm thinking if your time is limited you may want to find a dog that already has the basics down, such as potty training and teething. Those are the most stressful times for dog owners and if your time is limited, you're either going to have to crate the dog for ridiculous amounts of time or find your apartment chewed and peed on.
 

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This will be the first dog that's financially my responsibility, but it won't be the first dog I've been responsible for. I grew up with a pretty wide range of dogs (different breeds, sizes, personalities) living in apartments and houses with fenced and unfenced yards. I actually adopted the dog that I planned to take to college, a yellow lab, when I was twelve. I raised him from a roughly eight week old puppy, house and crate trained him, walked him at least four miles a day rain or shine, took him to obedience classes, and so on. He slept on my bed and thought he was my lapdog (all ninety pounds of him). My parents watched him if I had an overnight trip or a weekend away, but other than that he was entirely my responsibility. I made the decision to euthanize him about a year ago ago after an eight month battle with cancer. The cancer was spreading, his quality of life wasn't good anymore, and he couldn't do the things he loved. So I definitely understand the challenges of raising a puppy or young dog, but I've been through them and know what living with dogs, puppies, or a combination is like—there were never less than two dogs in the house growing up, and at one point we had four including my puppy and a chihuahua puppy.

My schedule is pretty free aside from classes. MWF I'm out from 8:30-11:30am, TTh I'm out from 12:00-4:30pm. Except for occasional appointments or events, my schedule is completely flexible otherwise. I'm also an introvert, so my preferred social setting is a fairly small group of people and I need time away from people to unwind, so I'm not going to resent a dog for getting in the way of my "social life" or something like that.

Also, I'm definitely not opposed to the idea of getting an adult dog if I can find a good rescue or somehow get one from a good breeder, but past experiences make me a little wary of just picking an adult dog from a shelter where the staff don't know the dogs' personalities very well.

Thank you so much for asking the time questions, though! I knew I was forgetting something obvious when I typed up the first post. I really do appreciate the help.
 

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How much longer will you be in school and do you ever foresee adding work to your schedule? Also rescue organizations may be a better choice for you than a shelter because they're pretty careful about getting to know the dog before he's adopted and they want your guaranty that if things don't work out in the home for any reason, that the rescue organization gets the dogs back.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm hopefully graduating in May 2019, so about two and a half more years in school, and I'll be working/interning for some of the next two summers, but depending on the hours I would definitely look into a doggy daycare or a dog walker if necessary.

One of my concerns regarding a rescue is that a lot of them seem pretty set against adopting to people in apartments and some automatically deny requests if you live in an apartment (or even if you don't have a fenced in yard). From what I've read, breeders seem more willing to consider things on a case by case basis.
 

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I would suggest going to a rescue and finding a dog that is a little older that is already potty trained, and possibly totally OK with being alone for a couple of hours during the day in your apartment. Unless you're not working or have someone else to help you, having a puppy in an apartment is definitely a challenge that I went through that I wasn't prepared for! With that said, it sounds like you would be committed to your dog and many breeds can adapt to your lifestyle very easily :) The breeds that i've encountered that I think would be great are definitely the two you suggested, as well as beagles, boston terriers, jack russells, or labradoodles. Hope this helps!
 

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@csamantha11 I am going to look into the Cocker Spaniel rescue in my state. They seem to have mostly senior dogs (9+), but I'll keep an eye out to see if they have any younger dogs that might fit my needs available. I am still leaning towards a puppy, though—I know it'll definitely be a challenge, but I have a good idea of what I'm in for and if I plan my schedule right I can arrange it so the puppy isn't left alone for more than 2-3 hours at first. And beagles are lovely, sturdy little guys, so I'll add them to the list to research. I'm concerned about how Boston Terriers would do during more strenuous exercise (i.e. long hikes, faster jogs), but they're definitely cuties. With them and JRTs, I'm also a little worried about that terrier energy and tenacity, and I've read that they can have a tendency not to do well with other dogs? Labradoodles are adorable, but I'm not a fan of buying a glorified mutt from a breeder. I might check and see if there are any at rescues around here, though, because the ones I've met are all really nice dogs.
 
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