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My husband and I are thinking carefully about getting a dog, and are looking for some advice on the type of breed that may be best suited to our lifestyle.

We live in a spacious ground floor flat, which has a small (private) front and back yard. We both work full time, but would arrange our schedules so that the dog gets a walk before we leave for work (approx 8am), has someone (either one of us or a local dog walker) come in at lunch time (approx midday), and a long walk after work (approx 4.30 pm). We both enjoy getting outdoors at the weekend, and often go for walks in the hills or at the beach.

We have both grown up with dogs in our families - I have had golden retrievers and my husband has had spaniels - so we have some experience of dog training and are aware of the time and attention that a dog needs. However, this will be the first dog of our own.

We have been looking at terriers - welsh, lakeland, irish, airedale - but wonder if these will be suited to our lifestyle and home?
 

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Just considering the fact that the two of you have owned "soft" dogs like retrievers and spaniels previously, I'm not sure I'd recommend larger terrier breeds like the Irish or Airedale. Not that I have personal experience with either of those breeds, but terriers in general have a lot of attitude and in a bigger body it's that much trickier to handle.

I might suggest springer spaniels, though.
 

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For me and my SO, the question was more about temperament, size and personality. (Are these factors for you as well, or is the focus on schedule and activity level?)

In our case, L and I wanted a laid back, small sized dog because we're not THAT active, we live in a small second floor apartment, and we can't afford to spend a lot of money in food (we're both graduate students) We also considered our cat, Bella's needs so we wanted to get a dog that would not be larger than her in size. And because of the cat, we were advised to get a puppy.

We put all these factors together, and then we started considering what other things we wanted in a dog. Bella is a long haired mix cat, so we get fur all over the house. So we decided to get a short haired dog to minimize the already fluffy environment we live in.

Then we had to factor in that we both believe in animal rescue. So we were pretty sure we weren't going to get a pure bred. Around here, you get a lot of pit mixes. But pits are too large for our place. So then I started to check out the local rescues online, look at their pet finder ads etc. to find a small, short haired puppy. (With floppy ears because L likes dogs with floppy ears!)

The "laid back" part was determined by watching Scarlett interact with her littermates -- we were fortunately able to do that. She was the runt of the litter and her foster family told us that she was much more into cuddling and hanging out than her siblings.

For us, the choice was partly determined by these factors, and by chance.

I think if you give us an idea of what traits you like or dislike, or size requirements or other concerns, then perhaps there are certain breeds better disposed to those traits than others.
 

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I've never owned a terrier breed before, but all the ones I've met have been very hyper and difficult to train, except for a few that were getting pretty old. Not bad dogs in any way, but definitely not the type I'd recommend to a new dog owner or someone who doesn't have experience with similar breeds.

It sounds like you'd be able to provide for most breeds physically, it's more about what you're able to do with training. Honestly, I'd try looking at rescues and trying to find a dog that you like that fits your lifestyle, rather than looking at specific breeds.
 

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My family owned a Shetland Sheepdog for 13 years under conditions similar to what you have listed... he was always a very active dog, but at the same time, he didn't NEED an excessive amount of exercise to be happy or healthy, so long as we practiced training with him. A decent sized yard was enough to allow him a happy, healthy life as long as he was walked and played with, and as an added bonus, he had a strong desire to learn tricks and obey. So, that would be my suggestion!
 

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I might suggest springer spaniels, though.
A bench Springer might work well, but the field Springers are very much working dogs and need a "job" (a dog sport or hunting) beyond long walks to stay sane, especially in an apartment.

I would definitely go with an adult dog since you have to be gone so much of the day. Maybe something in the spitz family? They strike me as a little more mellow than terriers. I could be wrong...

Honestly, this does sound like an ideal situation for just going to the local rescue and explaining what you're looking for. Really great environment/schedule for a mid-energy dog :)
 

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Terriers are def going to be different from the dogs you both had in the past, but if you like them then I do think you'll be able to find a terrier that works for you. :)

if you want a purebred then maybe look at some of the easier (off switch, just less intense) breeds like wheatens, bedlingtons, and rat terriers.

Or if you are interested in rescuing, terrier mixes are common. Most at the shelter I work with are really
nice. Energetic and playful, do ok with people and dogs, and not over the top or super intense like many purebred terriers. Just nice dogs for active people and first time terrier owners. :)
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Re: rescue suggestions, yes... but her question was about breed, and breed (in whole or in part, if one rescues a mix) is still relevant and worth thinking about critically. Not all "local rescues" are very well informed about breed-specific temperament and health issues, and plenty of rescues will send dogs home with families that don't need them as long as they meet certain arbitrary criteria (fenced yard, other pets neutered etc.).

I mean, I know an unstable family of novice dog owners with four small children that just adopted a deaf Dalmatian puppy from a rescue. Reading up a little more on Dalmatians before accepting that placement would probably have behooved the family, because it's already becoming a problem for them. Rescues having to re-rehome dogs that were originally placed with people who couldn't handle them in reality is not uncommon.
 

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A bench Springer might work well, but the field Springers are very much working dogs and need a "job" (a dog sport or hunting) beyond long walks to stay sane, especially in an apartment.

I would definitely go with an adult dog since you have to be gone so much of the day. Maybe something in the spitz family? They strike me as a little more mellow than terriers. I could be wrong...
Double-posting because I never remember to add everything I want in a timely manner:

Spitz might also be iffy just because of their previous experience, though doable, especially if they go with something like an American Eskimo or Keeshond.

And the two hunting spaniels I've known would have been fine with a long walk a day + a yard to play in + weekend hikes and training. But I've only known the two, so they could be a one-off (two-off?), and regardless, a working line is probably never the first place to look for a dog you don't intend to do work with. : P
 

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Double-posting because I never remember to add everything I want in a timely manner:

Spitz might also be iffy just because of their previous experience, though doable, especially if they go with something like an American Eskimo or Keeshond.

And the two hunting spaniels I've known would have been fine with a long walk a day + a yard to play in + weekend hikes and training. But I've only known the two, so they could be a one-off (two-off?), and regardless, a working line is probably never the first place to look for a dog you don't intend to do work with. : P
Yeah, I don't know too much about spitz, they just leapt to mind for some reason, haha :p

And really, really, field springers want to WORK. They develop weird issues if they can't. Bench and field are essentially show vs working lines. The show lines have plenty of pep and vigor, just less of that MUST DO JOB drivey thing. If you don't fill their brains with productive tasks, they'll be impossible. Their job can be a weekend agility class, canicross, getting good at frisbee at the park, trick training, etc...Not as if they need to be the center of the universe, but they require mental and physical stimulation more so than non-working lines.
 

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I think a whippet or greyhound (or a sighthound cross) would work really well in your circumstances. I'm biased but they are truly lovely dogs, happy to go for walks and hikes but also champion snoozers during the day. They don't have a particularly difficult or strong willed personality, or excess energy or the need to work like some breeds either.
 

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We have been looking at terriers - welsh, lakeland, irish, airedale - but wonder if these will be suited to our lifestyle and home?
The terriers you list are the long legged medium big to big (Airedale) terriers that are going to be a heck of a lot more feisty and headstrong than your average spaniel or golden retriever.

Plus those breeds are going to need a regular clipping, you ready to do that on your own? Or to pay someone to do it?

You mention frequent walks, but you don't say how long you intend to walk the dogs for. 3 10 minute walks isn't going to be enough for terriers. Additionally, terriers are smart, what are your plans for dealing with their mental energy? A Golden Retriever and a lot of the more family oriented spaniels aren't that demanding and you don't have to deal that much with keeping their brains on track, but terriers need mental challenges or they tend to get destructive.

It would also be a good idea to think about setting aside a spot in the yard where they can dig.


Honestly, if you are set on terriers, I'd suggest you look at the terriers who have more of a companion dog lineage.

Some terriers that seem to be more companionable and agreeable are the:

Norfolk and Norwich, both are smaller, but plenty sturdy, good watch dogs, get along well with other animals, has moderate exercise needs, )

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier if you are looking for a bigger terrier. It isn't as big as the Airedale, but it is bigger than the Lakeland and Welsh. (P.S. I don't know why they call it Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier...the coat is soft, but it always seems to be that calling it either Soft Coated Terrier or the Wheaten Terrier would have been fine.
 

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I think a whippet or greyhound (or a sighthound cross) would work really well in your circumstances. I'm biased but they are truly lovely dogs, happy to go for walks and hikes but also champion snoozers during the day. They don't have a particularly difficult or strong willed personality, or excess energy or the need to work like some breeds either.

Agreed! I'm also biased too though. Is your yard fenced in? Walks will do with greyhounds but having a fenced yard makes life easier sometimes. I tire my greyhound out running around the back yard with her for ten minutes sometimes, they really do love to be able to reach that full speed sometimes and get that energy out of their system, but they generally can't be trusted off lead, and don't learn recall easily. I've worked on recall with Vee for a year now and she's still not really 100% on it. But honestly, they're fine with just walks too.

Vee gets tired after a ten minute walk and wants to go back home. Greyhounds and most other sight hounds are just low key, easy going dogs, perfect for apartment life. They aren't massive, they aren't prone to a ton of health issues and their are lots of greyhound rescues out there.

Good luck with whatever you decide on!
 

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Since you're interested in terriers I don't think rat terriers would be an inappropriate choice. They're great dogs, and less of a handful than some of the more intense terriers. They're trainable, have the energy to hike all weekend but can stand being left alone, and are very devoted to their family. Let me know if you have any questions on them :)
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