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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

I'm having some serious issues deciding what kind of dog I want. So I guess I'll give you some information about me and my situation to make it easier to understand and judge it all. And I'm really sorry if this is the wrong thread to post this in!

So I'm an 18 year old girl, I have previously had three dogs, two cavalier king charles spaniels and one irish setter. I do not currently own a dog, but I might be moving to Texas alone, and I'm 99% sure I want one then. I adore dogs, and I easily get lonely, not to mention that I love walking and jogging. I think I might be too scared to continue to do so alone in Texas though, considering I'd be living close to a big city with high crime rate, and so I would feel a lot safer with a dog. And so understandably a bigger dog that is defensive/protective. Living alone there I'd feel safer if I knew a dog would wake me up/help scare away an intruder.
I would probably live in an apartment, and so I worry about the space as well. I love teaching my dogs tricks, and I did enjoy doing some agility with my previous dogs, so it would be appreciated if the dog was eager/willing to learn and enjoyed spending time with me.

And so I worry a bit about the whole weather thing, because it gets so hot in Texas, and I'm not much of a fan of shaving dogs.

The three dogs that I've had in mind so far are the hovawart, the german shepherd and the beauceron. There are a lot of things I like about them, but I'm not sure which one would fit me most, considering I do not have much experience with any of these breeds. And if you have any dog breeds in mind that you feel might suit me, I'm completely open to suggestions, and I'll appreciate any help and tip! Thank you! :)
 

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Growing up with GSD's I know first hand that they are not good first time dogs. They require a lot of socialization, training and most importantly an experienced handler. I have also worked with beaucerons and know that they too would not make a good first time dog. They are very smart however stubborn making an expiereinced handler a must. Keep in mind that this is all based on personal experience so I could be wrong! I am not sure about the other breed you listed but I hope this helps!


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I have a German shepherd who is great, but living in an apartment might be a lot of work. I don't have a fenced yard, which means me and my boy spend at least 2 hours a day walking/running. And that's minimum :)

I see you are not a first time dog owner, but either way I would look for a trainer in the area you are moving to :)
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I have a german shepherd mix (husky), and I would probably say it's a good fit for you :) VERY willing to work, and great alert dogs. A mix would also be good I think, since you could get a mix with a shorter'haired dog and potentially end up with a dog that required less grooming and can tolerate the heat better. I can see this working but they do require a LOT of mental stimulation. As a side note, I'm in an apartment. It is very possible to do high energy dogs in a small area, but training quiet commands are VERY important.

I've heard a lot about the beauceron and as much as this breed looks very appealing, I don't think it's appropriate. They're not as easy to train and can come with their own aggression issues if not well bred so I'd look into other breeds if you're not dead set on one of these guys.

I haven't looked at the hovawart very much for temperament etc, but that coat makes it look WARM...

I would recommend going to a shelter rather than getting a puppy, if only because you'll be in a new environment. You'd also need to be able to protect your puppy and if you're already unsure of your safety then having a larger dog right from the start might be good. Plus you'd be helping out a dog who needs a home!! And shelters are GREAT at picking out good matches. I'm sure they can find a dog that's only flaw is it's high energy, so the last owner didn't want to deal with it.
 

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Ditto what's been said about a GSD or Beauceron. Not breeds I recommend for apartment living or someone without experience with these breeds.

You might consider a Weimeraner. They are very active, intelligent dogs who are very Velcro like in their attachment to their owners. They do well in dog sports and handle the heat as well as any dog does here in Texas.

It's not necessary to own a "guard" dog if you want a dog to alert you. Most any dog will bark at an intruder. Most bad guys/gals will think twice about approaching someone with a large dog, even if the dog is not actively acting protectively. Unless you're prepared to train your dog in Schutzhund work, depending on a dog for protection, is not something I recommend. Owning an untrained dog that threatens and bites someone can be a real liability if it bites someone that it perceived to be a threat.
 

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You've gotten some great advice on breeds.

I will say that while exercising shouldn't be an issue living in an apartment with some effort on your part, it can be extremely difficult finding an apartment to rent that will allow you to have a big dog. I'd strongly suggest finding out if you could get a place to live before acquiring a large breed of any kind.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for all the replies and tips! It's really helpful! I'm pretty sure a beauceron is out of the question now, I'm sure it's a lovely dog, but doesn't sound quite like what I'm looking for.

The mix idea actually sounds like a good idea! I could definitely be on the lookout for that, though I'm slightly worried about getting a dog from a shelter. It would be lovely to help a dog out, it's just that I worry about not being able to bond with the dog from the beginning. I guess I just feel like I'd like to know as much as possible about the dog and help shape it. But I'll definitely look into, seeing as I myself won't feel completely safe in a new city in the beginning, it might be smarter to get an older dog after all.

And yes, the apartment thing has got me worried too.. I really wish it would be possible for me to have a yard, but I guess that's hard. Any suggestions for a dog that won't mind living in an apartment?

I had never heard of the weimeraner before, though it's without a doubt a beauty! Looks like it could really handle weather too! I'll read more about them, it really seems like a weimeraner could be a nice option for me.

I would never encourage aggressive behavior in my dog, that's not what I'm looking for at all. The reason I want a bigger dog is that it looks more intimidating even if it's a sweetheart. The protective thing would just make me feel a bit safer I suppose.
 

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Both of my dogs are rescues, one was an adult rescue and one was a 6 week old puppy. I have amazing bonds with both of them. I promise you can/will bond with a rescue just as much or more than a dog from a breeder!

Also, if you get a rescue from an organization that fosters dogs out you will be able to know how the dog behaves with his foster owners and in a home and bd able to find the perfect fit!
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The only other thing I'd suggest is to get an adult dog, if you want to run with him/her. A puppy won't be able to go on a jog with you until he's 12-18 mos old.

Also, I don't know your financial situation, but as an 18-year-old on your own, you're definitely going to want to budget for a dog first. It's always SO much more expensive than you think it's going to be! Just the first series of puppy shots will run you a few hundred dollars, then the spay/neuter, etc. I guess that's another perk of getting an adult dog from a shelter, who is already current on shots and has been fixed. Even then, though, unexpected vet visits *always* come up. Just something to consider before you dive in!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Very good points.. I'm in no rush with the dog, and if it's not able to jog with me, I'd be fine just walking. But the rescue idea seems more an more appealing to me, so I'll definitely look more into that!

I'd of course have to live there for a while to make sure I'd have enough money for a dog before I'd bring one home. I'm just trying to get an idea of what kind of dog I would be looking for as early as possible. But thank you! It's great to be reminded of stuff like that, an older dog would be a good way to save myself some of those costs.
 

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Just wanted to add that you may want to consider small-medium sized dogs. Its not uncommon for there to be breed and size restrictions even in dog friendly apartments. Small and medium dogs are generally easier to move with.;)
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I also recommend a dog from the humane society. If you want a puppy you can usually find them at the shelter as well, especially if you are close to a big city. Also the plus is that almost all shelter the dog comes to with with all the shots and spayed/nuetered. That's a big financial burden you wouldn't have to deal with.

My first thought when I read your post was actually a pit, except for the whole apartment thing. Most apartments do have breed restrictions so you want to think about that too (German Sheperds are sometimes on that list). I would say go visit your city and see what resources you have.

I have to say I was 18 when I went and adopted my first dog from the shelter. I had an allowance of $100 a week for food and gas and I saved up and ate chef boyardee dinosaurs and meatballs for 2 weeks so I could adopt her. I did just about everything wrong with her in the beginning but I always made it work. It's hard. Make sure that you really want that commitment. Also remember if you are planning to attend college, your social life may change, and having to be tyed home by a dog is not always the easiest.
 
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An older dog from a shelter (not necessarily old) would be best, I think. You do not have to waste time house training and running with a puppy is never a good idea. You would also, obviously, be saving a dogs life. If you do decide to adopt one and you plan on jogging then I would recommend going for 'lighter' breeds. Jogging is not good for more heavily built breeds because it can cause damage the bones, especially when they are younger.
What first comes to mind for me if you want a protective and active dog is a German Shepherd, Doberman, Weirminer (don't know how to spell it), Viszla, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Boxer, Pointer, Setters, Lurchers etc. As you are not a first time owner I think those could be okay breeds for you but you may want a trainer because some breeds are harder than others to train/handle. A cross with any of these dogs would be good if you adopt from a shelter. Maybe even a Rottweiler cross, I think a purebred rottweiler may be a bit to heavy for a jogging (but not sure, haven't owned one) but a cross would be fine. For a lot of breeds living in a apartments is fine, even if it is a large dog, but many breeds (even the not so big ones) need space- such as collies. A St Bernard would probably do better in an apartment than a collie, in my opinion!
The most important thing is not the breed, its the training! Goodluck with your search!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ahh thank you all so much! It's really a great help! I have actually thought about having a smaller dog as well, thinking maybe another cavalier. I adore cavaliers but yes, I think a bigger dog might make me feel more safe. I realize there are a lot of things I'll need to think about, so thank you for pointing out a few of them!

And please, if you have more suggestions to any breeds you think might suit me, I would love to hear it! Having a dog to jog with is really not the main priority, but I wouldn't mind exercising my dog that way either :)
 

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Labradors should be on the table I think.
Most are highly social and eager to please, but they are large and loud enough to be intimidating to a stranger.
They are also usually pretty acceptable in lease agreements - not targeted by BSL.

Also consider a retired racing greyhound. They are softer dogs, less likely to alert for you, but they look intimidating. They also are excellent apartment dogs and do well in heat.

I wouldn't worry about bonding with a rescue.
There is something so profound about that moment when your adult shelter dog looks to you for information or reassurance. In a world that has treated them so badly, they can still choose to trust and that they have placed that trust in you.
It opens your heart pretty fast. :)
 

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You might want to look at the State dog of Texas, the Blue Lacy, and see if you can get a mix Blue Lacy. They love exercise, are versatile with family and protection, and very trainable! A shelter is a great place to look for different breeds...how about fostering a dog and then...gee...maybe you will become a foster failure...and adopt the dog you've fostered! A greyhound might be an option for you, love exercise but are also couch potatoes!!
 

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For apartment living in my area, they cannot deny you the right to bring a dog with you. Check out the laws/damages other dogs have done though-replacing carpet etc is common.

Don't bother with dog parks, even if you have a well socialized dog. There's not enough park space for the headache to be worth the risk of one dog being aggressive-and there is ALWAYS at least one dog who has major problems. A lot of the others are just not very polite etc, and it's not worth it. Running is better.

When it gets cold, we walk the floors and pace a bit. Using treat dispensing toys makes the world of difference. Find an apartment with a long hallway to play fetch, if you can, or a large living area for a flirt pole.

Even with a super energetic dog, we get along fine in an apartment. Here's a list of things we worked our butts off to get at least mostly right during the first few months, to make life a lot safer and easier. I'm sure I missed some but these are the ones we still proof with distractions or use for safety etc. on a daily basis.

Things you NEED to teach right away and start with:
-Quiet (after hours)
-No jumping on people in the elevator
-Sit/stay for elevators (watch around corners, you never know when an ill-behaved dog will rush into the elevator and freak yours out) Make sure the stay means no sniffing, as well. There are more people scared of friendly dogs than you think.
-Crate training will save you loads
-Loose leash walking, since there are typically more cares around. Being pulled into the street is one of my worst nightmares.

Things that help loads:
-Potty on command
-Sit/stay at doors
-Good recall

Remember to stay calm when stuff doesn't go the way you planned. Biggest thing I've learnt from my dog :)
 

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I would recommend finding a rescue that fosters dogs, that serves your area (meaning it doesn't have to be the LOCAL) shelter. Let them know what you are looking for, and they can probably let you know what dogs they have that might be a good fit. Then you can pick from them. If they are close enough, you can visit a few. When I started looking at rescue pups, I looked through the descriptions of the dogs, then looked up the breeds they thought the dog was and used that information to help me pick. Keeping in mind, they could be completely off on the breed anyway, so temperament, size, physical characteristics like fur length are more important that looking for a particular breed. My 25 lbs dog was 12 weeks when I got her. The mom was a 54 lbs boxer mix, and I ended up with a 25 lbs mix that resembles a terrier more than anything else. With the mix, you don't know what you are really getting, in puppies anyway. Point is, an older rescue dog is good for that reason, but don't worry so much about the breed, but the personality of the dog itself. IMO.
 

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Ditto what's been said about a GSD or Beauceron. Not breeds I recommend for apartment living or someone without experience with these breeds.

You might consider a Weimeraner. They are very active, intelligent dogs who are very Velcro like in their attachment to their owners. They do well in dog sports and handle the heat as well as any dog does here in Texas.

It's not necessary to own a "guard" dog if you want a dog to alert you. Most any dog will bark at an intruder. Most bad guys/gals will think twice about approaching someone with a large dog, even if the dog is not actively acting protectively. Unless you're prepared to train your dog in Schutzhund work, depending on a dog for protection, is not something I recommend. Owning an untrained dog that threatens and bites someone can be a real liability if it bites someone that it perceived to be a threat.
I would ditto Grabby's suggestion of a Weimaraner. My family always had them while I was growing up. Intelligent, active, and probably one of the more "Velcro" gundogs. That is a blessing and a curse though, because as adolescents, their separation anxiety will need to be addressed.

They are a great hiking or jogging partner though. Weims are one of a few hunting breeds that really can be satisfied with an activity other than a real hunt. I've met some gundogs that you could run til they collapsed, but wouldn't be truly satisfied unless they got a real hunt in.

I would watch it around cats (ours were cat chasers and worse...) and small toy breeds. Ours weren't especially dog aggressive but if they saw for example, a long haired Chihuahua mix at a distance they would give chase. A leash is a must.

As far as protection, Weims are pretty aloof with strangers and ours usually sounded the alarm when a strange car came up the drive, or if anyone was in the yard (contractors, meter readers, mailman). I think if you were jogging and were mugged or something, most any dog would offer protection, that's part of the bond between dog and owner, and isn't really breed specific. IMO seeking a breed typically used for protection as a first time owner isn't a direct invitation to failure (you may be able to make it work) but it is probably an invitation to A LOT of work, a lot of hassle, and potential problems. I'm not saying you can't do it, just pointing a few things out.
 

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As an 18 year old apartment hunting girl, I would highly suggest a dog around 25 pounds or less. Even finding an apartment that lets you have a big dog, if you had to move, it would be hard to find another apartment to let you keep it. I've recently had to make the decision to leave my dog (50 pound mix) at home for a few years because it's so hard to find a place with him.

And a tip I've only very recently learned, don't count on a dog to make you feel safe. Doesn't work as well as you might think.

ETA: Also, for burglary, believe it or not a small dog will be as effective as a big dog. It's the barking that they don't like, and yes, little dogs have yappy barks that aren't that intimidating, but intimidation isn't the deterrent. When someone breaks into a home they want to get in, get the valuables, get out. A barking dog of any size draws attention and increases the chance of waking up the homeowner to call the cops or the neighbors calling the cops (be it for suspicious activity or a noise complaint) and that's what they don't want.

Have you though about a papillon, or a pap mix? They're very active and very smart.
 
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