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#1 of 16 Old 09-29-2009, 11:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We'll probably be getting a puppy in the near future, but I'm not sure what kind we should look for. We'll be living in an apartment, so we'll need a small dog. Also one that is friendly, playful, and good with young kids and cats. Any suggestions?

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#2 of 16 Old 09-29-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Probably need a bit more info....how much time are you able to devote to exercise? do you have any dog experience?

Also, sometimes larger dogs actually require less exercise than smaller dogs and are a better fit for an apt at times...are you only wanting a small dog?

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#3 of 16 Old 09-30-2009, 12:36 AM
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In addition to what Green is asking for, do you want an all-around friendly dog, one who is more protective of the family, how much are you willing to spend on food? Are you open to a larger dog that may be a better fit? Sometimes smaller dogs can snap at little fingers pretty quick is a little one is playing rougher than a smaller dog body can handle.
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#4 of 16 Old 09-30-2009, 01:11 AM
 
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Yes, definitely ask yourself about energy level. Realistically, on a DAILY basis, how much exercise will you be able to provide? By using that question as your guide, you can really narrow down your choices a lot.

Also, don't get stuck on the size just yet. Small dogs don't always do well with small children. I have a 95 pound GSD in a small condo - but, it's not a problem as I make sure he gets A LOT of exercise outside. Definitely keep size in mind, but don't let that determine your choice.

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#5 of 16 Old 09-30-2009, 03:03 AM
 
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What about grooming? Are you willing to have a dog professionally groomed? How much time can you devote to brushing the dog? Do you have a preference for long or short hair? Curly or wirey? How much tolerance do you have for shedding?

Also, I know some apartment complexes have weight limits or breed restrictions, does yours? In some places a "small dog" is under 20 pounds, in others, its less than 40. Knowing your weight or size limit would help to understand what you consider a "small" dog. If your apartment has no size restrictions, how do you feel about a larger dog? Or do you feel you dont have space for the family AND a large dog in the house? There are some large breeds that are quite mellow, great with kids, need less exercise than many small dogs, and adapt extremely well to apartment living. I should also add that many toy breeds are not good choices for young children- they are easily injured and a small child dropping them or pulling on them or being unintentionally rough could cause serious injury. Many also tend to be nippy towards small children.
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#6 of 16 Old 09-30-2009, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
Probably need a bit more info....how much time are you able to devote to exercise? do you have any dog experience?

Also, sometimes larger dogs actually require less exercise than smaller dogs and are a better fit for an apt at times...are you only wanting a small dog?
Well I'm a SAHM, and we'll be homeschooling, so we'll have time to exercise the dog. At least one good walk a day I'd guess, or more if that's what the dog needs.

We'll be moving to a new apartment in a few months, but I'm not sure which one yet. A lot of the apartments only take dogs under 30 lbs (I think that was the limit), so we'll need a small dog. We won't get one till after we're in the new place for a while though.

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Originally Posted by Noelle C. View Post
In addition to what Green is asking for, do you want an all-around friendly dog, one who is more protective of the family, how much are you willing to spend on food? Are you open to a larger dog that may be a better fit? Sometimes smaller dogs can snap at little fingers pretty quick is a little one is playing rougher than a smaller dog body can handle.
Well I wouldn't mind a protective dog, but I'd want it to be friendly with our friends.

We're on a tight budget; we can spend money if we have to, like on vet bills and things, but would prefer to spend as little as possible.

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Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post
What about grooming? Are you willing to have a dog professionally groomed? How much time can you devote to brushing the dog? Do you have a preference for long or short hair? Curly or wirey? How much tolerance do you have for shedding?
I'd prefer as little grooming as possible, definitely would rather not do professional grooming since we don't have a lot of extra money.

And actually, a hypoallergenic dog would probably be best, because I'm sort of allergic (well I used to be, but dogs don't seem to bother me anymore), so my kids might end up being allergic. That probably narrows things down a bit.

ETA: I grew up with dogs, but don't have experience as a dog owner. I'll be doing a lot of research before we start looking for a dog.

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#7 of 16 Old 10-01-2009, 01:53 AM
 
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A hypoallergenic breed narrows things down quite a bit. They tend to come in two categories- hairless and very hairy. Which is more important to you- less grooming, or hypoallergenic?

If you cant compromise on either you may have to go with a hairless dog, which some people love and some people find creepy. They also tend to be hard to find, don't come into rescue often, can be expensive to buy, and do require a little extra care- sun screen in the summer, sweaters in the winter, and some breeds have tooth problems. A quick search of petfinder suggests there are less than 300 hairless dogs in rescue across the country at the moment, so finding one near you might be rough. Hairless breeds include- Chinese Crested (comes in hairless or long hair), American Hairless Terrier, Mexican Hairless Dog, Peruvian Inca Orchid, and the Xoloitzcuintli (which come in three sizes).

If you can deal with grooming a long haired dog, or taking a heavily coated dog to the groomer (many can be shaved down, which lengthens the time between groomings) then your options in hypoallergenic dogs open up. Here is some information on hypoallergenic dogs from the AKC. http://www.akc.org/about/faq_allergies.cfm Of the breeds listed, the Maltese, Miniature Schnauzer, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, and Miniature or Toy Poodle all fit the size guidelines. They all require grooming. If you are handy you might be able to learn to do it yourself with a pair of clippers, but I've found its not nearly as easy as it seems. I would probably rule out the Toy Poodle and possibly the Maltese just on size alone, they are so small I wouldn't think they would do well with small children.

Some guidelines-
First, you can get any number of purebreds in rescue. Petfinder.com lists thousands of dogs, many purebreds, in rescues across the country. Most of my dogs have been purebreds, and all have been rescues. I say this because A. I know many people want a rescue dog, and sometimes going to a great breeder is just financially not possible and
B. because in your particular situation I would NOT recommend a mutt. There is no way to know if a mutt is non-shedding or hypoallergenic untill you live with it. I think it would be heartbreaking to you and your kids to take in a dog, fall in love with it, and then find out it aggravates allergies and might have to go. This includes poodle mixes- poodles are hypoallergenic, but breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Labradors, Goldens etc shed TONS. When you mix the two, you simply can't predict which type of coat the pups will have. The majority of poo-mixes shed and are not hypoallergenic.

Second, hypoallergenic does not mean non-allergenic. Hypo- means "low". Hypoallergenic dogs tend to aggravate allergies less than other breeds, but its not the same for every person. Some people are allergic to all dogs, hypoallergenic or not. Its recommended that if you find a breed you like, you arrange to spend a few hours with the breed. There may be a breed-specific rescue near you, a breed-specific playgroup, or a reputable breeder willing to let you come and meet and spend time with their dogs to see if you react before making any decision. I've also heard people recommend having them rub a pillowcase on the dogs or let the dogs nap on it, and then using the pillowcase on your bed for a few nights to see if you react. Its much better to know these things ahead of time than after the dog is settled in. I should also say that many reputable breeders are actively involved in breed rescue and care deeply about their chosen breed. Even if you buy your puppy elsewhere, or adopt, or choose a completely different breed, they tend to be very receptive to educating potential owners and answering questions. Since they live with the breed day in and day out, they can often tell you the nuances of the breed that you cant get elsewhere, and can tell you how their breed will fit into your life.

ETA- I forgot to say, sometimes you can be allergic to one breed, but not another. If poodles aggravate for instance, a Maltese may not. I once met a woman with an American Hairless Terrier who was allergic to the coated hypoallergenic dogs, but did just fine with her hairless.
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#8 of 16 Old 10-01-2009, 02:15 AM
 
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I just wanted to make a quick pitch for the sight hound group of dogs--these are most famously, greyhounds, but smaller members include the whippet and tiny guys are called Italian Greyhounds. Greyhounds are available as young adult adoptees in large numbers, from racing organizations, but Whippets are available as rescues as well. Italian Greyhounds, as well as many other toy breeds, are tricky to have with small children; being bumped off the couch can result in expensive broken bones and many breeders are reluctant to place their babies with families who have children under six or so.

Greyhounds and whippets enjoy exercise, and can go for long walks, as long as they are on leash. They require practically no grooming, aside from an occasional wipe-down, and, as their hair is very short, don't produce clouds of shedding. They are generally regarded as sweet and cuddly, with a very low energy level in the house. They are not barkers, and are, in many ways, the ideal apartment dog. They have few health problems, and generally live into old age with few vet visits and a gentle personality. You may wish to consider an adult rescue, since adult dogs can "hold it" much longer, and need to be taken out only three or so times per day, not the hourly-visit to the pee-pee spot that puppies need for several weeks and months.

It goes without saying that, whatever breed you choose, you will be best off choosing either a well-run rescue organization, or a high-quality breeder, not a so-called 'backyard' breeder, who may produce cute puppies, but can leave you with an unhealthy and unsound animal who will run up thousands in vet bills and break your heart. A dog show is a great place to find a high-quality breeder, and it's totally worth it to attend one--the internet can be a very good place for research, (check out the breed club for your chosen breed) but a very dodgy place to find an actual puppy or breeder--the bad breeders far outweigh the good ones on the web.

Good luck with the process! We've had our Corgi puppy for four weeks now, and we're completely in love! We found her breeder at a local dog show, and, when we called him, lucked into a puppy who had been claimed-but-relinquished by a family who's house had burned in the LA fires. It can take a few months to find the right dog, but the decade-and-a-half that we hope to spend with her should make it up.
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#9 of 16 Old 10-01-2009, 06:38 AM
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It's not true that the only good breeders who give a damn are in shows. Look up the breed standard for the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and the health problems with their brains and tell me if you'd really want a dog from someone who breeds to a standard that causes severe health problems. There are plenty of great breeders who don't participate in shows. There are plenty of bad breeders who participate in shows and claim that showing in itself makes them good breeders. Keep in mind that shows are the equivalent of doggy beauty pageants. They aren't obedience trials nor do they help determine if a dog can do what its breed was intended to do. Who knows what you are getting in terms of temperament when all that matters in the ring is looks and whether or not the dog behaves while in there. This isn't to say that all showers/handlers are bad people. There are some wonderful breeders who show. Simply showing dogs is no more an automatic indicator of a good breeder than someone who doesn't show being a bad one.

I used to work in a vet's office and it angered us severely the number of show-dog owners who would come in for routine things and ask how to fix problems in the cheapest way possible to just keep the dogs in the rings and winning. Basically how to bandaid a problem, add some polish to make it sparkly, and make money while spending out as little as possible. We also had some excellent breeders, both show-dog owners and not. One in particular who comes to mind is a lady who showed rotties, and she adamantly refused to have ears cropped at all and only had tails done under anesthesia (which comes with a higher cost). I believe it's changed now, but back then, rotties with natural ears were rarely winners as they didn't live up to the surgically-created aesthetic appeal. We also worked with a greyhound rescue. I want to beat senseless the numerous people who starve and beat those things and then dump them in half a heartbeat for not winning.

Some things to look for with a breeder:

They don't release the pups earlier than 12 weeks. Pups simply should not be removed from the litter earlier. That many states have set a legal minimum at 8 weeks doesn't mean the pup should be removed yet.

They vax the pups. In some states, whoever gets the rabies vax for the dog is the one the tag wil be registered to until the next vax, so some breeders in these states will get all vaxes but rabies so that the registration goes to the new family.

They interview and don't just sell a dog to the first people waving cash. Because finding the right families may take a while, they are willing to hold onto the pups for a lot longer than 12 weeks.

They are NOT breeding "designer dogs"!! Goldendoodles (golden retriever-poodles), maltipoos (maltese-poodles), puggles (pugs-beagles), etc., are NOT breedss. They are intentionally bred mutts for their "rareness". They are MUTTS, and there's no telling with a first generation mutt just what characteristics you'll get. A true "new" breed will have been carefully bred over the course of many many many years, decades even, until the resulting offspring are predictable in size, temperament, etc..

They have no problem with you visiting where they live. Beware of a breeder who will only bring a dog to you!

They treat the pups as family members, and the living areas are clean. The dogs have been socialized. They aren't afraid or overly timid (some pups are naturally a bit timid, just like with humans, but there's a problem if multiple pups are shy).

They are willing to take the pup back from you. This doesn't mean they will indefinitely offer a refund. A reasonable time frame is 72 hours, which gives you enough time to have the pup checked. After this, if you ever can't keep the pup (loss of job, death in the family that requires moving to a location not good for a dog, etc.), they will still take the dog back, even if you don't get any refund. They will take the burden of rehoming the dog for life.

They are knowledgable about the breed and honest about medical conditions inherent in the breed. Even if the parent dogs have wonderful testing results, there is no way to guarantee without fail that a pup will not ever develop a problem. Run from the breeder who says that a pup absolutely will not ever develop medical problems. This is dishonest. They need to be honest with you about what conditions are known to the breed and not try to pull the wool over your eyes by saying there's no way a pup would get those conditions.


True backyard-breeders (BYBs) won't do these things. They're out to make a quick buck by having a litter of cute pups and selling them like canned goods to anyone who wants them and has the cash. It takes money to properly raise a litter to the point that they're ready to go to new homes, and a LOT of time. Between time, cost of food, shots, etc., it'll be the rare good breeder who will clear a real profit.
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#10 of 16 Old 10-02-2009, 08:02 AM
 
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We have a gorgeous rottie, and people were all sad and shocked when we got her spayed because "We could have made soooooo much money if we'd bred her". I don't take it lightly, and it's rare to find breeders who are the same way. It's true, they aren't all at shows, and the good ones take it very seriously and rarely make much profit.

That being said, we also have two french bulldogs, and they are the most awesome little dogs ever. They do need exercise, but nowhere near as much as our rottie, and they are loveable, easy to train (ours have been anyways), and have great personalities. They have shorter hair that doesn't shed very much, although they are more susceptible to heat/cold (we just ordered their winter jackets lol).
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#11 of 16 Old 10-02-2009, 07:07 PM
 
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NAK

Noelle - I have never heard of the breed standard for rotties requiring cropped ears. Not ever.

Is it possible this was a diff breed of dog? Any handler showing up to an AKC show with a cropped rott would be dismissed.
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#12 of 16 Old 10-03-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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Rotties are docked, not cropped.

Yes, there are bad breeders involved in shows, that is why it is just one of the criteria. The dog needs to be evaluated in comparison to others by impartial judges before being bred. If you are looking for a working dog, sure, go to breeders who title their dogs in working trials, etc but they can be too much for the average owner. And to talk about the problems in certain breeds (which yes drive me crazy too) well, if you are getting that breed the problems are there whether or not the breeder is showing....

For some, they may be just about beauty, but a reputable breeder also breeds for temperament and stability. Thats why it is extremely important to get to know your breeder and know the right questions to ask. A reputable breeder doesnt just care about winning....the care about the welfare of their line.

To the OP....one good walk a day is enough for low to maybe medium energy breeds. The high energy breeds need multiple walks of several miles, usually at pretty good clip which for me is hard to do with kids.

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#13 of 16 Old 10-03-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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For some, they may be just about beauty, but a reputable breeder also breeds for temperament and stability. Thats why it is extremely important to get to know your breeder and know the right questions to ask. A reputable breeder doesnt just care about winning....the care about the welfare of their line.
I agree with this. Its also worth noting that it is mainly reputable breeders and breed clubs who fund research and studies on breed-specific health issues to try to find treatments and most of all, prevention. They hold screening clinics and sponsor health testing. They develop breeding protocols to try to breed out the disease. Yes, SOME show breeders ignore these things and breed irresponsibly. But many of them are extremely dedicated to the health, safety, and well being of their dogs and are extremely concerned about breed-specific health issues and are extremely knowledgeable about them and their causes, treatment, and prevention. This is why asking about health testing and specifically asking to see the parents official results on paper are important. They help weed out those breeders who don't health test or who breed dogs with issues.
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#14 of 16 Old 10-03-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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We just got a toy poodle and lover her! My kids are 3, 5, and 7. We crate trained her and she is super smart and very gentle.

Maggie, wife and mom to three
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#15 of 16 Old 10-03-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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Wanted to add that I always hated poodles, particularly the way they are cut. DH's dad gave it to us as a present though. We don't give her a funky poodle cut, but just leave her curly all over. She is really cute, kinda like a black lamb.

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#16 of 16 Old 10-04-2009, 11:05 PM
 
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One walk a day is what I would consider a low-energy breed, so you might want to consider that in your search (unless by one walk you mean a 2 hour hike in the woods ). I also second the post about hypo-allergenic breeds above, it definitely doesn't mean allergy free. Also watch out for "designer breeds" that are a mix of a shedding and non-shedding breed - many of them will shed, they don't all keep the best traits of both breeds.

The costs of a pet are definitely something to consider. I'd check out some local vets to get an idea of this as it can really vary geographically. I've been shocked how high and low other people's prices are! Keep in mind food costs too, I've found that the less expensive the food, the more comes out the other end and the more health issues you will see (and thus more vet visits).
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