Tell Me About... Dogs

After much ado we’re moving to the country side next summer, and I thought of giving in to my husband’s biggest wish: a dog. His 40th is coming up so I’d like to give it to him then, or the idea anyway as I’d like him to be able to pick out the dog he’d like a puppy from himself. So I am curious about dogs and babies, how they are together, and if anyone has any experience or knowledge about any of these dog breeds I’d be grateful. Especially how the are with babies and children, how clean and smart they are, etc. I know there are a lot of dog people here, so I hope someone can help me out! Or I might have to join a dog forum…

Alaskan Husky
Alaskan Malamute
Bernese Mountain Dog
Border [name_f]Collie[/name_f]
Cocker Spaniel
English Setter
English [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m]
[name_m]German[/name_m] [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m]
Irish Setter
Siberian Husky

… If you know of other beautiful, clever and childfriendly dogs, please suggest away. These were the ones I found on an intelligent dog ranking, and/or that I like the look of. Thanks!!

Huskies are EXTREMELY energetic and if not properly exercised can become VERY destructive-- I know plenty of people who have them and most have completely destroyed yards, furniture, etc. just something to think about when there are little ones involved! I don’t know much about the other breeds, but we recently got a golden retriever puppy( who we named [name_m]Bob[/name_m]), and we adore him! We have never had this breed before, (although growing up DH and i have had other dogs-- everything from great danes to chows to chihuahuas)but I can now honestly say I completely understand why they are one of the most popular “family” dogs. My rambunctious 5 year old has played, tugged, jumped and wrestled on and with [name_m]Bob[/name_m] since day one. And [name_m]Bob[/name_m] has never once snapped, growled or bitten. He is totally okay with my son playing with his paws and ears --so I don’t have to worry about toddlers yanking on them, I know it will be fine. He was amazingly easy to house train and is already protective of the family. He loves the water an the outdoors-- a perfect country dog! The hardest thing we have had to deal with is the shedding. But he loves the water so much that giving him a bath once a week to help with that is no sweat at all. I would definitely check into a [name_u]Golden[/name_u]!

I’m a dog worshipper and I’ve had at least one dog for the last 20 years, usually 2. To me, there is no greater creature on this earth! They are so loving and dedicated and pure and just wonderful - my dogs literally crack me up every single day and they fill my life with love. BUT! (and there’s always a but isn’t there?) They are also a LOT of work. Especially as puppies. It’s essentially like having a new baby. You didn’t say if you’ve ever previously owned a puppy but if not, I always try to warn people what they’re getting into. It takes a lot of work to train them, as well as a lot of patience (because accidents will happen) and determination. They have to be constantly watched, taken outside every hour, sometimes they cry at night, etc etc. If you aren’t really into it, most people will give up. That’s why so many puppies end up back at the shelter/store where they came from. So I always, always recommend that people try to foster the puppy/dog first - depends on where you live I’m sure but it’s very easy to find here in the US. That way you get a trial run and if it really isn’t a good fit, you can bring the dog back and try a different one. You also have to be sure to purchase a crate - for the dog’s safety, for easier house-breaking, and for your own sanity.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about mixed breeds, or mutts, or shelter dogs - in my honest opinion, they are the way to go. I had one purebred [name_u]Golden[/name_u] Retriever and he was the meanest dog you’d ever meet. He bit EVERYONE. Three different vets told us to put him down but my mom refused. Purebreds are often in-bred and that leads to serious health issues (behavioral and physical). I’ve never had ANY problems with any of the “mutts” I’ve adopted. They’ve all had long healthy lives and have all been sweet as can be! And then you don’t have to spend $2000. In terms of finding which breed is best for you, adoption facilities can help you with that too. They’ll ask you questions about your family and your life and they’ll work to match you up with a dog that will fit with you. And, of course, do a lot of googling before you make any final decision (for breed info). Also, I know most people want a puppy because they’re so cute and loveable… but honestly, most people would be better off adopting a dog that 1-3 years of age already, saves a lot of work and effort especially if they come already partially housebroken/trained.

Also, regardless of breed, dogs are messy. [name_m]Even[/name_m] the ones who don’t shed much or are hypoallergenic, they’re still dogs. They get dirty, they smell, some of them slobber. They have accidents inside, they get sick and throw up on the carpet. It’s all just part of having a dog. In my opinion, they’re worth every single bit of it because of the unconditional love they give you - but if you’re really a neat, clean person, having a dog may be a tough adjustment. Generally, smaller dogs are easier to clean up after and it can be easier to contain the mess… but other factors matter too of course.

Anyway, I can ramble on about dogs endlessly. I’m very passionate about educating people before they adopt because it breaks my heart every time someone takes a dog back - and that happens all too often. Good luck with the journey, it’s great that you’re starting a bit early and trying to gather information!

Huskies and Malamutes shed A LOT. I imagine it would be the same with burmese mountain dogs. ANY dog built for winter weather will shed a lot because they tend to have two coats. German shepards have a similar coat and can have genetic problems with their hips. I am not a fan of any dog with long hair just personal preference. English mastiffs are gentle giants and are generally great with kids and easy to train. I have a fila/english mastiff mix and he is great with my kids. I trust him completely around them. They can climb on him pull his tail even stick their hands in his mouth. Even my anti dog cat only DH loves him.Other dogs ive had growing up
Boston terrier
Basset Hound
Mini Dauschund
German Shepard
a couple of dogs I would like now are a schnauzer a labradoodle a rottweiler and an irish wolfdog. I prefer bigger dogs in general as the little ones do yap. So my rough rule is over 35lbs haha.

I agree with cvdutch mixed breeds are great and puppies are a lot of work but well worth it. I was 15 when I got my heeler mix and I would take him outside at night in 3 ft of snow to do his potty training. I did the same with my mastiff mix. And both the beagle and the basset hounds were rescue dogs. I have never used a crate but have used baby gates to block them out of certain rooms in the house at times.

I have had always had 2+ dogs since the day I was born and am a firm believer that, while being a lot of work, they enrich your lives in a way quite different than anything else.

I love several of the breeds you have listed, but something to be aware of is that “intelligent” breeds can have different outcomes. Some intelligent breeds like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers (the top two breeds for families) tend to work wonderfully with families and are quite easy to train, others, such as border collies and huskies, are typically difficult to train because their high levels of intelligence leads them to becoming easily bored and destructive. If you cannot provide the dog the plenty of exercise and enrichment please do not get a breed that will require immense amounts of either.

Another factor I would take into consideration is the desired power structure of your family. Are you wanting a family dog or a dog for your husband? Some breeds (such as malamutes if i remember correctly) are notorious for doing better with a single master vs. in a family environment.

Another thing to consider is that typically bigger dogs tend to be better with children because they are usually less aggressive. An article in Applied Animal Behavior [name_m]Science[/name_m] a few years ago listed Labradors, Siberian huskies, and golden retrievers as the least aggressive breeds, while I believe chihuahuas and [name_m]Jack[/name_m] [name_m]Russell[/name_m] terriers are the most aggressive.

Before you consider purchasing/adopting/etc. I would definitely recommend doing your research on various breeds and talking to your husband about what you want out of your dog. Whether you want a hunting companion, a dog that will cuddle in your lap all night, or one that will protect your family, you have a variety of options, and both you and your dog will benefit from you doing the research to make sure it’s a good fit for everyone.

Dogs that I have been around and loved AND would suggest for a family with small children include Labradors, golden retrievers, blood hounds, Rottweilers, and a variety of mutts. However, it comes down to the training much more than the breed.

If you have any further questions feel free to PM me. I love talking about dogs more than anything :slight_smile:

Well I’m into dogs in a big way, so I’ll do my best to help.

For starters, while it is completely possible to have a baby and a puppy at the same time, however by the time you would have one your other little one will have been born and it will be like probably be like having three babies for a bit. That said, I would definitely recommend a pup over an adult dog at this stage. With a pup you’ll be getting a ‘clean slate’ whereas with an older dog you cannot know its past experiences and with very young children I wouldn’t take the risk. The dog may have had past negative experiences with children or no experience at all. Also, training is everything. Most problem dogs stem from problem owners.

Have either you or your husband owned a dog previously?

From the list you’ve given it looks as though you are interested in larger dogs. [name_m]Just[/name_m] make sure you are prepared for the dog accidentally knocking down a little toddler. You haven’t said anything about hair type, do you have a preference? Also, just to say, the dog intelligence lists go by obedience. [name_m]Just[/name_m] because a dog’s further down the list doesn’t mean it’s thick, it’s just independent :slight_smile:

And to comment on the dogs you’ve given:
Alaskan Husky - well, firstly, it’s not really a proper breed, just a type of dog used for sledding. You would have a job getting one anyway
Alaskan Malamute - wouldn’t recommend it. They are very strong and can be rather self-willed. To be honest, I’m not even the biggest fan of having this type of dog in the country as they find it very difficult in the summer months due to their heavy coat, but I’ll try not to get into that here
Bernese Mountain Dog - the gentle giant :slight_smile: My friend has one named [name_f]Aurora[/name_f]. Probably my favourite from your list. The only major downside is their very short lifespan, about eight years
Border [name_f]Collie[/name_f] - no, not an ideal dog around children. They need a [i]lot[I\] of both physical and mental exercise and can turn snappy if they do not get sufficient stimulation. They also have a habit of rounding up children and small animals if they can. It’s a breed best suited to working. Another friend actually used to have a collie who didn’t work. He went a bit senile and tried herding cars. He also developed an OCD where he had to carry something in his mouth at all times
Cocker Spaniel - most are lovely dogs, but some can be unpredictable, though the working strains are usually better than the show ones. Whatever you do, do not get a red/golden cocker as they very commonly suffer from Cocker Rage Syndrome where they suddenly go from being completely calm to snarling and biting then back again to being normal
English Setter - lovely, lovely dogs, however setters take a good bit longer to mature mentally than most other breeds so you would have to cope with an adult-sized puppy for a while. Maybe not an ideal first dog, but it could be done
English [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m] - I would probably disregard this. It’s a developing American breed very similar to the border collie. Hard to obtain, and not much known about them
[name_m]German[/name_m] [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m] - can be lovely dogs and good pets however they are very strong and not all have even temperaments. Very good guard dogs though
Irish Setter - see the English setter :slight_smile:
Siberian Husky - see the Malamute

Okay, a few other other suggestions:
Labrador retriever, golden retriever, flat or curly coated retriever - tend to be fairly easy to train and are usually even tempered
English or Welsh springer spaniels - a bit crazy but affectionate dogs
Pointer - very loyal and intelligent
Old English sheepdog, Newfoundland - gentle giants
Greyhound - very laid back and lazy
Afghan hound - can be both aloof and goofy

I’m a terrier girl myself, but they can be rather a handful and a lot of them have a tendency to nip your ankles as pups. :slight_smile: I wouldn’t rule them out though. I have a border terrier and they’re just the best little dogs you can get.

[name_f]One[/name_f] last point: when obtaining a pedigree puppy you must check for any potential health problems which exist, and are unfortunately all too common. Hip scoring or other tests may be needed, but not breeders will do them. You also seem to like dogs with moderate confirmations, which is a good thing.

Okay, that was long, and it doesn’t cover everything, but I hope I remembered the main points.

We have 2 dogs, a [name_m]German[/name_m] [name_m]Shepherd[/name_m]/Spitz mix and an American Bulldog/Hound mix. I’m not necessarily a dog person, I am way more bonded with my cat. But I grew up with animals of all kinds and it feels normal to have a dog around the house. If you are looking for loyalty/good with children, I would definitely look into Boxers/American Bulldogs, Great Pyrenees, Giant Schnauzer, and Bernese Mountain dogs are great. People tend to overlook “bully” breeds such as Pit Bulls, Boxers, and Bulldogs, but if raised properly they have the sweetest dispositions and are great with little kids. The original “[name_f]Nana[/name_f]” from [name_m]Peter[/name_m] [name_m]Pan[/name_m] was a Pit Bull you know. :wink:

Thanks so much everyone!

Husband grew up with dogs. He was raised mostly in the countryside, they had 3+ dogs at all times, his family are all big hunters. So he knows how to raise and train dogs. That’s the main reason I’ve said no to a dog until now, the dogs he likes are all the kinds who need a lot of exercise. We both like hairy dogs, I don’t like short haired and rough looking dogs. Ideally I’d like to get him an Irish setter because they’re so beautiful, and ideal for hunting, but I adore Huskies and Malamutes, and Bernese Mountain dogs are just my favourites as they look like bears! I don’t mind shedding, we already have two cats who leave hair everywhere.

Rookachoo; good info on the Huskies, I will definitely think about that. I just like them because they look like wolves!

[name_f]Christine[/name_f]; thanks for all that! We’re both home all the time (work from home), so we’ve got lots of time. My husband is quite… I don’t know how to say this without him sounding like an arse, but he’s a proper upper class boy, went to [name_m]Eton[/name_m] and all that and I’m not sure how he’d be with a mutt. Certain things are supposed to be a certain way. Gosh, that sounds horrid! I know he’ll want a puppy to train himself, he talks about it all the time. We’re also not very tidy people, I keep it clean, but I’m not tidy ;).

Hoot; mastiffs scare me! I’m not a dog person at all (cats through and through!), but English mastiffs are so big and the tongue hanging out… I shudder. I’m sure they’re lovely, I just have a very specific preference for dogs I like.

Lonestar; thanks! I definitely want a hunting companion, or just one that loves going on long long walks. And one that would look neat in front of a fire… [name_u]Golden[/name_u] Rets are cute, I completely forgot about those. They’re very beautiful with their long fur.

[name_f]Hannie[/name_f]; Husband grew up with dogs, and he had one when he was in his mid twenties but it died. Yes, I like larger dogs. Except pugs… I do love pugs. So cute! Thanks for the comments on the different breeds! Very helpful. Yes, I’ve heard that the Bernese Mountain Dogs have a short lifespan! But that’s okay. Of your suggestions I love the [name_m]Springer[/name_m] Spaniel, it’s adorable! Like a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and English Setter! Old English Sheepdog is my favourite though, it’s so cute and fluffy! Looks like a cuddly one. Thanks so much!

RGE; thanks! Unfortunately a lot of the “bully” dogs looks too scary for me… I’d be scared it would bite me all the time. Like I said, I’m not a dog person, so I tend to do better with the ones that remind me of cats, horses or other fluffy things!

Well if you do go for a setter, I’ll be jealous! I would like to own one some day, probably an Irish or a [name_m]Gordon[/name_m], most likely both. No more doggies for me at the minute though, I have to leave my boy behind at home for most of the year right now as I’m from NI, but I go to uni near [name_m]Preston[/name_m] doing an animal-related course

[name_f]Glad[/name_f] to be of assistance. [name_m]Just[/name_m] a thought, but look up vulnerable native breeds too. They’re a particular passion of mine :slight_smile:

SO has a Husky. He’s calm and so easy going. He’s older now, about 6, but did have more energy when he was younger. [name_m]Even[/name_m] then, though, it wasn’t as much as the breed “typically” has. He does shed. A lot. He pretty much lives outside though (except on really hot or really cold days) and it suits him perfectly. SO tries to brush him every day. During the summer, he gets his underbelly shaved, which seems to help him stay cool. He does exceptionally well with the children and lets the kids crawl on him.

Ooh! I can offer advice on the Border Collies. My grandmother has had one ever since I was born and he is the sweetest thing. He never tried to herd me as a kid, though he does try to herd the cars in the driveway by nipping at their wheels. Though it is quite cruel to keep a border collie in a place where they won’t have fields to play in, and walks every day are essential for them. My uncle takes there’s, [name_m]Luke[/name_m], out on hour walks through foresty areas sometimes and the dog loves it. Great for long walks if you’re into that, and he’ll stick by your side.

They are also very protective of kids and really anyone in the family. My grandad used to joke around with [name_m]Luke[/name_m] by acting like he was gonna punch my arm and [name_m]Luke[/name_m] would bark at him and stand protectively by me, but no way in a menacing way.

I’ve only had experience with one collie but he is very sweet, when I was younger he allowed me to crawl all over him, put my handsin his face, hug him. Almost anything. Absolutely great with children.

Borders are pretty clean but they do have long thick fur so things like burrs can get stuck in them, but overall [name_m]Luke[/name_m] has always been clean. Watch out for mud on the paws! They also love water and [name_m]Luke[/name_m] will go fishing with my grandad all the time.

Borders are also very well known for their intelligence and its true. [name_m]Luke[/name_m] is one of the smartest dogs I’ve met.

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps! [name_f]Love[/name_f] border collies they are my favorite species of dogs and i hope when I’m older ill be able to have a few.

When I was first born, my parents (really my dad) had a black lab who became my first friend as well as my very best friend! He passed away when I was just shy of two, but from what my parents tell me, we were relatively inseparable as soon as I learned to crawl. I used to take naps with him on the kitchen floor and there are all these adorable pictures of little baby me using him like a pillow! He was such a gentle dog and I believe my early relationship with him was what fostered my lifelong love for dogs. As far as the breeds you mentioned there, my mom grew up with a cocker spaniel and still speaks rapturously of him. They’re great with kids and just the perfect little dogs. I love, love, love huskies, they’re just so gorgeous! Beyond their looks, I don’t know too much about them (sorry!). I’ve always wanted a collie; I had some contact with one as a small child and, from what I remember, they’re great with kids, or at least the one I knew was! I’ve known some wonderful English setters; however, I’ve also known some that can get very aggressive and mouthy. My advice is definitely to try to meet the dog before committing to purchasing it; it’s really important to get a feel for their personality and how comfortable you will be around them. Maybe try to bring [name_f]Aphrodite[/name_f] along if you can meet them in a safe setting (ideally quieter than a shelter or some other area where a massive amount of dogs are housed).

I’d like to suggest the breed that I currently own to you, because I think my pup is quite beautiful and clever and he’s also very child-friendly (proud mama :smiley: )! I have a Portuguese Water Dog, and he’s absolutely the most perfect boy you could imagine! They have hair instead of fur, so they don’t shed (even though you said that doesn’t matter to you) but they still have lovely soft coats. They’re energetic, love to play, and great for kids to be around. My pup also loves quiet time though - you mentioned that you want a dog who looks good in front of the fire, and he loves nothing more than to sit with me in the wintertime and just be pet. They’re great on the leash as well. They can be hunting dogs - in ancient times, they were used by fishermen to retrieve nets and carry messages from boat to boat - but also love to run around in the backyard, which would be great if you’re moving to the countryside. We have a “parti portie” (portie is the nickname, parti means that they’re two or more colors). [name_f]IMO[/name_f], the wavy-haired kind is the cutest - i’ve tried to attach a picture that looks similar to my dog, but I don’t know if it’ll work. They’re absolutely the most adorable puppies and I think it could be great for you!

Whatever you decide to go with, I think having a dog is a wonderful experience for a child and you should definitely go for it. Like others have said, owning a dog really enriches your life in a way that nothing else can. As long as the dog is properly trained, any breed can make a wonderful pet!!

[name_f]EDIT[/name_f]: OK, I don’t know how to do the pic. I’d just suggest doing a google image search for Portuguese water dog - the third one that comes up is the one I was thinking of. And the puppies are SUPER cute too!! Good luck :slight_smile:

OK, I have neither dogs nor children, so feel free to ignore everything I say! But recently, my husband and I dog-sat two dogs for some friends, and I ahve some thoughts.

  1. They are a lot of work. And that doesn’t even include the ‘training’ stage of a puppy, which, yes, is a lot like a baby. (I had a dog when I was growing up, and it was so much work getting him trained.)
  2. [name_m]Both[/name_m] dogs are used to babies (our friends have a seven month old and the dogs are OK with him). I don’t know the dogs breeds, but I’ll second that bigger dogs are generally less aggressive. Their bigger dog (who is also younger) is GREAT with the baby. Lets him pull on ears/tail/feet/whatever, and just likes to get attention and sometimes lick the baby’s toes, which is so cute. The older dog, one of those small, fluffy ones, is sweet, but doesn’t like kids much. He’ll snap at them. Our friends say he’s never bitten anyone, but obviously just being snapped at can traumatize a child, so they do their best to keep him away from the baby.
  3. I do think (in general) its great for kids to grow up along animals. It teaches them responsibility and empathy and also means they’re not scared of animals. Of course, since you’re pregnant & have a baby (I think), it could just be a huge hassle and stress to add in a new element to that right now. It’s all about what you feel comfortable with. But I’d go for an easy-going breed, and make sure your daughter isn’t scared by him.

ETA: duh! you mentioned Border Collies! These are the best dogs. My grandparents had one when I was little, and he spent months at our house when they’d go travel, and he was the sweetest. He’d let me use him as a pillow, walk him (without pulling at the lead), and just basically let me do whatever I wanted. He was easy-going, loving, friendly, and (aside from shedding a lot), the perfect dog. I’d definitely recommend Border Collies.

Our family has two dogs. One is an Springer Spaniel and the other is a Sprocker Spaniel (half springer half cocker). I would say our Sprocker is better with children but both dogs grew up around them. Also they have always had the natural hunting instinct as we live in the country and have deer and pheasants which the dogs love to chase. I also need at least three walks a day, normally one short one in the morning, one short one at lunch time and one long one at around four. When I was young we had a Collie crossed with a Springer Spaniel, he was basically just like a collie but instead of the normal black and white he was brown and white. He was extremely friendly but not overly, he had a good temperament and lived to a good age. I think Labs are quite good dogs as they are very clever. I have also heard that Labradoodles are brilliant dogs to have. My grandma has a Collie who is black, white and light brown and is such a gorgeous looking dog. She is so clever! She reminds my grandma when she needs to take her pills by barking once and she has never failed to do it. It was something she just started herself when she was about three. She also isn’t a very energetic collie so doesn’t need long walks.

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe i forgot to mention that if you’re interested in Irish setters (they are absolutely gorgeous!), you should possibly look into the [name_m]Gordon[/name_m] setter. They are the calmest of the setters and so may be a better choice for a family with young children. They are very smart and a fantastic hunting companion, but are more willing to spend their evenings laying on a rug by the fire than English or Irish setters.

We had a purebred [name_m]Gordon[/name_m] when I was little and she was such a doll! She was wonderful around my sister who was an infant/toddler at the time, and I really can’t sing their praises highly enough.

I recommend a standard poodle. Though I have a Lab Mix, and Yorkie mix and love them both, my childhood dogs have always been poodle mixes so I am partial to them.
Dogs 101 - Poodle - YouTube

I will never not have an Airedale Terrier. It would take more time than I have to tell you all of the reasons why I love this breed. Loving, intelligent, entertaining, protective, gentle, hard-working, tidy. here is the Dogs 101 about them:


and the video that sealed the deal for me before I got my [name_m]Woodrow[/name_m]:


[name_m]Woodrow[/name_m] is already great with kids, and I know he is going to take his job as best-friend and big brother to my baby (due in [name_u]December[/name_u]) very seriously.

They are not the best dog for newbie owners, because they are very independent-minded. They respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement training and will learn anything, but they can get bored easily. Ours goes to a doggy day-care several times a week which lets him burn off energy. Here is a video of him giving me his “frustrated” routine:


Let me know if you want to know more.

I’ve never had a breeder dog puppy, but I do know that [name_m]German[/name_m] Shepards seem extremely loyal. My advice is to get a pound mutt, when they’re older it’s easier to tell their personalities and it might be known how they are with children.