Need help finding breed of dog that is right for my family UPDATE #43

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by HEChicken, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    *Please note:* While I really appreciate the added input to this thread, and hope the information will remain useful for other people in a similar situation, this is an older thread, and we actually adopted our new dog 2 1/2 weeks ago and are really enjoying having her in our lives. Please see post #43 for information and pictures of our new dog!

    The long and the short: we adopted an adult dog 4 years ago who came with hip dysplasia (not discovered until after he was part of our family). We resolved to give him as great a life as we could but when the quality of life was gone, we would put him to sleep. Sadly, that time has come.

    Looking forward, I do want to get another dog, but have quite the list of requirements so I'm looking for suggestions as to what breed (or mix of breed) might be suitable. My family is licensed as a foster family so we've had a succession of dogs spend short amounts of time in the home and know that not just any dog is the perfect dog for us. Our situation is that we have a fenced backyard that CAN contain a dog 24/7 but prefer to have the dog be part of the family as much as possible. Until now, our dog has been essentially an indoor dog except for necessary trips outside and daily walks. So without further ado, here is the list of requirements:

    1. Chicken safe (we need to be able to trust dog when outside, and be able to leave him/her for several hours in the event we know we will be gone from the house for awhile)
    2. Must be medium sized dog at least. We ride horses 2-3 times a week and would like a dog who not only can keep up with us but who thinks a trip to the barn is "doggy heaven".
    3. Prefer not too large a dog (house is not huge and I prefer not to be tripping over dog all the time)
    4. Must be either short-haired or a breed that does not require professional grooming. In other words, an "easy keeper".
    5. Must be good with cats. Our family now consists of teens and adults and we rarely see small children so I don't see that being an issue, but we DO have a cat.

    Now for some "like-to-haves"
    1. I would like a dog that alerts to strange sounds, particularly when I am alone at home, but does not bark every time a branch hits the bedroom window
    2. No diggers! (been there, done that, it wasn't fun)
    3. Must be okay alone for short periods, up to around 5 hours at a time. We have a crate but prefer not to have to crate dog every time we leave the house for a few minutes - that's just extra time getting out the door that gets old after awhile.

    I could care less about breed - any old mutt will do. However if you have a particular breed in mind that meets the above, please let me know. It certainly helps to narrow it down when I am looking at classified listings. For example, if you say you think a Border Collie meets all/most of these requirements and I see a Border Collie X looking for a good home, I would feel confident to contact the owner and find out more about their particular dog.

    If you've read this far....I do have a few breeds that appeal to me. If you have experience with one or more of them, please let me know how they rate against the above criteria.
    1. Standard poodle
    2. Border Collie
    3. Shar Pei
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    WOW!!! Before I got to your choices I was thinking Border Collie. I had one and she was a WONDERFUL dog. She never touched the chickens unless they were small, she protected the perimeter to a fault, she was great with kids (except for herding them into a corner in the kitchen and licking them to death), and she only barked if there was something strange.

    I would rule out Shar Pei's as they are for one expensive and two they bark alot. They also have a vicious streak if not well loved.
  3. baltoravens98

    baltoravens98 New Egg

    Jun 18, 2011
    I can give you my opinion, and you can take it for what it's worth. [​IMG] I've had Boston Terriers, and they are AWESOME family dogs, very high energy and wonderful with other animals (as long as you socialize them as pups) but they are probably too small for you. I have an awesome mixed breed dog that I would recommend anyone getting his mix if they wanted a great family dog that is good with animals and kids, he's a pit bull/ boxer mix. Honestly, you just want to stay away from dogs who have a drive to prey on small animals, and no matter what get them young. This way you can properly introduce them to the other animals and they will grow with your children. I had a pitt bull/ Weimerainer mix that was just a super awesome dog to be around horses. I took her to the farm with me everyday, when I worked with equine. I started at 6wks and worked with her on a daily basis. She went to a very loving home on a horse farm (because I had no intention of keeping her to begin with). Good luck with your search and I hope you find a great fit for your family!
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Was thinking the same about the Border Collie! My cow dogs have been the best dogs we've ever had. Currently have a Border Collie/Queensland/McNabb mix. Excellent, super intelligent dogs IF you can keep them busy! If not, don't get one! They are smart, thinking dogs and if they get bored they WILL find a way to busy themselves and it may be a way you don't appreciate! They seriously need a lot of action. They can go all day long and then some. Mine have all been great family dogs, did great with kids, chickens, cats, you name it. Even good watch dogs.

    A poodle is going to need grooming and upkeep. As for Shar Pei's, I've never had one nor known anyone who had one so can't comment.
  5. EmtheFishLady

    EmtheFishLady We're all mad here

    Jan 13, 2011
    Glen, MS
    I have a standard poodle. I love him dearly. He's beautiful, intelligent, he doesn't bother my birds...He's protective and calm and loving. He deals with my cat and my 2 year old very well. I would say a standard is an amazing choice. HOWEVER, they do require REGULAR grooming. I have Cricket professionally done once a month. You could probably stretch it out more than this, but I like to keep him looking his best at all times, and that's the way to do it. I also brush him DAILY. That coat is a lot of work. That said, you can keep it clipped short....I just don't. [​IMG]
  6. miraclz5

    miraclz5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    I have always had a dog, worked in a vet clinic for a while and been dog (and animal) crazy my whole life! I commend you for doing your homework and researching your options. I think one of the biggest reasons that so many dogs end up in shelters is because people don't do their homework first, don't think and end up with a dog that is just all wrong for their family and their life style. Of the choices that you my opinion, I agree with other comments...border collies MUST "work" and would not do well being left alone for long periods of time....bored border collies can become destructive and even in some cases aggressive. Poodles are WONDERFUl (I would get one in a heartbeat) and they fit all the requirements that you mentioned, however, they do require periodic trips to a groomer! Shar Pei...although they fit some of your criteria, given your recent loss due to health related issues....shar pei have a greater risk for health issues and particularly health issues. I am also not sure how reliable they would be with your chickens....are their desire to go with you when you go riding.

    One of my suggestions and I am partial to this suggestion as I have one, is a collie. Our collie is amazing and she is wonderful with my 4 young children, she is good with our horse and she thinks she is "mother hen" with our chicks. She is 3 and we brought our chicks home on 3/31/11. From the moment we walked in the door, she decided they were HERS! She would sleep next to the brooder box and if one of them so much as peeped wrong, she was up and checking on them and/or looking at one of us like "do something". Collies can be a mouthy....Isabeau, our collie, I actually think sometimes she thinks she can talk and she is "talking" to us...LOL However, for the most part, she doesn't bark unless there is good reason. Our old collie who we lost last December was a grooming nightmare (and we had gotten him as an 8 week old puppy) and having grown up with collies I knew grooming was a necessity...However, there are smooth collies (rough collies being the ones with all the hair) who possess all the same traits, just not all the hair. We had one, and he was truly one of the most amazing dogs ever. Although collies, like border collies are "working" dogs, collies do not require the same amount of work and are content to be house dogs. Isabeau, could care less what she is doing as long as she is with her people!

    I would suggest considering a smooth collie as in my opinion, it fits your list of requirements. I wish you the very best of luck in your search for finding the dog that best fits your life and your family! Take Care, Andrea
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Thank you all so much for your input. I actually feel a little daft after reading some of your replies that I first say "no grooming" and then express interest in....a poodle [​IMG] Its just a breed that has always appealed and I clearly didn't think that through. I also very much appreciate the input on the Shar Pei. I had a Shar Pei Shepherd mix in my younger years and she was the best dog I've ever had. However I didn't have chickens at that point in my life and while she did great with our cat - I have many photos of the two of them snuggled up sleeping together - I really didn't know how they do with other/smaller animals. Also, you are all right about the inherent health issues with Shar Peis. Because mine was a mix we avoided those, but might not get so lucky next time. So, I can scratch those two off the list.

    I was intrigued by the mention of Pit Bull/Mixes. That is a breed I had been avoiding as I imagined they would NOT be good with the chickens. Hmmmm....back to the drawing board. Despite their reputation I know that Pit Bulls in the right hands can be very sweet dogs. However I seem to remember a clause in my house insurance policy that prohibits the "dangerous" breeds like Rottweilers, Pit Bulls etc., so I'll have to check that out and see.

    Quote:My family had a collie when I was a kid growing up. She was what we called a Scottish Collie - rough hair - and was everything you say. The funny thing is, our mix-breed dog with hip dysplasia was thought to be a smooth collie mix by the rescue we adopted him from. They found him at the animal shelter so had no real clue - it was just a guess - but he did turn out to be a great family dog so I will definitely keep smooth collie on the list of possibilities.
  8. pinkwindsong

    pinkwindsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2011
    Laurens SC
    you've gotten several good breeds mentioned..

    standard poodles are great having had one, also the new mix they are doing make great dogs as well.. such as the labradoodle.. they are super smart, don't shed, need brushing but not excessive.. and did I say smart.. ..
    a couple other breeds to think about is

    Dalmatian short hair med sized, good guard dog but not an excessive barker, great with horses and athletic, and great with kids.

    Australian Shepard that are raised with chickens would be a good choice as well. I wouldn't bring an adult in, they may hunt/ herd birds to much when their instincts kick in.. if you want short hair. the blue healers/ cattle dogs are great dogs. and fit your requirements too.

    great danes are totally awesome dogs for family and farm life... the only downfall to great danes is, because of their size, they are in the list of short lives. 8 yrs-12. they are fantastic with children/ babies and with teens as well as farm animals and horses on the trails.

    good luck have fun choosing your new family member..
  9. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    I got an australian shepherd. Great with the kids. great energy to run. he had gotten loose before he was trained to stay and NEVER bothered the chickens, but he hates those squirrels and any other critter that doesn't "belong" [​IMG] .

    eta- I am a groomer by trade (went to school for it forever ago) and he really is not bad at all [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
  10. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    I personally would go with a rescue mutt (mixed breed). I have a labbie mix and she is awesome. She knows what belongs in the yard and what doesn't. Check out, CPR Dogs, and local shelters. My Akita was awesome with other animals too, although that is not typical for the breed.

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