Family Dogs--breeds, Age, Gender

Updated on June 11, 2010
C.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
14 answers

I've gotten a lot of useful information from this website, so I look forward to starting my research here for our next family pet. We recently lost a 17 1/2 year-old Jack Russell Terrier. He was in my life since he was 9 weeks old so I almost feel as if I have lost a part of myself. We still have a special needs almost 15-year-old JRT. Although we are still mourning our loss, we are also starting to think about what type, age and gender of dog we would like to add to our family. We are not ready yet, but are beginning the thought process. Although I am an experienced dog owner (I also had puppies and dogs as a kid and JRTs are high maintenance dogs), I haven't been in the dog market for quite some time and our needs have changed. My oldest son has allergies so we are thinking of getting a breed or mixed breed with minimal shedding. I know it's the dander not the hair, but I think the non-shedding breeds are better for allergies. We are also torn between a puppy and an adult rescue dog. Given the current economy, I would love to give a young adult dog a good home, but my boys are convinced they want a puppy. Our dogs were a part of our family before our children were born so our two boys (10 and 13) have never experienced a puppy, and I wonder if that would be a good experience for them and if they would bond better with a puppy. Finally, any gender suggestions? We've had one of each, both spayed/neutered, and the male was actually friendlier and a better family pet. Just a coincidence or anything to do with his gender? Sorry to ramble on for so long, but I wanted to explain our situation. I am an experienced dog owner, but undecided about our next family dog. Please tell me your stories and experiences and if you have any recommendations about our next pet.

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So What Happened?

It is now October and we recently brought home an 11 week old Miniature Poodle (after much research and meeting several dogs). He should grow to be in the 15 pound range. It's been less than a week, but so far he has been a great addition. He has picked up on housetraining very quickly and stays quietly in his crate during the night, just getting up once to go out to pee. Our only problems are puppy biting my younger son (typical) and being too rough with our remaining old dog while trying to play with her. He should be allergy-friendly too. It's very early, but so far it seems like the right choice for our family. I felt bad we weren't able to get a rescue dog, but it didn't work out with the allergy situation and for some other reasons. I did make a donation to the local Humane Society to help homeless pets.

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answers from Fresno on

We have a Pug and that is the best dog I have ever had. It is the most loving dog and very minimal care. They do shed, but it hasn't affected us in terms of allergies. They are very clean dogs, but they like to live inside and have lots of attention. I have had labs, terriers, cocker spaniels and nothing compares to a pug.

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answers from New York on

hi cindy, i have a 9 year old male portugese water dog. he is absolutely awesome with the kids, super smart, loving, gentle, non allergic and non shedding ( i am allergic to dogs, which is why we picked him, we wanted a larger, friendly, non allergic dog. and he is) . he is a wonderful family dog. and we had him before the kids and no territory issues or anything, not ever not once. he is active, amazingly athletic, but if you have jrt you are prob used to that. he needs exercise and room to run, and is his happiest when he can swim. he is kind of big, about 60 lbs, and a lot of dog with very big hellos. he has a fairly menacing bark, and i have seen him show teeth one time to a person that i am afraid of anyway who was at my door, but the kids can stick their hands right in his dish while he is eating and he will never hurt them or us. i now have 3 little kids and mine doesnt get the attention he should anymore, and though im ashamed to say it, he will get dejected but not ever angry or aggressive. he needs regular haircuts. if you get one, you have to get one from a reputable breeder, i have the name of ours if you want it. he was expensive. he is great with other dogs. and he was the cutest puppy you have ever seen. :)

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answers from Seattle on

Labs are awesome with kids, very protective and loving, but I have to echo the comments below, they shed like nobody's business.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

I have had two Great Danes in my life. Both were wonderful! The one from my childhood was a male, and I had a female one several years back. We got her from a rescue. She was older for a Dane. 7. She would let my two year old walk her! I also love labs! I have yet to meet one who was bad with kids. So much love! Good luck with your search!

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answers from Allentown on

We have a cockapoo (part poodle part cocker spaniel). She is small but not tiny, weighs about 15 lbs. She does not shed & both my husband & son with dog allergies are fine with her. She has a lot of puppy energy still (she's 1 1/2 years old) but she is both great to play fetch & tug with or to snuggle with on your lap. I would have loved to get a rescue dog but didn't think that would be easy with my family's allergies & my daughter used to be afraid of dogs. I have two kids ages 7 & 10.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

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answers from Kansas City on

Our neighbor just got a bichon maltese mix and it is so, so adorable! A little pile of fluff. Really smart too. The funny thing is my dog never sniffs me when I've held her like he does when I've been around other dogs. I never have any dog hair on me. Sorry about your loss. It's just not fair that dogs don't live as long as us. We have a boston terrier. Love him to pieces other than the Very lovable, loyal and fun. We got really lucky, he was a 2 year old rescue. Potty trained and everything. He sheds a moderate amount 2 times a year and other than that it is pretty minimal. My husband has allergies to dogs and recently found out my daughter does too, but they both do fine with him. Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

We are dog lovers and have had dogs as a part of our family for 20 yrs.

The first was English Cocker Spaniel, female. She was great, She died at 15 with cancer.

We had an American Cocker companion for the English Cocker. The American cocker did a lot more shedding and was higher maintenence. He chewed things, ruined some things, cost us a fotrune with surgeries, etc. We loved him dearly but in the long run, that dog costs us more than $10,000. He died at 15.

Before the above dog died, we got another American Cocker to be daughter's dog. For sever years, all 3 Cockers were alive with daughter and we never experienced any issues with their behavior and our daughter. Cocker #3 is still alive and well, sheds a LOT

We added another English Cocker about 5 yrs ago. She is wonderful, does not shed as much and lives to chase the tennis ball. She is very loving, protective and we've never really had any issue with her at all, medically, etc.

4 yrs ago, we got a toy poodle and this dog has stolen our hearts. NO shedding, very loyal, lapdog and loves to give love all the time.

When the time comes, (It will be a long time) we will get another toy poodle. We have loved all our Cockers but the poodle is the less maintenance and so darn cute.

All 3 dogs are very protective. I do not need a doorbell because they let me know what is going on around here.

GOod luck on your choice and I am sorry for your loss. It hurts so much to lose a pet because they are a part of the family.

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answers from Des Moines on

We have a Beagle and we just adore her. She is a great family dog, loves to protect our daughter and to my surprise, doesn't shed much at all. I would recommend a beagle!

If you want a dog to rescue and doesn't shed alot, have you thought about adopting a retired racing greyhound? My parents and I adopted one about 12 years ago and we just loved her so much! They are great dogs because all they want is to be loved! And they don't shed much at all!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Sorry you lost your sweet baby. Congrats on becoming a puppy mama again!! I have had several dogs and a variety of breeds. Here is my humble opinion: Golden Retrievers, Labs and Newfoundlands are the best dogs for kids hands down. They are all gentile giants/dogs who give dogs a good name. Pugs are great little dogs that don't look like a girly dog. They have a great personality. German Shepards are easy to train, however they seem to pick one family member and attach to them only. They also "herd" everything and guard the perimeter of the room its family is in a lot of the time... can be annoying to have your dog pace constantly when around you. Bulldogs are so funny and sweet and lazy! They are better than a TV... however, they are quite expensive. Do not under any circumstances bring a german short haired pointer into your home unless you live on a large farm or desire to lose your sanity. They are entirely too high energy for any other setting. Best of luck and enjoy your new baby. Jealous!

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answers from Seattle on

Our favorite dog we have ever owned is the one we currently have, a miniature pinscher! He doesn't shed, is great with the kids, and fiercely protective. Smart, sweet, and perfect in our opinion! My husband says he always wants this kind of dog for the rest of his life, and he hated little dogs before this ;)

I've also found that female dogs are more protective and loyal in the past, they act like mothers to our kids and any other pets. Got along better with our cat than our male dogs have. And we always try to get young dogs, unless it's well known that they were raised around small children, because an older dog that's not used to the noises or aggressiveness can become, well, aggressive!

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answers from Washington DC on

I have three rescue dogs. A beagle, which I don't recommend. a shepherd/lab mix and a white shepherd. I love our dogs, beagle included. Not a one of them has any pedigree. THey are all female They all shed.
My friend had a make Golden Doodle, poodle golden mix he was wonderful. We had a male lab years ago. Another good choice.
I like bigger dogs, small dogs make me nuts.
POodles are good dogs that don't shed that much and they come in all sizes. THey're smart too.

OMG!!! Take a look at this. All this talk about dogs and who is getting what got me looking at dogs breeds. This is what I found.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a Lab (dont recommend for the shedding part, but great family dog) and a Springer Spaniel. My Springer is the "love of my life" dog. She is so sweet. I dont notice her shedding, but we keep her groomed and shaved too. My neighbor has English Setter puppies (I think they are 11 weeks) and that would be my next dog of choice. I wish we could take one, but we already have 3 pets. I was a vet tech and my old boss had an English Setter and she was the sweetest dog and reminded me a lot of my Springer. They are a great size (ususally 35-45 lbs) and dont noticeably shed. Between male/female, I would choose male. They are usually cheaper, but my male seems a lot more laid back than my female dog. It could just be the breed though.
Good Luck! If you want info on the Setter pups, let me know. I think they have 2 left--Super cute!!!

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answers from Spartanburg on

we just got a shelter dog about 2 months ago. she is just perfect! she is house trained (for the most part) and is so sweet. she is 3 years old and so she is past the puppy stage which is what we wanted. i couldn't be happier....well unless she would be a little bit of a watch that is what i told my husband that we needed. oh well. we love her just the same and who knows she may protect us should the need ever arise. i highly recommend a shelter dog. so many folks are having to turn in their dogs due to the bad economy. how nice that they could know that someone would be loving their best friend. i actually found her on you can put in the type of dog, age, sex and other requirements. i'm not much help with the allergy thing, but you could put in the breeds that you have found to be less of a problem. good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

If you don't want shedding, you do NOT want a Lab. They have a double coat, and so shed like c-razy. With hardwood, I dust mop once a day except the spring. And in the spring it's *twice* a day. Oy. And that only keeps the hair out minimally. If I go 2 days without dustmopping, we have enough hair for a new dog. I know. It breaks the laws of physics, but it's true. And he gets brushed and "furminated" every single day in the spring. Without, yikes. There's always hair about. Sigh. Always.

Because I just got curious (since the only hypoallergenic dog I knew was the poodle, which are not *usually* good family dogs)... here's a list of low allergy dogs I just found online

Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise
Border Terrier
Chinese Crested
Coton de Tulear
Irish Water Spaniel
Kerry Blue Terrier
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Yorkshire Terrier

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