Dog suggestions

I’ve been getting pressure from my oldest daughter to get our family a new dog around Christmas-time.

I’m kinda ambivalent.

Our previous family dog was a very gentle and nice Golden Retriever, who we had put down in the summer of '08 because of old age and poor health.

As much fun as it was when she was healthy and we were doing dog-friendly activities, I have some reservations.


  • Hyperactive until about age 3
  • Poor health last 1-2 years of her life - gradually lost abilities to do things - couldn’t go down our back deck steps to the yard, for instance. According to my wife, it was an issue of arthritis and maybe something else I’ve forgotten, not hip dysplasia, but it was bad in any case. Both depressing and time consuming (a LOT of time spent taking her in and out).
  • Extra poop in the backyard, hair in the house
  • Somewhat limiting on trips and such - not really a dog to travel with, so required expensive, inconvenient kennel arrangements and such
  • Expensive overall, between food, vet, etc.

OK, so, the upsides:

  • Very cute as a puppy, fun for most of her life, loving for all of her life
  • The kids (ages 4, 8, 10) want another dog.
  • My wife KINDA wants another dog (but is also, to some extent, put off by the downside stuff)


Anyways, if we got another dog, I was thinking I’d want a dog that is rather like a Golden Retriever in temperament, but preferably smaller (more like 40 pounds instead of 80+ ish), and maybe less susceptible to the health issues (immobility) that our Golden had late in life.

That said, I know Goldens have a reputation for being great family dogs and great with kids, and I’m not sure if there are smaller breeds that would be so friendly. I certainly don’t want a dog that is a serious risk to bite the kids or otherwise cause problems.

While it would be nice to think we would exercise the dog daily, etc, realistically, that’s probably not going to happen consistently, so I don’t want a dog who needs 30 minutes of yard play daily. That said, we do have a decent sized back yard with a fence. We have no other pets.

(BTW, my suggestions of a cat instead were not greeted enthusiastically by the family as a whole.)

I would be inclined to get a dog from a breeder, rather than a kennel - I don’t want this thread to go off the rails on the kennel vs. breeder issue, but I just want to lay that out there.

Anyways, dog-lovers of QT3, I’m looking for suggestions on breeds, and other input on dogs in a family environment with somewhat older kids (our kids were younger when our last dog was in her active stage.)

For anyone that will be giving suggestions in this thread, I would like to remind you to go ahead and post furry pictures.

Crap, well played.

Sorry, it couldn’t be helped.

I always preferred large dogs, but a few years ago my wife persuaded me to get a Cairn Terrier and I was quickly smitten. Tough, loyal, smart, not insanely energetic like a Jack Russell, and puts up with a lot of silliness from the kids; he’s turned out to be a nearly ideal dog. Certainly not the “frightened yappy” image I had of smaller dogs. It made her pitch for a second one a very easy sell.

To contribute, these dogs are incredibly fun, and quite cute. I present the Rhodesian Ridgeback.

Here’s some info to chew on.

The rhodesian ridgeback history for this breed in the US will include clubs and rescues along with photos. The Dutch Boers who settled in colonial Southern Africa in the 16th century designed this breed as multi-purposed: for big game hunting, for guarding the farm, for herding cattle, and being loving companion. The ancestors of the breed were African Hottentot dogs, bred to European breeds. The rhodesian ridgeback history for this breed in the US will include clubs and rescues along with photos. To view a complete gallery of pictures and articles, similar to the topics listed below, just click on the button called Pictures on the left for easy viewing!

Rhodies get almost as large as goldens, though.

Off the top of my head, decent smaller than goldens dogs that are good with kids: Beagles, Springer Spaniels, West Highland Terrier, Sheltie (although you’d probably want one in a smooth variety.)

When I was growing up I had a dog that was a cross between a Beagle and a Springer. She was one of the sweetest dogs ever.

I’ll throw in a vote for pugs. They are a little high maintenance on the vet bills since they are prone to hip/knee issues but they are great family/kid dogs and combine the advantages of a relatively laid-back demeanor with small size.

From the long list of cons, are you sure you really want to get another dog? You definitely seem on the fence and that may not be the best position from which to welcome a new member into the family.

I know you say that you prefer a breeder, and I don’t mean this as a breeder vs. kennel question, but what are your reservations against considering a mixed breed dog? “Retriever but smaller” seems like it would be easier to achieve this way.

Do you have a cat? In reading your pros and cons list it really sounds like you may like one. Cats are loving, affectionate and much lower on maintenance and health issues than dogs.

This is a Maine Coon, sych beautiful cats. Though if you really want to go low maintaince you probably want something that sheds less like a Siamese

Shiba inu.

We just purchased 2 of them from a breeder in OK. They should be arriving to us on 11/16. Winter and Aurora, 2 girls from the same litter.

This will be my second time raising and owning Shibas - my first one was with me for almost a decade before I had to put her down. :(

They are fastidiously clean, great with families and children, fiercly loyal and territorial. They are hunting dogs, and will bolt after anything they see if not properly trained. They need to see you as the alpha as well, or they’ll just do what they want. I love them though!

My family dogs were always Kelpies (well, Kelpie mongrels, but same thing) and I love them to bits. They fit most, but not all, of your listed preferences. They are bred to be working dogs and so they are very energetic - I guess how much play it would need might also depend on what you mean by “decent sized yard”. It may also be a bit tougher to find one where you live than it is over here.

I can vouch for Cairns. We adopted a little three-legged one from the shelter about 3 years ago. We have no idea how he lost his leg or exactly how old he is (I’m guessing 10), but he’s laid back and pretty sweet.

And he pees by doing a handstand. :)

Bichon frise or pomeranian

I would personally lean towards a cat, or no pet, over a dog. But I’m getting heavy pressure. Breeder over kennel is a preference for a puppy over an adult, and more control over choice of breeds.

Standard Poodle. Usually smaller than a golden (40-50lb). Don’t shed. Don’t give them lion cuts and it just looks like they have a giant fro. Smart, trainable, don’t drool, and don’t chew on rocks like goldens. (Ok, maybe that was just the neighbors).

Poodles also scale down nicely.

Fixed that a little for you.

Boston Terrier. Gets to be from 15-25 pounds, is very smart, and only barks when appropriate. Example: We used to live in a one story condo complex that had sidewalks in front of the condos. There was also a path from the sidewalk to the house. Bosco, my Boston, would only bark if people were on the path, never barked while people were just on the sidewalk. Because of this, they have a reputation of being poor security dogs, but to me it’s just the opposite. Bostons are not aggressive, nor a yap-yap dog. The one I have now is higher strung than my previous one, but that could be because he’s a puppy.

Both Boston’s and Pugs are subject to snoring, if that bothers you.

Nothing that fits in a microwave. You never know what could happen.