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.)