Pets

Need dog breed recommendations

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 26th, 2017 8:18 pm
[OP]
Penalty Box
Nov 18, 2014
663 posts
550 upvotes
Toronto, ON

Need dog breed recommendations

We're currently in the early stages of planning to make a new canine addition to our family and are looking for some of you dog owner veterans to answer some of our questions. It's a huge commitment so we want to ensure we are fully aware of what we are getting into. Based on our requirements, what type of dog would you suggest?

-med to large breed (like the size of a golden retriever)
-easy to train - we are first time pet owners
-easy around babies
-not much genetic diseases
-we can take the dog out 2-3 times a day (when the kids are brought to school and taken home)
-good size yard to run around


A couple of other questions we have include:
-any breed or way to minimize scratching on hardwood floors?
-we are okay with mixed, and were initially looking at golden retriever and labrador retriever mixes. CKC breeders tend to only breed thoroughbreds so where can we look to getting mixed breeds without supporting a puppy mill?

Any thing else we should think about?
44 replies
Sr. Member
Nov 20, 2008
745 posts
84 upvotes
You can stop the search at your first choices of labs or golden retrievers. Either would fit your lifestyle perfectly.
Newbie
Aug 1, 2006
70 posts
34 upvotes
Collies, miniature collies ( =shelties ), standard poodles, english bulldogs ( expensive ! ). You can minimize nail damage if you buy a dremel pet nail grinder and grind the nails down.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
5153 posts
660 upvotes
South of Ottawa
If you decide on a doodle, I can give you recommendations for reputable breeders.
Deal Expert
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Oct 13, 2009
15885 posts
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Iqaluit, NU
labradoodle or goldendoodle

or just a straight lab or golden retriever
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[OP]
Penalty Box
Nov 18, 2014
663 posts
550 upvotes
Toronto, ON
I think we've decided on a border collie due the the fact that everywhere I've been reading says they're great family pets with minimal health issues. Am i missing anything?

I've also found a potential breeder (http://www.bordacollie.com/). For those that are experienced in thsis area, does it pass the sniff test of being a credible breeder and not a puppy mill? I definitely do not want to support puppy mills in any way.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
5153 posts
660 upvotes
South of Ottawa
They are great dogs with few health issues, however they also need a lot of physical and mental stimulation so I would not classify them as "great family pets. A leisurely walk to and from school with your kids is not enough.
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
712 posts
265 upvotes
British Columbia
Considering you are first time dog owners I would get a low matience type of dog, meaning not high energy, easygoing and not needing a lot of grooming. Avoid the working and herding group of dog breeds and be very selective in the sporting breeds as many of them are super high energy.

A Border Collie is very high energy and needs a lot of daily exercise off leash or they become destructive and unmanageable. A concern might be that they herd children (they are herders and this is what they are bred to do). A smart dog gets bored easily and a bored dog means a destructive dog. Having a large yard doesn't cut it, they need to be mentally stimulated and just out in a yard is a static activity that does not offer enough mental stimulation. They need a lot of interaction. They're too smart for their own good and as a first time dog are often a poor choice unless you live on a farm.

How much real time you can commit to a dog daily is critical, not just hypothetical time, since this is something that will need to happen daily without fail (dogs don't care if it's raining). It can be hard, especially when there are children involved causing time constraints.

You mention a large yard, but a yard size alone doesn't matter. A dog will need interaction in that yard. What does taking the dog out 2-3 times a day mean? Is it a 10 minute walk each time (30 minutes total)? Is any of that going to be off leash running? The type of exercise you are giving is important and many breeds need to run daily. Some multiple times daily for upwards of a few hours. Most dogs need much more than a leisurely stroll to and from a schoolyard daily to be properly exercised. Also keep in mind that the larger the dog the more exercise it may require (it expendes less energy walking the same distance).

And what do you plan to do on your days off? For a dog owner this usually involves activities with their dog, they are pack animals. How much time can you commit to socializing and training a puppy? To properly train and socialize a dog is a lot of time and effort.

It is important to realise that any dog might not be ok around babies and young children and must be monitored.

Put a rug over your floors if you are worried about a dog wrecking them. A dog (and especially a puppy) is bound to have accidents in the house from time to time and to wreck a few prized items. One of our dogs wrecked the carpeting at the top of the stairs... there's a nice chunk out of it. A rug is actually a considerate thing to do for a dog, hardwood is hard for them to manuver on.

As far as mixbreeds go, they are just that -- a mix. You will not know how big or small they will grow or what type of health, temperment or coat type they inherit. The vast majority of people breeding these dogs do no health testing and the dogs are not coming from top breeding stock as top breeders have you sign a contract ensuring their dogs are spayed/neutered by a certain age and won't allow their dog to be bred to another breed. Most people that breed mixes are either a puppy mill or backyard breeder and neither deserve your financial support. They are doing it because they are an "in" thing to make money off of and most of them will sell to the first person willing to give them money rather than find a good fit for the dog.

If you want a mix support your local shelter, save a life, and adopt a dog. Going to a local shelter and walking their dogs would be a good starter activity to get an idea of what will eventually have to take place daily and in the process you may find a good fit for your family.

A purebred from a reputable breeder means that the breeder is only breeding one type of dog and are very knowledgeable about it both in appearance and temperment but also health and genetics -- they aren't throwing random dogs together mating for the heck of it, they have a plan in mind to better to the breed with each litter and are not breeding because the dogs are "rare colors" or "have a great personality" (the latter being important as temperament is genetic but there is much more to breeding than temperment alone!), they test for known health conditions (run away from any "breeder" that tells you their dogs are all healthy and don't need testing!), they don't breed their dogs until they're a few years old, their dogs do not have litters back to back and the dogs are not kept past 5 or so years of age (they find new dogs for their breeding program and rehome their adults ensuring they leave as already spayed/neutered dogs to prevent them ending up in BYB or puppymill situations), they do not have an excessive number of dogs, they are somewhat picky about who they give their dogs to (and some are downright too picky...), the dogs come with a spay/neuter contract, the dogs come with a health certificate. Many good breeders are of the mindset that they brought the dog into the world and they will take responsibility for it if you no longer can at any point of its life, asking or even requiring you (in the contract) to surrender it back to them if you can't care for it.

As far as frequent first time dogs go, often Labs or Golden Retrievers are bought for good reason -- they're usually easygoing and responsive dogs with minimal grooming needed.

However if you want a healthy dog avoid Golden Retievers. Even from a good breeder not all genetic issues can be tested for and the rate of cancer in this breed is skyrocketing by the decade. Just about all of them die of cancer, some at only a few years old. I know of one that had its leg amputated at under two years of age due to bone cancer. I've spoken to countless people that have lost their Golden Retievers at too young an age (often 2-6 years old!) due to cancer, some people keep getting them as they're such nice dogs and as a result keep losing them too soon. This breed used to live to 15+ less than 50 years ago and the rate of cancer has spiked since the 90's, I've read that 6 out of 10 get it but that number seems low from what I've seen.
[OP]
Penalty Box
Nov 18, 2014
663 posts
550 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Karala wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 12:59 am
Considering you are first time dog owners I would get a low matience type of dog, meaning not high energy, easygoing and not needing a lot of grooming. Avoid the working and herding group of dog breeds and be very selective in the sporting breeds as many of them are super high energy.

A Border Collie is very high energy and needs a lot of daily exercise off leash or they become destructive and unmanageable. A concern might be that they herd children (they are herders and this is what they are bred to do). A smart dog gets bored easily and a bored dog means a destructive dog. Having a large yard doesn't cut it, they need to be mentally stimulated and just out in a yard is a static activity that does not offer enough mental stimulation. They need a lot of interaction. They're too smart for their own good and as a first time dog are often a poor choice unless you live on a farm.

How much real time you can commit to a dog daily is critical, not just hypothetical time, since this is something that will need to happen daily without fail (dogs don't care if it's raining). It can be hard, especially when there are children involved causing time constraints.

You mention a large yard, but a yard size alone doesn't matter. A dog will need interaction in that yard. What does taking the dog out 2-3 times a day mean? Is it a 10 minute walk each time (30 minutes total)? Is any of that going to be off leash running? The type of exercise you are giving is important and many breeds need to run daily. Some multiple times daily for upwards of a few hours. Most dogs need much more than a leisurely stroll to and from a schoolyard daily to be properly exercised. Also keep in mind that the larger the dog the more exercise it may require (it expendes less energy walking the same distance).

And what do you plan to do on your days off? For a dog owner this usually involves activities with their dog, they are pack animals. How much time can you commit to socializing and training a puppy? To properly train and socialize a dog is a lot of time and effort.

It is important to realise that any dog might not be ok around babies and young children and must be monitored.

Put a rug over your floors if you are worried about a dog wrecking them. A dog (and especially a puppy) is bound to have accidents in the house from time to time and to wreck a few prized items. One of our dogs wrecked the carpeting at the top of the stairs... there's a nice chunk out of it. A rug is actually a considerate thing to do for a dog, hardwood is hard for them to manuver on.

As far as mixbreeds go, they are just that -- a mix. You will not know how big or small they will grow or what type of health, temperment or coat type they inherit. The vast majority of people breeding these dogs do no health testing and the dogs are not coming from top breeding stock as top breeders have you sign a contract ensuring their dogs are spayed/neutered by a certain age and won't allow their dog to be bred to another breed. Most people that breed mixes are either a puppy mill or backyard breeder and neither deserve your financial support. They are doing it because they are an "in" thing to make money off of and most of them will sell to the first person willing to give them money rather than find a good fit for the dog.

If you want a mix support your local shelter, save a life, and adopt a dog. Going to a local shelter and walking their dogs would be a good starter activity to get an idea of what will eventually have to take place daily and in the process you may find a good fit for your family.

A purebred from a reputable breeder means that the breeder is only breeding one type of dog and are very knowledgeable about it both in appearance and temperment but also health and genetics -- they aren't throwing random dogs together mating for the heck of it, they have a plan in mind to better to the breed with each litter and are not breeding because the dogs are "rare colors" or "have a great personality" (the latter being important as temperament is genetic but there is much more to breeding than temperment alone!), they test for known health conditions (run away from any "breeder" that tells you their dogs are all healthy and don't need testing!), they don't breed their dogs until they're a few years old, their dogs do not have litters back to back and the dogs are not kept past 5 or so years of age (they find new dogs for their breeding program and rehome their adults ensuring they leave as already spayed/neutered dogs to prevent them ending up in BYB or puppymill situations), they do not have an excessive number of dogs, they are somewhat picky about who they give their dogs to (and some are downright too picky...), the dogs come with a spay/neuter contract, the dogs come with a health certificate. Many good breeders are of the mindset that they brought the dog into the world and they will take responsibility for it if you no longer can at any point of its life, asking or even requiring you (in the contract) to surrender it back to them if you can't care for it.

As far as frequent first time dogs go, often Labs or Golden Retrievers are bought for good reason -- they're usually easygoing and responsive dogs with minimal grooming needed.

However if you want a healthy dog avoid Golden Retievers. Even from a good breeder not all genetic issues can be tested for and the rate of cancer in this breed is skyrocketing by the decade. Just about all of them die of cancer, some at only a few years old. I know of one that had its leg amputated at under two years of age due to bone cancer. I've spoken to countless people that have lost their Golden Retievers at too young an age (often 2-6 years old!) due to cancer, some people keep getting them as they're such nice dogs and as a result keep losing them too soon. This breed used to live to 15+ less than 50 years ago and the rate of cancer has spiked since the 90's, I've read that 6 out of 10 get it but that number seems low from what I've seen.
Thanks for the long and detailed post. Much of what you said what I have researched and read from the many resources online.
You mention a large yard, but a yard size alone doesn't matter. A dog will need interaction in that yard. What does taking the dog out 2-3 times a day mean? Is it a 10 minute walk each time (30 minutes total)? Is any of that going to be off leash running? The type of exercise you are giving is important and many breeds need to run daily. Some multiple times daily for upwards of a few hours. Most dogs need much more than a leisurely stroll to and from a schoolyard daily to be properly exercised. Also keep in mind that the larger the dog the more exercise it may require (it expendes less energy walking the same distance).
The 2 walks a day would be about 30 minutes while dropping and picking up the kids from school. I only mentioned this because this is the MINIMUM that we be able to do. In reality, I would likely be able to bring them out more when I go for runs or when I bring the kids to the park.
However if you want a healthy dog avoid Golden Retievers. Even from a good breeder not all genetic issues can be tested for and the rate of cancer in this breed is skyrocketing by the decade. Just about all of them die of cancer, some at only a few years old. I know of one that had its leg amputated at under two years of age due to bone cancer. I've spoken to countless people that have lost their Golden Retievers at too young an age (often 2-6 years old!) due to cancer, some people keep getting them as they're such nice dogs and as a result keep losing them too soon. This breed used to live to 15+ less than 50 years ago and the rate of cancer has spiked since the 90's, I've read that 6 out of 10 get it but that number seems low from what I've seen.
Health is definitely a concern, which is why we went from wanting a Lab retriever to a border collie as the latter seems to have significantly less genetic disorders.


Seems like all the information I've received in this thread is what I've been expecting. Does anybody know if Asset Kennels (http://www.bordacollie.com/) is a legitimate breeder? I wasn't able to find them on the CKC website or AKC even though they say they are registered. Hopefully someone more experienced can provide an input to see if they pass the sniff test.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 23, 2009
5153 posts
660 upvotes
South of Ottawa
rkanwar109 wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 9:37 am
Thanks for the long and detailed post. Much of what you said what I have researched and read from the many resources online.



The 2 walks a day would be about 30 minutes while dropping and picking up the kids from school. I only mentioned this because this is the MINIMUM that we be able to do. In reality, I would likely be able to bring them out more when I go for runs or when I bring the kids to the park.



Health is definitely a concern, which is why we went from wanting a Lab retriever to a border collie as the latter seems to have significantly less genetic disorders.


Seems like all the information I've received in this thread is what I've been expecting. Does anybody know if Asset Kennels (http://www.bordacollie.com/) is a legitimate breeder? I wasn't able to find them on the CKC website or AKC even though they say they are registered. Hopefully someone more experienced can provide an input to see if they pass the sniff test.
I don't know what you were reading but Karala is bang on in her assessment and you still seem to think it's a good idea to get a border collie? You are "likely" to bring them on your runs or to the park with your kids is much different from a firm commitment to a dog that needs mental and physical activity. For 15 years or more. Everyday. As a working dog, they also need a purpose. Just going for a walk/run may not be enough for them. If you don't understand the difference, don't get one. Sure, you could luck out and get one that is less active, however the odds are very low that you find a border collie that isn't constantly looking for a job to do.

I'd highly recommend that you stay away from working breeds. You are misunderstanding the level of mental and physical stimulation these dogs need.

If you are determined, then yes, that breeder seems to be legit. But the only way to know for sure is to communicate with them and ask questions. Get references from them, make sure the mom is onsite and that you can visit. Find out if they do temperament testing before allocating pups to new owners. Confirm what health testing they do, not just on the parents, but the puppies themselves.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 27, 2009
3553 posts
1407 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
I second the golden retriever, labrador retriever, standard poodle. All awesome choices! I'm in love with my little guys (Jack Russells), but I must admit that I get a bit of "doggie lust" every time I see my boss' majestic looking standard poodles. Lab/retriever are great family pets - never heard a bad thing about them from anyone I've known that has had them over the years.

Border collies are beautiful, smart dogs - but very high energy and you will need to do something constructive with that energy. Same with Jack Russells (like I have). Super genius dogs, and so much energy, just like Border Collies. Not for the faint hearted dog owners:)
Sr. Member
Apr 25, 2011
712 posts
265 upvotes
British Columbia
Beachdown wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 10:12 am
I don't know what you were reading but Karala is bang on in her assessment and you still seem to think it's a good idea to get a border collie? You are "likely" to bring them on your runs or to the park with your kids is much different from a firm commitment to a dog that needs mental and physical activity. For 15 years or more. Everyday. As a working dog, they also need a purpose. Just going for a walk/run may not be enough for them. If you don't understand the difference, don't get one. Sure, you could luck out and get one that is less active, however the odds are very low that you find a border collie that isn't constantly looking for a job to do.

I'd highly recommend that you stay away from working breeds. You are misunderstanding the level of mental and physical stimulation these dogs need.
This. A Border Collie often needs more than just a run daily. And I do mean daily; not just when it is nice outside. They have instincts that will need an outlet, and as I mentioned this can often become herding (and nipping!!) you, other animals or your children. These instincts are very hard or next to impossible to train out of them, it is what they were bred to do. These dogs are often seen in agility and flyball for a reason.

I have a Miniature Australian Shepherd and they are somewhat similar to Border Collies, my Aussie has a number of favourite Border Collie buddies at the dog park; they have a similar play style (which is running around and herding each other, mine in particular goes after the legs of other dogs). I tried to minimize herding instincts by getting her from lower herding drive lines but she is more of a herder than most herding dogs I know -- so much for that. She also has separation anxiety, a trait both Aussies and Border Collies share.

If my dog doesn't get outside, sometimes multiple times daily for off leash running (about an hour each time), then she will wander around the house and find things to do. Like the time she pulled down the wallpaper. Or the multiple times she has taken it upon herself to redecorate the yard.

She has gone for a bike ride (about 20 minutes), then a swim (30 minutes retrieving in the water) and then run at the dog park and then another bike ride (another 20 minutes) and come home. Within an hour she was so bored that she was rolling around on the floor with toys as she had so much excess energy. That's an example -- that was a weird day for her but there are for sure dogs out there that need more than that daily.

Border Collies can also be leery of strangers and need a lot of extra socializing when young and even then they likely will never been greeting a stranger like a Lab or Golden. You will need to watch them closely around strangers because if they have fear, that can result in biting.

Another consideration is that going to the park with your children and dog is not the same as spending one on one with your dog. In fact unless it is an off leash park you might run the risk of being fined if your dog is off leash. Also just because a dog is off leash doesn't mean it is going to run; they will need something to chase meaning you need to be interracting with the dog -- throwing a ball or running along with your dog.

This summarises a lot of issues with Border Collies that I don't think you fully understand:
http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/breeds/bordercollies.html
A key thing there is they can be come neurotic without proper exercise.

Remember: A lower key dog is often up for that run or trek to the park, but a dog like a Border Collie needs it. Some breeds you can skip lots of exercise from time to time, but a Border Collie is a serious commitment. The Border Collie is a great dog but it is also one of the highest energy dogs around, sadly a lot end up being rehomed because of this.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2014
2952 posts
438 upvotes
I agree with the posters who cautioned you about the needs of a Border Collie. They are dead on.

Re health issues, well there are no guarantees in life. Remember that. It is good going in to avoid obvious health issues (we used to have Dachshunds) but even the healthiest of breeds can become afflicted. Grooming is also an issue you need to prepare yourself for. We didn't even think of it since we always had short-haired dogs until the white, double-coated American Eskimo. Our guy has ongoing eye issues (not PRA that many Eskies get) but different.

Our dog is a super genius but prior to him we had 2 super, super geniuses which helped us prepare for his shenanigans. We once had a very loving dog who was not the brightest - I miss him a lot. He had a brilliant cat who supervised him.

You might have an issue with small children - or babies - in the house, depending on where you get your dog from.
Sr. Member
Mar 19, 2013
607 posts
173 upvotes
Prince Albert, Sask.
If your interested in Collies, look into a Shetland Sheepdog. Had 2 in my lifetime, very smart, gentle and most importantly great with kids. Like others have said a Border Collie is a working dog. I have 3 dogs, our American Eskimo (17 yrs. old), smart and has been an awesome dog. If you choose a long haired dog, be prepared for the "hair everywhere". Our Esky is brushed regularly, professional groomed every 3 months. It still amazes me even after 17 years where his hair appears.

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