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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some of you may know and some of you may not know that it's been about ten years since I've had a dog in my life. The first and only dog I've ever had was a Chocolate Lab called Nutmeg, and that was basically a disaster. My brother and I (we're twins) were about 7 or 8 when we got her, and we were absolutely NO help to my parents whatsoever on training, let alone being assertive -- I'm sure you can guess that it didn't go very well.

My mother wasn't very assertive with Nutmeg either, and now that I look back on it, my Dad (he's the one who picked the dog out and brought her home) was seriously the ONLY PERSON she ever listened to. He generally has a naturally assertive nature. I swear, Nutmeg thought she was Dad's second wife. xD Every time my parents would hug, she'd get in between them and DEMAND his attention. She was pushy and walked all over us (which is our fault, I know), we basically did everything wrong under the sun with that dog, and she was so bad both off and on leash, that one time, she went after a squirrel and yanked my Mom down a flight of concrete stairs. My mom broke her leg in some kind of horrific compound fracture that involved metal rods and a metal plate inserted into her leg to keep it safe. It was very very frightening, and took seemingly forever to heal. We had to get rid of the dog, (not just because we couldn't handle her, but that WAS a major factor in giving her up) my brother and I were too little to walk her, she would DRAG US down the street. She'd drag my mom down the street -- she'd even give my dad a bit of trouble. We also moved to Ohio and into a townhouse that doesn't allow pets -- not even a hamster, so our big, badly behaved but somehow still lovable dog just couldn't go with us.


Don't get me wrong, there were some good memories with Nutmeg (she stole some lady's beer can and ran down the street with it. And she stole my aunt's wig. Right off her head. There was lots of screaming and laughter in both cases, even if her behavior was REALLY BAD) but because my family remembers just how badly we messed up, Dad thinks I'm aiming a little high by wanting a German Shepherd -- no matter how trained/well-behaved it is, it will still be a massive life change for us. I can see some truth to his words, and the last thing I want to do is MESS UP AGAIN, even though I'm pretty sure I can be mature and intelligent about owning a dog. But I don't want to rush into this, and I don't want my humongous desire to own a dog now that our situation allows it to overwhelm my ability to make a smart decision about this.

So we don't find ourselves up a creek without a paddle, getting a smaller family dog would probably be a safer choice to go with before we get any German Shepherds, but nothing's set in stone. I am disappointed beyond words with the idea of pushing back getting my Shepherd even further (we'll probably end up getting the German Shepherd over the summer, if all goes well), but it could be for the best. Nothing is permanent as of right now, which means we may decide to go straight to the GSD anyway, but the way things are looking right now, we'll probably go with a smaller dog.

I'm currently taking suggestions on a smaller, beginner's dog though!

:help:

What would you suggest we try?

Note:
Please no commentary on how we gave up too easily on the dog, or how we were stupid for getting a dog in the first place without having a full family commitment to owning one. I know we messed up. My whole family knows we messed up, but we learned a lot from it, and now we can see all of the mistakes we made and know what we SHOULD have done. Getting a dog now would be pointless if we hadn't learned anything from our last one.


Here's what we're considering getting.

1. A Pomeranian


Honestly, xD how could anyone NOT want such a cute little ball of fuzz?
But still, it might be a little TOO small for my liking. That, and my brother had a horrible experience with Pomeranians (his friend from middle school's grandmother was a backyard breeder of Poms, and every time he went over, he was MOBBED by a mass of furry, barking, nipping, squealing fuzzballs from ****) so he's REALLY not fond of the Pomeranian idea.

2. Shetland Sheepdog


It's small but not too small, it's cute, and it's smart. I hear Shelties do pretty well at things like Flyball and Agility, right? My brother and I are both considering getting into those two activities.

3. Alaskan Klee Kai


This one is MY vote personally, and I love it for a number of reasons. xD It has that beautiful look of a husky, but it isn't anywhere near as big. It's still completely off-leash unreliable though, and I'm a little weird around big huskies. XD when I was little (about 5 or 6) a large particularly furry one wanted to play with me, but it ended up scaring me half to death and pawed me in the eye. OW. I'm pretty sure it didn't mean to hurt me, xD the big ol' fur monster just wanted to play. I'm not necessarily afraid of normal-sized huskies, xD I'm just a little extra-aware of how big they are, and just how easily it can be for one of them to knock me over. The Alaskan Klee Kai isn't as independent minded as a Husky, which I like a lot, and they certainly aren't as high energy.

The only problem is that these dogs are extremely difficult to find. And they dig and talk. A LOT.

What we don't want:

A Dachshund
A Chihuahua
A Maltese
A Bichon Frise
A terrier of any kind.

I know I've posted some really small dogs, but we're willing to look into something bigger than that too. Just not as big as a German Shepherd.

Thank you for listening!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
xD My brother wants a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, actually, I just forgot to add them to the list. I'm not crazy about them. I kinda prefer dogs that are a little more proportionate/longer legs. -shrug- That's just me though. xD
 

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Well check out Konostashi's Pom named Ozzie! Very cool dog. The only small dog I've ever had was a beagle named Pink and she was great! My parents raised Norwegian Elkhounds and while they're not a large dog they're definitely bigger than a beagle or corgi. They have the fabulous curled tail, heavy body, big fur look of a northern dog. I literally was raised in a play pen full of Elkhounds and have never felt more affection and love for a breed until I had gsds. The reason I got a beagle was because we were transferred to SoCal with a little yard and I had never had a small dog so I researched the most suitable dog. Pink and I were what my husband called "unnaturally close". She had a big dog personality in a little body, very trainable despite most opinions. Check out the Elkhounds if you want a husky type look, a beagle if you want a smaller dog
 

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Another option instead of getting a dog you don't really want would be to foster or start volunteering at a local shelter. You will get lots of hands on experience with many different breeds and different behavioral issues.
 

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Have you thought about a Vizsla?


Basenji?


English/American Foxhound?


Belgian Tervuren?
 

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Papillon or possibly a cocker spainal. Shelties are great smart easy to train dogs. I was raised with 2. Love them. So that's were my vote goes :dD
 

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i would avoid the klee kia. they're like husky's you think the lab was bad. try having a dog that is so indepedent they have no reason to listen to you unless you have food in your hand. Sheltie's are great dogs. Very intelligent and well behaved. Poms... well Ozzy is the only pom i like. He's a very unique pom. Poms tend to be loud and obnoxious dogs as a rule. Check out west highland white terriers. spunky and fun and SMART! very good little dogs. theres a couple others i'm sure would fit but i'll have to post later when i remember exactly which ones i'm thinking of. (been sick. head is kinda off). good luck in your search.
 

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Another option instead of getting a dog you don't really want would be to foster or start volunteering at a local shelter. You will get lots of hands on experience with many different breeds and different behavioral issues.
Great advice! Just b/c dogs are smaller does not mean that they are easier to handle. In fact, some of the smaller breeds are more difficult to handle than some of the larger breeds!

I would get experience walking and training dogs first and then, once you feel more comfortable, I would recommend adopting an mature adult dog who already has some training and is a good match for your family.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well check out Konostashi's Pom named Ozzie! Very cool dog. The only small dog I've ever had was a beagle named Pink and she was great! My parents raised Norwegian Elkhounds and while they're not a large dog they're definitely bigger than a beagle or corgi. They have the fabulous curled tail, heavy body, big fur look of a northern dog. I literally was raised in a play pen full of Elkhounds and have never felt more affection and love for a breed until I had gsds. The reason I got a beagle was because we were transferred to SoCal with a little yard and I had never had a small dog so I researched the most suitable dog. Pink and I were what my husband called "unnaturally close". She had a big dog personality in a little body, very trainable despite most opinions. Check out the Elkhounds if you want a husky type look, a beagle if you want a smaller dog
Norwegian Elkhounds? Really? How are they off leash?

=) I HAVE seen Konotashi's Pom, Ozzy, and he's the reason I'm considering a Pomeranian! I do find them irresistibly cute when they're younger, but when they get older, I feel as though all that fur is SMOTHERING THEM. xD I know that's not the case, and I'd like to trim their fur back a little, but I heard it's very bad for their health to do so.

I forgot to mention that we need a dog that will get along with other animals, like a cat.
 

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Sagelfn, that's a good idea! We have a local shelter, I don't know why I didn't think of that before!

mroutdoorsman, the Vizsla completely slipped my mind! And the Belgian Tervuren is gorgeous! The foxhound and the Basenji aren't gonna make the cut though. They won't do well with a cat in the house.
 

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Papillon or possibly a cocker spainal. Shelties are great smart easy to train dogs. I was raised with 2. Love them. So that's were my vote goes :dD
=) A papillon is my mom's vote, I think, but so far we're learning more towards the Sheltie! My bro's rather fond of them, and I like them too.

Great advice! Just b/c dogs are smaller does not mean that they are easier to handle. In fact, some of the smaller breeds are more difficult to handle than some of the larger breeds!

I would get experience walking and training dogs first and then, once you feel more comfortable, I would recommend adopting an mature adult dog who already has some training and is a good match for your family.
You have a valid point! I'll definitely talk to my family about that. We're looking for an adult dog anyway.
 

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Sagelfn, that's a good idea! We have a local shelter, I don't know why I didn't think of that before!

mroutdoorsman, the Vizsla completely slipped my mind! And the Belgian Tervuren is gorgeous! The foxhound and the Basenji aren't gonna make the cut though. They won't do well with a cat in the house.

keep in mind tervurens are larger dogs, with the same energy you can expect from a GSD. You might look into a border collie. You can find a more mellow laid back dog. they're intelligent. smaller. and are easily trained and most can be very easily off leash trained.
 

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Ok, I'm going to be pretty biased here. We own and run a 12 acre private dog club and off-leash park. We do boarding, daycare and training as well as manage the Schutzhund club. We deal with A LOT of people who get a dog and then later wonder what they were thinking (or not in some cases ;)). FIRST look at what the breed was intended for, hunting, sledding, companion, herding? Because that is the main characteristic you are going to be working with (in most cases, there are exceptions to every rule). Basing your first criteria on looks will get you nowhere fast, yes, if you can't stand the way a breed looks then mark it off the list, but don't choose based on that first. The GSD is a herding and working dog, so think about what you like about that trait and look for it in a smaller dog. Most of the hunting breeds are not easy to live with. Many of the retrievers have been bred into pets, but that is the minority of the hunting breeds. I'd eliminate any of the spitz family, if you like the GSD, then most of the spitz dogs will probably not be your cup of tea. Many of the small companion dogs are fun, but they can be a pain, think about it, they have been bred to have no particular skill except size for generations. Of the little guys, Papillons are cool, you see a lot of them doing agility because they are personable and fast. The Sheltie is a smaller dog in the herding family, lots of fun, but you need to do your research and find a breeder who is producing solid temperament, they have a tendency to be nervous. We have a few French Bull Dogs here in the club and they are real characters, you have to be aware that they have issues with heat, as do all of the smush faced dogs (brachycephalic).
I myself have one little guy in the house, he is a small British herding dog called a Lancashire Heeler. I found the herding personality in a tiny body (he is 19lbs). Here is a pic of one, not mine, I don't have a decent pic to post. This is my dog's cousin.

And here's a really cute puppy, just had to post the pic ;).
 

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Ok, I'm going to be pretty biased here. We own and run a 12 acre private dog club and off-leash park. We do boarding, daycare and training as well as manage the Schutzhund club. We deal with A LOT of people who get a dog and then later wonder what they were thinking (or not in some cases ;)). FIRST look at what the breed was intended for, hunting, sledding, companion, herding? Because that is the main characteristic you are going to be working with (in most cases, there are exceptions to every rule). Basing your first criteria on looks will get you nowhere fast, yes, if you can't stand the way a breed looks then mark it off the list, but don't choose based on that first. The GSD is a herding and working dog, so think about what you like about that trait and look for it in a smaller dog. Most of the hunting breeds are not easy to live with. Many of the retrievers have been bred into pets, but that is the minority of the hunting breeds. I'd eliminate any of the spitz family, if you like the GSD, then most of the spitz dogs will probably not be your cup of tea. Many of the small companion dogs are fun, but they can be a pain, think about it, they have been bred to have no particular skill except size for generations. Of the little guys, Papillons are cool, you see a lot of them doing agility because they are personable and fast. The Sheltie is a smaller dog in the herding family, lots of fun, but you need to do your research and find a breeder who is producing solid temperament, they have a tendency to be nervous. We have a few French Bull Dogs here in the club and they are real characters, you have to be aware that they have issues with heat, as do all of the smush faced dogs (brachycephalic).
I myself have one little guy in the house, he is a small British herding dog called a Lancashire Heeler. I found the herding personality in a tiny body (he is 19lbs). Here is a pic of one, not mine, I don't have a decent pic to post. This is my dog's cousin.

And here's a really cute puppy, just had to post the pic ;).

what cute lil guys!!!!
 

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keep in mind tervurens are larger dogs, with the same energy you can expect from a GSD. You might look into a border collie. You can find a more mellow laid back dog. they're intelligent. smaller. and are easily trained and most can be very easily off leash trained.
For some reason I was thinking Tervurens were a bit smaller than a GSD but yeah I guess they are the same size...
 

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I also recommend a Sheltie. My previous 2 dogs were Sheltie Mixes(mostly sheltie). Great all around dogs. I wouldn't hesitate to get another one. I also recommend working at a shelter.
 

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Woah! You guys are way ADD about dogs! Haha.

I think that you really do need to get out and see dogs that you want and really handle them. Crazy that you can go from wanting a PPD trained GSD to talking about Pomeranians! It just seems like right now you guys are throwing stuff around without really knowing what you want...I mean really really knowing what you want.

What exactly is it that is causing you to go from GSD to a Pom? Size generally has little if anything, IMO, to do with how easy they are to handle. most little dogs I know are bears I think.
 

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How bout an Austrailian Shepherd? They're medium sized dogs, are smart, and are kinda similar to a GSD.

I recommend you do research. I think you should write down ALL the qualities you want in a dog, narrow it down to the breeds that fit, and then narrow it down to the breeds that fit the most.

Whatever you do, make sure it's what you want before you make a commitment.
 
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