Best dog breed for the 'outdoors'? (For new dog owner too)

Astrochelys

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I've never owned a dog before, however I do plan on getting one in the future (possibly after I get out of my undergrad). Since my field requires a lot of outdoor time (hiking, etc.) I was wondering what would be a good dog breed. I was thinking so far of a Weimaraner, Chocolate lab, Husky, Swiss Mountain Dog and a German Shepherd. Feel free to comment on these or add in a breed that you think is better!

These are my criteria tho:
- I hike around anywhere from 3-11 miles whenever I go out, dog must be able to keep up.
- Somewhat easy to train.
- Must be obedient/somewhat easy to maintain off leash, I'd rather it not go chasing off after local fauna.
- Somewhat protective. I don't think I'll be getting married, sadly lol, so I'd like it to warn me anything comes by. However, on the flip side, I don't want it to be too protective in-case I have people over (or a roommate).
- Doesn't shed a whole lot, I understand most dogs do, but I don't want them to require a whole ton of grooming.
- I probably won't get one till after grad school (if I plan on going to grad school), but if I do, which would do best alone, without destroying things?
- As corny as it sounds, I'd like a dog that'll just enjoy my company too. Not too independent that it takes off running whenever I open the door, but that'll wait for me or just walk near me whenever we go out.

So far, these are the only things I can think of, but I might add in things later. I do understand that dogs are a huge responsibility, trust me, that's why I'm thinking far ahead. But I really do appreciate comments/suggestions!

Thanks!
 

G-stars

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I would go with a lab for a first dog. The German shepherd is my personal favorite but as you mentioned your a first time dog owner and GSD's need experienced dog owners imo. Husky seems like another good option with all that hiking, you definitely need a dog who can handle that long hike.

My 2 GSD's do great off leash hiking, however we can't go long distances in warmer days as they easily overheat.
 

Yvonne G

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I just love my Doberman, Misty. She qualifies for all of your criteria shown above.
 

mike taylor

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Boston terrier is a great first dog . Low maintenance ,good family dog ,short hair ,little just an around great dog. He found a chicken egg in my yard . He played with it like a ball .
 

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Astrochelys

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Thanks for the comments guys! Oh and I forgot to mention, I don't mean to sound rude when I say this, but I'd like to have a medium to large dog. Nothing like a Great Dane size, but something along the lines of a German Shepherd in size. I'd like to be able to raise it from a puppy too.

The only thing I'm nervous/hesitant/scared of is that dogs don't live as long as I like and it'd be a crushing blow if it was to pass away. Is there anyway to prepare yourself for it, or do you just take it as it comes?
 

leigti

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I would skip the husky or Swiss Mountain dog. Neither one are all that easy to train and they shed like crazy. German shepherds and labs are easy to train. They shed a lot too :) I think going with some sort of sporting or hunting dog would be a good plan because of all the activity you want to do and they are usually easy to train. Any dog with a short muscle and pushed in face is going to overheat on long hikes. A German shorthaired pointer could keep up with you all day long.
 

Astrochelys

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I'm actually thinking about stopping by the shelter, but this is in-case if I don't find a dog that I immediately like and all.

Aw, I was really looking forward to Huskies haha. But I did know they'd be the first I'd cross off the list since I heard they would escape the first chance they got. Also heard some stories of them befriending robbers and that's kind of a turn off to them for me. The Swiss Mountain Dog was a favorite for me, however I don't want to jump right into a dog that isn't at my level yet.

I'd love to get a doberman @Yvonne G, however, a family member had their right calf torn out by one so they're kind of out of the question. German Shepherds would be nice since a family member had one, but I've been told and read different things about if they're a beginner dog or not and the German Shorthaired Pointerlooks looks lovely!
 

leigti

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Mutts are great. If you at least know what breeds went into them you'll know a little bit about the dog. Some people say they are also healthier and more stable than purebred dogs because of all the inbreeding that can go into purebreds. I don't know if that's true but I've owned two mutts in my life and they were the greatest dogs.
 

wellington

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I think a shelter dog will be best for a newbie. They are forever greatful that you saved them and usually are very trainable.
As for their passing, there is no way to prepare that I know of. The best way to deal with it though, is any way you see fit. Don't let someone put you down or try to embarrass you because you are grieving over a family member/pet. I mourned for ten years over the loss of my best friend. I couldn't get over it. So, I got a tattoo (which I never would have gotten otherwise) of her. It helped a lot, but I still can't talk about her, even now I'm choking up. You never stop missing them, but it does get a little easier as time passes. Mine has been gone for 21 years now and I miss her dearly but I don't cry daily any more.
 

johnsonnboswell

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You might consider an older pup. The ones I've gotten from between 4 & 7 months have all bonded well, and been beyond the baby teething and pea sized bladder stage.

The only thing that makes losing an old dog bearable for me is getting an apprentice pup before she gets too old to find it annoying. The new pup is a not a replacement, and I'm not left without a dog when the old one dies.
 

JAYGEE

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You can go to petharbor.com put in your zip code and all of your local shelters should pop up. You can look at pictures of the animals that are available for adoption!
 

leigti

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Be strong when you go to the shelter, don't grab the first thing you fall in love with. The last time I went to "just look" at a litter of puppies I came home with one :) I was in the market for a new dog but I didn't plan on getting one that day. Ha ha that was 13 years ago and I still have her. I don't know if she's going to make it to 14 but I will do all I can to make it happen as long as she is doing okay.
I had a friend who is a professional dog trainer and she would actually go with people to look at puppies or adult dogs and assess their personalities. You could look into this possibility if you know of a good dog trainer or behaviorist. It might save you from having heart ache later if the dog is not a good match. Just something to think about.
 

Tom

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These are my criteria tho:
- I hike around anywhere from 3-11 miles whenever I go out, dog must be able to keep up.
- Somewhat easy to train.
- Must be obedient/somewhat easy to maintain off leash, I'd rather it not go chasing off after local fauna.
- Somewhat protective. I don't think I'll be getting married, sadly lol, so I'd like it to warn me anything comes by. However, on the flip side, I don't want it to be too protective in-case I have people over (or a roommate).
- Doesn't shed a whole lot, I understand most dogs do, but I don't want them to require a whole ton of grooming.
- I probably won't get one till after grad school (if I plan on going to grad school), but if I do, which would do best alone, without destroying things?
- As corny as it sounds, I'd like a dog that'll just enjoy my company too. Not too independent that it takes off running whenever I open the door, but that'll wait for me or just walk near me whenever we go out.

So far, these are the only things I can think of, but I might add in things later. I do understand that dogs are a huge responsibility, trust me, that's why I'm thinking far ahead. But I really do appreciate comments/suggestions!

Thanks!

You are making the mistake that most people make. You don't buy/get/adopt/acquire a dog that meets most of these criteria. You MAKE a dog that has the endurance for an 11 mile hike, is obedient off leash, doesn't chase game, is or isn't protective, can be left alone without wrecking everything, doesn't take off whenever you open the door, and stays near you on a walk.

There are some generalities from breed to breed, but EVERY dog of EVERY breed is an individual and you will need to spend VAST amounts of your time to train the dog to be this dog that you are imagining. Good dogs are made, not born.

Where do you live? Climate should be a factor. Huskies and Greater Swiss Mountain dogs have a rough life in warm climates like SoCal or Florida.

Danes are not necessarily short lived. I've had 6. My shortest lived one was 10 when it died from cancer and my longest lived one was 14 years and 11 months. That was Jake. He was the mantle Dane in the Mel Gibson movie called "The Patriot".

My take on the breeds you mentioned:
1. Weims: Pretty good for what you want. They do have somewhat of a "houndy" brain which does not always lend itself to easy training.
2. Choc lab: Likely to have bad hips, not usually protective (although I've been seeing more and more with bad temperament in recent years...), but they are usually obedient and willing to do what you want.
3. Husky. Very difficult to train. Need a lot of exercise. Not suited to warmer climates in my opinion. Most likely of these breeds to run off or chase game against your wishes. If you don't live in the snow and have a sled to pull several miles every day, the husky is really not the breed for you.
4. Greater Swiss Mtn. Dog: I've only worked with a few of these and never exercised them hard. They don't like warm weather and their large size makes me think they won't last for 11 mile hikes. They can be protective though, and the ones I've seen were fairly trainable.
5. GSD. Sadly we Americans have largely ruined this once fantastic breed. Every once in a while I still see a good one, but I see far more bad ones. Two main issues: 1. Bad structure. The hips, elbows, spine and everything else gives out early. I've seen so many 6 year old put down because of bad hips. 2. Temperament. Originally, they were bred to bite people. Most dogs are inhibited about biting people, but the GSD was made to bite people. This is not an issue with good training, good socialization and careful breeding. Unfortunately in the US, we have mostly failed with all three necessary categories and we've continued to fail for decades now. I cannot recommend the GSD to anyone anymore. You will be lucky to find a decent one, despite what the breeders tell you. Remember, I'm the dog trainer that gets called in when there are serious behavioral problems to deal with. I see the good, the bad and the ugly on a daily basis.

Want to know the breed that best meets all of your criteria with a minimum of training and effort in my opinion? Standard poodle. Large size, no shedding or allergens, minimal grooming, good temperament, easy to train, they tend to want to stay close, somewhat territorial and protective, but usually not excessively so, agile runners that can go long distances if you get them in shape and keep them in shape and they generally enjoy the company of their people without being overly needy and in your face all the time. Doberman would be good too, but its hard to find a good one. You already crossed it off your list, but a Dane would do well for your situation also.

Its too much to type, but feel free to message me and I'll be happy to talk on the phone and help you with any questions. Your goal is a good one, but few people invest the time to get the kind of dog you want. Off leash training under distraction is step 100. Few people even get through steps 1-10 successfully. Professional training will help you tremendously in achieving your goal of a fantastic companion dog.
 

Astrochelys

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Thanks everyone!

And I'll try to ask a friend who's a vet to come with me when I do pick a dog in a few years, even though she isn't a dog trainer, it's better than going by my inexperienced self haha.

@Tom
Thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it!
I'm looking forward into 'molding' my own close friend and all, however I'm a bit scared if I do mess up on training, the dog will be the complete opposite of what I want it to be. I'd love to take it to training, however I'm guessing that's a LOT of money on the side. Not that I'm saying owning a dog isn't a lot of money, it would just be another side expense that could prove very costly. I'd like to be able to train it myself to be completely honest, even if that means training myself into becoming a good trainer.

Location wise, I'm pretty sure I'll be moving around fairly often for the first few years. So I might be jumping from apartment to apartment for a while, before stopping at a house. If I could choose, which I'm not sure if I can yet, I'd pick that I'd mostly stay in the Washington/Oregon areas, but I won't know for a while.

I've been thinking about a poodle too after researching them a bit! I'll admit, I was a bit turned off by them as I always envisioned them to be the 'show' dog, but my view has sure changed haha.

I apologize if this sounds like a dumb question, but let's say if I was to get a mix, let's say a German Shepherd mixed with a Husky, would that be a better choice then a Husky since it does have a GSD attributes? Once again, just a hypothetical question.

Thanks!
 

leigti

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I would even stay away from a husky cross. I'm not a dog trainer or a vet but that's just my opinion. My dad had a German shepherd malamute cross, great dog but very hard to train and would chase anything. He got him as an adult, basically a stray but still. Dog training does not have to be expensive. With some research and a little help from friends with well socialized dogs you can do it by yourself possibly. I trained my first dog by myself, my second dog I got professional help. Because oh my God I needed it! But it does take a great deal of time, more than you would think depending on what you want from your dog. But the things you want will take a lot of training. Much more than just a dog that somebody would want to walk on a leash in a quiet neighborhood. But don't let that scare you, you will become very bonded with your dog and it is a lot of fun.
 

Tom

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Thanks everyone!

And I'll try to ask a friend who's a vet to come with me when I do pick a dog in a few years, even though she isn't a dog trainer, it's better than going by my inexperienced self haha.

@Tom
Thanks for the reply! I really appreciate it!
I'm looking forward into 'molding' my own close friend and all, however I'm a bit scared if I do mess up on training, the dog will be the complete opposite of what I want it to be. I'd love to take it to training, however I'm guessing that's a LOT of money on the side. Not that I'm saying owning a dog isn't a lot of money, it would just be another side expense that could prove very costly. I'd like to be able to train it myself to be completely honest, even if that means training myself into becoming a good trainer.

Location wise, I'm pretty sure I'll be moving around fairly often for the first few years. So I might be jumping from apartment to apartment for a while, before stopping at a house. If I could choose, which I'm not sure if I can yet, I'd pick that I'd mostly stay in the Washington/Oregon areas, but I won't know for a while.

I've been thinking about a poodle too after researching them a bit! I'll admit, I was a bit turned off by them as I always envisioned them to be the 'show' dog, but my view has sure changed haha.

I apologize if this sounds like a dumb question, but let's say if I was to get a mix, let's say a German Shepherd mixed with a Husky, would that be a better choice then a Husky since it does have a GSD attributes? Once again, just a hypothetical question.

Thanks!

I'm really happy to help, so I'm glad you liked what I had to say. It saddens me to see dysfunction between dogs and their owners, yet its so common. If I can help steer people in the right direction, I feel compelled to try.

Let me share my thoughts on your above points and questions:
1. Taking a vet: This could be good or bad. Really depends on the vet. I've seen good ones and Ive seen bad ones. Let me just say that vets are no better at training and behavior recognition/modification, than I am at surgery or prescribing medications. Again, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly here. Trainers and vets both work on dogs, but we do very different things and we know very different things. Sometimes there is overlap, and I have no way of knowing how much overlap there is with your vet friend. Many times its the vets who recommend euthanasia that drive people to spend the money to hire me and save their dog. I'm just saying it would be best to take someone who does dog behavior over someone who does dog medicine in this case.
2. You WILL make training mistakes. After 25 years of training all day every day, I still make mistakes. Don't let that stop you from trying. Just do your best and get the best help you can get. As I said, I will help you on the phone as much as I can. Take a pet store training class with your pup when its 6-9 months old. They use cookie training methods and no compulsion which is a GREAT way to start with a young dog. You can progress to as much, or as little, compulsion as needed when the dog is more mature. Find a local dog trainer and hire them do one session with you and the pup when you first get it, and then do your Petco or Petsmart class later on. Once the dog is 12-18 months, bring back your private trainer and you will only need 3-4 sessions to get you and the dog on the right track. We are talking about the neighborhood of $500-600 bucks for all of this. That's not much money for 10 years of good behavior. The main investment will be your time. You get out of it what you put into it.
3. Mutts. Its a bit of a wild card. Sometimes you get attributes of one parent or the other, sometimes you get attributes of both, sometime you get attributes of neither. One of the best dogs I ever worked with (Rowdy) was half husky and half Aussie. I wouldn't expect every half husky and half Aussie to be like him though. The benefit of getting an adult from the pound is that you can pretty much see what you are getting and you can also start right away with all the training. Get a trainer to come to the shelter and temperament test whatever dog(s) you are interested in. Its worth the money.

Common Mistakes with pups and young dogs:
1. Too much freedom too early. For the first year or two ALWAYS have a leash on the dog, or contain it in a crate or kennel. Do not let the dog run around making its own decisions. People understand this concept with children, but for some reason they just turn their pups loose and wonder why they don't listen.
2. Don't let people approach and pet your puppy. Always make the person stay back and let the pup go to the person for a treat or some petting. Don't let strangers give your pup commands. "Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Sit...." Not good.
3. Don't give ANY commands that you can't or won't enforce RIGHT NOW. If your puppy is off leash in the back yard and sniffing the daisies, DON'T call him. Don't let the pup learn that it has the option of ignoring a command. Just don't say a command until you have taken the time to teach the pup what the command means, in the correct way, on leash, and under control.
4. Praise the pup when it does something praise worthy. Don't praise the pup for existing, looking at you, breathing, etc... Make the praise and attention mean something by withholding it until the right times. Look for those right times early and often.
5. Feed a young pup 3 times a day and an older pup and adult 2 times a day. Put the food down for 10 minutes and then pick it up and put it away if there are leftovers. Don't free feed. Later, this is how you will keep your dog at the proper weight, which will be important for you given the level of exercise you wish to engage in with your dog. A fat dog is NOT a healthy dog. Most people keep their dogs pudgy, and this is not good for them. Our dogs are athletes, and they should look like athletes. Dogs should have a waist. Even English Bulldogs...
6. Remember what YOUR dog was bred to do and keep this in mind as you go along. Don't get mad at a Husky for running, a hound for baying, a terrier for wanting to kill small animals, or a border collie for herding. Most of the dogs breeds of the world were not created to look nice and be pets. They were bred to work and serve a purpose. Some more than others. Remembering what YOUR dogs purpose was/is will help you tremendously in training him and having a good relationship. Live in abad neighborhood and need protection? Look into a well bred Rottie. Got a rat or gopher problem on your farm? Jack Russel Terrier, might be your dog. Need your sheep brought in from pasture every night? Get a Border Collie. Need to push your cattle into a chute or pen? Bring in the Queensland Heeler. Want to not have to trudge through a semi-frozen marsh to retrieve your downed duck during hunting season? Send your retriever to go get it. Want a dog to run along side your horse carriage for 30 miles a day and guard it from bandits? Get a Dalmatian. Want a lap dog to guard your wife's lap with ferocity? Chihuahua... You get the idea.
 

ascott

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I've never owned a dog before, however I do plan on getting one in the future (possibly after I get out of my undergrad). Since my field requires a lot of outdoor time (hiking, etc.) I was wondering what would be a good dog breed. I was thinking so far of a Weimaraner, Chocolate lab, Husky, Swiss Mountain Dog and a German Shepherd. Feel free to comment on these or add in a breed that you think is better!

These are my criteria tho:
- I hike around anywhere from 3-11 miles whenever I go out, dog must be able to keep up.
- Somewhat easy to train.
- Must be obedient/somewhat easy to maintain off leash, I'd rather it not go chasing off after local fauna.
- Somewhat protective. I don't think I'll be getting married, sadly lol, so I'd like it to warn me anything comes by. However, on the flip side, I don't want it to be too protective in-case I have people over (or a roommate).
- Doesn't shed a whole lot, I understand most dogs do, but I don't want them to require a whole ton of grooming.
- I probably won't get one till after grad school (if I plan on going to grad school), but if I do, which would do best alone, without destroying things?
- As corny as it sounds, I'd like a dog that'll just enjoy my company too. Not too independent that it takes off running whenever I open the door, but that'll wait for me or just walk near me whenever we go out.

So far, these are the only things I can think of, but I might add in things later. I do understand that dogs are a huge responsibility, trust me, that's why I'm thinking far ahead. But I really do appreciate comments/suggestions!

Thanks!


A huge factor you will need to come to terms with is, what is your character like? What I mean is, are you assertive/passive/like a challenge/are you tenacious or are you more laid back, non confrontational....the kind of person that does not assert yourself? I ask you to really evaluate your self as you are and not as you may "wish" you were...you are a huge factor in the type of dog and "usual" personality that can be more likely present in different breeds....
 

ascott

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I've never owned a dog before, however I do plan on getting one in the future (possibly after I get out of my undergrad). Since my field requires a lot of outdoor time (hiking, etc.) I was wondering what would be a good dog breed. I was thinking so far of a Weimaraner, Chocolate lab, Husky, Swiss Mountain Dog and a German Shepherd. Feel free to comment on these or add in a breed that you think is better!

These are my criteria tho:
- I hike around anywhere from 3-11 miles whenever I go out, dog must be able to keep up.
- Somewhat easy to train.
- Must be obedient/somewhat easy to maintain off leash, I'd rather it not go chasing off after local fauna.
- Somewhat protective. I don't think I'll be getting married, sadly lol, so I'd like it to warn me anything comes by. However, on the flip side, I don't want it to be too protective in-case I have people over (or a roommate).
- Doesn't shed a whole lot, I understand most dogs do, but I don't want them to require a whole ton of grooming.
- I probably won't get one till after grad school (if I plan on going to grad school), but if I do, which would do best alone, without destroying things?
- As corny as it sounds, I'd like a dog that'll just enjoy my company too. Not too independent that it takes off running whenever I open the door, but that'll wait for me or just walk near me whenever we go out.

So far, these are the only things I can think of, but I might add in things later. I do understand that dogs are a huge responsibility, trust me, that's why I'm thinking far ahead. But I really do appreciate comments/suggestions!

Thanks!


http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/german-shorthaired-pointer

Not great for being left alone for long periods of time/abandoned to his own idea of amusing....

http://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/cavalier-king-charles-spaniel

Not a fan of being a loaner either....actually, most dogs who are "people" dogs would not do well left alone for long periods of time on a routine basis.

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/portuguesewaterdog.htm

Just a few for thought....
 
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