T Nation

A Family Dog

My wife and I have decided to get a family dog around spring time. I’ve never owned a dog before so I have been learning about the different breeds online and in book stores. I’m leaning toward the boxer, beagle and german shepherd. We live in a rural area so there is lots of room to run. We have 2 kids ages 5 and 7. Any opinions on the three breeds or any other breed would be great.

Rottweiler. Fiercely loyal and protective of family. Gentle, and loving, very intelligent. I’ve owned several breeds, and none have impressed me as much as the Rott.

Of course I’m not biased, either.

If there’s an animal shelter nearby, take the family there and see if there’s one you all like.

I have a 9 month old malamute I found in a parking lot (he was about 10 weeks when I found him). He’s healthy, quiet, smart, and well behaved. About the only bad things I can say is he’s clumsy and he sheds a lot. He has been great with kids and other dogs, even though he isn’t fixed.

I can warn you that normally smaller dogs are worse with children. Things like datsuns and rat terriers cause the most injuries (a lot of times to the face).

my roommate’s beagle is very affectionate and gentle - but dumb as a sack of hammers (the “sit” command only works about half the time and nothing else works at all) and she will also destroy any loose documents more effectively than a cross-cut shredder.

out of the three you listed the german shepard would be my pick, based on the ones I’ve been around.

Get a Weimaraner. They’re clean, great with kids and love to run around outside.

We have a black lab/mutt. I’ve never had a more affectionate, playful dog. I second going to a shelter - you can find real gems there.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
If there’s an animal shelter nearby, take the family there and see if there’s one you all like. [/quote]

Agreed all of my dogs have come from the pound and they have all been great.

Do not get a small dog. They don’t act like real dogs do. The breeds you like would be fine. Everyone is biased to the kind of dog they have, naturally, but you can’t really go wrong. The standard American family pooch pick would be the Golden Retriever or the Labrador, but a German Shepherd or Boxer would be great as well.

I would caution against something as large and powerful as a Rottweiler, only because with small kids they might get hurt by accident. I had a friend with a Rott, and while he was a great, loving dog, he was so strong occasionally someone would get hurt. My brother was holding a chain leash he was on once, and when he started running the chain ripped my brother’s finger open. Things like that.

Something to think about: Don’t go straight for a purebred dog. Mutts are cheaper and often more fun. They’re not all stupid from all the cousin-lovin. That said, my lab was as goofy and stupid as they come, and I loved the shit out of him. He was scared of squirrels.

[quote]Vicomte wrote:
…I loved the shit out of him…[/quote]

I don’t like anything that comes out of that side of my dog. Smells like a litter of rotting baby skunks.

I find that dumb dogs are often more fun than smart ones. They can be hard to train, but so can smart dogs if they are stubborn.

I personally will never purchase a purebred dog, I just think it’s a waist of money when there are perfectly good free dogs out there. Unless you plan on showing it or something.

Continuing with my complete objectivity and impartiality, this organization is great for the Rott lovers, and future owners:

http://www.ncrottierescue.net

They’ve rescued Rotts from everywhere. Most that are avaiable for adoption have been rated whether safe for kids, other pets (cats/dogs), food aggression, etc.

That aside, I agree with the local animal shelter ideas presented. All mine have also come from there, or the rescue. Good advice.

Dogs are a reflection of their owners. I have never met a bad dog, only dip shit owners. Love it and train it and all dogs are great.

I have a soft spot for Labs but am thinking that a Shepard will be my next best friend.

im telling you a golden retriever is the dog to get. Not only is it a great faimly dog and cute as can be but goldens love kids alot. I have one and im 1 of 4 kids in this house and shes great. Also wants to be around people

[quote]crod266 wrote:
im telling you a golden retriever is the dog to get. Not only is it a great faimly dog and cute as can be but goldens love kids alot. I have one and im 1 of 4 kids in this house and shes great. Also wants to be around people[/quote]

One of my friends had relatives with a bunch of GR puppies this summer. Those things were so fucking cute.

I could have eaten one.

While I love German Shepherds (see my profile), it may not be the best choice for you if you have never owned a dog.

They can (and should) be absolutely wonderful dogs, but they do require a firm hand and will very likely challenge you at some point for dominance. It is an absolute must to make sure any GSD is well-trained. Being a very intelligent breed, they also need some sort of mental stimulation. Leaving them alone outside all day will invite them to pick up poor habits. (Chewing, chasing, barking)

Beagles are smarter than they are given credit for, but they are very stubborn and very instinctual hound dogs. They must be fenced or on a lead at all times, or they will find a scent and track it for miles.

I like boxers too. They only thing I will add about them is that they can be very high-strung.

If you have the time and patience to work with a German Shepherd, you will be hard pressed finding a better dog. If you are not willing to work with them, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous position.

As popular as they are, you will also have to exercise more scrutiny when finding a pup. There’s a lot of bad breeders out there looking for a quick buck, and also alot of eliticist breeders out there that may have good lines, but they don’t give their dogs the attention they deserve. I’d stay away from both.

Some food for thought…there’s a good reason why golden retrievers and labs are so popular with families.

I would suggest that you examine your lifestyle first and then decide what breed of dog to get. Make sure that you will be able to meet the requirements/needs of the dog - exercise, space, attention, etc. If you get a mismatch, then you are on the express lane to pet owner hell.

That said, of the three breeds that you mention, I would choose the beagle. Primarily because I like to hunt rabbits and I live out in the boonies. However, as noted above, they are about as smart as a sack of hammers and they howl - make that bellow.

I second the comments regarding goldens and labs. Few dogs are better with children than the retrievers. Mutts at the pound are a good option too.

[quote]tedro wrote:
While I love German Shepherds (see my profile), it may not be the best choice for you if you have never owned a dog.

They can (and should) be absolutely wonderful dogs, but they do require a firm hand and will very likely challenge you at some point for dominance. It is an absolute must to make sure any GSD is well-trained. Being a very intelligent breed, they also need some sort of mental stimulation. Leaving them alone outside all day will invite them to pick up poor habits. (Chewing, chasing, barking)

Beagles are smarter than they are given credit for, but they are very stubborn and very instinctual hound dogs. They must be fenced or on a lead at all times, or they will find a scent and track it for miles.

I like boxers too. They only thing I will add about them is that they can be very high-strung.

If you have the time and patience to work with a German Shepherd, you will be hard pressed finding a better dog. If you are not willing to work with them, you could be putting yourself in a dangerous position.

As popular as they are, you will also have to exercise more scrutiny when finding a pup. There’s a lot of bad breeders out there looking for a quick buck, and also alot of eliticist breeders out there that may have good lines, but they don’t give their dogs the attention they deserve. I’d stay away from both.

Some food for thought…there’s a good reason why golden retrievers and labs are so popular with families.[/quote]

Good points. That brought to mind some of the ailments, like cancer and other diseases, that are associated with purebreds. Many mixed breeds are much healthier than purebreeds because the bad genes are not passed to the mixed breed - only the strong healthy genes are passed on.

American pit bull

Bless these guys hearts, they are only offering the best advice they can. Sadly, they are all wrong, imagine that!

The only dog for you to get is one whose size is matched only by his loyalty and love for his family: the English Mastiff.

Attached is the grandfather of my boy Neely, a 286 pound fella by the name of Oki Sama.

Neely’s mom, Tuppence.