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    • I’ve been saying I want to get a pup or rescue an adult for years now, but I think the time is right.

      The questions is, what breed (or mix) would be more most suited for my needs? While I understand that training and environment of its first few months of life are far more important than its breed in terms of achieving the ideal dog for my needs, I need to hone in on breed to know where to look.

      What I want:
      Loyal, cuddly companion
      Medium/large - 35-80 lbs. I prefer on the smaller size of the weight range. Easier for me to take camping and in packed cars. Gender can also vary in size within breed. 
      High recall rate
      Willingness to adventure. I’ll take it camping, backpacking and sometimes even to the snow.
      Gentle with small kids, babies, cats, small dogs, etc.

      What I don’t want:
      Guard dog
      Barking guard dog
      Prey instinct
      Show dog. More concerned about temperament than looks. 

      I have a few breeds in mind, but I want to get opinions before biasing you all.

    • A big dog, gentle with kids, outdoors type....

      We had a border collie when I was growing up, brilliant dog. We also had a mongrel who was mostly a pointer, type of gun dog. Again, a great outdoors dog.

      Labradors are great with kids, big dogs, but don't know how they fare in the great outdoors, I know there are a few labrador owners here who will jump in.

      My personal advice would be to get a rescue dog, the uglier the better, and you will have a friend for life.

    • If you don't want a guard dog / barking dog, I would tend to recommend against shepherds. i.e. German Shepherd, Border Collie, Aussie, Corgi etc. They tend to be territorial and aggressive as they have an instinct to both protect the flock and alert humans to anything out of the ordinary. They are also very loyal and intelligent, which is a great upside.

      Something else to consider is how susceptible a dog is to getting ticks. Those will be something you have to deal with when you take them out; they might be easier to find on something like a lab, as opposed to a longer hair dog like a golden.

    • I'm not a dog person and I don't know anything about dogs, but the two best dogs I've ever known were Jud and Toby. They were ranch dogs owned by my grandparents in Texas (they had Jud in the '80s and Toby in the '00s).

      Both dogs were the same sort of mutt, but I'm not sure what sort of mutt that is exactly. They were super friendly, gentle, smart, and loved nothing more than roaming around with people exploring the ranch. If they barked, it was because they'd spotted a snake or a bobcat or some other exciting dangerous thing. They were the best dogs, and I say that as someone who generally doesn't like dogs.

      This is Toby.

    • We hear lots about different dog breeds being smarter or dumber than others but a recent scientific study showed that this wasn't actually strongly supported by the facts. Apparently there's not as much of a difference in intelligence between the breeds as we've been told to believe. I'd focus on a breed that is known for being very good with kids and docile. I sure wouldn't have a dog in my house that was capable of killing my child. Although this is very rare it's sad to read news articles about kids or a dog owner being mauled to death. I'd also stay away from pure breeds as they have more health problems and cost more money in vet fees. I think they don't have as long an average life span either.

    • I grew up with a Nova Scotia Duct Tolling Retriever. It's a rare Canadian breed from my grandma's home province, and somehow our family ended up with one. It's like a small golden retriever. He was a wonderful dog, but had many health problems, as many get with purebreds. I'd seriously consider getting one, but they're hard to come by here in California.

      My brother has a border collie named Ace that I've taken on many adventures. He's also a wonderful dog. Many people have told me border collies don't make good pets because they always need something to do. They say they're also escape artists, love to wonder, and constantly need to herd. He exhibits none of these traits, and I believe this is due to good training. Chew toys are his job, and it keeps him busy. He has an intense stare, which is his livestock herding instinct coming out. That's a trait I don't mind.

      Ace has been incredibly easy to train complicated things. He can sit, stay and listen for the exact command to fetch even when you try to trip him up with similar sounding phrases like flecher, spencer, metch, catch. He'll only go when he finally hears fetch." He has dozens of toys, each with a different name that he's memorized. His intelligence is remarkable.

      I'd consider a border collie due to my great experience with Ace. They don't have many health issues unlike many other purebreds. This is probably due to the fact that inbreeding is less useful because a certain look is usually not being achieved. There are tons of them needing homes here in California, specifically from litters on farms in the Central Valley.

      I think a lab or golden would be better suited for me though. Short of health problems and expensive up front cost, I'd love to get a golden.

      Or, what do you think about a lab and border collie mix? This 8 week pup is up for adoption because a friend of a friend can't take care of her.

    • I've owned and loved labs & goldens my whole life. My father used to say we ruined the breeds because they used to be aggressive hunting dogs, but now they're just cuddly family pets. Mine is always in my lap or pressed against me, even as I type this. I love it.

      All of them were rugged and lived long, healthy lives, except our current one. He's defective. I have spent many nights sleeping on the floor with him because he couldn't get on the bed after an operation on a joint. But @Adam's dog Butters is from the same litter and he's been healthy.

    • A friend of mine got a Lab from the company that trains seeing eye dogs. The dog was being trained for quite a while but was just too exciteable so they dropped it from the program. He got a smart dog that was very well trained. Seems like a brilliant idea to me and definitely something I'd look into if I was getting a dog. My friend has five kids and he said the dog is amazing. Every time I go over there he shows me new tricks the dog has learned.

    • except for the size, I was going to say Newfoundland. All Chloe wanted to do was follow us around and be goofy and fun. Plus when I was away having a 120 pound doorbell (not guard dog) made Jennifer feel better.