Friday, September 21, 2007

what we want

So, with a lot of time not being able to get a dog, we've come up with a pretty through group of what we're looking for in a dog.

- It needs to be low energy. We both work full time. For now, that's not negotiable. The dog will have to be ok with two long walks a day and evening yard play/training. Unfortunately, this rules out huskys, gorgeous as they are.

- It needs to get along with other animals. Dogs and cats. The plan is to have multiple pets.

- We want a big dog. This is getting in to preference. There's no real logic behind this one other than preference. The obvious question is 'how big?' well, no smaller than a border collie - and we've considered great danes.

- We plan to do a lot of training. Not formal obedience, just establishing a (very very by today's standards it seems) good rapport and solid boundaries. I'll probably go into a lot more detail about this later. This is more of an individual dog thing. Alert attention to people is important, but not necessarily slavish retriever-style desire to please above all else.

- We want a dignified, confident dog. This was a little surprising to us, but after meeting with a lot of dogs (the first time we thought we'd be able to get one soon) we both observed that we were turned off by 'asking for belly rubs' or other playful/submissive behavior. Again, not really logical, just preference.

- We want a friendly dog. I mean, heck, we should pick one that likes us back, right? While belly-rubs was a turn-off, behaviors like licking hands, or leaning against you were positives. Also would probably help with that 'training' thing above.

Where did this get us? Well, it tended to point to breeds that were traditionally 'stock guarding dogs' send 'em out in the pasture to keep the wolves away.
They mostly hang out and sit all day, plus they had to be calm enough not to freak out the sheep, so low energy. They tend to be big.
Unfortunately, the dogs that used to be 'stock guarding dogs' are now often considered 'vicious breeds'.
Our leader right now is an Akita. We're also considering Great Danes, Chows, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands and any sort of mix that happens to work out right.

p.s. a bit of a consequence of the above, we want an adult dog, probably at least a year old. Mostly this is due to #1: we're not going to be home to entertain/housebreak a puppy as diligently as we think we need to. But also, with all our emphasis on personality, it'd be good to see what we're gonna get a little better.