Dog advice/opinions wanted

I’d like to point out that many, if not ost Ridgebacks I’ve met get along fabulously with other animals. Also, if you’re getting an adult, you’ll already know how well it gets along with cats. This isn’t really a breed specific thing, some breeds are more or less likely to get along with cats, but they all contain members that do and do not. If you’re getting it as an adult, simply ask if it plays well with others.

Other than that, Ridgebacks meet all your criteria except for medium. They really are terrific dogs, and I would recomend them, mellow, nice, very friendly, etc.

These reasons are exactly why the very best breeders are still in business. And why some people SHOULD go to breeders. Like I said above, the reason MOST people go to breeders is that they don’t know how good the animals at the pound and rescue shelters are. When you want something very specific, as porcupine did, THAT’s when to go to a breeder.

Fenris, if you’re going to go to the Dumb Friends League, go to the facility on Quebec. It’s a long way away from Golden, but worth it. The Table Mountain facility just doesn’t cut it.

We got our dog from there. When we got her, she was a year-and-a-half old. She’s about 50 pounds, and is a Golden retriever/Australian shepherd something or other. In other words, she’s a mutt. She’s reasonably mellow, a reasonable guard dog, and a great companion. She’s wonderfully loving.

A couple of tips if you decide to go for a dog from the DFL:

  • They will ask you if you plan to leave to dog outside all day. They do not want to hear you say yes.
  • Plan to spend all day there. It takes a while to look at all the dogs, and, when we went, there was a two-and-a-half hour wait from when we picked her out to when we got to visit her. The adoption process is, on weekends, slow.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Many of the dogs don’t look very happy. When we got Smoky (our dog), she had just had puppies, had matted fur and was generally downcast. Six months later, she’s put on fifteen pounds and couldn’t be happier.
  • Many are already housetrained, as ours was. They have some dogs with labels like “Starter Dog” that are pretty easy to slide into your life.
  • They also let you know, if they know, about what experience the dog has with cats. Ours was used to cats, so pays ours very little attention. The cat, on the other hand, is having trouble adjusting… If you have cats, or want the fewest amount of trouble, make sure to get a dog that the DFL has information on. Even if you get attatched to one without info, it’s better to go with one who has it.

If you need other help, lemme know. I’m in Arvada, just a hop, skip and jump away.

Jonathan Chance -

I’m currently considering getting an Italian greyhound, which is a minature version of the greyhound. From what I’ve read about them, they seem to match your description of greyhounds, only in a much smaller package. Do you have any insight into this breed?

Johathan Chance: I looked through a bunch of the linked sites from the one you mentioned, and while Greyhounds seem great, I’m still hesitant about getting a dog that big. I’m slightly intimidated by big dogs and that wouldn’t be the best situation for a first-time dog owner. (I know, rationally, that a big mellow greyhound would be easier to train/control than, say a medium aggressive breed, but on a gut level, I’m still slightly uncomfortable.) I haven’t ruled them out completely, and there’s a Greyhound “Meet-n-Greet” at a neigborhood PetsMart next(?) week and I intend to go and check 'em out.

jadailey Thanks for the crating info. I was at the Dumb Friends League yesterday and they said a number of their dogs were crate trained.

Venkman and DDG The research on Beagles I did before you posted agrees with what you said. When I was a kid, we had a beagle, but my mom was home most of the day, and our beagle (per the vet) was a weird beagle tempermentally…utterly a couch potato, wouldn’t chase or fetch, very “cat-like” in personality.

Crunch Frog, et al A breeder is my last choice, and if I go, I’d only be interested in a “non-show” quality dog (they make you neuter the dog and then they destroy the papers).

porcupine I love the way Norwegian Elkhounds look and their temperment sounds wonderful. Any websites in particular you’d recommend?

oldscratch I’m definitly going for an older dog. The dog must be able to get along with cats. As for Ridgebacks, I’ve never met one personally, but my best friend had one, and apparently (this wasn’t a problem when they lived in a rural area) their Ridgeback looked at small furry creatures as appitizers. They had to find a new home for it when they moved to the city, but my friend said it was the best dog he’s ever owned.

Necros I just went to the Quebec shelter yesterday! The people their are great and, you’re right, they do have a lot of information on their animals. There were a ton of Rottweiler mixes (too big), an absolutely gorgeous Akita-Rottweiler-Husky (?) mix (huge and didn’t play well with others), and a Lab-Chiuahaha(sp!)(doesn’t like being at home alone) mix. There was also a Basset-hound/Rottweiler mix that was just…odd looking. We didn’t hit it off. I’m going back in a week or so and try again. I know I’m being extremely picky, but…I’d rather be picky than have a failed adoption. I actually had a friend with me who kept me to my list of qualities I wanted(there was an Old English Sheepdog that I fell in love with, but rationally, I know it’s bigger than I wanted and there was no info on how it did with cats). Happy ending though, as I was leaving, a couple was adopting the Sheepdog.)

To everyone:

Thanks for all the advice (and keep it coming). I got a few books on breed behavior expectations, and found a few web-sites that have forms that match you to specific breeds.

Per all sites, the best dog for me would be a Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever, followed by Newfoundlands (!!), Bernese Mountain Dogs(?), Greyhounds consistantly came in about #6 on the list, so I’m definitly going to look at them.

I’ve also been checking out breed-specific faqs and info pages from rescue societies on-line sites (the Newfoundland page is great. It’s got a document titled something like “Why you DON’T want to get a Newfoundland” that was funny and informative.)

Also, per one of the books I’ve read (Selecting the Perfect Puppy) Golden Retrievers and Labs rank way up there for me.

I’ve been doing a ton of breed research too. Anyway, I’m going to a few more shelters over the next day or so, and I’m going to be contacting a few of the rescue organizations in the Denver area.

Thanks again, and I’ll keep everyone informed,


Fenris - We have a Golden. He’s a total love-bug. Excellent with my two cats (in fact, he’s afraid of them), although that’s an individual thing with Goldens: some of them aren’t quite as good. He also has a permanent facial deformity - a ball. He gets very upset if he can’t find his toys.

Loveable as they are, Goldens aren’t for everyone. Check out this page for the drawbacks about having one. And they may be a little bigger than what you’re looking for: ours weighs 100 pounds. (Okay, he’s a bit overweight. His “normal” weight is about ninety.) Females are noticeably smaller, usually, though.

You sound like you’ll be an excellent home for whatever dog you choose, though - you’re certainly doing your research!


I have a warm fuzzie for Goldens.

Happy, happy people, those dogs. Mine had two kittens move in on him when he was an old guy and he just rolled over and took it. They would drink out of his water bowl standing between his feet to annoy him. He’d stop, wait for them to finish, and start again. Then they would go back to drinking…

He wasn’t real bright (okay, he was less brainy than your average moss patch) but he was a darling. Always happy to be with you, was energetic on walks, huggable inside. Good with anything/body (laidback and friendly)

He was pretty strong and would scare people sometime by being so happy to meet/see them. (There are reasons a 90 lb. charging animal doesn’t bother me…I’m used to it. Not everybody is.) He would also just tear off even on a leash and just about break your arm with enthusiasm.

Such a good guy.

A friend of a friend of mine just had a sweet natured 5 year old female German Shepherd dumped on her. She can’t keep the dog for long (she lives in a condo in Aurora). I can’t take the dog except in an emergency, because I have a VERY alpha large female dog and am expecting a puppy in two weeks.

Friend asked me to check the 'net for GSD rescue organizations in Colorado. I left a couple of messages with people…

But in the meantime, there’s a registered GSD that needs a good home in Colorado! I don’t know much about the dog, but if anyone is interested, e-mail me…Fenris I don’t know how big she is. But I can find out. She sounds like she needs a good home.

Golden or Labrador Retriever - my dream dogs.
When I get my own house that’s what I plan on getting. I’m leaning towards a Lab over a Golden though

Either that or I’ll just get a mutt from the pound. Have you considered mixed breeds Fenris. True you don’t have anything to give you an idea of how they’ll behave, but in general mixed breeds are healthier and more even-tempered than many pure-breds. (None of that in-breeding worries, ya know.)

I wish, Carina. I’d love to get a friend for our dog. But I think one is enough for now.

Fenris, FYI, German Shepherds usually get really big, but they are extremely loving and would be a great companion dog…

One bad thing about Goldens (or any pure-bred) is that they tend to be, as Crunchy said, not as healthy as mutts. We have had several Goldens over the years, and they all died premature deaths, usually from thyroid cancer. Having your cat die is traumatic, but having your dog die…well, it’s a whole different ball game there.

Sorry if I’m repeating anyone, but I didn’t have time to read the whole thread (i’ll get back to it tomorrow)

I used to be a vet tech
handy hints:
don’t get a puppy if you won’t be able to get home multiple times a day to housebreak the puppy

get a mixed breed, better gene pool (yea Crunchy! big hugs to you)

crate train

consider an older dog. they are usually housebroken (unless that’s why they were put up for adoption) and there’s a good chance you’ll miss the chewing, hyper stage.

If you get a beagle, you sort of have to get two. All dogs are pack animals, but of all the breeds, in my semi-professional opinion, they HATE to be alone, and if you’ve every heard an unhappy beagle, you know its the most heartbreaking sound in the world.

just my 2 cents

Curse you Jonathan Chance!

I’d pretty comfortably settled into getting some sort of Golden Retriever-esqe dog, but, in large part due to this post, went to a Greyhound Rescue Meet-and-Greet.

Greyhounds are cool. They’re not anywhere near as big as I though (I was pictureing them Great Dane size, somehow(?!) ) and the ones I met were very mellow. 45mph Couch Potatoes about sums it up. Very friendly, very well behaved (HUGE thighs!) great personality!. One of them got nervous (there were a lot of people) and piddled on my foot, but…welll…these things happen.

I still haven’t made up my mind, but you’ve made my choice somewhat more complicated.

Thanks! :slight_smile:


After “lurking” for a year and a half, your post made me finally want to sign up. So, Fenris, this is all your fault…
So far you’ve been getting GREAT advice. The Greyhound, Corgi,Goldie, and Sheltie all are all fine first dogs. They also make great “trail dogs” (you mentioned taking your dog hiking). Have you thought about the Basenji? They are a very tidy dog.

Also...Westminster Dog Show is coming up. One of the cable stations usually caries it (USA I think). Watching it, you can get a good idea of how each dog moves and just LOOKS. How your dog looks is important 'cause you'll be looking at it for the next 15-20 years.

Through the A.K.C. website you can find a dogshow in your area. Find one. Go. Browse. Pet some dogs on the head. It’s really convenient how all those people will bring their dogs to one place so you can see them. And you can talk to the people who know their breed best.

Just so ya know, I'm a terrier fan. Everything I say should automatically be suspect. I have a Jack Russell and a Sheltie. Used to have a Schnoodle, the World's Best Oops Dog. (Oops, our Poodle got knocked up by a Schnauzer)

Gee, this has been fun. I'll have to do it again.


About two weeks ago ::looks at calander:: Exactly two weeks ago yesterday, I found on the Dumb Friends League’s web-page what seemed to be the perfect dog. Smokie was a Golden-Lab/Corgi mix, male, about a year and a bit, housetrained and good with cats. Perfect. I took off of work early and rushed down there (about 45 minutes from where I work) since they couldn’t hold him. I got there and met Smokie (their spellling). It was love at first sight. I adopted him, but there was a 24 hour wait, since he had to be neutered.

I picked him up after work on Friday and took him home. He looked at the cats. “Hhmmm. Cats. How 'bout that.” his look said.

One of the two cats (Grizzly) looked at Smokie and looked at me as if to say. “Awwww fuck. What the hell is this?! I wasn’t consulted about having one of these creatures here. Jerk.” No problem there.

The third cat, Misty, however had a more serious reaction. She urinated on the floor, screamed (the only word I can think of to describe it) and ran into another room.

I tried to calm her down to no avail. She moaned most of the night, even though Smokie didn’t come anywhere near her. When I woke up the next morning, she’d actually chewed some of the fur off her back leg.

I had to return Smokie. I didn’t feel that, given Misty’s reaction, I had time to try to correct whatever was wrong. At the shelter, they said that this didn’t count as a strike against Smokie and that two other people had asked to adopt him after I got him and since this shelter has a 80-something % placement rate, his odds were very good. I kept an eye on the web page and his name was removed about a week later, so I assume he was adopted.

The strange thing is that Misty has been around other, larger dogs that I’ve doggie-sat for friends and relatives (an American Eskimo and a HUGE galumphing Choc. Lab.) with no problems other than the occasional hissing. I took Misty to the vet to make sure she was ok, and the vet came up with the following two suggestions: #1. Misty sees smaller dogs as different from large dogs. Small dogs are recognizable as a thread while large dogs aren’t or #2) She smelled the “pound” smell on Smokie. (I thought of that, but couldn’t bath the dog for a week since he’d been operated on.)

I’m still considering a dog, but apparently what I’m going to have to do is introduce Misty to the dog first and gauge her reaction accordingly.


Sorry, didn’t mean to open old (well, kinda new) wounds. Tough break with Smokie. Better luck next time?

Misty might have recognized a smaller dog as a threat, or it could easily been the pound smell. It might also have been the anathesia stink boiling off of Smokie. If Misty was spayed herself (I’d only guess “Yes”- who’d want an un-spayed cat living in their house ick) the smell might have dredged up bad memories. Not anthropomorphic memories (Let’s see…it was the 4th of June and the lilacs were heavy in the air…) but cat memories (Bad smell=hurt tummy. Bad. Bad.).

You might try tanking her up with cat-nip before you spring a dog on her again. Heck, tank up your whole cat-clan first. Unless of course some of your cats are mean drunks. Then they’ve gotta “just say no”.

Your addendum was nice, thank you very much. Brough us up to date AND it’s one more thread I did NOT kill. But now I’ve posted this… (place appropriate funeral dirge here for this poor thread)

Aww, Fenris, that’s too bad! Perhaps your vet could prescribe a tranquilizer or something for Misty, if Rue’s catnip suggestion doesn’t work? I have three cats, and only one of them likes (no, craves) the catnip. I planted some in the backyard & he spends hours sleeping in the middle of it in the summertime.

Of course you could always shave Misty, put a diaper on her, and duct tape her mouth shut. :smiley: [sub]just kidding.[/sub]

Look Rue, the thread’s still alive!

Oh, Fenris, that sucks! I’m sorry about Smokie. But since you’re still in the market, let me put in a vote for labs and lab x’s. They are sweet, smart, playful or mellow as the mood is called for, and just absolutely wonderful companions for your outdoor activities. I absolutely adore my Ladybug and she regularly shares a blanket with two of my cats. (Can’t blame her for not liking the third cat, he’s a grumpy old man who doesn’t get a long with anything else on four legs.)

Based on the qualities that you’re looking for, I’d recommend an Australian Shepperd. They’re usually mostly black and slightly smaller than a German Shepperd. Ours is ok with staying home as much as 9 hours a day as long as he gets fairly lengthy walks.

-filler maybe? to offset added water to increase bulk, and dilute all those nutrients, so the product is filling as well as nutritious?
The one that bugs me is poultry bi-product. UGH!

Wow, There’s a wealth of good information here.
I just wanted to add a few tidbits:

I’ve had the pleasure to visit Hill’s R&D facility here in Kansas a number of times, and was quite impressed. Quality is the order of the day and they adhere to it rigidly.
I assume that IAMs is also produced according to exacting standards, but I can assure you that Science Diet is.

We have had excellent luck with our local humane shelter.
We have a couple cats, and as of last Thursday, a new dog.
He’s a Shepherd/Chow/other/mix…other being a smaller dog. He is nearly full grown at roughly 35lbs.
He’s also dumb as a rock, but then, I may just be spoiled…
I grew up with a Sheltie, and I’m here to tell you, some of them are so freakin’ smart it’s downright scary!.
They are unbeatable companion dogs, but they also are the type to make a big noise when a stranger shows up.

Austrailian Shepherds, and Border Collies also get my vote. They are great little fellas.

Johathan Chance, I really like the Greyhound adoption idea. When we move out of the city, we are probably going to expand our fuzzy-family a bit, and this is something I really want to explore.

Fenris, I know you said you aren’t interested in large breeds, but you may want to reconsider. I have a German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix that is the best dog I’ve ever even seen. He is extremely obedient, loyal, protective, and playful. He makes a great companion and also gives out a ferocious bark when anyone comes to the door, not that he’d actually attack or anything. He doesn’t require a huge amount of exercise, despite his size (130lbs). I’m a big fan of Rotts. Once you get over the size issue, they make great all-around dogs. They do look vicious, but I haven’t encountered any that were truly mean.

BTW, he gets along with my cat splendidly. My cat OTOH, is not quite as tolerant. She puts up with a little bit of attention from him, but gets kind of anxious when he starts nuzzling her. All three of us share my bed, at least in the winter. When it gets really cold, the cat will even snuggle up to the dog, at least for a little while.