I posted this on the "INTRO" forum, but was advised to re-post it here, so.....
Hello to the forum. I'm Tommy, a guy who is trying to learn about breeds. We are looking and considering a dog for a new family companion. Nowadays, we're in "learning mode" and have (sort of) narrowed our breed choices to either Lab. Retrievers or German Shepherd Dogs (GSD). I was referred to this forum from a GSD adn Lab. owner.
We have a (not-so-)-typical nuclear family, usually-home wife who loves the GSD's and the not-to-goofy retrievers that she's been around, a 10 year old boy who is... a pretty typical boy, a 7 year old son who is low-functioning autistic, and me....just a guy, with a big yard, but doggie would be an inside critter. How think you? Is a Lab. good for us? I don't want a slug-dog, but one with a bit of life and some wheels turning between the ears, not to o"clingy". Watchful is good, clingy ain't. Due to our younger son's issues, temperment is very important to us.
Whatever, we end up with, I'd definately "work" with him as to obedience training and socialization. He'd be a family-companion, not an "occasional toy".* *Honestly, I'm leaning a bit towards the GSD breed, as they seem no not be as active-all-the-time, although I know that each dog is individual.* And while a rescue is not "out", we're really not to inclined, as temperment is so important.* We'll likely look for a young adult, whatever breed we decide upon.*
As aside, I've read "How to be Your Dog's Best Friend", and "Art of Raising a Puppy", both written by the Monks of New Skete. I found them good reads, and seem to be sound.
'probably more than y'all wanted to know!
Follow up from a possible, today.....I'm in contact w/ a GSD kennel in NE Ark. and a Lab. kennel in central Ark. The Lab. kennel's name is found all over the net. Here's a pasted message I just sent someone on another Lab. forum:
I had a nice 30 min. talk with the lady of XXXXXXX Labs kennel. Here's what I learned:
"Charlie" is 2 yr., 1 mo. old black Lab. female.
They were planning to keep her for breeding (rare, they only have 1-2 females at a time), but she did not pass OFA for hips.
She has never shown symptoms of any sort. If not placed in a family of their chosing she'll be kept as a pet.
They breed very carefully for temperment and build, submissive/learning-eager temperment and stocky-working build. They don't "even like hyper Labs".
They have placed a Lab. not long ago in a home w/ an autistic child, and all are doing well (although I may follow up myself).
They hope to give her to a family as a companion if the family agrees to have her spayed immediately.
The sell their pups for $800+, with a waiting list for males.
Does this sound OK? There's no guarantee whether or not the hip issue will be a problem, but then, life has no guarentees, either.
All that said, I'm still looking at the XXXXXXX GSDs. They are just so noble looking, but then, I am the dreamer some times.
Some folks on the GSD forum are trying to line up some "visits" for the family this weekend.
Hi and welcome to the forum. I think you're right in trying to find a young adult Lab. Usually, Labs are pretty rumbunctious as puppies. By the time they are 2 years old, they mellow out. I think you should not rule out rescue because a reputable rescue will temperament-test all of their dogs and will only adopt out the dogs that have great temperaments. But there are also good breeders who have young adults for sale (either returned by a previous buyer for some reason or the breeder is trying to make room for puppies).
I don't know what to tell you about the dog that failed OFA on hips. Can you get a copy of the OFA report that the breeder got? I guess if the report says fair or borderline hip joint conformation, the dog can still be a great pet? I have a dog with Grade II elbow dysplasia, and he is a wonderful pet and obedience dog (he had surgery). But I would not buy a dog with orthopaedic issues on purpose. I hope you'll get more advice here. I would not go with any other breed though; I love Labs.
Welcome to the forum, I am by no means an expert so hopefully you will get some good advise here.
I just wanted to say good for you for doing all the research I am sure you will provide a happy forever home
for whatever breed you choose
Welcome! Good for you for doing your homework.When you said that, I thought, "Go with the GSD." Of course all Labs have slightly different personalities, but one of the favorite expressions here is "velcro dog." I was amazed at how "clingy" Angus was, from the time he was a wee pup. To tell the truth, I had a hard time getting used to it. Our last dog was much more independent. But, the up side of clingy is a very strong bond. I rather like it now.Watchful is good, clingy ain't.
You might be interested to know that our next door neighbors also have a Lab, and they have an autistic son as well. I believe the Lab does very well with him, although they are not the most responsible owners I have ever seen. Lots of tie-outs and such, and the Lab has had no training whatsoever.
I think Labs are wonderful dogs, but here are a few things you might consider. Mine is very, very energetic. At two he has mellowed quite a bit, but he was exhausting that first year. He is extremely intelligent, but also extremely mischievous. He still cannot be trusted alone in the house out of his crate. He also tended to be very mouthy as a youngster - my hands really took a beating.
I don't have kids, so Angus is sort of like my kid. I sometimes wonder how I would manage him if I did have children. Keeping them occupied and watching out for them can demand a lot of attention.
But I still would not trade him for a million bucks. When he wags, he wags his entire body. He can bust out a butt-tuck that will have you rolling in the floor. I've never seen a dog catch on so quickly to learning new tricks. To watch him fetch a bumper at the lake is pure poetry.
Whatever you decide, it's great that you are trying to research the breeds first! This really will have to be your decision alone. I just thought I would share what information I could from my experiences that you might find relevant and helpful. Good luck!
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
Have you checked with any of the service dog organizations? I think they have a waiting list but you would get a very well socialized dog that would be trained to help you younger son.
If that's not an option I would agree with a young adult dog. GSD's may not be quite as hyper as a lab can be but they can also be extreamly protective. Not that a lab cannot be but they have more of a tendency from the ones I've seen. Most labs have a tendency to sence when they need to be gentle with a child or smaller animal it's really amazing to watch so I'm sure even a more energetic lab would be fine with your son as long as you watched them close at first to make sure. Maybe see if you can foster the dog you were looking at for a few weeks to see if it's a good fit before commiting.
The breeders' vet did not send the x-rays in for official OFA cert. (proper term?), but judged them himself. The breeders seem to be VERY conscientious about picking the dogs they breed, and decided not to breed this one. Oh, she would not be sold, but either goven to a family of their chosing, or kept as a home pet for themselves.Originally Posted by Tatyana
Thank you for the reply!Originally Posted by AngusFangus
It's been said that female labs are less clingy than males, and that is certainly the case with ours. Our girl is almost cat-like in her personality. She is calm and good-natured, but certainly not clingy. She allows petting but doesn't demand it. The only time she is ever in-your-face is if she needs to be let out. I think clinginess depends very much on the individual.
My first dog when I was a child was a GSD/lab cross. She was gorgeous and sweet... I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either breed as long as you research your breeder and make sure you're buying a good speciman. Personally I wouldn't swap my labs for the world though. They do have the advantage over GSD's in that they are not perceived by the less-informed general public as ferocious guard-dog types, which makes people less inclined to panic when you're out and about with the dog, so the dog stays calmer as a result.
Good info. I often wondered why a breed of that cross hasn't emerged yet.Originally Posted by lubmylabs
Oh, I ride a motorcycle and wear scary black leathers (to my engineering job) ........so we're not very "respectable" already!! LOL!!!
Thanks for the reply.