July 03, 2003

Some Big Paws to Fill

We're already looking. This place, and these people, require a dog to fill a very empty niche in the scheme of things around here. What do you think about one of these critters?

We want a dog that is big enough to offer some deterrent from unwanted visitors, a non-barker, preferrably with short hair (to better see ticks and avoid cockleburrs and the like) and a light shedder (which labs are not but are said to be 'medium shedders'). GSD's are too long-haired, Weimaraners are said to be barkers and prone to a largish list of disorders.

If anyone has recommendations, please let us know. We're not going to be in a great rush, and oh how I dread going through puppyhood all over again; it is such an investment in so many ways. Putting ourselves through this ... bringing home yet another dog... is an indication not of good sense but of the deep emotional imperative with which some of us are inflicted that requires us to keep these strange canine souls near us. They serve purposes and do good we so poorly understand and yet so sorely miss, when suddenly, they are not there to give them.

Posted by fred1st at July 3, 2003 07:02 AM | TrackBack

Awww, they're cute. Not being a dog person, I can only advise that you get Bogie's input (although, from her and from the experiences of friends, I do know that Labs sometimes have a thing called hip displasia--about which I'm sure you know a heckuva lot more than I do). Bogie's the animal expert in our family. Looking forward to a picture of your new family member.

Posted by: Cop Car at July 3, 2003 08:01 AM

As one of the sites that I visited recently said "There are no stupid questions. Only stupid people." I'll crawl under the porch with my tail between my legs for forgetting that you are experienced with Labs. Sometimes I'm half bright; but, not this morning!

Posted by: Cop Car at July 3, 2003 08:13 AM

Fred, I've heard good things about Mountain Run, and that's certainly one good lookin' bunch of pups. I sorta like the yellow one in the front row, 3rd from the right...

Posted by: ronbailey at July 3, 2003 09:10 AM

I'm a small dog guy so I can't offer any advice on larger breeds. When our faithful dauschund passed a couple of years ago - my wife went from "never getting another dog" to "Lets get another dog" in about 48 hours. Of course, it took two beagles to replace the one dauchsund that was in many ways our first child.

Posted by: Chris at July 3, 2003 09:42 AM

The only large breed I know about are Dobermans. They are the best dog, IMHO, but they need a strong hand. but there wouldn't be another dog that would be more loyal...

Posted by: Dave at July 3, 2003 10:17 AM

Ummm, how about giving houndfinder a try, Fred?

Posted by: Anne at July 3, 2003 10:40 AM

For a good list of breeds and their characteristics, go here

Based on you criteria, I'd suggest looking into an American Bulldog.

Of course, I have one and am always eager to plug the breed. But pupster is one of the most loyal, playful, and protective animals i've seen. I used to train police dogs and have seen many large dogs and i will likely stick with the ABs forever.

More photos of them here:


Posted by: SayUncle at July 3, 2003 12:48 PM

Do it Fred, do it as soon as possible.

We got Harley four days after Ben passed away. My spouse's stoic grieving was just to much to bear and when he scooped up that puppy and brought him home it was as if sunshine had returned to our lives.

we still miss Ben...he was a fine dog...but like you we need a dog in our lives.


Posted by: feste at July 3, 2003 12:51 PM

I'm not one to say rush out and replace. Let the pain heal a bit. They are, in our hearts, like humans. To be honest, I'm glad I listened to my friends when my feline companion passed away...

Having said that. The one in thr very front, standing closest to the camera, but looking off to the side like "huh, what's that over there?" has my vote :-)

Posted by: Huw Raphael at July 3, 2003 01:43 PM

Get a mutt from the humane society. They tend to be robust, and you can find one with short hair and a lovely disposition.

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at July 3, 2003 04:14 PM

Absolutely adorable. I would think any of 'em would do. Really, Fred, knowing you and Ann and the life you two lead, I think you're best off sticking with the Labs. They really are fine dogs, well-suited to country life.

But on the off-chance that you might be looking around, we have become very partial to Alice, our German Short-haired Pointer. We have some friends who operate the stable where my wife and daughter ride, and they own several GSPs. Alice was from one of theirs, so she gets to go out and visit her Mom every now and then.

They are definitely outdoor dogs and require plenty of space and exercise...your environment would be perfect. Some can be fractious and flighty, especially if confined for too long. Much of this seems to manifest itself in their personality from an early age, so it's really beneficial to spend some time with the litter and get to know the puppies.

Alice is very affectionate (typical for GSPs) and has developed a special attachment to our daughter (we refer to them as "The Sisters").

They're just your typical hunting dogs, really; loving, generous, intelligent, obedient if taught well, loyal, and eager to be part of the family. We'll probably be breeding Alice next time she goes into heat, but that won't be for several more months. We want just one litter of pups out of her, to continue the bloodline, and then she gets fixed.

Posted by: Curt at July 3, 2003 04:14 PM

In recent years I seem to have got out of the Lab loop I grew up with, getting to know Jack Russell Terriers and lately Blue Heelers.
My verdict: labs are best!
And I've found having two dogs is better (and actually easier in many ways). Best wishes.

Posted by: boynton at July 3, 2003 11:50 PM

I've always stuck with mutts myself (except that dobie that got left with us for a few days, and the owner never came back). Many of our dogs were rescued, and I've never had a bad experience as rescued dogs seem to know that they are lucky they found a family.

I think labs and lab mixes seem to fit your criteria fairly well, although our Sampson (a lab/samoyed mix) was a barker.

If you go with a pure-bred, make sure to get a look at the health and disposition of both parents. Hip Displasia is common among the larger breeds - but labs don't seem to be more prone to it than others.

Posted by: bogie at July 4, 2003 05:44 AM

All I can say is.


Posted by: Eva at July 5, 2003 11:47 AM

I love my lab, but my parents had a German Short-hair and she was an excellent dog also as Curt attests. I don't think you could go wrong with either one.

Posted by: Wylie at July 11, 2003 11:27 AM

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