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Question
Hi,

I have three questions regarding dogs,

1. What would be the best breed for a family of four living on a block a third of a acre big (including the house)
2. What would be the best gender, boy or girl?
3. How do you know if your dog would prefer to sleep indoors?

Hope you can help!

Answer
Hi Louis,

There are probably several breeds of dog (as well as mixed breeds) that would work for your family, but there are plenty of things to consider before selecting a dog other than how much land you have. Things that you and your family need to decide are, the amount of exercise, training and grooming they're willing to give a dog, as well as how much time will be spent with the dog.

If you or your family have never had a dog, that's something to consider. Your dream dog is probably a friendly, sweet-natured, easy going, gentle, and eager to please dog. Keep in mind that mix breed dogs also make wonderful loving pets. Plus mixed breed dogs are usually healthier than their pure bred cousins.

The herding, working and hunting breeds might be harder for a first time dog owner to handle. For example, a dog bred for hunting, working, or running long distances will work all day until his job is done, regardless of weather or distractions. When that same breed is kept as a family pet, his circumstances change, but his drive and instinct to always be on the go, as well as having his mind occupied do not go away. These dogs do best with an experienced owner who's prepared to work with that level of energy to keep him from developing destructive behaviors.

These dog breed selectors can help narrow down breeds based on your family's lifestyle:

http://www.optimumpet.com.au/dog-advice/dog-selector.aspx

http://dogtime.com/quiz/dog-breed-selector

http://www.noahsdogs.com/m/dogs/compatibility?stage=1

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/veterinary-professionals-vote-on-the-be

Keep in mind that a breed description is just a way to narrow down your choices. Dogs are individuals, and within any breed there can be a great variety of temperaments. You need to evaluate any potential dog as individual he or she is.

Both male and female dogs make terrific pets. The deciding factor would be if you were to have two dogs at once, then a neutered male and a spayed female, or two neutered males work best. Responsible pet owners spay or neuter their dogs both to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and also to live healthier lives. Unaltered dogs can be harder to train, and have the urge to roam more. It's slightly less money to neuter a male dog, than it is to spay a female. That said, there may be government programs where you live that provide free or low cost spaying and neutering.

Dogs are social animals by nature, they need to spend the majority of their time in the company of people. They see their family as their "pack", and packs stay together. Some dogs enjoy being outside, others would much rather be inside with their human family. There's no way to guess how an individual dog will react to being outside by itself at night. If your dog is going to be kept outside at night you need to provide it with the correct kind of shelter for wherever you live. With it being outside at night, you would need to be around and spend time with the dog during the day.  Dogs that spend too much of their daily lives in lonely isolation will develop behavioral problems and may become aggressive. Dogs aren't furniture or appliances. They miss you when you're not there, and they need great chunks of your time. If you can't spend adequate time with a dog, you shouldn't get one. A cat might be a much better choice for your family pet.

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti

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Patti

Expertise

To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Education/Credentials
Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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