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my name is Miriam and I am 12 years old.

I think I would like a special dog for a friend,
and would like your opinion on what breed would be good.

Here is what I need:

1) I want a big dog, but one that is gentle and easy to train.

2) I don't mind (in fact, I actually like and am fairly good at) grooming dogs myself, but I don't want to have to take the dog to the groomer's that often/at all.

3) I need a dog that is good with cats, and other dogs. (my family's current dog is a terrier named Lovey and he needs a dog that generally plays gently.)

4) I want a dog that isn't a guard dog, but is willing to protect me.

5) My dog needs to have a personality that is loving, gentle, sweet, and strong.

Rocky and I
Rocky and I  
That is a VERY hard question to answer, Merriam, as we all like different things in our dogs. When I was your age, I had a German Shepherd Dog, and she and later her son Rocky, were the greatest dogs!

A lot of dogs will fit your specifications, but so much depends on how they are raised and socialized... both before and after you bring it home. Get a copy of the paperback book, "How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With" by Rutherford and Neil.

My suggestion would be to go to a local dog show, see just what breed might appeal to you, and talk to the breeders and handlers there. (If they are busy grooming, wait until after they are done grooming as they need to get to the ring on time with their dog.) Here is a site listing all the upcoming New York dogs shows... particularly look at the ones listed as Kennel Clubs, as those will be the all-breed shows. Usually the Friday after entries close (Wednesdays at noon), a judging program will be available, and that will list the times and ring numbers where each breed will be judged. That will be helpful if there are special breeds you might want to see.

Good luck in your search! I hope you get as great a dog as my Rocky was.


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Karen Brittan


I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs:

Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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