I want a small dog to suiit my age and situation


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Established Member
10 Mar 2007
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West Muddylands
Hello folks,

I am slowly getting used to living alone since My Lady went into full-time care at Christmas 2016. One positive of this is that I now realise what Jean had to put up with for 54 years!

I am not the 'lonely' sort, but there are times when I would like to know there is company in the house, so I am considering buying a pet dog.

I have a sizeable garden, enclosed by an 8 foot brick wall on the right and at the top, and larch-rubbish fencing on the other side. (Five neighbouring gardens abut mine, so there are five different 'fencees' when things go wrong.) There's plenty of room for a small dog to roam the garden, and I can manage just about a mile a day walking leisurely. Thus I need a dog that doesn't need massive amounts of exercise.

I might consider a rescued dog, but I don't like the idea of continual vetting by the organisations who supply the animals, I am quite happy with dog ownership and training, and I wouldn't take kindly to too much interference. If a breeder wants to see my home, prior to sale, okay, but that's as far as it goes. Besides, I prefer to train a dog to suit my own requirements. My son and daughter also agree to me having a dog they could manage themselves, if the animal survives me, which is a probability. My experience with dogs comes from owning and handling German Shepherds, Labradors, and Rottweilers , so smaller breeds are a bit of an unknown to me. At the same time I don't see myself owning a lap-dog, such as a Yorkie, nor do I think I could cope with an energetic Jack Russell.

Please don't recommend the obvious, independent pet; a cat. Whilst I would never harm a cat, I am not a 'lover' of them. Twice a year looking after my daughter's cat is fine thank you! I prefer an animal that comes when I call.

So any ideas on on small dogs to suit?

Thanks in anticipation

How about a Shih tzu? I used to think they were really poncy but if you cut their hair they can look pretty cool. Very companiable dogs
Beagle? Sweet-natured, short-haired but needs company and not necessarily the brightest (which may be a good thing!) - cheers, W2S
We have a beagle. He's awesome.

Quite high maintenance. And is very greedy (food, paper, wood, plastic...albeit only his own "stuff" and never eats our furniture). Nosey too.
For a small dog that is intelligent, does not shed / loose its hair, doesn't need a lot of exercise, and is still a proper dog and not a lap dog with no inherent inbreed problems I would like to suggest a Miniature Schnauzer. They are as a bonus good house dogs, and will deter any cats that feel your garden makes a perfect toilet. I have two of them and they are the most loyal loving dogs I've every owned (German Shepard, West Highland Terrior, Dalamation, Boxer, American Cocker) and are great with kids which for me is important when having our first grand child.
My disabled Aunt has had 3 King Charles Spaniels and all of them have been sweet and loving, all of them housedogs with no problems I'm aware of. Can't speak for health and or maintenance, but that topic has only come up rarely in conversation - they have however been in each others company; a pair, one died and replaced which may or may not be a factor.

Good for alerting you of stuff though as they always bark when they hear the front squeaky gate.
One of our dogs is a whippet. If you want a pet that comes when you call then in my experience, do not get a whippet? Lovely dog but when it comes to recall, forget it. And if he gets out onto the road then he is off.

Have a look here..
http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/service ... indabreed/

The downside with most small breeds nowadays is that they have become fashionable and attract silly prices, and there don't seem to be many mongrels about nowadays either, they're given silly names and and an even bigger price tag.
I'd go rescue dog/pup and put up with the inconvenience of being vetted.
You may also consider fostering an older dog where their owners have sadly passed and no-one wants an old dog. One benefit of this is that the charity usually covers any vet bills associated with the ageing dog.
https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome/dog ... yXEALw_wcB
good luck with your search :)
I personally would not discount a larger dog with a good disposition. I have a "mutt" , a mixed breed with Collie , German Shepherd and Husky in it's past. We got him as a rescue (another 2 days to the last needle) from our local vet. If you exercise care in making a choice at the pound you might just get a gem, we did. Shadow (so named because he WILL follow you 10 inches from your heel) is maybe 20 kilos , stays in our yard after just minor scolding for going to the road and is cuddly and clever. My advice is to treat it like an important investment. Due diligence and careful attention to the animals disposition. Remember, you are going to be together a long time.
Benchwayze":2qqf8b9m said:
I might consider a rescued dog, but I don't like the idea of continual vetting by the organisations who supply the animals, I am quite happy with dog ownership and training, and I wouldn't take kindly to too much interference.

But do they though?
I guess they might check a few times during the first few months but once happy you and the dog are happy I imagine they have more important things to do.
Knowing my brother's Jack Russel; one a few years old might suit you.

As I type, our cat is lurking near the front gate hoping a dog might pass by so he can scare the bejasus out of it.
most regular dog walkers around here, cross over to the other side of the street :lol:
We have a couple of Border Terriers and can recomend the breed they are a good size dog not too big or small . They do not molt a lot, you do however need to pull their coat or clip them if you are not bothered about showing. They are very loyal and not nearly as deaf as a Jack Russel when hunting! We changed from JR's which are a lot more challenging particularly when they clear off hunting for several days.
I have always had English Setters and would never have a small dog, However 3 years ago the wife bought a Shih tzu puppy home. She is the most loveable little sod. Full of character and very faithful but with the small dog attitude.
The only issue is having to have her trimmed every three months due to the double coat. I would have another one when she goes.

We got our dog from the RSPCA rescue centre nearly 16 years ago. We had one initial house visit, and one subsequent visit after several months.
Total cost was around £120, which included a voucher for "fixing" him.
He's a mongrel, probably 50/50 Jack Russell and Dachshund. He and his sister were abandoned at 6 weeks old.
Probably wouldn't be a good dog for you, as he's a bit weird, but in our experience the RSPCA certainly didn't do any "continual vetting".
I thought I'd never have a small dog especially after having Boxers, Dalmations, Huskys, and Border Collies in the family. We then got a couple of Westies and fell in love with them. They are funny, loving, mischievious, and they are definitely little dogs that think they big! ;-)

Hi folks'

I would like to thank everyone for the grand responses. I am over the moon by the amount of interest shown. The browsing that you have all led me into has reminded me of breeds I had almost forgotten; Miniature Pinschers, Bedlingtons, Airedales, Schnauzers, and of course my true favourite of all time, the German Shepherd.

My daughter dismissed the idea of a GS, because of my age problems. However Tosca, the Police Dog I trained in the seventies was so easy on the lead, a responsible 12 year-old could have walked him.

A well-trained dog could be bundled into the car and taken to places where dogs can run free, as long as I know the dog will come when called; which will be the case. I trained Tosca to that standard and I could do it again. So no fears over not being able to handle him. Why not a GS; and how safe I'd feel walking with a good one at my heel. It's still on the cards.

I never thought selecting a dog would be so difficult.
I will continue research into all the suggestions, and keep you all posted.

Thanks again folks

Hi John
I would go with your heart, you want a big dog really and in my own experience in general a gs or labrador can need less exercise than many of the smaller breeds and are easier to train.
We had a yorkie many years ag, a character but couldn't keep the little sod in no matter how well the garden was fenced he found a way out and with a main road nearby it was a nightmare. Our labs have been completely different and much easier.
Friends had 3 jack russels one of which could easily jump and scramble over a 4 ft fence and my mate has a beagle which digs huge tunnels to escape plus if she gets a sniff of a rabbit or whatever she's gone.

Good luck mate, big decision
You could try rescuing a retired racing greyhound. It's not as daft as it may sound as they are very lazy dogs and do not need much exercise. We had one and he was just lovely. Happy to sleep all day apart from one daily blast of exercise - so laid back, so gentle, and a real conversation starter when out on a lead. Never allowed off the lead though, unless in the garden, bit like my whippet in terms of recall.

We've had dogs trust 'mutts' for a while now. In fact yesterday was a sad day as we had one of a pair put to sleep after 8 years with us :cry:

They're visits aren't intrusive (we had one!) and you have the benefit of knowing you're giving a loving home to a dog that might otherwise not get one.

Can be a bit of a lottery with the dogs history and we had to press quite hard to be allowed to exercise off the lead before we brought them home (for some reason they really don't like allowing that).

If there's one near you pop along for a visit and a chat, - hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised.
stuartpaul":4ii76j0r said:
We've had dogs trust 'mutts' for a while now.
Can be a bit of a lottery with the dogs history and we had to press quite hard to be allowed to exercise off the lead before we brought them home (for some reason they really don't like allowing that).

Some friends of mine have a rescued GS. Beautiful looking dog. But it is a special needs dog. If it were human, it would have a statement of ADHD or some such. I don't think you'd ever dare let this one off the lead. With some dogs, there may be a reason the original owner dumped it !

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