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Best breed of dog for working parents?

July 28th, 2006, 01:36 PM
Everyone here seems to have quite the range of dog breeds and mixes. From the impression I get a lot of you work during the day so I was wondering what people's opinions were on what type or mix of breeds is best for parent's who have to work during the day (as most of us have to).

My husband and I would like to get a dog, we have a large enough house and yard now to accommodate the two cats plus a dog. But we both work M-F 8-5. We both like the larger breed dogs (ex. labs, rotweillers, bloodhounds, danes) and would prefer one with shorter hair. I have been reading up on different breeds as I see that breed/mix available at the local animal rescue most of them say they shouldn't be left at home during the day alone. But lots of people have to do that now.

I guess it's more of a nature vs. nuture question. If you have a dog, and you bring it up to learn that it is alone for a set amount of time during the day, and you make a point of exercising it well before you go to work, and as soon as you get home from work is that enough to stop it from being lonely and destructive, or does the genetics of the breed still figure greatly in the answer?

We live to remotely so to have someone come in and walk it mid-point during the day is not possible, and daily doggy day care isn't an option.

We'd really like to get a dog, but want to make sure it's the right dog for our situation.


July 28th, 2006, 01:40 PM
We were also looking into Am. Staff as well.

I love to walk so exercise won't be an issue.

We do have a 9 year old in the house, and maybe skin babies one day. But I grew up with larger dogs so I don't think a dogs size is a reason to omit it from consideration.

July 28th, 2006, 02:08 PM
Before you decide on a breed, look into your local city ordinances and make sure that you can have whatever you like. BSL seems to be fairly popular in Canada these days.

Any of the breeds you mention should do fine while you are alone at work. Personally, I think that the larger breeds do better then the smaller ones. I know that my rottweiler was not bothered in the least, but my pom hates to be left home alone.

Check with local rescue groups. And maybe some not so local. Some are willing to allow out of area adoptions if they can find someone to come in and do a home inspection/meet and greet.

Honestly, I don't think that I would get a puppy at this point. With your work schedule and your remote location, housebreaking would be difficult at best. That is not to say that it can't be done, though.

July 28th, 2006, 02:14 PM
Thanks for the response!

We know we can't get a puppy, we were looking for a dog that has already been housebroken because they have to be left alone all day so no mid-day pee breaks and no mid-day meals. That's part of the reason we were looking at the shelters.

We live in NS and there is no breed by-laws here. But there also doesn't seem to be a lot of dog shelters either, I've been looking at the petfinder website for a while now so maybe we'll look outside the Maritimes.

Also, we have the two cats to consider, so whatever we get has to pretty much be able to leave them alone, or at least co-exist.

It might be too tall of an order to fill, but we'd both really like to get a dog. But we only want to get one if it's the "right" one.

July 28th, 2006, 02:27 PM
what about a retired racing greyhound? Laid back in the house, but a good jogging partner.

and some general rescue groups:

if you are interested in a pitbull and can't find one locally, why not save an Ontario pitbull? I believe there is an 'underground railroad' getting the banned dogs out from Ontario shelters... these folks would know more:

(Nova Scotia isn't completely BSL free, by the way... Guysborough and area has banned pitbulls and rottweilers)

July 28th, 2006, 02:41 PM
IMO the breed of a dog has nothing to do with it's tolerance to be alone for long periods of time.

8-5, 5 days a week (does this include your travel time to and from work?) is a lot of time for a dog to spend alone.

That being said, I would suggest an older dog who does not need to same amount of exercise and who does not have the same energy drive that a younger dog would. I know my older guy (~6) would be happy to sleep all day however my little guy (~2) would go nuts and I would have a lot of destruction in the house when I got home regardless of the exercise I gave him before and after work.

July 28th, 2006, 02:41 PM
It might be too tall of an order to fill, but we'd both really like to get a dog. But we only want to get one if it's the "right" one.

I think once you start looking you'll just "find" the right one. Or, I should say, "you'll find each other". :love:

July 28th, 2006, 03:05 PM
It is not too tall an order it may take a bit longer but it can happen. Buddy is great left alone he sleeps all day. I am usually gone for 12-14 hours a day but I have someone take him out for an hour or so in the afternoon and we go for a walk in the morning and one as soon as I get home. I am sure he would rather be sleeping on a queen sized bed with food and water and toys all day than being in a cage in a shelter. Big dogs can tolerate being left for longer periods. I have had a Bloodhound and they are very sweet and gentle with kids. But they are big heavy dogs and they drool and shed so if that does not bother you they may be a good fit.They do not require a ton of exercise but also they cannot be off lead being scent hounds they follow there nose and there ears shut off. If you are a good fit I am sure transport could be arranged.

July 28th, 2006, 05:26 PM
The breed doesn't necessarily determine whether or not the dog will be calm or do well left alone for large amounts of time.
Just like with anything, breeds of dog are bred to be a certain way, but the individual dog may not be ANYTHING like the breed standard. For instance, collies are bred to herd, but an individual collie may not have a herding disposition, they could actually be terrible at it.
The best thing to do is go to several shelters or reputable breeders and play with the dog several days in a row. A good breeder or shelter should have also evaluated the dogs personality and know whether the dog is calm, hyper, should do well being alone, etc..
One breed of dog that in general is very calm and does well alone is a basset hound. But like I said, just because the breed in general is a certain way doesn't make the individual dog that way. Basset hounds can be hyper even though most of them are calm and sleep a lot.
Collies in general also supposedly do well being left alone for awhile, and as adults are usually pretty calm. Rough collies have long fur but there is also a smooth coat with short fur (though I don't know how easy these are to find).
I have a collie, and in the house he usually just walks around a lot and likes to be petted.

Here's a survey for picking a breed of dog that isn't bad:

July 28th, 2006, 07:02 PM
8-5, 5 days a week (does this include your travel time to and from work?) is a lot of time for a dog to spend alone.

Yes it does seem that way, but the way i see it is, we all have to work and our dogs are going to have to spend some time alone at some point.

Just when you do get a dog, dont think that just because it is good while you are gone that it wont want to do lots of fun things with you when you come back.

I also think the breed doesnt have alot to do with it. However I speak from experience here, dont consider a Border Collie. Mine exhausts me when i get home from work. He needs his mental stimulation and physical excersise and all that wonderful stuff ( all of them do but he really is most demanding)

July 28th, 2006, 10:19 PM
I agree with the greyhound suggestion, and an older dobie might be a good fit too. Definitely not a pointer.. Even the oldest pointers seem to have endless energy.:D

July 30th, 2006, 10:06 AM
what about a retired racing greyhound? Laid back in the house, but a good jogging partner.

Most greyhounds would make lousy jogging partners, they are sprinter they are conditioned for 1 30 second highspeed run every 3 days, so if you want a jogging partner you to find a high energy grey and then condition it for jogging(they have very tender feet hot pavement will burn their feet and their feet can become abraded even if taken for too long a walks at first) so their feet need to harden and they need to acclimatize to distance running, and in hot and very cold weather skip the jogs. Very few will handle more than 2 miles.

They are fantastic dogs , but mostly low energy, happy with a short lower speed sprint in the yard "maybe" once a day for a minute or 2 . They love to sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day.

I have 2 greys and used to foster greys as well. I work fulltime(midnight shift) so am away 9 hours a day they mostly sleep while I work, being single and having a fulltime time job and being single with my own home to care fore does not leave me a lot of time for an active dog that needs a lot of exercise, so greyhounds are perfect for me, I use to foster them as well to test to see how they would along with cats and to test for seperation anxiety(which can occur in any breed) those that did fine where able to be placed in working family homes.

Most of the groups use foster homes, usually they take an application and then call up up the track to find which dogs are available that would suit your household, and then the matching dogs would be sent up and fostered to ensure they will fit into your lifestyle, (ceteria for choosing would other pets in the home, children, activity level of the owners, amount of dog experience, whether you work or not, whether you have a fenced in yard or live in an apartment, how close your neighbours are(most greys are very quite but some will bark) This allows for good matches and helps to ensure the greyhound won't be returned because they are incompatible. The process takes a few weeks but definitely worth the wait. is in New Brunswick they may or may not have an adoption rep in Nova Scotia.

The other group that does adopt to NS is a group in Maine

3 and 4 year olds are and ideal age to adopt at especially for a first time owner, they have had sufficient time at the track to mature, be used to lots of handling by people, leash walking, crating have become well accustomed to having a routine and are very well mannered, 2 and under is a bigger and harder transition to home life, Upto age 15 to 16 months they have spent most of their life in long kennel runs with their littermate where they have never had to do anything other than play and sleep, with little human interference, so never had to learn to hold it to go to the bathroom, or learn about daily routines or about walking on leash, so the year or 2 at the track helps teach them to be alone at least in their own crate, about potty and food routines, they get handle then by several people on a daily basis. I have one racing school dropout and fostered another, and they are are a bit different then those that have a year or more racing experience. Most people after having one for a couple of months will be looking at adopting more since they are such easy going dogs and easy keepers, it is not usual for many people to have 3 or more greys.
Greyhounds have longer life spans than most large breeds usually 12 to 14 years though some a quite a few are living to 16 some 18 and in one case that I kinow of 20. giant breeds like danes, st bernards, newfoundlands usually only live to 8 years old, other large breeds 10 to 12. Like most large breeds have a higher risk of bone cancer, but do not have high incidences of genetic disease that are often seen in most other purebred breeds, and hip dysplaysia is non existent.

July 31st, 2006, 08:50 AM
Thanks for taking the time to respond.

We aren't in a hurry, so we don't mind if it takes a while to find a dog that will be happy with us.

I don't jog, (and I'm not looking to start :) ) but I do walk, so the dog would get lots of walks.

I'll take your suggestions home and share them with DH, and we'll see where we go from there. We've just been looking on the SPCA websites, maybe it's time for an in person visit to see what they have there that isn't posted.

I was thinking about fostering too, but I don't know if DH will be up for that. I think he's worried about us getting attached to the dogs and getting upset when the time comes for their forever homes.

Again, thanks for your suggestions and comments.

July 31st, 2006, 09:05 AM
Fosters parents have been known to adopt their fosters. Maybe a good idea if you see a dog that needs to be fostered that would be a possible fit for your family and give him a chance in your home. Don't forget the big black dogs are the ones who are passed over most in shelters stop and give them a look too

July 31st, 2006, 11:42 AM
"IMO the breed of a dog has nothing to do with it's tolerance to be alone for long periods of time."

YEs it does some breeds are MUCH more indepdant then others like a doberman for example is EXTREMLY Needy and is usually very distructive when left alone same with the german shepherds.

Whatever you do if you do get a purebred do NOT get it from working lines! Many people make that mistake and end up with a dog that is WAY TO much for them to handle.

PErsonal experience is that with mutts/mixs its much easier to find a laid back dog that would fit ur lifestyle. SPecially big mutt mixes & the shelter has lots of dogs and know each of ther personalities get a dog with a calm nature one that you can leave home alone. If i left my old german shepherd home alone in about half an hour my whole house would of been ripped to shreds sofa torn to pieces! he was working line though. My friends dobie is the same way.

IF i left

July 31st, 2006, 12:06 PM
Why not look into rescues, they may be able to find a dog which will fit in with your lifestyle better than just going to the SPCA.

You could try looking at rescues in your area on petfinder ( ) or maybe a restricted AmStaff/APBT from Ontario through Bullies in Need or Advocates for the Underdogs ?

July 31st, 2006, 12:10 PM
I have been and will continue to keep an eye on rescues.

I posted my questions because I just was curious about people's opionion's on whether genetics affected whether a dog could be left alone while the owner's worked. Most of the reading I had been doing seems to indicate it wasn't a smart move.

I've got lots of good feedback, and an idea of rescuing a Am. staff from Ontario that I hadn't though of.

August 1st, 2006, 08:49 AM
I have 2 rescued Greyhounds that barely bat an eyelash when I leave the house in the morning. They are very lazy. In fact, when I come home I could swear they're in the exact same positions as when I left! They don't even get up when I come home, they are too comfortable in their beds.