Author Topic: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?  (Read 2506 times)

Offline Kutoja

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • My LJ
Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« on: February 07, 2014, 03:38:57 PM »
Hi!

Iím thinking about getting a dog in a few years when I move to my summer home in the Finnish countryside, but would like some recommendations as to a suitable breed.

Iím looking for a nice, friendly dog to encourage me to go out for walks (and be tired out by the end of our eight-kilometre walk around the block, if not sooner!) Easy trainability would be nice: Iíve already been teaching my three rescue cats to do tricks with varying levels of success, so I donít imagine Iíll be doing any less training when it comes to the dog.

Iíve never owned a dog before although my parents received a puppy as a wedding present several years before I was born. Dadís mother was allergic so she insisted they rehome the dog in short order. Mum might or might not be living with me, but between the two of us weíd pretty much be dog-owning novicesÖ

The house is about 160 square metres on two floors with about 400 square metres of yard. Itís currently unfenced, but obviously Iíll be having it fenced in before getting the dog in order to conform with Finnish law, which requires all dogs be restrained in some way at all times (except when hunting).

As I said, I already have three cats. The dog should therefore, of course, be from a cat-friendly breed. It would also be nice if the dog werenít too much bigger than my cats (the biggest of whom is Silky, my five-kilo ex-tom who seems to think heís a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in catís clothing). I might also have little nieces or nephews by that stage, so something like a Pekinese is definitely out of the question!

Weather tolerance would also be a good thing: summer temperatures in Finland have been known to reach 30+ degrees Celsius, and in the winter it can be as cold as -30 C (although not usually as far south as our country place Ė itís normally more like -25 C). Push comes to shove, since Iím not planning on showing the dog, I can strip its coat down pretty heavily during the summer using a Furminator Ė something I already do with the cats.

I wonít mind brushing every day etc., but since we wonít have a groomer just down the street it would probably be best if the dogís coat were relatively low-maintenance. Shedding wouldnít be a problem: with three cats already, Iím sure we wouldnít even notice a little more hair!

Which breed(s) do you recommend, and what kind of fence should we get: the invisible kind, or something more like a picket fence?

Thanks in advance!
Kutoja
Somewhat paranoid first-time cat-mum. Beware of confused, sometimes ridiculously basic questions!

Offline Kutoja

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • My LJ
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 04:40:44 PM »
Oh, and the ability to train the dog to bark once or twice when someone enters the yard or rings the bell would also be a big plus!

-Kutoja
Somewhat paranoid first-time cat-mum. Beware of confused, sometimes ridiculously basic questions!

Offline HowlsOfAngels

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 751
  • Did everything just taste purple for a second?
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 06:16:00 PM »
I'd recommend a wooden fence no matter what the breed of dog is, it's harder to climb than chainlink and better at containing a dog than an invisible fence. The height depends on the size of the dog, anything under 45 pound should be okay in a four foot fence but a five foot fence or taller is better (though height doesn't matter if they dig under so always keep an eye out for holes and when you fill them back in take some of the dogs poo and put it in as well to deter them from digging again).

As for breed, perhaps you should take a stroll through a shelter and see if any oldies catch your eye. The qualities you're looking for when it comes to being calm when strangers approach and to tolerate children/cats, aren't really breed traits. They're more the traits of an older dog who has experience in those situations. And an older dog makes a good first time dog in that they're not as fractious as a younger one. No potty troubles and no chewing or teething or stubborn teenage years either.
"Optimus Prime says 'No,' to promiscuos sex." - Alex Murphy

Offline Kutoja

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • My LJ
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 03:38:33 AM »
Hmm, I was actually thinking a wooden fence would probably better (and look nicer!). Not to mention that if we used an invisible one and our dog had any kind of prey drive we'd forever be getting calls from the local dog catcher...

I'll certainly keep the shelter in mind, HowlsOfAngels, but unfortunately for me (and fortunately for the dogs!) Finnish shelters only ever have about two adoptable dogs at a time - if that - and you generally can't move freely through the rooms. The shelters want you to figure out which animals you want to meet based on a photo and short description. We don't (yet) have a pet overpopulation problem, since strays get picked up and taken to the shelter very quickly.

How amenable d'you suppose a shelter or rescue in the UK would be to adopting out to someone who lives in Finland and is only in the UK for the week? Living abroad might make home checks just a teensy bit difficult...  :)
Somewhat paranoid first-time cat-mum. Beware of confused, sometimes ridiculously basic questions!

Offline Kutoja

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 41
    • My LJ
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 11:20:51 AM »
So far in my research (starting with the Dog Breed Info Center list of Low-Exercise Demand dogs, and then adding in factors like child-friendliness and tolerance toward other pets, plus temperature tolerance - where I could find it - and grooming needs), I've come up with the following breeds: Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Havanese, Papillon, or Toy Poodle. Most of the other breeds on the combined lists were struck out by tiny size (I thought they might be at a disadvantage if they were to get into a brawl with Silky) or flat-out-unavailability over here.

Do you think any of the above breeds might work for a first dog? Does anyone have any experience regarding their weather tolerance? As I said, I'm not planning on getting a show dog.
Somewhat paranoid first-time cat-mum. Beware of confused, sometimes ridiculously basic questions!

Offline RooRat

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2754
  • Rest in Peace Petyr, Renly, and Myka <3
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 01:49:20 PM »
My neighbor has a toy poodle - she's the sweetest little thing! I never liked poodles till I met her :yelcutelaugh: And she got along with my neighbor's cat (who has since passed away) and the boxer mix my neighbor brought home as a hospice dog.
Mom to Pyp!
Visit my Etsy shop!

Offline lovelyg4m3r

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2076
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2014, 06:23:57 PM »
My mother in law has three beautiful petit Brannon griffin dogs. If untrained they are obnoxious but the one they spent a lot of time on is great. Very sweet, barks at people in the yard but stops as soon as you tell her. Etc. she's about to have her first litter:)  the  petit brabancon is one of three breeds with this dog don't remember the name though. They're French so idk if you have access to a good breeder but there's lots in Sweden. Also they're short nosed so idk how they do with heat or anything That all being said I'd get a shelter dog, but if its anything like Sweden shelters may be few and far between.
My wonderful son: Vincent Jacob
Rats: Timon, Kuzco, Dante and Taz
My beautiful puppies: Charlie and Danger
RIP: Vergil <3 Mommy Misses You
Always in my heart: Snickers, Tootsie, Coriander, and Little Jimmy,

Offline samssimonsays3

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • "You have not loved until you have loved an animal
    • Milo & Me
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 04:02:00 PM »
I am a fan of the papillion for sure out of the smaller breeds. But I am also a fan of the giants due to their lazy nature and such. Great Danes need very little exercise and are amazing with kids and other animals. So are Great Pyrenees and Bernese Mountain dogs. :)   :thumbsup2:
Samantha Schmidt
Owner/Operator at Milo & Me Rabbitry
Author of Children's book Milo & Me

Offline Dragonfly

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 2330
  • I ME MINE
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 08:13:37 PM »
I have to go with Samssimosays on the bigger breed dogs :) They, for the most part, are gentle giants.
Love the Creatures. Love the baby. Love the life.

Offline furmommy

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
  • All my children have paws
Re: Suggestions for a cat-friendly first dog?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 10:43:33 AM »
I had trouble with pugs and huskys! They killed my kittens every time!!
FurMommy to:
6 dogs: Spencer Reid, Charlie Joe, Jase, Molly, Emma Marie & Katie Lynn
2 cats: Flower & Orphan Annie & 4 newborn kittens
5 rats: Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Hunkybear and Pudge
3 mice: Charlotte, Jasmine & Josie
2 geckos: Kisses & Tito
1 bearded dragon: Titus