Puppy Update & Help Needed

So, I’m back to one of my favourite topics – puppies.

We are getting one for sure this spring! Little MPB is not allergic to dogs and my dog allergy isn’t bad enough to worry about, so the immunologist gave us the green light to get whatever dog we want. (More on our immunologist appointment later this week).

So, moving forward on actually getting the puppy means we have some decisions to make. Our puppy criteria is rather simple:

  • must be kid friendly.
  • ideally a larger breed – around 50-70lbs full grown would be ideal. (Our last dog, whom I miss so dearly, was almost 90lbs, so we are completely good with large dogs).
  • must be a female.
  • ideally not black like our old dog (we think it’ll be too hard for us). But for the right dog we’d be totally okay with black.
  • less shedding would be nice.

While our last dog was a rescue dog, this time we’ve decided not to get a rescue. We’ve spent a lot of time debating this and have decided that we really want to maximize the chances of having a positive relationship between the dog and the toddler, so a kid friendly breed is our first priority.

We HAD narrowed down our dog choice to 2 breeds – Old English Sheepdog (OES) and Sheepadoodle. But, before making a true committmemt I decided to stop in and talk to our vet about dog breeds and now we have no idea what to get! Our vet gave me some good things to think about:

  • Local OES’ tend to be aggressive. She simply wouldn’t recommend getting one with a 2 year old in the house. So, we’ve removed OES from our list completely.
  • She thinks the poodle in a sheepadoodle would probably help balance out the OES aggressiveness. But, she’s not sure as there are no guarantees.
  • As for doodles in general (goldendoodle, labradoodle, sheepadoodle, ausiedoodle, etc.) she worries about their ear health – apparently a lot of them have ear infection problems and can require a lot of money to treat and maintain the ears.
  • She strongly recommends a retriever/hunting dogs as they tend to be great with kids as they are motivated by making their people happy.

So, we are back to thinking golden retriever or chocolate labrador retriever or yellow labrador retriever. Maybe a flat coated retriever if we find a breeder. Mr. MPB and I both grew up with golden retrievers, so we know the breed and we both like them, we just always wanted to get a different dog breed. I’m not sure about the flat-coated retriever, but for non-registered golden or lab we are looking at paying around $800. And they are rather easy to get, so I don’t have to pre-register and wait months and months for one. Of course, with any of the retrievers we are also looking at having more fur around the house.

So, maybe a goldendoodle or a labradoodle? Less shedding. Priced at about $1200ish. But maybe still have ear infection issues.

But here’s the problem we are currently on the list to pick out a Sheepadoodle puppy in a few weeks which we would bring home at the end of March. So, do we keep going with the sheepadoodle, knowing there could be some behavioural risks? And pay $2500? I love the look of the sheepadoodle, but I’m just not sure anymore. The possibility of aggression has made me really increadibly hesitant. $2500 seems slightly crazy for a dog.

Does anyone have any thoughts or words of advice? Mr. MPB is leaving it completely up to me, and I’m now just so confused that I have no idea what to do!

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23 Comments on “Puppy Update & Help Needed

  1. Honestly if your main reason for not getting a rescue is to optimize your chances of getting a dog that is good with kids, I wouldn’t think you’d want to pursue the sheepadoodle because you’d be taking a chance. It would make sense for you to drop that idea since you stated what your main focus was. Good luck!

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      • haha that indeed is the question! My recommendation would just go visit puppies of those few breeds you do want to go with and find one with the personality you want. We have 4 dogs and foster so we have a revolving door of dog personalities through this house and in my 8 years of doing that, the breed doesn’t matter all that much. It’s all about the personality/disposition they’re born with. When you think about it… if a service dog gives birth to a planned litter maybe 1 or 2 of her puppies will qualify to also be a service dog. It’s all a matter of what they’re born with so if it’s easy to find those few breeds you like then look around and find the personality that fits your family’s needs best 🙂

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  2. Go meet the parent dogs! I agree with the commenter above that it sounds like a sheepadoodle is not for you. But there’s a significant amount of temperament (energy level, especially) that is inherited. I’d bring Little MPB with you, take a trip to the breeder, and meet mama and papa dog, if possible. And when you pick out a puppy, don’t get the one that immediately jumps into your lap — get the one that hangs back a little and then snuggles with you when you approach it. Those are the chiller awesome dogs.

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  3. We have 2 fluffy dogs that could be prone to ear and eye problems. With regular grooming we haven’t had any issues, I wouldn’t let the possibility of issues sway you away from a doodle. After having a doodle and a shih tzu, I’ll never go back to a breed that sheds, the 1,000 bucks or so a year we spend on grooming is worth having 0 dog hair around the house 🙂

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  4. I am currently helping my mom pursue a Golden (from a golden retriever rescue). Her 4th in my lifetime. They truly are special dogs. So eager to please, and just such love bugs. And with you guys working from home, a golden would probably thrive with you. Golden’s have been notoriously overbred though, and they can have some really severe hip problems as a result. If you go that route, be sure you use a reputable breeder. I tried to convince my mom to get a golden doodle. I think they’re so dang cute. Ear issues don’t sway me though—not with my experience with bassets. For our hounds, we just make sure to use special ear flush with every bath. Our dogs have never had an ear infection EVER and bassets are soooo prone to them.

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  5. We have a Black Labrador and he has been absolutely fantastic with our little girl. He was 2 when she was born, so still quite young and has been fantastic, and she absolutely loves him. I would definitely recommend Labrador’s as a child friendly breed in general. Good luck in your decision! Kat x

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  6. Golden retrievers are the most popular among families because of their temperament, and even though you might want to try a different breed, it might not be a bad idea to go with something you and the Mr. are familiar with since your little one is so small. I agree with one of the other commenters that breed doesn’t always, always dictate personality or temperament, just the tendency for one. For example, blue heelers are not recommended for small children because of their tendency to herd and nip. However, my blue heeler doesn’t nip at all and is extremely calm and docile to be part of that breed (as per every behaviorist and vet that has come into contact with him).

    I have friends who got a Boston terrier/French bulldog mix puppy. They had a Boston terrier before who was quite calm, but this puppy has given them a run for their money. Of course, that’s why I’m always preaching to get a 2-year-old dog for young families, that way you miss the puppy part of the training. But if you are up for that, then, like the other commenters said, definitely meet the dog with Little MPB in tow.

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  7. Just feeling complete envy that you’re in the process of bringing a dog into the family. My husband’s allergies (and subsequent hatred for dogs) have relegated me to a Dog Free Existence, which is a great sorrow in my life. Happy for you.

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  8. We have a black Labrador retriever and he is amazing. Such a great family dog and awesome with children.. I trust him 100%…but he does shed and I think all labradors would shed. I’ve heard wonderful things about the golden doodle …not a breed we have in South Africa but I’d definitely get one if I could. I wouldn’t go for a breed that you’ve been informed could have behavioural issues…as someone else has already said, that seems to defeat your purpose of going for a purebreed.

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  9. Our black lab, Koa, is the most amazing dog. He’s sweet and smart and very protective. He loves to play and needs to exercise every day, but we have a big back yard and he’s a *retriever* so he dearly loves to chase a tennis ball (we don’t need to walk him, just toss the ball). He has a mean bark but has never hurt anyone, least of all BG–he was about 8 months old when she was born. I took him to “puppy kindergarten” at Pet Smart and he abides basic commands. To encourage a relationship between BG and Koa it’s BG’s job to feed Koa (which she loves) and we let her give him his treats. We have always made sure he has plenty of his own toys and his own bed, plus he was crate trained for about 3 years before we got rid of the crate (we used it for bedtime and when we would leave the house or when he was in “time out”–I am mostly home though so he was not crated that much). I also took him to “puppy camp”, like puppy daycare, at least 2x per week for his first year+ where he got his energy out and learned to socialize with other dogs. So he is a very social dog who loves people and other dogs. And incredibly well behaved. I would highly recommend a labrador! I wanted a rhodisian ridgeback but Mr. MLACS is a “dog person” and insisted a lab of a golden were the only way to go with kids. XOXO

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  10. Wow! What a reminder of how VERY expensive pet ownership is. Glad you are able to choose to do that.
    I think knowing the parent and grandparent’s history is key. It gives the health profile of the breeder’s puppies/dogs. That will forecast probabilities of severe hip issues, ear issues, tendency towards breathing/congestive heart failure. I knew someone who got 2 dogs from a breeder and both ended up dying young from such diseases… after 5-8K in medical expenses each; big sticker horror.
    Also know breeder’s history of returned puppies/dogs and what caused the return. Talk to people who have adopted from that breeder about their animal’s temperament.
    Let your child experience puppies that wants to be in the child’s face and lick the child. I have known 2-4 year old children who become quite upset by that normal puppy behavior … and end up fearing dogs as a result.
    Wishing you the absolute best and looking forward to hearing wonderful happy stories about your new addition. Puppies are so fabulous!!!!!!

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  11. So exciting. I would also say that you’ve narrowed your choices well. Temperament with any animal is always going to be an issue, certainly some breeds are better than others. Retrievers are always great choices; very intelligent, highly trainable and chill. I would just make sure that whatever option you go with, make sure that you make training a key part of the process–and remember that the training is really for you and less for the dog. Dogs want to please their people, we have to teach them how. 🙂

    If only kids were so easy! 🙂

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  12. It’s my understanding that basically any dog with floppy hears runs the risk of ear infections (I have a springer spaniel I got as a rescue and vets have told me this forever) – as long as you keep their ears clean, they usually do fine. I have LOVED the doodles I’ve met (both golden and labradoodle) and think they have all the qualities of the labs but without shedding (and this adorable person-in-dog-costume kind of appearance.) I also think $2500 is a LOT for a dog. We paid much less for our english bulldogs who are much harder to breed and with the behavioral concerns, I would probably take myself out of the running for that – especially since doodles and labs are much easier to get a hold of!

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  13. Ah, I don’t want to be down on your idea; especially since dogs are my favorite topic. But, I think an older rescue (there are SO many breed specific rescues now) is the best way to go to foster a relationship between a toddler and a puppy. Puppies are a lot – you and Mr MPB get that – but Toddler MPB might not understand that sharp puppy teeth, jumping, favorite toy chewing, barking, etc are just stages. I’ve been in rescue so long and am astounded how many great dogs are returned by people who seem incredibly competent and thoughtful but who just couldn’t see a way through the madness of small children and a puppy. I would totally go for a young-ish dog who is passed the most extreme “young dog” period. Some kids just seem to hate having an exuberant dog invade his/her space and puppies dont always get that playful biting to a toddler is still just biting.

    Good luck, though, a new dog is always so freaking exciting.

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  14. Ok I’m a doodle expert…I have three. One apricot goldendoodle who is 84 lbs (was rescued from a puppy mill), one black labradoodle who is 73 lbs (bought from breeder) and one chocolate labradoodle who is 18 lbs (rescued from SPCA). Ear problems depend entirely on the hair, and the maintenance of their hair. My large goldendoodle and my little labradoodle both have curly poodle hair, and when their hair gets too long (it grows in their ears) it traps moisture there and they get an infection. My vet gives me a constant supply of ear drops, and I clean their ears with a special solution 2x/month and keep up their grooming (every 6 weeks)….and haven’t had an ear infection in 2 years. The cost of the ear drops and cleaning solution is around $40, and the grooming is around $100. Otherwise, they have been EXTREMELY healthy. My large black labradoodle has wiry hair, and has never had an ear infection in her 4 years….or any other kind of illness/infection. They love kids and are so, so good with them…even when my one nephew was a baby with fingers he’d shove into any crevice he could find (the large ones are best with kids). All three are super easy to train, gentle, and love to be outside. The only behavioural issue we’ve ever had was separation anxiety for the two rescues, which is common with rescues. Otherwise, they’re just amazing dogs. So….. in case you haven’t guessed….I’m #teamdoodle!

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    • Also…we didn’t pay more than $750 for the doodle we got from a breeder…and she is really the best dog ever. The little dog cost the original owners $3450 because he was chocolate and it’s a rare colour…I think that’s ludicrous. The adoption fee for both my golden and mini rescues was $400 each. If you shop around, you might find a better price for them…don’t shy away from a smaller breeder either. Good luck! 🙂

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  15. Chocolate labs are my favourite dog breed. I’ve never bought an animal before (we’ve only had rescues up to this point), but we’re talking about buying our next dog when the time is right for one to join our family. It’s funny because I’ve always thought that shelter dogs are the best dogs because mutts tend to be healthiest and they always just seem to grateful to have a loving home. But I want to buy a dog for our family for the same reasons you do – to try to have some control over their temperament with kids. No matter what, though, every dog is different. Can you meet multiple puppies of the different breeds and see who you click better with, or is it too difficult to find breeders and puppies that aren’t born on a waiting list?

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  16. My parents have a goldendoodle and she is the sweetest dog I have ever met. She is large but super cuddly and great with kids and no shedding. I am definitely getting a goldendoodle when I finally get a dog.

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  17. We have a Brittany spaniel and she is great with our kids (2.5 y/o twins)!! Not a lot of shedding. She is a love!! Definitely check them out!!

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  18. Just reading this…I actually have an 8 year old labradoodle…he is wonderful with our kids. Adrian pulls on his ear sometimes and he just looks at us for help. He would never hurt anything / anybody. I feel certain. As for the ears…he has had ear mites twice and the treatment was fairly straightforward and I believe affordable (can’t remember which is a good thing!). No ear infections or other issues except for his stomach flip I wrote about years ago. That doesn’t seem common, though.

    I am in here sparingly, so you might have decided already, but I thought I would add my experience! Hugs to you and the little guy!

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  19. For what it’s worth, I have a pitbull/yellow lab mix who is an absolute sweetheart with kids. I have a two year old in the house and they are best buddies. She is so patient with him and really loves the attention that he gives her.

    My neighbor has goldendoodles who are perfectly fine with her kids, but don’t really like strangers. I think it really comes down to early socialization to young kids.

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