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I want a dog very much. But I have some concerns.

Background:

  • I am going to finish my university studies next year and then start a well enough paying job to maintain a pet. I will probably have to work more than 8 hours a day.

  • My girlfriend studies medicine and will have even worse hours at random times due to nightshifts, etc.

  • We want kids eventually.

  • My mother is alergic to animal hair or whatever, that's what she says. Anyway, she's alergic to something but I heard there are dogs that don't trigger allergies. She doesn't live with us, but I'd like to take the dog with me when visiting, maybe they can take care of the dog on holidays, etc.

  • The dog should be bigger than a football but smaller than a pony.

My question is, considering this background, is getting a dog in the next years realistic? And what breeds (or mutts) should we prefer?

I guess a puppy is not the best idea, a well trained dog would in my humble opinion be a better fit.

But what should I keep in mind, where can I get such a dog complying with my rather high ethical standards on this matter?

You know, let's just assume animal activist standards or slightly below.

I'll edit in answers to questions in the comments if need be.


Thanks for the helpful answers and comments so far.

Would getting two dogs really be a solution to leaving the dog(s) at home? And how much time at home alone is "too much" time?

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    I think you mean breed and not race, and if so, don't discount the mutt.
    – cobaltduck
    Dec 19 '16 at 18:51
  • Yes and yes, thx.
    – DonQuiKong
    Dec 19 '16 at 19:09
  • I would steer clear of a puppy and go for an older dog. You need to take puppies out all the time and it seems like you wont be home a lot.
    – Ian
    Dec 19 '16 at 20:44
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    As far as allergies - my family has all varieties of issues, but no problems with our schnauzer. Despite what he thinks, he's definitely bigger than a lap dog :) Exposure can also help (I'm allergic to cats, but I don't sneeze around mine anymore). However, I would definitely recommend spending some time with a potential pet to gauge your reaction before committing.
    – user812786
    Dec 20 '16 at 14:27
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    If you do get a dog, please consider adoption. The dog breeding industry is rife with animal abuse and there are plenty of lovely dogs that need help in shelters.
    – Ajali
    Dec 21 '16 at 15:42
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With both of you being gone so much, getting a dog might not be a great idea. Dogs, like humans, are social animals and need interaction with others. They also have a lot of energy and being stuck at home alone most of the day might lead to behavioral issues.

However, if you do want one I would suggest visiting a shelter and looking at older dogs with less energy and generally better behaved. You may even consider two dogs--they will keep each other company and dogs will learn from each other's good habits (although sometimes a few bad ones like barking at the mailman). Plus, if you get them from a shelter, that is two dogs you have rescued.

Although every dog has it's own personality, some breeds are notoriously difficult for beginners. These would be German Shepherds, Huskies, beagles, dachshunds and Dalmatians.

Easier dog breeds would be labs, golden retrievers and some types of chihuahuas. These are typically higher energy dogs so an older one would be the best bet.

The best bet is usually a mix, as they usually have better health than purebreds. Fortunately, most shelters are filled with older lab mixes (usually black labs) because people find them boring and want something unique and a puppy. The sad thing is that these older lab mixes are often the best choices for new pet owners.

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It really depends on your living situation as to how long away from home is too long, and also the age and type of dog you're getting. For a small puppy, more than a couple hours is too much. If it's an adult dog that you can leave outside in good weather, they can handle very long amounts of time outside (some dogs up to 12 hours) but that's when a second dog would help to keep them from getting bored and lonely. If a dog is outside by themselves for that long EVERY day, they won't lead a happy life. But if you live somewhere without a fenced in yard, if you have a medium or larger adult dog, they should go no longer than 8 hours between potty breaks and that should be an exception. They SHOULD get a potty break about every 4 hours.

As for the breed, as mentioned in the comments most hypoallergenic dogs are pretty small like a Bichon Frise. Poodles are a bigger hypoallergenic breed but they sometimes don't make the best pets. Maybe a Schnauzer as the other person recommended but whatever breed you get, it is always best to buy from a shelter and many shelter dogs are mixes. Look for a mix that has hair and not fur (hair is usually longer and more wiry than fur)

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