Thanks so much for all your encouraging comments from the first post in The Puppy Files (Are We Ready?). It is amazingly exciting to be getting ready for our new family member. I know this is going to cause some controversy — and disappoint some of you — so let me get it out of the way. After a great deal of deliberation and debate, we have decided to get our puppy from a breeder, not a shelter. I know a great many friends who have found awesome pets through shelters, and I have personally supported many through the years. But knowing that we were looking for a “forever” pet and that we had a toddler in the house lead us towards this decision.
First, we did a ton of reseplace on dog breeds that are recommended for families. A few good resources I found were: Martha Stewartâ€™s Dog Breeds: Good With Children and WebMdâ€™s Choosing The Best Dog Breed For Your Family.
Secondly, we came up with a wish list of traits.
1. Smallish. Or rather, bigger than a cat but smaller than our daughter (who currently about 35 lbs).
2. Non-shedding. I have been known to sneeze a bit too much after hugging furry animal, and admittedly, we donâ€™t vacuum as much as we should.
3. Smart, social and hopefully, easy going. We have lots of little people around our house, all the time. Shy wonâ€™t work.
4. Under 6 months old. Like humans, much of a dogâ€™s personality is determined by his early development. Plus, the whole puppy experience is one we donâ€™t want to miss out on.
After some exhaustive reseplace (including stopping nearly every dog walker we saw in our neighborhood and drilling them about their dogâ€™s origins), we decided on a Labradoodle (an Australian Labradoodle mini, to be exact). A â€œdesignerâ€ mixed breed that is not recognized by the American Kennel Club, Labradoodles were originally bred in the â€˜80s in Australia to create service dogs for people with allergies. Their ancestors were poodles and Labradors, but now they are their own sophisticated breed, complete with traits, enthusiasts and breed snobs. (You may recall that Obamas were considering a Labradoodle before deciding on Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog.) They also kinda look like Benji, the dog of my childhood dreams. (I know Benji was probably a terrier mix.. but I digress.)
Once we narrowed our sights on the type of dog we wanted, we started seplaceing local shelters to see if similar ones ever came up. We scoured Petfinder. In our area (Southern New Jersey), puppies in shelters are rather rare â€“they go fast. Most of the dogs we saw were larger dogs (Labs, rottweilers, and pit bulls are the most common — all which could be awesome pets, but are not right for our home and small child).
Then, I thought I hit gold when I found a shelter in our area that specializes in placing homeless Labradoodles. Perhaps having a puppy didnâ€™t matter so much after all and they could help us find a dog in a need of a home? After digging around on their site I discovered a showstopper: Unfortunately, the shelter doesnâ€™t place dogs into homes with children under five years old. Itâ€™s understandable â€“ having a young tot and a dog that may have special needs is not something many families can undertake. We were back to square one. Time to start reseplaceing breeders. — Angela M.
Do you have a dog breed you have a soft spot for? I’d love to hear about it!
Previously on the Puppy Files
After Losing Our Dear Cat, We Ask: Time For a Puppy?
Coming up next: What To Look For From A Dog Breeder