>Don’t worry, I’m not starting a new feature of this blog. Rather, my post title refers self-deprecatingly to the fact that I keep getting obsessed with yet another dog breed or two every week. Bullock and I are thinking of getting our own dog when I get back from England, so I’ve been researching different breeds, trying to find the one that’s right for us.
As many of you may know, I was previously obsessed with the Portuguese Water Dog. But I’ve learned that they’re a pretty high maintenance breed (“willful” is a commonly used word — along with more positive terms) and some informational sites even warn that they’re not really good for first time owners. Plus they’re not that common, so the chances of finding a rescued young adult one nearby are slim, and if I’m going to get a specific breed, I’d rather adopt one without a home rather than get a newly bred puppy. Puppies are hard work and I’m not sure either Bullock and I are up for it. Plus, PWD puppies are expensive! Good god, they’re expensive! I don’t really want a luxury dog. I’m interested in specific breeds because you have a better chance of knowing what you’re in for, but I don’t necessarily want to support the demand for designer puppies, if that makes sense. (I’m trying hard here not to insult either those who have pure bred dogs with papers, or those who’ve adopted mixed breeds from shelters. I get it. Seriously, I do. It’s all about what works for you.)
Anyway, I want an active dog who might be willing and able to go for runs with me. S/he doesn’t have to be able to do the really long distance ones with me, but a dog who can be trained to run 3 miles at an easy pace would be nice. And I’m totally willing to get a dog that needs a good daily workout as long as it generally has an eager to please personality. Bullock would like a dog that’s not willful and demanding, or that needs to be trained and worked constantly to know who’s boss. (So no Border Collies — sorry Tommy! — or any kind of terrier, for example.) And after the ear infection/vertigo incident with Wiley, I decided I wanted a dog small enough that I could lift him/her on my own. But Bullock wants a dog that still seems “doggy.” Too small and it’s not “doggy” enough for him. Oh, and a low maintenance coat would be nice. (That’s the other thing with PWDs — they need to be trimmed all the time because they have hair that grows like ours. It’s super soft and virtually non-shedding, but I barely have enough time to get my own hair cut!) And we’d both like an affectionate, friendly dog who gets along with people and other animals of all kinds.
So it seems, from what I’ve found browsing around web sites and talking to other dog owners, that a lot of the gun dog breeds, especially pointers and “versatile” gun dogs, satisfy all these requirements. In particular, I’m looking at Brittany Spaniels and Pointers. They both need a lot of exercise, but I think between my running, our backyard, and the park around the corner with plenty of safe, encloed space for throwing a ball or a frisbee, we can give a dog that. (Btw, I walk or run by that park all the time and *no one* is ever in it with dogs. Why not??) Plus, Bullock and I are often home. In fact, we usually have alternating schedules that makes one of us home every other day for at least half the day. And since there are lots of hunters around Rust Belt, there are also a lot of recue organizations for these breeds, full of perfectly nice dogs who simply didn’t show adequate skills or interest in hunting.
So, that’s where I am now. If you know any Brittanies or Pointers and want to either encourage or discourage my latest obsession, let me know! And hey, feel free to suggest other breeds and get me obsessively reading about them!