Need help with breed selction


New Member
Hi everyone, im new here and i thought this would be a perfect place to ask what type of breed would be best for me. Im a 20 year old guy, live with my parents in a medium sized house with a pretty big yard. i would be able to walk and play with the dog in the morning and more in the night once i come back from work. i have never owned a dog myself, but some of my relatives own dogs and am perfectly comfortable around them(big and small). the two dogs I'm considering is a Labrador Retriever or a West Highland Terrier. i was wondering what others breeds i should look into, or if one these dogs would be a good fit?

Thanks a lot :)


Honored Member
WONDERFUL YOU ARE GOING TO BRING A DOG INTO YOUR LIFE!! There is nothing more wonderful than a ball of fur to make you LAUGH EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE, and smile all day long. A dog won't let you be lazy, and will keep your heart soft.

GOOD MOVE, MANN14, GOOD MOVE!! KUDOS!! You won't ever regret it!!

Well, Labs are full of energy, and if you take one on, you should be prepared to meet the dog's need for plenty AND I DO MEAN PLENTY of playtime and excercize! Or the lab will get FAT if he doesn't get enough, and may eat your sofa outa boredom if he doesn't get good and worn out.
And westies, do need grooming, (you CAN learn to do it yourself) and are prone to barking a LOT!
that is wonderful, you are doing some research, and are prepared to walk the dog twice a day.

DO REALIZE ONE THING, a dog sitting in a yard by himself, usually is NOT gonna excercize. Not for more than a few minutes. Lotsa folks think--"I put a single, lone dog outside, he excercizes all by himself out there." :dognowink:Usually NOT. MOST dogs, will make a lap around the yard, and then lie down....and start digging holes if they get TOO bored.:msngiggle:

I also strongly strongly suggest, that you consider RESCUING a dog from the dog pound, as opposed to buying a dog from a puppy mill or a 'breeder'. (Most humans can not tell the difference between a breeder and a puppy mill). DO NOT SUPPORT THE DOG OVERPOPULATION CRISIS WITH YOUR WALLET!!

Purebreds are often products of father/daughter or mother/son matings, purebreds are guaranteed to have WAY more health problems than a mixed breed. A dog that is "AKC" registered is in NO WAY any indicator that dog is healthy. NOT!!

When you DO get your new dog, spay/neuter, :msnwink:SIX MILLION DOGS ARE PUT TO DEATH EVERY YEAR IN THE USA, cuz eveyrone says, "Oh my dog is so cute, let's make puppies!", not realizing, each and every puppy, can create 100s more puppies...all competing for the available humans.

Anyway, do consider RESCUING a perfectly wonderful, homeless dog! Put in your zip code HERE--->
Pet Adoption: Adopt a pet from our list of 300,000 homeless pets: Petfinder

and go find your new best friend!:msnohyes:

IF you have your heart set on a purebred, Petfinders has tons of purebreds,too. You can sign up for email alerts if the dog of your dreams comes within "x" number of miles to your home.

If you really want or need a "NO MYSTERY" DOG, adopt an adult dog living with a foster family. They can tell you eggggzactly how much excercize the dog will need to keep him from chewing your door off......., does he bark a lot, does he shed, is he friendly? dog-aggressive? chew up sofas? what he is afraid of? Is he hyper? laid back? is he good home alone or not? How does he do with kids? cats? is he an escape artist? etc etc etc. You can take home a well-known dog that could fit into your lifestyle very well.
Yes, an adult dog CAN AND WILL bond completely with you. Abso-freakin-lutely!!! He'll be a lil reserved at first, cuz he doesn't know the rules, or if you are safe, but, then he will BLOOM BEFORE YOUR EYES--------- and love you more than you love your own self, he will love you more than he values his own life.

just a thought. Most folks want puppies, but, a puppy is harder to leave home alone 40 hours a week. But, if it IS a puppy you want, Petfinder is chockful of baby puppies!!! GO TAKE A LOOK---PLEASE CONSIDER DOING THE RIGHT THING--BE A HERO---SAVE A DOG!!!


Honored Member
Besides all the joy that a dog will bring to you, besides keeping you fit, (they ARE like lil fitness trainers--- "You want to loaf around ALL day? I don't think so!") Besides the fact you will now go to the beach and the forest more often if you have a dog, besides all the love that will turn your heart over and over-----besides that your dog will make you--- and your family or friends crack up all the time------------- besides ALL the emotional and health benefits of living with a canine, (which are too numerous to list here) there is another great benefit to living with a creature with such acute senses.

Last night, our dog mighta have saved our lives, we had all windows open, for that cool night air to waft in.....and Buddy stopped someone who was examining our window screen! Buddy leaped right up to the window, stuck his own face in the window looking back at him, and HOLLERED HIS HEAD OFF AT THEM, BARKING, SNARLING AND GROWLING, whole lotta teeth flashing around there, quite impresssive, if i say so myself, AND Scared them off but good! We got there just in time to see the guy's shadow running away. WE hadn't heard or noticed a single thing wrong, nope. But BUDDY sure did!!

THANKS BUDDY!! (Yet Another great reason to have a dog!!)


New Member
Thanks for your great advice tigerlily and your amazing story, i would never leave my would be dog outside by itself, but i would for sure play with it in my yard. and if i choose to get a puppy i will make sure its not alone for more than 2 hours, either me coming home in between or someone like my parents coming home. though i like the idea of a rescue dog since after all there living beings too. the thing im most worried about is training, because i have never owned a dog, and i was wondering how to overcome this challenge, and im willing to put in the effort necessary?

Thanks again


Honored Member
OH, i think it is just fine for a dog to be outside by himself, i was just pointing out, most dogs do NOT excercize all by themselves, ha ha!! :msngiggle: But, it is a--okay to let a dog be outside by himself, so long as it isn't too hot, nor too cold, nor too long. I keep a water bowl in my yard and my dog goes in/out all by himself all the time.

WHAT A WONDERFUL SET UP, that you will be able to have someone let the dog in/out to do his business. Especially wonderful if you get a pup, or even an adult dog, needs a LIL extra help at first, learning the rules and schedule.

I SENSE YOU WILL BE A MARVELOUS DOG GUARDIAN!!! :msnohyes: It is impressive, that you are THINKING about what is req'd, and researching out which kind of dog would be a good match for you! Most folks don't do that!! You are already head and shoulders above many pet seekers!!!
They bring home a breed that is WAY MORE than they can handle, (like an 80 year old with a young border collie) or, maybe a jogger brings home a bloodhound or a mastiff....which don't jog. They did zero research!!

As far as training, i think all of us have to train SOME things, even the basics, sit, stay, lay down, "leave it!" and come! and so on.
I found out this, Mann14, i found out, that the MORE things i taught my dog, the more I WANTED to teach my dog!! Once i realized, it's NOT hard, that it DOESN'T take entire afternoons, that it IS fun, well, i liked it a lot, and my dog LOVES his lessons.

I'd start with something real easy, at first, so you BOTH get a positive feeling about the whole thing. If you get a baby dog, you will have to realize, a baby dog is lil limited in their att'n span, and ability to understand.
That said, some folks around here have posted videos of 4 and 5 month old pups doing amazing things!

Teaching a dog tricks, Mann14, i can't even describe to you, how much it STRENGTHENS the bond between you and your dog. :love: It just does. It helps you both learn about each other, it increases the dog's focus on you. :doghappy:

AND THING IS, MANN, IT IS NOT HARD!! AT ALL!!! (well, most tricks aren't hard!) THE BIG SHOCKER TO ME WAS:msnhugegrin:-----TEACHING A DOG A LESSON ONLY TAKES TWO (2) MINUTES AT A POP!!! (most tricks or cues take many lessons, but, each lesson is only 2 minute long!)

i kid you not, that's right---TWO MINUTES!! for beginner dogs anyway. YOu always wanna stop BEFORE your dog zones out/gets bored or frustrated. Two minutes is fine for beginning lessons. WA-LA! you are done!

You can repeat the 2 minute lesson in an hour, or later that day, but, it's only TWO MINUTES!! Not a big time investment!! YAY!!
Lessons should be very very short, and followed by playtime! Easy cheesy!!

another nice thing, if you mess up the lesson, well, your dog forgives you and gives you a whole other chance!! :msngiggle: I know MINE did!!! lols!

and--you'll have this entire online community here, to egg you on,:cheers:
help with any snafus,:rules: and
CHEER with you, when your dog "gets it"!!!:yipi:


Honored Member
Staff member
If you end up with a puppy, I strongly recommend going to a training class. Socialization is CRUCIAL to developing a well-rounded adult dog. Also, this website does offer a classroom section with video and written lessons that are very helpful, and pretty cheap! That might be something you want to check out. If you end up going through a trainer to a puppy class, be CAREFUL. Look for someone who uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT methods. Avoid prong/pinch/choke collars. Avoid Cesar Milan types--don't get sucked in to that junk. Bah. Be leery of Petsmart/PetCo trainers---NO OFFENSE TO ANYONE---but many of those people came to that job just to have a job. No real interest or prior knowledge until they came to the job. The end result: a MEDIOCRE, if that, dog "trainer." SOME Petsmart trainers are PHENOMENAL--these are usually people who knew something already when they came to the company, and really have a passion for dog training. And then there are the others---and MAN there are some doozies. My local Petsmart has one trainer who is AWESOME, and one who is a total JOKE. She's an idiot, quite frankly.

Some questions you need to ask yourself:

How active are you? Do you want to a dog to jog with you daily? Are you a fitness buff, a couch potato, or somewhere in between?

How much grooming are you willing to do on your own, and how much are planning to spend on grooming? Dog grooming is pretty expensive, and that's another area that you have be pretty careful in choosing....some groomers do a good job, but are AWFUL to the dogs, downright ABUSIVE I would say. But the owners have no clue--dog comes out looking gorgeous, and they just assume that the groomer showered their dog with as much affection as they do.

Do you love to spend your spare time pushing a vaccuum? If so, then there are MANY dogs who will be perfect for you! Lol!

Do you like larger dogs, or smaller dogs?

What are you wanting to do with this dog--just a family pet, or are you wanting to pursue any sports with this dog? Agility, Rally-O, competitive Obedience, there are SO many sports you can get into to have fun with your dog.

Definitely DO YOUR RESEARCH before you get ANY dog, be it a mutt or a purebred. Know what you are getting into before you get that puppy home. If you end up with a small dog, understand that little dog does NOT mean little exercise.
Labs are great dogs, that do need exercise. I have met MANY Westies that I absolutely LOOOOVED(and I am not a small dog person). Soooo sweet. I have also met a few that were VICIOUS, completely at the fault of their owners. So, know that any dog can be a wonderful pet if you take the time to train and socialize them.

Any of these books would be helpful for you:
Puppy Primer by Patricia McConnell and Brenda Scidmore
How to be the Leader of the Pack...and have your dog love you for it! by Patricia McConnell
It's Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet by Victoria Stillwell
Getting Started: Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Pryor
Family Friendly Dog Training: A Six Week Program for You and Your Dog by Patricia McConnell

I've had numerous puppies, but my most recent dog was adopted at 2-3 years old. She's been one of the best dogs I've ever had, and I've learned so much from her. I love her to pieces, and am very happy to have rescued her.
Do consider rescuing, there are MANY purebred dogs in shelters, of ALL ages! Plus you'll feel good for "saving" them from whatever their previous situation may have been.

The Dog Breed Selector from might help you out. There are numerous other breed selectors throughout the world wide web.

Good luck to you in finding your new furry friend, and don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have! There are many knowledgeable and helpful members on this website who would be happy to help you find an answer to your questions.

WELCOME, and enjoy the site!


Honored Member

I hope Mann14 comes back and lets us know what he decided and how it is working out.

I want to edit something i said before, i was wrong----- when Mann14 said he wouldn't leave a dog alone outside, and i said oh it's fine.

But you know, he is right for NEWLY ADOPTED dogs, he IS right. Come to think of it, when we first got Buddy, we DID go out with him each time, jsut to be sure he didn't find some way under the fence........ or--- get into something we hadn't thought about.

When you FIRST bring a dog home, it is a vulnerable time period. They don't know what is going on, they could wander off.
A new dog might not realize that IS their home now, that IS where they belong, and you ARE their new pack, so Mann14, you are right, at first, with your new dog, you DO want to be with them outside.


Honored Member
Staff member
Haha, I probably scared him off. ^^ "GEEZ, I didn't need her to right me a whole book on choosing a dog! My gosh, just tell me LAB or WESTIE!"

LOL. Sorry Mann14, I'm a bit of a rambler. Lots of good info though. :)


New Member
hey guys, no i just have been really busy over the last few days, some body had stolen a couple of parts out of my car while i was asleep. but my dog buying trip wont happen for a while though, probably early spring next year. i just want to do as much research as i can to choose the right dog that fits my family the best. but your replies were awesome and i really appreciate them.

Thanks i will keep you up dated :msngrin:


Honored Member
Sorry to hear about the car, just think, once you have a dog, that dog will certainly let you know if someone is messing around on "his" property, and scare them off as best as he can!!

You are going to "BUY" a dog? Well, you might want to reconsider that. If you do choose to buy a dog, that is your right, but, you might be inadvertantly supporting the dog overpopulation crisis in the USA, it is obscenely out of control, and much of it is due to people cranking out litter after litter of puppies, all of whom create 100s of more puppies.........all competing for the available humans.......

(and most other countries have same problem as well.)
6 million dogs, perfectly wonderful dogs, are being killed every year, in the US alone............for the crime of....being born.

Mann14, that is 17,000 dogs A DAY.
SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DOGS A DAY ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH....EVERY DAY--- innocent lil dogs being petted for the last time, and their chance to be loved by anyone is over.

Don't support dog overpopulation CRISIS with YOUR wallet. No, not with YOUR wallet.

Mann14, you seem like a very sensible person, with a good heart, please consider rescuing a dog instead. PUt in your zip code right here------>

and go find your next best friend. Save a perfectly lovable dog from death row. Be a hero, save a dog.

Either way, hope to see you back here again!!!!!
.........................SO TRUE, SO TRUE.

Isi Havanese

Active Member
Personally I have owned the following breeds, Labrador and a West Highland White Terrier and bred 3 litters of them too. My Westie died a month ago at the age of 13 almost 14 she was very devoted and loving, my Labrador died at the age of 12 she suffered from umbilical hernia and hip dysplasia I should have done more homework on her breeder! She was so sweet though and she shed like CRAZY! I now have a 4 year old German Shephard and a Havanese. I love them all please read the post by tigerlilly and take those quizzes and read my post there too. Every dog is unique to it;s breed description. Keep that in mind. Why not volunteer at your local shelter and see what traits you like. You may find your new BFF there. The Westie can be a little stubborn and more difficult to train but I loved this breed. But due to the difficulty to train I did choose a Havanese this time which is out for you as you will be gone way too much to have this breed and as a young man you probably want to stay away from all of the toy breeds. A girlfriend of mine has an American Bulldog. I was astounded at the 100 % devotion this beauty had for her. He would allow others to pet he was extremely gentle and well behaved and did not take his eyes off of her. Everything he did he looked to her for approval first. I was amazed by this dog she takes him with her everywhere too, except for work. The labrador has been so overbred if you decide on this one plan to get one from a sound line of parents and make sure the genetic testing has been done. The Westie is still less popular and not overbred yet that is a key in a breed selection to me. Once the dog becomes POPULAR to have back yard breeders pop up and RUIN the breed! This has sadly happened to the Lab hopefully the Little Ceasar commercials have not done that to the Westie's it has been over 9 years since I bred my Westie. They dont shed though you brush the dead hair out and they will mat but brushing @ once a week is all they need keeping them white is different story but not as difficult as you may think. A "mutt" that you fall in love with while volunteering at the pound that you already know you can teach tricks to and walk with and handle the grooming etc.. to me sounds perfect for a young man like yourself. Dont rule out the German Shepherd Dog either; my son, now 15 years old,and I love ours! Kaden, he is so smart easy to train. sheds a lot though and while I volunteered there I found many a GSD before deciding on a 14 week old pure breed with no papers and saved his life at the local shelter. He is so awesome I cannot even begin to tell you, he was one of the 9 pups this backyard breeder had and he was left when he surrendered the old pup no one would buy from him to the shelter. His color was brownish and he looked not great when I got him, then his aduklt coat came in and wow is he perfectly marked and so beautiful They called me right away and I came in and got him. You have plenty of time to do it that way! Spend the money you would have spent on buying your dog on his training and his things like bedding and vet visits and grooming etc.. Hope this helps feel free to ask me questions @ the GSD and or the Westie. Hope this helps and gives you some thought!:rolleyes:(y);)

Bethany Wacker

New Member
If you don't have your heart set on one of those two breeds for sure I would look into a Norwegian Elkhound. And no it's not because I have one =] They are AMAZING family dogs and are VERY loyal to their "pack" or family. They are GREAT around kids and are super duper smart (although most dogs are super duper smart). Norwegian Elkhounds have a super strong bond to their owners too. I have only had Lilly for a short time and every time I come home from work she is SO happy to see me! They also love the cold weather which would be nice if it's cold where you're at you won't have to worry about them freezing outside! Hope this was helpful.


Well-Known Member
Lots of great advice here. Just wanted to say goodluck with finding your new dog :) I flew three hours just to meet mine before I decided to get him. And I spent 3 consecutive days at the SPCA before I had chosen my cat. It is so exciting to bring a new pet into your family!


Well-Known Member
I always kind of wonder what happens when I read old posts. Mann_14 hasn't been seen since Sept. 2010. I hope he found the perfect dog for him :D.