What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

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What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by ScarletSci » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:48 am

So I wanna hear your stories! I would love to hear what people's favourite breeds are, what sold you on them, what special dogs stole into your hearts and sold you on a breed ever after. Now I know that for most of us there are a lot of breeds we like, and usually more than one we'd like to personally own, but which one(s) really make your heart melt everytime? I'm wagering that we've all got one breed that is our "heart breed".

The other day I visited my folks and while I was walking with my dad and our spaniels we got to talking about favourite breeds. I influenced my mum's choice of dog when she got her Springer/Cocker Jack, and got a Springer myself when the time came. But when I asked my dad what his opinion on Spaniels was prior to having one, he said he'd never really given them much thought (he's a Jack Russell man, as some of you now know!).

He's pretty potty about them now, but I know that the breed that is in his heart is the Jack Russell. I know my mum's soft spot is for Corgi's, and mine has been stolen by Springers. But it wasn't always that way for me...

Growing up we had mongrels, labs, jack russells, whippets, oh a variety of mutts and regular breeds. When I was meant to get my first dog at the age of ten, I wanted a Westie. (my dad got a jack russell instead, and Pixie is the first dog of my own...just 20 short years later!) But I imagined I'd like a German Shepherd, a Weimeraner, a setter, or a dalmation.

I liked Springers, but only knew one personally, who was nice enough, if a tad brainless and slobbery. What turned me into a springer fan was moving to a new place built on my landlords property when I was 19 or so. He bred working Springers, and had a pack of eight of them. Having adored and been raised with dogs from a young age, even I was taken aback when I first walked onto their driveway and had a pack of eight charging towards me! But they quickly sold me on the breed. I loved the variety they showed, their endlessly cheerful nature and boundless enthusiasm, and of course, those soft spaniel eyes they use with such great effect. When their eyes aren't pleading for scraps or attention, they tend to be dancing with excitement.

I like dogs with a fairly "wolfy" natural shape, medium to large size, and I admire working breeds. I like the drive and the willingness to work, because I enjoy training and long hikes. I like how versetile springers are when it comes to being used as service dogs and rescue animals.

Since Pixie is only a year old, she will hopefully be around for many more years to come. One day, I'd like to add a second breed and have two dogs, perhaps a dalmation or a setter. But I know that I will always have at least one Springer around!

So there's my story, would love to hear others!

Joined:Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by JudyN » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:34 am

My heart always skips a beat when I see a rough collie, but that's nostalgia really - the first dog my family had was a rough collie who arrived when I was four and she was a very special dog who almost felt like a second mother. I was a child who tended to prefer animals to people so I felt very close to her.

We ended up with a lurcher almost by accident - I wasn't drawn to smooth lurchers at all, and liked more solid, shaggy dogs, like bearded collies and Tibetan terriers. OH and I also love the look of salukis, but reading the breed description decided they weren't for us. It was the words 'They don't tend to let you out of eyesight... but they have very good eyesight and can see you from a couple of miles away' that did it :lol: OH and DS2 (who Jasper was supposed to be for, but that's another story...) wanted something more macho than the fluffy dogs I liked. We knew someone with a couple of deerhound x lurchers and we were all drawn to their Clint Eastwood looks.

Now I have a lurcher, and have met many, I can't imagine having a dog that isn't a sighthound. I love their sensitive natures, their awareness of everything going on around them, and their expressiveness. I suppose I love that I have to be aware of Jasper's mental state. I find labs, for instance [massive stereoptype alert], seem rather bumbling and simple, coming at you with dirty paws and big grins on their faces, oblivious to your demeanour, always happy, and convinced that you want to be their best friend EVER. I feel that their owners must take them for granted. OK, possibly I'm just a little jealous :lol: And before anyone has a go at me, I'm very aware that this is a stereotype which seems to me to apply to a lot of dogs just because I haven't got much experience of these breeds!

From a practical point of view, I love that once lurchers have had a decent walk, they will flop on the sofa and doze until it's time to go out again. Although intelligent, they don't need that much mental exercise - if someone expected one to respond to training like a collie they'd end up very frustrated.

Now I know more about sighthounds, I'm tempted once again by full salukis. But when I see my friends' saluki x lurchers disappearing into the distance and refusing to come back, or staying just out of range so they don't have to go back on lead, I remind myself that I have a dog who does like to stay close and is usually easy to get back on lead. I shouldn't extrapolate from Jasper to salukis, or even to other lurchers :wink:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Joined:Sun May 19, 2013 4:16 pm
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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by DianeLDL » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:25 am


What an interesting topic! I can say that I never had any idea we would end up with a chihuahua, especially a deer like one, like our Sandy.

When I was on high school (I was the oldest so for my younger brother and baby sister, they grew up with our dog) who was a mutt. He was a mixture of several breeds. He was the same color as our Sandy and also was called Sandy. (It made dad angry that we are calling our dog by the same name, but in Judaism, it is an honor to name someone after a deceased relative or in this case dog).

I always was attracted to spaniels. I love their ears and hair. Although I believe a lot of grooming is needed for them, from what I have read. My favorite stuffed animal was a spaniel.

OH has been around dogs all his life and was a dog handler in the military with a Belgian Malanois.

But, for both of us, this is our first chihuahua. He was chosen at the shelter by OH as he liked Sandy's athleticism and size. He felt that he was small enough and his weight was one I could lift. (I have severe walking and back problems so that was a consideration.) also, he liked the idea of a lap dog and one that could get exercise indoors in bad weather. :D

Sandy definitely has turned into a fair weather dog and although short haired, I didn't realize how much he would shed. So he does need to be brushed regularly. Our neighbors in Maine where we summer laugh at us while we stand in the rain with an umbrella over the dog. :lol: :lol:

Neither of us had any idea how independent thinking Sandy is and left alone will do what he wants. But, yesterday as I was playing ball with him in the house, using the terms drop it and take it, I could see his brain working as he saw I had a second ball to throw while he stood with one ball in his mouth. It was as if he was thinking if I drop it, will she really throw the other ball for me. So, i decided that I would use body language and get into a throwing stance every time I throw the second ball. And, it seems to get across to him that I will really throw it so he can drop the one in his mouth.

He does love to run full speed which he does in the house, jumping up and over chairs and couches. I would have liked a dog, though, that could have been trained as an assistance dog considering my disabilities. But, that won't happen. It also took quite a while for me to develop a real love for Sandy, too, as he has his issues and needs quite a bit of training, meaning that he wasn't socialized properly and has a lack of self-confidence. It wasn't until I found this forum where I have learned more about him, the breed, and training that I developed a renewed interest in Sandy and really started to love him. As OH said, until then, I was very hot and cold towards the poor dog.

So, although he wasn't our choice of breed, he is turning out to be quite a comforter and companion. We do worry, though, that since chis tend to live a long time 17-20 years, that he might outlive us. (OH is nearly 70 and I am 62, and Sandy is only 4.)

Anyway those are my thoughts for now. I believe that sometimes the dog chooses us rather than us choosing the dog. :D

Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

Joined:Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by ScarletSci » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:02 am

:D Glad you like the topic! I just find it interesting how specific breeds become "our" breeds, and everyone has a different story about when and how they fell in love with a particular dog or type. Loving hearing about what people love about their breeds!

Diane, I may be biased, but my two don't demand that much grooming. Jack goes to a professional every three months though, so the laborious work is done there, and a daily swish with the brush keeps everything else under control. Pixie has some feathering, but not as full or thick a coat as Jack does, so she's remarkably easy, apart from the ears. Keeping them as beautiful as Gwd's pair never happens though! :lol:

The worst thing about spaniels and grooming is their magnetic attraction to mud and puddles. When the puddles were iced over in December, Pixie was determined not to come home with clean feet, and stamped her way through the ice like a fox pouncing on a vole. Winter with two spaniels is a never ending loop of baths, filthy towels and playing catch with slippery and hyped up dogs who want to dry themselves on the furniture and your face...

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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by katej215 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:19 am

My heart breed (and dream dog) would be a blue Merle border collie with a wall eye...when ever I see one or a pic of one my heart melts....

I think this goes back to my first (and only other dog) who was a welsh sheepdog who was all white apart from her grey ears..I was 11 years old and my parents decided they would get me a dog..we looked in the paper and saw these sheepdogs for £15 :roll: ..anyway this woman came round with this 6 week old bundle of fluff and of course I wanted to keep her...there was no internet back then..so knowledge was limited ..she was quite fear aggressive as a youngster (no doubt not helped by our ignorance) but on the positive side I joined a local obedience club as a teenager and did loads of stuff with her..she knew a ton of tricks..and names for everything! She was 17 when we had to say goodbye to her (I'm welling up typing this and this was probably nearly 20 years ago :roll: ) ...anyway that's my heart breed..

I have to say tho, Hattie has made me fall in love with fox terriers..tho whether they are all as amazing as her I don't know..I think I'm a sucker for a pointy nose ..and I love busy dogs! :D

Joined:Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:33 pm

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by gwd » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:37 pm

I was dog crazy (and denied) when I was a kid. my cousins had a English setter and he was just the coolest dog ever. they lived in the south in a town with a population of about 700 people. at that time, in the rural south, dogs were not fenced or leashed.......their ES was a, 'town dog' and had his schedule of where he went to socialize with various stops at local shops.

when I was able to pick a dog for myself, (moved out of my parents home) I found an ES puppy! she was from show lines. I bought the puppy AND ended up marrying the breeders son.

I'm enjoying my springers now just to have something different. I still love my setters even if I am not currently sharing a couch with one.

I've been working with a lot of borzoi's recently and I'm appreciative of their sensitivity and calmness but I can't imagine living without the high octane of a sporting dog. with a springer or a setter, they have a joie de vivre where a trip in the car to the gas station is treated like a party.

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Location:Two Rivers, Alaska

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by Swanny1790 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:28 pm

Oh boy! Story time :wink:

I grew up in Western Colorado, back when that region was a major livestock producing area. Most of the dogs we and our neighbors had were good, old-fashioned farm dogs. Today they are recognized by AKC and known as Australian Shepherds (go figure, why not American Shepherds???). In any event, the best darned dog I ever had as a kid was a tri-color collie named Colleen (Collie for short) who could work cows, woolly maggots (aka sheep) and kids with equal aplomb. Of course back then rural collies were bred for brains rather than pointy noses and pretty coats - but I digress as usual.

About the time I was hitting puberty and realizing there was a great big world out there I'd never even heard of before I became rather enamored by the prose of Jack London and verse of Robert Service. That's probably where I first became interested in northern sled dogs. Being a pretty serious student of Canadian fur-trade history and reading first-hand accounts of the working dogs of the North West and Hudson's Bay Companies fueled the fire.

The clincher came about a decade or so ago. A buddy of mine was training a 'puppy team' of eight yearlings for a long-distance sled dog racer, and asked me to follow along on a snowmachine in case he needed help. About half way through the run he stopped the team and signalled me to come forward. When I got to the sled he asked me to stand on the brake. Before I even knew what he was about he pulled the hook, said "just keep the gang line tight and don't let go of the sled" and sent us on our way.

HOLY SMOKES!!! It's one of those feelings that can't really be explained. For those who understand, no explanation is necessary and for those who don't understand, no explanation is possible. Sven Engman once said that dog mushing is like an incurable virus - once infected there is no cure, there is only trail.

Thanks for starting the thread - it brings some very nice memories of awesome dogs that have shared various times of my life.
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by Nettle » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:09 pm

I grew up with dogs - my mother trained dogs - but they were dogs to be trained and I didn't like them much. They didn't like me either.

Long ago when dinosaurs still roamed the land, I visited a Stately Home that had a lot of classical statuary. I saw a life-sized statue of Artemis the Huntress with a greyhound. Both were looking into the middle distance, both were half-crouched, the greyhound was 'sighted' i.e. had seen its quarry, and all she held it with was a scarf so delicately depicted that despite the fact it was in marble, I knew it was silk. The bones, the muscles, the tension, the excitement!

I couldn't get them out of my head.

A few years later, I saw a lurcher in a really bad home, dreadfully badly treated. Eventually he died. I was a kid and couldn't do anything. I couldn't get him out of my head.

Then when older, I fell into bad company :wink: and had a crash course in the work of the running dog. Watching the find, the chase, the catch! I couldn't get it out of my head.

So when finally I could have a dog - dogs - these were the only dogs for me.

I love everything about them from their other-worldliness to their supremely predatory nature. I love their clean muscular lines, their quietness, cleanliness, aloofness, the way they keep it all under wraps until it is needed and then - WOW!
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by gwd » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:38 pm

Nettle wrote:I love everything about them from their other-worldliness to their supremely predatory nature. I love their clean muscular lines, their quietness, cleanliness, aloofness, the way they keep it all under wraps until it is needed and then - WOW!
I showed a greyhound this weekend.........

the comments from you and judy about why you love sighthounds..........and my comments about how I've come to respect the attributes of sighthounds (worked with grey's zoi's and a few afghans).......but would miss the 'antics' of sporting dogs.......and then swanny's love of artic breeds really highlights how sad it would be if the AR groups win and purebred dogs cease to be. the very things that make a dog a wonderful fit in my house would drive others to drink............the attributes you enjoy are not for everyone. ........that's why I believe its wonderful that dogs come in so many different 'flavors'.

I travelled with an irish wolfhound one day and a leonburger the next..........wonderful, lovely dogs. they sure wouldn't be a good fit for clare.......ted and elle are perfect for her.

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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by Wes » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:39 pm

I used to be a APBT guy, and still am - I took a break after Rosie's death, but now am working with a pair of working APBTs. 35lb of pure muscle! I still love the breed, the size, easy grooming, the drive (though I could do without the terrier prey drive), and their sheer joy in everything they do. I've become a bit of a Doberman guy though, since having Sampson. I adore Remy, but he's proven that herding and hunting types aren't quite for me. I'm hoping to add a little lady Doberman from show/performance lines to my little group in about a year/year and a half. :) I was told when I got Sam that I'd never have another breed, and now I truly can't imagine my life without a Doberman. They can literally do it all (except maybe pull your sled, Swanny ;) ).

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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:16 pm

I used to tell my children that if I ever had a dog, I would want a husky. Their striking coloration and blue eyes just sucked me in. I would then tell my children, but I don't want a dog because they have to be walked in all kinds of weather and I'm not a walking in all kinds of weather person.

Apparently I lied. :lol: :lol: I had no way of knowing at that time what the appearance of a husky lab mix and unknown spitz/northern breed into my home would do to my life as I knew it. Just yesterday, I spent the day standing and sitting and walking around in temperatures barely above freezing, with rain pelting down off and on and the remnants of drifted snow and ice all about. :shock: I had on 3 pairs of socks, insulated hiking boots, flannel lined pants, covered by ski pants, a polypropelene shirt and cotton sweatshirtish thermal shirt, a fleece shirt and a flannel lined rain coat, scarf and hat covered by the hood of the raincoat and I was still chilly. (It didn't help that my insulated hiking boots turned out to have lost their waterproofness resulting in damp socks so I added toe warmers to the foot warming mix. What was I thinking when I thought I wanted a husky?! :shock: Huskies love cold weather! :shock:

I honestly am not totally certain of my heart breed at this point in time. Scootering with my husky lab mix has led me to the Samoyed. I love their do everything, love everybody attitude. I admit, I am still a little intimidated by their coats. I anticipate that my next dog will be a samoyed. However there is another breed, that I have come to know about because of my two that has truly captured my attention. I have yet to meet one in person. I have friends on facebook who are into this breed and like the samoyed, they seem to be an all around do all kinds of things highly sociable breed. Like the samoyeds have their fur coat as a potential drawback, this breed has it's size as a potential drawback. They are a smaller breed and thus likely not ideal for the scootering that I enjoy doing. This breed is the norwegian buhund. I could see myself with a samoyed and a buhund.

Having said that, I still have an attraction to the husky. Knowing more about the three breeds now, I feel that the samoyed and buhund would be more along the lines of what I want in a dog because of their versatility and socialibity.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

Joined:Wed May 30, 2012 7:19 pm

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by lucyandbella » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:41 pm

The way my family had always gotten dogs was from the pound or as rehomes. My first dog a boxer (a breed that I love a lot) came from a neighbor who decided young boxer exuberance was not for him. I do love boxers but as a kid never thought I would always have that breed. Being dog crazy I would read AKC dog breed books and think I like this dog or that dog for various reasons, I always liked Aussies a lot. But I always thought I would get a mutt from the pound and so experience many "breeds" because of this. When my boxer passed I knew I couldn't get another boxer I was worried about the health problems that she was plagued with and it felt to much like replacing her. When thinking about breeds I liked I wanted a herding dog and felt they would be a good match for me. So I got on pet finder and saw a tiny black fuzz ball with barely visible tan eyebrows mixed in with a litter of sable fluff balls and my heart was set on Lucy but I still wanted to meet her. As luck would have it she was the last left from that litter and though the adoption coordinator tried to show me other dogs I knew I wanted her.

Now that I have had lucy I know herding dogs are for me. I will have herding dogs always, though not all herding dogs appeal to me, I would never want an australian cattle dog. I appreciate and admire many breeds and breed types but nothing compares to herding dogs for me. I love Lucy's intelligence and how she just gets anything I work with her on, her intelligence challenges me. And now I will purchase my next dog. I want a purebred English shepherd and after all the research I have done on the breed I know they are a perfect match for me, though I won't get one for another decade at least. I will probably still get dogs from shelters, but the next one is for sure going to be an Enlish shepherd. I also like border collies and aussies. The only other breed outside of herding breeds I could envision having one day is a lab.

I'm still young though so I suppose this could change.

Joined:Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:42 am

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by bendog » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:23 am

Great question! I was actually discussing this with a couple of friends the other night. They both said they like dogs they can cuddle - so wiry dogs, skinny dogs, aloof dogs don't do it for them. One can't stand small dogs either, but the other doesn't mind. They like handler orientated dogs - rotties, german shepherds, collies.
My terriers would be a total nightmare for them.

I'm not sure I have a heart breed (or maybe just haven't met "my" breed yet) but I do know that there are breeds I'm not especially drawn to, and ones I am. For example I could never see myself with a boxer, or dalmatian, lab, basset hound, beagle, doberman, or any toy/companian breed (shih tzus, chis, king charles spaniel etc). I'm not totally sold on collies, but wouldn't rule one out.

I can see the charm of the little lap dogs - the chihuahuas, lhasa apsos etc I've met have been totally charming lovely dogs, but just a bit - easy. There are days I would happily swap my rabble for 10 Teds, but deep down I think I would miss the terriers keeping me on my toes, and I would definitely miss the 8 mile hikes in the rain through mud that Ted would be swimming in :lol:

Equally I can see the appeal of the giant breeds - wolfhounds, mastiffs etc but for starters I'm put off by health concerns, and the larger breeds I like tend to be hairy slobbery ones (I love newfoundlands especially) and I'm not sure I could cope with the drool!

I do have to admit I'm not a bull breed person. Nothing against them, I just wouldn't choose to own one.

In case you lot hadn't noticed (as if the 4 terriers don't give it away)- I like a challenge :wink:
I'm drawn to scruffy dogs - terriers, scruffy lurchers, mongrels and working/sporting high energy type dogs - german shepherds (proper straight backed worky ones not hideous deformed show ones), spaniels, wire haired pointers.

I love my terriers because of their toughness & independence (even though it drives me bonkers at times) I like the fact that they aren't "needy" - if they have enough exercise and enough to do they aren't looking to me to entertain them all the time. I love their ability to walk all day, through tough terrain, climb mountains etc, but that they are still small enough to squeeze in for a cuddle. They don't particularly need grooming & mud just falls off them. I like that they are generally long lived & healthy (except Sash). I like their intelligence, and despite recall with Poppy being a lifelong work in progress, on the whole I have found them easy to train, and keen to work (for food!)

Of the terriers - I've had a Cairn, borders, Poppy, and a welsh terrier. Sashas background & ill health means she isn't exactly typical of welsh terriers in general, but I don't *think* I would go for another "curly" terrier given the choice - the curlys (wire haired fox, welsh, show lakies) seem to have a great sense of humour & silliness which is cute, but in some ways I prefer the seriousness & intensity of the others.

We chose a border terrier because my mums friend had one who was lovely, and we had previously had a Cairn totally by chance as it was my cousins dads dog who we looked after whilst he was on holiday & then he didn't want back :(
We wanted something small but tough & able to join us for family walks in the lake district etc, plus low maintenance & low shedding. They really are great dogs, and I think border terriers are now my OHs heart breed (it was his choice to get a second border - Charlie - though he really wanted a blue & tan one)

I could certainly happily have border terriers for the rest of my life, but I think I would like to experience owning other breeds too before I settled on one. And much as Poppy is hard work, she hasn't put me off the "harder" working terriers - fells/lakies & patties either.

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Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by katej215 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:23 am

bendog wrote:but I don't *think* I would go for another "curly" terrier given the choice - the curlys (wire haired fox, welsh, show lakies) seem to have a great sense of humour & silliness which is cute, but in some ways I prefer the seriousness & intensity of the others.
It's interesting that you mention the sense of humour of curly terriers..I've never thought of that as a trait of all the curlies before ..it's certainly true of Hattie, she's such a cheeky moo & a real clown ..but i guess that one of the things attracts me to the breed ..and for sure the intensity of the patties etc puts me right off, as i'd be worried i wouldn't be able to do anything with them!! :lol:

Our next dog (way in the distant future) may well be a smooth fox terrier..from what i've read they are higher octane than wires but hopefully not too worky and intense...and or I may need to give it to Bendog!!! :lol:

Joined:Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:44 pm

Re: What's your "heart" breed, and when did you fall in love?

Post by ScarletSci » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:26 am

I love that I heard you guys refer to dogs as having a sense of humour... on the same day I was walking with my dad I said that I thought Pixie had a really cheeky sense of humour - but I also feel it's odd to refer to a dog having a sense of humour! Yet it's the only way to describe it - she has a great sense of humour!

Jack is wonderful, but doesn't have that same sense of cheeky humour.

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