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  1. #1
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    Trail dog for variable temperatures

    Let's have a positive dog thread to balance out the canine negatives of the pitbull thread!

    I currently have a mutt (1/2 Cattle Dog, 1/4 Catahoula, 1/4?) who is my jogging/mountain biking/hiking companion. We're out in the woods every morning for at least a couple of miles, and this keeps her sane and me in reasonable shape (and really, it probably keeps me sane too). We adopted her when she was 1 (supposedly), had some years of crazy energy and existing neuroses, but with a lot of training, exercise, and just getting older, she's turned into a really nice dog. We have a three year old son and she's been wonderful and tolerant with him (despite cattle dogs' rep as nippers).

    Within the next year, I hope to have a nice fenced yard. And when we do, I'm considering getting her a friend. She likes other dogs, so it's partially for her, but also because she is becoming a little bit less active. In particular, she's become increasingly uninterested in jogs in warmer weather. Once we hit the woods and she's off leash, she's bouncing around, but she isn't the endless energy dynamo that she was until she was four. Her muzzle started to gray a bit early, so I suspect she might be a bit older than we think, but who knows. She is still what you would classify as a very active dog, but I'm not sure how many more years of that she'll have before she prefers walks to runs. Given that it took me at least a year to really train her up for off leash forest adventures and then biking, I'd like to adopt a second dog before she is out of her energetic stage and she can be a good role model.

    One option is to adopt another mutt from the shelter. We had good luck the last time (though some things took a lot of work at the beginning that were born of early under socialization). I'm also thinking of getting on the list for breed specific rescues. I'm in no hurry, so waiting a while for dogs to pop up isn't a big deal for me. I'm also not necessarily opposed to buying a dog from a reputable breeder. I like providing a good home for dogs that need one, but if we were in a position to have multiple dogs, I would be up for ensuring that at least one of them was an athlete.

    So what I'm looking for:
    Athletic dog who will come trail running, biking, hiking, (maybe ski touring if we ever have a good winter again)
    Good with family, including smallish children
    Minimal shedder and coat care
    Is willing to tolerate both cold (my current dog is short coated but is perfectly happy down to 0 outside and loves the snow) and warm weather (it's muggy and warm even in the mornings in the summer).

    My current thoughts:
    German Shorthaired Pointer
    Viszla (not ideal for the cold?)
    Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (less shedding but more coat maintenance)
    Cattle dog mix (the first one worked)

    Any other suggestions that I might want to keep in mind when scanning for adoptable dogs/breed rescues?

  2. #2
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    And here is my current dog on a mountain bike ride with me the other day. When it's cool and the riding is techy rather than fast, she can still run me into the ground.

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  3. #3
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    the benefit to short haired coats in the winter is that clumping in the paws legs stomache is non-existant. ive got some various size coats you can try before you buy if you pull the trigger this winter, my weim has never had a problem wearing one.

  4. #4
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    I had a heeler-lab who was amazing. She struggled with heat a bit when she got old (10-13) but still ran and skied with me until the end. Just got a heeler-pointer (I think) who looks to be shaping up nicely. Cattle-dogs are just amazing if you get them enough exercise.

  5. #5
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    I've had vizslas for the past 15 or so years. They are amazing, but hate the cold. GPS, Vizslas and Griffons aren't exactly good trail dogs for mtn biking either. All of those breeds have terrible hips, and years of continuous mtn biking abuse will cripple them as they get older.

    I would look for something close to what you have, with cattle dog/herder/heeler blood or body stature. I know you don't want a long haired dog, but my buddy has an Aussie Shepard, and it is a beast of a trial dog...

    EDIT: TRAIL DOG!

    lol
    Last edited by supermodel159; 10-23-2019 at 02:33 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermodel159 View Post
    I know you don't want a long haired dog, but my buddy has an Aussie Shepard, and it is a beast of a trial dog...
    Remind me. We'll send him a red cap and a Speedo.

  7. #7
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    Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Great trail dog. Go anywhere, anytime. Aloof to anyone but you.
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    Sorry for multiple pics. I miss my guy
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
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  8. #8
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    Heeler-lab (like ISBD) is a great mix for athletic, minimal coat maintenance (yeah, they shed), and all weather variability.

    We've got a border collie-cattle mix. Ski touring and hiking are his jams, and he's good for a 7-8mi run. Excercising in the heat can get to him with the thick coat + being all black. He's been good with kids even though he's an asshole to the mailperson.

    The collie smarts and craziness can be a bit much at times -- needs a lot of attention. I can see a lab mix in there chilling them out a bit.
    Last edited by doebedoe; 10-23-2019 at 12:56 PM.

  9. #9
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    My wife volunteers at the local shelter, and her advice is always to leave your preconceived notions at home, go to the shelter, meet individual dogs, take them out into the yard and see which one fits your lifestyle. (Basically what you did with the first one)

    And talk to the shelter staff. They see the dogs everyday and know their energy levels and personalities.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by supermodel159 View Post
    I've had vizslas for the past 15 or so years. They are amazing, but hate the cold. GPS, Vizslas and Griffons aren't exactly good trail dogs for mtn biking either. All of those breeds have terrible hips, and years of continuous mtn biking abuse will cripple them as they get older.
    Interesting. I did not know that and always see GSPs and vizslas listed as breeds for long distance runners (which I'm not really, just a few miles at a time). So that's good to know.

  11. #11
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    Lots of votes for part heeler in here. I do love my current one, so I will of course be keeping my eyes open.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Zander View Post
    the benefit to short haired coats in the winter is that clumping in the paws legs stomache is non-existant. ive got some various size coats you can try before you buy if you pull the trigger this winter, my weim has never had a problem wearing one.
    Thanks! Yeah I'm not opposed to coats in theory. My current dog just hates wearing them. I try to put hers on when it gets below 5 degrees (and definitely below 0). But she just plops herself down on the stoop and refuses to leave the porch until I take it off. Then she trots off into the cold like it is nothing to her.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2016
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    for your list avoid: any of the sleddogs (Mals, Huskys). don't do well above 70s, shed (from some to omg levels of fur). otherwise great dogs.

  14. #14
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    Look into German Wirehaired Pointer. They will run forever and follow where ever you go.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2005
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    Just, to the question. We had a dog trainer many years ago, who in hindsight trained us. We had a beautiful black lab that would go off-leash to petsmart, the dog pound, you name it. I asked the trainer once if money and time and rescue dogs were non-existant, what would you get. He said a kerry-blue terrier. Said they were the most sedate of the terriers but with the terrier problem-solving intelligence. Extremely trainable. I don't know that i've ever seen one, but that's what he said. We love our goldens but they'd fail your hair test quite miserably.
    "Can't you see..."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Interesting. I did not know that and always see GSPs and vizslas listed as breeds for long distance runners (which I'm not really, just a few miles at a time). So that's good to know.
    I wasn't aware of the issue with GSPs either. Both of my dogs are 1/2 GSP and it's that half of them that has stamina for miles. Those dogs could run up/down mountains for miles like it's nobody's business. GSP is a very popular breed in Big Sky (old neighbor had one, as did what seemed like half the neighborhood) and they do JUST fine with the cold. That or they're just so raring to go that they just don't give a crap about the cold. Many of their owners go mountain biking daily with them too.

    A seriously capable mountain dog IMO. I never could believe how far those dogs could charge hard. Fun to ski with too. They'll beat you down the mountain. Haha.

    All I gotta say about the breed is that if you do go that route, you better be extremely active (which it sounds like you are) because they need to be exercised HARD like every day. Mine pace all day if they don't get run enough, and they're both senior citizen dogs. My lab/gsp has one foot in the grave and STILL needs tons of exercise to be happy. Sheesh...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by AustinFromSA View Post
    I wasn't aware of the issue with GSPs either. Both of my dogs are 1/2 GSP and it's that half of them that has stamina for miles. Those dogs could run up/down mountains for miles like it's nobody's business. GSP is a very popular breed in Big Sky (old neighbor had one, as did what seemed like half the neighborhood) and they do JUST fine with the cold. That or they're just so raring to go that they just don't give a crap about the cold. Many of their owners go mountain biking daily with them too.

    A seriously capable mountain dog IMO. I never could believe how far those dogs could charge hard. Fun to ski with too. They'll beat you down the mountain. Haha.

    All I gotta say about the breed is that if you do go that route, you better be extremely active (which it sounds like you are) because they need to be exercised HARD like every day. Mine pace all day if they don't get run enough, and they're both senior citizen dogs. My lab/gsp has one foot in the grave and STILL needs tons of exercise to be happy. Sheesh...
    I don't know. I'll do more research. I'd always read that GSPs were one of the hip healthier hunting breeds. If it matters, I'm a New England mountain biker, so trails are tighter and more up and down, so speeds might be lower than some places. I grew up with bird dogs (English setters) so I tend to love them, but yeah, a lot of them need A LOT of exercise and GSPs are on the far end of that spectrum. Which is fine by me as it's a motivator for me to get equally much. I actually built the mini-trail system that I ride with my dog on most mornings just because I needed something to do while we spent sufficient time in the woods not to make her completely crazy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    I'd always read that GSPs were one of the hip healthier hunting breeds.
    Yeah, that's always been my understanding of them too. I could be wrong, but I've always heard of them being known as a very hardy breed that lives a long time with relatively few problems compared to most other purebred dogs. Coat's as easy as it gets for grooming too, which is seriously nice when it comes to sticker burrs and stuff they might get in the brush. Just a quick wipe down with your hand and everything comes off.

    They definitely have their downsides too (mostly being how neurotic they can be if not exercised hard regularly), BUT for the right lifestyle, they can be a pretty rad dog.

  19. #19
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    I'd buy three dogs of assorted size and hair length, there is no doggie quiver-killer out there.

  20. #20
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    ^^ Muted speaks the truth


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
    My wife volunteers at the local shelter, and her advice is always to leave your preconceived notions at home, go to the shelter, meet individual dogs, take them out into the yard and see which one fits your lifestyle. (Basically what you did with the first one)

    And talk to the shelter staff. They see the dogs everyday and know their energy levels and personalities.
    This. Big differences can occur within the same breed. Once you start mixing several breeds you never know.

  22. #22
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    Trail dog for variable temperatures

    Quote Originally Posted by supermodel159 View Post
    I've had vizslas for the past 15 or so years. They are amazing, but hate the cold. GPS, Vizslas and Griffons aren't exactly good trail dogs for mtn biking either. All of those breeds have terrible hips, and years of continuous mtn biking abuse will cripple them as they get older.

    lol
    Thatís not accurate at all.

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    Rudyís my fifth V, 8 years of trail running everyday.
    Probably 50k miles. None have had any hip problems and only my female got cold.


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    Smoking the Blue Healer up to the Bells.

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    Iím out on the trail everyday, year round.
    Vís are perfect trail dogs, but you probably wonít
    find one in a shelter.
    Iíd look for a medium sized, slim built, light colored short hair.

    Dogs get hot, a lot more than they get cold and it can kill them.

  23. #23
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    "I’d look for a medium sized, slim built, light colored short hair."
    This^^^
    ...but I like a chesty dog. (Chess or Swissie)
    Last edited by schindlerpiste; 10-23-2019 at 05:59 PM.
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
    My wife volunteers at the local shelter, and her advice is always to leave your preconceived notions at home, go to the shelter, meet individual dogs, take them out into the yard and see which one fits your lifestyle. (Basically what you did with the first one)

    And talk to the shelter staff. They see the dogs everyday and know their energy levels and personalities.
    Seconded. Not passing judgment, Iíve had a few purebreds in the past too but they will always find a home. Youíll find a good fit at a shelter if you just keep your eye on the website for a few weeks.


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by schindlerpiste View Post
    "Iíd look for a medium sized, slim built, light colored short hair."
    This^^^
    ...but I like a chesty dog. (Chess or Swissie)
    They are wonderful dogs. But heavier dogs, with dark thicker coats, just get too hot to run any distance.

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