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I want to get a small dog to take on the trail me and the goats. It gets cold in ohio so it needs to be... furry... thickly built? I have no idea. I was thinking a pomerainian or something. but it needs to be affordable. there are alot of "off-breeds" around in the dog pounds. sometimes there are full blooded but not always. any ideas?
 

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Hello,

I won't base my decision on breed but on character (bonding, ok with the goats, no hunting, sniffing, no aggressive behaviour, easy to train) health (hips, ellbows) and age (arthritis in older dogs). A very small dog may have problems negotiating rough terrain or keep up with your pace. In toy-breeds often occur deformations of the long leg bones or other health issues caused by the extreme selection for size (skull, spine, etc.)

A very fluffy dog will have issues with over-heating in summer (or you will clip it) and it's easier to put a blanket on a dog with shorter furr (and to remove it after a cold night) and/or let the dog sleep with you in your sleeping bag (much warmer anyway for you, too).

As for good companions with stocksense, a lot of common sense and low hunting drive you may want to check into English Shepherds (come in different sizes from smaller to medium sized)
 

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Well, you asked for "opinions", so here goes. The best dogs I have had are German Shepherd mixes. One had border collie mixed in, and the other has "heeler" or Austrailian Cattle Dog. What I like about them is that they are not hunting dogs so they don't take off and follow their noses over the next mountain and get lost. They are also natural herding dogs, and a goat herd is just what they need. I also don't care for pure breed dogs. I think a lot of them have been inbred to the point that bad traits become more common.

Here's the best dog in the world. His name is Petie, and he is great with the goats. He's G Shepherd x heeler. A heeler is a pretty small dog, so he's about 2/3 the size of a G Shepherd (60 lb). He stays pretty close while we are hiking, hangs close to camp, and is big enough to keep up and can take care of himself. He takes his responsibilities as head of camp security very seriously, but never threatens the goats. He despises coyotes and will chase them off. His fur sheds mud and stickers very well, so he stays clean. Unfortunately, he's 14 years old, and is starting slow down. But he can still go for rough hikes and enjoy it.

 

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Toy dogs are a poor choice for hiking companions in general for several reasons; A) They are tiny and find it hard to keep up. B) They cannot negotiate obsticals for the same reasons as A. C) They are "Happy Meals" and can get eaten very easily by a brave hawk, owl, coyote or fox. and D) They are more prone to eyeball injuries due to their location near the ground and their anatomy.

Smaller (at least 10 pounds but 15 is better) dogs can make great hiking companions and a dog with at least a double coat would be your choice for clear reasons, but it need not be "fluffy" to tolerate the cold.

I always think of crosses when looking for a general purpose dog and I'm never be too worried about a particular breed or cross but about the character of the individual dog. For every rule of breeds I've found at least a few exceptions, both good and bad.

An animal shelter or dog pound is a good place to go, but please look up temperment testing and ask the staff if you can bring a dog and a goat to meet this newcomer before you bring him or her home. Younger is better in this regard.

Children should be safe around your dog no matter its size or breed, this is a no-brainer. If you have no children the dog should still love children because, gasp! there are loose children in this world!

There are so many combinations out there that there is no way what a cross might be like without spending time with that dog.

I am rather reluctant to mention breeds because there are so many crosses out there. Please research breeds at your local library or on line and pay attention to health problems and temperaments. Also know the folks who write those things are fans of that breed and might be a bit biased where the temperament is concerned and that someone else's "wonderful" temperament might annoy the heck out of you.

Dogs are friends, pick one that wants to be with you, loves people and other animals and is smart enough to train. Breed is rather unimportant when it is your best friend!

Charlie Goggin
Lightfoot Packgoats
 

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Don't tell Pogo, who was 14 pounds of malamute, he thought. Actually he was a chihuahua cross. He followed our horses for 14 years.
Well, actually, he rode a lot. If you have a dog this small they will need some support in terms of distance, but back then 20 mile days were our averages.

I like a herding breed dog, like a BC or cross myself. But they do need to be trained not to perform without being told to.
 

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I've trained a lot of dogs for myself and other people over the last 50 years.

The best advice I can give you is go with a "farm breed" of dog, hopefully out of working parents. English shepherds are awesome dogs, as are Heelers (we call 'em "pickup truck dogs", and I know one that completes in schutzhund alongside the German Shepherds and Rotties), German Shepherds have health issues, but if you can find working dogs they can be fine. Also many mixes, of those breeds, and what we used to call "farm collies", and the "cur" family of dogs.

Be sure you have the experience to train a dog, and invest in taking your dog around to classes -- I think you may be young enough to go through 4H obedience classes. All of these dogs can be "tough customers" when their back (or yours) is against the wall, but they are also great, social, family dogs IF RAISED THAT WAY.

They are mostly NOT mainly herding dogs, but what we would call farm collies or yard dogs. Smart dogs that looked after the children and the chickens and help with whatever needs doing.

You can still find them on horse farms, hog farms and by googling "farm collie" or "cur".

Ol' Yeller was a cur dog, that you might remember.

Whatever you get, socialize the heck out of the pup. Take her everywhere and make her be good with every kind of person and pet you can find. Don't make her protective. Make her sure that deciding who's the bad guys is YOUR job. Even if you do that, when the chips are down she will help you.
 

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I have to agree that Australian cattle dogs or mixes thereof make excellent trail, farm and family dogs.

We have one. Her name is Bonnie. They are intelligent, loyal, high energy dogs that are great around other animals and people. They also make excellent house dogs. We've had Bonnie since she was 3 months old... she is now 11 years old. She house trained herself and in her entire lifetime has only had two accidents... which were under extenuating circumstances. She was watching over our flock of chickens at 3 months of age. She is a great babysitter too. Smartest dog I have ever owned. :)
 

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Hey Tiger408, Bonnie sure looks like Petie. He's probably bigger, but he looks just like her. When he's gone (sobbbb, sniffle) I will be looking for another heeler mix. He can't be replaced. But life will have to go on, and without a good dog, what's life?

 
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