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Hi there. I've kept dogs all my life, but have always focused on herding breeds (German Shepherd, Australian Cattle Dogs, Border Collies.) Unfortunately, due to work changes I'm now living in a rather small apartment, and had to give up my dogs when we moved here because I just knew that they couldn't survive in an apartment after growing up on a 200 acre farm herding goats and sheep. Even so, I miss having dogs in my life.

Here's what I'm looking for:

1) Good with children and affectionate.
2) Able to handle excitement without becoming nervous or aggressive. Two of my kids are autistic (12-year-old twin girls), and the other two have ADHD (ages 10 and 15). They are all "hyper". I need the dog not to get overly nervous when my kids get overstimulated, and from what I've seen a lot of smaller dogs are just very nervous.
3) Able to keep up on long walks or runs and possibly bike rides.
4) Loves the outdoors. While I've never hunted with dogs, it looks like a lot of fun, and I'd love to do the rabbiting thing and possibly have a dog that could run some deer. (Do I need more than one dog to run deer, or can one do it?) We do a lot of camping, canoeing, hiking, etc., and I would want to take the dog with us.
5) Can be counted on, with good training, to learn to walk on a lead and hopefully off-lead.
6) Can be trained to leave the cat alone.
7) Due to my lease, I can't get a puppy (must be at least 2 years old) so it must be able to "transfer" to a new master.
8) Would love a dog that loves to play fetch. Most of my herding dogs just haven't been interested, and it always looked fun.
9) Not aggressive, not prone to excessive barking. (A little bit is okay, but I do have to go into the office two days a week and he would need to be okay with being left home for 4-6 hours several times a week without barking his head off the whole time. As I'm in an apartment, need to consider the neighbors!)

In other words, I'm looking for a family companion to help us all get out and get some exercise.

I'm most concerned about numbers 2 & 7, as the rest are pretty much option or it seems as if the right beagle could comfortably meet them with some training. Mostly, wanted to ask for advice before I ruin some dog's life.

Thoughts?

Fondly wishing to get back to the country someday ...

Patrick Narkinsky
Leesburg, VA
 
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