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Old 25-03-2012, 23:29   #1
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Best Sailing Dog ?

Philosophically I would rather get a mongrel mutt from a shelter, but sailboats do pose pretty specific challenges for dogs, from what I read. So what breed would be best for a boat? (I've never owned a dog, but it's now or never if I want to get one for my boys).

- Good swimmer
- Won't fall off, good balance (like a cat, but not a cat)
- Can do its business off the ama (we have a trimaran)
- In general can survive a 2-3 day passage on a boat

If the above doesn't narrow it down:
- Catches fish and brings it aboard intact
- Good drinking companion
- Can take the helm in an emergency
- Good weather forecaster

Are there any stories of happy sailor dogs at all?
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Old 25-03-2012, 23:45   #2
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Re: best sailing dog?

Poodles where originally bred as water retrieval dogs,,their coat gives excellent protection from the cold water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthbm View Post
Philosophically I would rather get a mongrel mutt from a shelter, but sailboats do pose pretty specific challenges for dogs, from what I read. So what breed would be best for a boat? (I've never owned a dog, but it's now or never if I want to get one for my boys).

- Good swimmer
- Won't fall off, good balance (like a cat, but not a cat)
- Can do its business off the ama (we have a trimaran)
- In general can survive a 2-3 day passage on a boat

If the above doesn't narrow it down:
- Catches fish and brings it aboard intact
- Good drinking companion
- Can take the helm in an emergency
- Good weather forecaster

Are there any stories of happy sailor dogs at all?
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Old 25-03-2012, 23:47   #3
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Re: best sailing dog?

Never had dogs aboard before but after our bird died of old age we were given two Scum dogs, real Hinze 57 dogs for sure!!LOL but they are so smart it scary! They have learned to do there bizz on a pad placed wherever you want to put it! On the Defever we had for almost a year they had a place on deck on there pad !real easy to rollup the pad and dipose of it in whatever way is correct for where your at ! Never bark un less someone or something got within 15 ft or so of the boat even when we were anchored!! sorta fun little guys! they are litter mates never been apart. Swim well and we have PFDs for em with retrever handles on them. They are small don't eat much and prefer our food to dog food so that helps as we eat a high protine diet LOL there fun but make sure you have Paper from your vet if your going out of the country or even to another state Just our 2 cents
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Old 25-03-2012, 23:47   #4
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Re: best sailing dog?

Most dogs will take well to being on a boat once they get used to it, and most are good swimmers. I would consider one of the smaller to medium sized breeds for the sake of saving space and the fact that they are easier to handle if you find yourself having to get one back on board after a dog overboard situation. Since such things will happen, it is a good idea to practice an overboard and recovery technique just as you would with a person.
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Old 26-03-2012, 00:11   #5
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Re: best sailing dog?

I would say start 'em young. But even that isn't so important, since we started a couple of ours late in life due to their ages when they wandered in off the streets.

We have a most unsuitable dog for sailing - a lumbering St Bernard cross who is getting on (9 years) so isn't as nimble around the boat as she used to be, and won't go out of her depth if she can help it, since her coat gets heavy when wet. No matter, when the weather gets heavy she rolls up in the cockpit and we wrap her in her life jacket (they're only $26 after shipping, you know). So don't worry about what breed you need in order for sailing.

That said, Labradors are great swimmers. And they have a temperament that suits most! And I don't know if the Greyhound / Saluki / Lurcher bunch are any good at swimming, but they sure like to run a lot, so I'd be worried about them constantly skidding off the ends of your boat!

I'd say, at the end of the day, it boils down to finding a personality that suits you, and a dog who likes you. That's quite important, if you're gonna live together!!
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Old 26-03-2012, 03:11   #6
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

I've had three different dogs over the years on board three different boats. By far my favorite is the small Cocker Spaniel I have now. Great travelling companion, swimmers, sharp sense of smell, hearing, eye sight and a good Cocker will have heart along with that hunting instinct. Also, and I learned this was a very important trait, for the most part Cockers don't have wanderlust and like to stay fairly close to their family. Running breads will be a pain. Dogs can be a real challenge on a boat. But I think it's worth the hassles that come along with them and I sleep better at night knowing a sharp dog is aboard.
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Old 26-03-2012, 03:32   #7
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

You want one you can ketch easily, in case he goes mizzen. He needs a nice barque and should keel rodents. He should not have bow legs nor gypsy characteristics, or you will be a-pawled. He should be called Capstan or Dead-eye, or some thing else nautical and should use the poop deck and nothing else for his convenience.
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Old 26-03-2012, 05:17   #8
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

I would recommend one of the breeds described as hypoallergenic and non-shedding. We have mini-schnauzers but a standard might also work on a boat (but not a giant). Our dogs do not shed and other people we know with dogs on board all complain about the shedding. I would worry about the hair working it's way into the bilge and clogging the pumps. Poodles also fall into this category, Portuguese waterdogs, bichon frese and a few others. If you have your heart set on a rescue go with a short hair.
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Old 26-03-2012, 05:44   #9
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

One that tastes good when you run short of rations.
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Old 26-03-2012, 06:32   #10
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One that tastes good when you run short of rations.
Wiener dog?
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Old 26-03-2012, 07:19   #11
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I have a mini foxie from the pound. Fairly small has loads of energy but will play in a small space. I have a putting green (artificial) on the front deck he uses when he doesn't want to go ashore when it is raining.

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Meet Donut. Hated seagulls rats and fish. But he hasn't caught any yet. Loves chasing cockroaches to play with. Short hair but a good brush usually gets rid of most of the fallout.
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Old 26-03-2012, 07:22   #12
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

We've got a golden retriever and she's a great sailor. She has good sea legs, swims better than most people and loves to help out. The downside? She's big (60lbs) for a 28 foot boat and she sheds!
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Old 26-03-2012, 07:24   #13
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

These two do ok. They basically just stand with their faces blowing in the wind until it gets rough, then they flatten themselves under the helm. No matter how bad it gets out, neither wants to be in the cabin if you're not in the cabin. They want to be "helping" in the cockpit.

I've always had big dogs before, but in this case, I like that they're too small to get in and out of the cabin without assistance, so when I need to put them away, I know they're not going to escape.


Lepre-dog by ffacker, on Flickr
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Old 26-03-2012, 07:41   #14
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

Schipperkes have a long history bred as work dogs on European barges. Our schipperke barks in the direction of other vessels that we can only see as radar targets in the fog.
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Old 26-03-2012, 07:59   #15
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Re: Best Sailing Dog ?

We've got a 3 year old Golden Retriever/Lab/Beagle mutt that has been a model of perfection for 2 seasons lake sailing on small boats (3-4 day overnights camping out on islands). While not the breeds I would have originally sought out for a mellow boat dog, Wylie's been fantastic: great swimmer, sleeps for hours on end, doesn't mind heeling over, doesn't appear to want to jump overboard.
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