>I am in the process of deciding which type of dog to bring into my home,
>and I was hoping that y'all could help by giving your suggestions and

>1 - I live in an apartment, but there is a park and plenty of trails nearby.

>2 - I desire a small (max. 17 inches) dog.

>3 - I prefer a dog who sheds minimally, and who is known as clean.

>4 - I prefer a dog who has a short coat.

>5 - I am willing to spend plenty of time with my dog, but I want very
>strongly to be able to train my pet, both for obedience and for sport.

>6 - I MUST be able to housebreak my pet, so I need to choose a breed
>conducive to housetraining.

>That's all I can think of for now -- please let me know if I've forgotten
>important considerations. I will be a first time owner (though my family
>adopted a 3 yr old Lhaso Apso), and so I am fairly ignorant about training
>and especially ignorant about puppies.

American Eskimos (the White Spitz) can meet all your requirements except that they do shed and have long, but easily maintained white coats. However they are extremely clean dogs. They are highly intelligent, active dogs and can readily adapt to apartment living. They are eager to please and hence can make good obedience dogs (despite a slight streak of stubbornness). They enjoy the outdoors/nature hikes. Eskies require daily exercise, running, retrieve games, etc. to be tractable and happy. They are typically of medium build and are fairly sturdy. They NEED daily human companionship/communication and are extremely loyal dogs.

Due to their high intelligence they require focused training in order to reach their maximum potential and to learn to modulate their considerable energy. If you are looking for a highly intelligent, active, beautiful, loyal, and normally sweet dog then you should investigate the breed.

Final Note: No breed is perfect and there is considerable variation within a breed. Further the limits to your dog's potential will probably be more a function of YOUR limitations than the dog's. Remember this and seek ways of creatively understanding and teaching your dog. If you exert the effort you will end up with a vibrant, intelligent companion that will give you undying loyalty, love and spontaneity. If you don't exert the effort, then you will have a pet.


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