It’s SO wonderful that you’re not using puppy mills! Seriously. Too many pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills. I’ve seen so many pet stores in my area be shut down. In one of them, the owner/manager has been arrested several times because of the way she was treating the animals. It’s terrible. I realize that many humane pet stores do exist, but I just haven’t seen any myself. I probably should have mentioned this in my last response: everyone considering getting a pet should do some background research on the pet store of interest. The Humane Society (U.S. and International) is a great online resource for puppy mill information and any related topics.
I’d love to help! First thing’s first: don’t buy your dog from a pet store. They get the animals from puppy mills, treat them horribly, and sell them for an outrageous price. Spending your money there would be indirectly supporting puppy mills. If you’d like to go through a breeder, please make sure you check to see if the breeder credible or trustworthy. My suggestion is to get your dog through a breeder or a local animal shelter. The animal shelter will most likely charge less for dog adoptions than a breeder, so take that into consideration when you’re planning things out.
I have a few suggestions for picking out an appropriate breed for your family. There are several questions you can ask yourself and your family:
I’d say that most dogs are friendly and loyal if you treat them right. I also think it’s difficult to find a dog that doesn’t need a lot of exercise. Most dog breed facts will state that they need an adequate amount of exercise. The English Cocker Spaniel seems like a good breed for your family. They do require exercise, and I’m not entirely sure how expensive they are with a breeder. Any dog you get at a pet store will be well over $1,000 (U.S.). I’ve been noticing that those prices are increasing. I found this dog breed selector to find you a few breed ideas. I selected that you were looking for small-medium, extremely friendly, good with children, and moderately active dog. Here’s what came up: http://www.petwave.com/Dog-Breed-Selector.aspx?sz=size_small,size_medium&al=activity_occasional_walks&gwc=children_yes&gr=grooming_medium&pr=personality_friendly&tr=train_fairly_easy
I hope this helps!