Something to think about - since Gigi is a girl, you'll probably want to get a male, to avoid potential for conflict. Two dogs of the same sex will tend to vie for Alpha status, but you can have an Alpha female and an Alpha male in the same household live quite peacefully together.
There are some potential negatives to having more than one dog - double the boarding and vet expenses, training is more difficult, and if your existing dog has any bad habits (separation anxiety, dog aggression, fears, destructiveness) they may rub off on the new dog too.
You'll need to be consistent with training & stay in charge
, because any number of dogs greater than one can become a pack, so they may be more likely to do things they wouldn't consider normally, such as chasing the cats, tearing things up, or running away.
But it can also be very nice to have two dogs - as long as they hit it off well, it can be a joy to see them play together, and they really do enjoy the companionship of an all-the-time buddy when you're away.
Another thing to be sure to do if you get another dog - it's important to make sure to take each dog out away from the other for a while on a regular basis, so they don't become overly dependent on each other and get stressed-out if the other dog has to go to the vet or something.
Spreading yourself too thin is a definite concern - you'll have a lot of pets needing your attention and care, so I'm glad you're thinking about it carefully before you come to a decision.
Originally Posted by menagerie mama
I don't want to offend anyone by my breed choices, and I'm not saying they're ALL like this but...
The best mutts, from what I've seen in my professions, are like Shepherd/Lab mixes.
Personally I'd vote for a shelter dog - I could go on forever about how great my mutts are.
They're both Shepherd/Lab/mystery dogs. They're both laid-back in the house and active outside, and gentle with the cats.
You can screen shelter dogs for their response to cats - if the staff will let you take the dog by the cat enclosure or have a supervised meet with a dog-friendly cat, look for a dog who wags his tail and tries to touch noses with the cats or sniff their behinds (sees the cats as potential friends), or who is calm and turns his head away from a staring cat (submissive to cats), but you don't want the dog to be actively afraid of the cats because a frightened dog may bite if pushed too far.
Avoid dogs who stare intently at the cats with a stiff or slowly moving tail, or who bark or lunge at them, or try to chase them (all signs the dog sees the cat as potential prey). Avoid hunting breeds or mixes - terriers and hounds are not a good idea - there are exceptions, of course, but better safe than sorry. Before adoption, you'll also want to make sure the shelter will allow to return the dog if there are any serious problems.
OK, sorry for the long message. Whatever your decision, best wishes!