Guard/Family Dog

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Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:44 am

After much discussion w/ the wife she has agreed to me getting a dog when we move into our new home next year. I have some things in mind as to what I want out of the dog, and the conditions it will live in.

These should be its living conditions:
Moving to cali, so the climate should always be moderate. Maybe a little warm sometimes but not bad. We should have about 4 acres of property although I dont think it will all be fenced, but we should have a decently large yard as well.

Temperament:
We will either have a new born at that time, or should be pregnant, so this dog should be tolerant and gentle w/ children. I'd like it to be of medium or larger size. (we'll say minimum of 45 pounds) Short hair is preferred, but not required. Cannot slobber. (wife's orders-but once you see the list below you will see that we're going to have to compromise on that one) I wont be able to play with it every day, but I will most days so the energy level it not the biggest issue, although hell on wheels dogs like dalmatians are probably out of the question. I am getting this dog for guarding, that is the most important factor. When I am not around and when i sleep I want to make sure that there is a major deterrent of criminals on the prowl, someone to protect my wife and children when I cannot. I'd like for the dog to be a family friendly but fiercely protective. I get my wife to the range as often as I can but in my heart I dont think she's a trigger squeezer when push comes to shove. I'd feel a lot better knowing she could just swing open the back door and call in some help in a bad situation. I also fully expect to go through obedience school with this pup.

Lemme list what I am looking at right now.
Rhodesian Ridgeback - I think has over taken the number 1 spot.
Boxer
Rottweiler
French Mastiff
BullMastiff
American Bulldog
African Boerboel

My wife is more against the Rottweiler and Mastiff because she they may not be as child friendly.

So now, advice on current prospects? Other breeds I should look at? General comments?
Last edited by Citizen Simon on Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:09 am

Afraid to tell you, all the dogs you listed drool. Even the boxer. Larger dogs drool when they need water, then the excess water that gets trapped in there flapper lips drips for a bit. If they have plenty of water they don't drool that bad. With the boxer you have a hit or miss as they tend to ignore kids if they wont play with them. The only thing you have to watch with the big dogs is there not very graceful. Show them they cant get to close to the kid and they wont step on it. My pick is the french mastiff. They love kids and they don't need a lot of room to run around. In the house they tend to lay around like giant lumps. They love people if you bring them into the house. They train very well. But if something ever goes wrong ( bad guys ) there is going to be pieces of them all over the place. No body messes with there people. There look alone keeps most people away. I could send pics of my friends with the kids if you need it.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by throwback » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:18 am

Part of your problem is going to be getting a dog that is sufficiently aggressive to be a good guard dog, but nice enough to be child safe. Hard combination. Rottweilers work well if they are acclimated to children from the time they are puppies, and raised properly. Our families Aussie sheepdog/mutt mix was good at making sure no one ever snuck up on the house, but I don't know how he would have reacted to an intruder. Many of my old instructors swore by Rhodesian Ridgebacks, even with small children. In the end, like many things, I think it all comes down to training.

Edit: Don Paul writes about proper upbringing and training of a good guard dog in one of his books. How you as the head of the household must do the discipline, and the kids should do the feeding and playing. Always make sure that the dogs have no reason to have anything but affection towards the kids.
Last edited by throwback on Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Sckitzo » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:19 am

Ever consider a German Shepard or Belgian Malinois?

Not sure if you ever dealt with MWD's while you were in, but both breeds are highly trainable working dogs. We just got a 8wk old GS puppy ourselves. Wife wanted a puppy, I wanted an alarm (I won't lie.. sorta wanted a puppy also :lol: )

Have to do some research to see how they do with kids, but I know the GS is highly protective (to a fault sometimes) and if it was raised with the child should be good.

Now, I am not sure how well they will tolerate a kid yanking on it, ect ect. I'd have to ask the old lady or see if anyone on here knows.

Now, some HOA's don't like em, and some insurance companies freak out. If you have USAA AFAIK they don't have any breed restrictions, something to keep in mind with any dog though.

Our puppy is pretty high energy atm, and will be for the next 12months from my understanding, but should be a pretty good companion. We got a Czech breed one, so a bit shorter hair and don't shed as much.

Or you could always cross a Chow and Chinese Crested :lol: just think a Chow size Crested, ugliest dog I ever owned.

ETA: Picture of puppy >_>

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Finch » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:23 am

I have a Bernese Mountain dog (my wifes choice.)

He is giant furry and is a "moderate" droller. They are a very calm and friendly breed and great with kids. They make decent watch (not guard) dogs.

And as a added bonus you can "cart" them maybe as a alternative BOV :)
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:28 am

I did deal with MWDs when i was in, but the the wife vetoed GSDs, and I'm not so sure why. They are a big long haired for me as well.

Bonanacrom, I actually like the french mastiff a lot. I get the mastiffs confused often but I am editing my OP to put that on the list. It was another one of my big choices.

We will certainly not buy any house that has a HOA so that is a non issue, as for the insurance. Meh, not too worried about that either.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:28 am

That why I suggested the french mastiff. If a kid get to rough they get up and walk away. The one I deal with has had kids pulling on her eye-lids and just rolled over. As to aggression. It's natural in many of the large breeds when it comes to there home and family.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Jamie » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:30 am

My top 3 choices, in descending order, would be:

1) Labrador Retriever
b) Labrador Retriever
iii) Labrador Retriever

I've had them all my life, including my 6 years (so far) with my son, from birth to kid...they are great family dogs, are incredibly motivated to please, and are wonderful guard barkers when strangers approach my home or family.

I'm of the opinion that dogs are a fantastic break-in/burglary countermeasure...I believe that people thinking about (or actually trying to) break into your home will hear the barking and very often move on to another house, without a dog...

Dogs are great for people and kids, they love us unconditionally, and allow us to do the same to them...there are lots of great life-lessons to be learned from dogs by young children, regarding life and death and responsibility and so on...

There are lots of great breeds of dogs, but for my money, labs are the top for family and home by a significant margin...YMMV...

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by FanaticalModerate » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:31 am

Good question, with useful guidelines.
+1 for Bonanacrom's observation about the drool. All the ones you listed drool quite famously. FWIW: I've found that drool becomes less of a big deal when it's your own dog and it becomes normal - kind of like really bad diapers becoming no big deal when it's your kid. Also: short haired dogs shed a great deal, too!
I'd not put the boxer first - they are very high motor dogs, too. Loveable, fart a lot, personable, fart a lot, average as a guard, fart a lot.
On your list, I'd go with the rottie - most that I've known have had a great temperament. Their reputation is such that they will always get stranger's attention (possibly less so than the mastiff, of course).
With the baby, you're smart to lean towards large dogs that are somewhat blase abut things - the mastiff is a classic example of that trait.
Although climate could be an issue, here are some alternatives:
For pure guarding and family bonding, I'd lean toward a breed developed more explicitly for guarding flocks with an independent mindset - such as the great pyrenees or the full size collie. (Not the dogs bred for MOVING the flocks, such as the aussie or border collies - they'll be too high-motor and may get impatient with a baby that doesn't "obey.")
There are MANY who would advocate german or belgian shepherds, and you can't go wrong there - they can fit the "guard" and the "safe, trustworthy-with-infants family dog" roles very well. edit - never mind - got to keep the wife happy.

Lastly: No mater how "right" the breed, you can screw it up with bad, counter-productive training and chain-of-command relationships. Likewise, you can make many dogs fit well - with careful, mindful attention to detail. If possible, volunteer to foster a dog for a month or two now, to practice.

+1 on getting a dog that has had positive exposure to kids as a puppy.

Good luck - I'm sure you'll get lots of very good (if conflicting) advice - many people are more opinionated about dogs than firearms!
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Sckitzo » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:35 am

Citizen Simon wrote:I did deal with MWDs when i was in, but the the wife vetoed GSDs, and I'm not so sure why. They are a big long haired for me as well.

Bonanacrom, I actually like the french mastiff a lot. I get the mastiffs confused often but I am editing my OP to put that on the list. It was another one of my big choices.

We will certainly not buy any house that has a HOA so that is a non issue, as for the insurance. Meh, not too worried about that either.
Ahh, well at least you gave em a consideration.

I know our Corgi does great with kids, but about as useful as a cat for in a guard dog role... :roll:

Second the Lab

Edit: Missed NFA's post

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Mole » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:37 am

throwback wrote:Many of my old instructors swore by Rhodesian Ridgebacks, even with small children.
A friend of mine has a Ridgeback and she's a beautiful dog. Ignores their kid completely and barks the place down when someone comes to the front door. She's not been trained for security so I don't know how she'd react to strangers in the house though.
throwback wrote:In the end, like many things, I think it all comes down to training.
Quoted for truth. Even those little rat dogs can be baby killers if treated badly.

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:53 am

Stay away from the great pyrenees. There not the dogs most people think they are. Even a lot of the breeder will lye about them. They are attack aggressive to strangers. Well trained they do well around people. In the yard without someone there you'll likely find out it went over or through the fence because somebody walked by. Too dangerous. The Irish wolfhound is another that loves kids. They scare the crap out of most people too. But wont do muck as a guard dog.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:55 am

My main reservation with a lab is that they are not the best guard dogs. They do make a good watch dog but not as much on guarding. I thought about them for a while but just not quit filling the role for me.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:59 am

Also adding the African Boerboel, my father has one and he's had great success with it.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Sckitzo » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:04 am

How much of a guard dog role you wanting?

Sure, it won't defeat a real thief but will make the local tweakers think twice about kicking your door in.

I had a lab (almost sure it was) at work freak me out bad enough it almost got shot.

Got called over for a domestic, was some straight Jerry Springer stuff going on, I had to keep on eye on the 16 year old daughter to make sure she didn't decide to run, without her knowing.

So I'm standing in this house, she goes outside to talk to her boyfriend, give her about 30 seconds and go to follow. Open the door and about 5 steps out and this Choco lab came barreling down on me, at first I think he thought I was someone else, then he didn't recognize me and started with the whole barking thing.

Went for the pistol outa habit but stopped and decided running away (well back peddling) was the better part of valor. Shut the door, and told one of the family members to have the daughter come in as I didn't want her dad showing up and beating her (like I said... straight Springer, kid was a liar, ect. ect.)

Whole point of that little story was a lab managed to make me back peddle, when I A) knew a dog was out there B) was armed and C) was already nervous or twitch like I would be breaking into someones house.

Now, if I had called the dogs "bluff" then not sure how much damage he coulda done to me, but still did pretty effective as a guard dog.

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by phil_in_cs » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:12 am

The dog won't drool as much as the baby will, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. The dog will be house broken quicker, too.

How about two dogs? One large mostly outside guard dog, and something like a terrier that lives in the child's room? The outside dog will let you know about what is happening outside, and a Jack Russell or similar will let you know if anything bad is happening in the child's room.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:15 am

In my experience w/ labs they were not near that aggressive.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Citizen Simon » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:18 am

phil_in_cs wrote:The dog won't drool as much as the baby will, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. The dog will be house broken quicker, too.

How about two dogs? One large mostly outside guard dog, and something like a terrier that lives in the child's room? The outside dog will let you know about what is happening outside, and a Jack Russell or similar will let you know if anything bad is happening in the child's room.
Yeah, already have an inside dog, and even if we didnt I would get an inside dog in addition to the bigger dog. I am certainly find with the inside dog being nothing more than a noise maker.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Sckitzo » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:42 am

Citizen Simon wrote:In my experience w/ labs they were not near that aggressive.
Maybe this was a exception not the rule, but felt fairly confident he wanted to fuck my shit up. But dealt with a limited number so can't really say for certain.

Maybe they had him trained. *shrugs*

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Magnum » Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:33 am

I decided to go with an Akita as my Watch /Guard dog. She is almost 4 months and is about 40 pounds, I picked her up from the pound at 9 weeks old roughly.

I had Akitas when I was younger, they were mostly quiet dogs untill there was a stranger around. No stranger ever was allowed to step foot on our property with those dogs around. We would have to let them in to show the dogs we knew them. My Akita now knows her territory, is very friendly with kids. I had her in my garage with the door opened the other night and was out of sight for a while, I came in through the shadows and she let out a few big barks until she saw it was me.

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:03 am

If I was thinking about getting a dog to protect my family these are the only things that I would look at. Would it stop me ? Does it look intimidating ? Does it have the size and strength to do the job ? Will the family be safe with the dog ? All dogs are differant with there personalities and with there training. Plus there's always the exception to the rule. To me the safety of the family from the dog is as important as the family's safety because of the dog. That said there's things to consider. The breeds that bite the most people every year are the labs and the retrievers. Don't care why they bite it's the fact that they do it. Dogs feel pain, if the baby pulls the dogs eye lid open when it's asleep on the floor whats the dog going to do ? I'd go with a dog that has a higher pain tolerance just because of the kid. Research the hell out of any breed you think of getting It's not worth your kid to make the wrong pick.
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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by Chantrea » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:13 am

If you can't commit to even playing with the dog every day, I think that if you're serious about getting a dog you should kind of retool your expectations to something that your wife can handle, since it sounds like she is the one who's going to be home and is realistically the one who is probably going to have to deal with it/care for it the most.

You might also want to avoid puppies, because if you don't have a lot of time for the dog even to play you're certainly not going to have time to train it. An adult dog with a known personality and ability who is well trained and has a trainer/breeder who will work with your wife to reinforce that training and build her confidence might be the better bet for your family at this time.

If you're anticipating your first child, also...I would really consider waiting a bit before getting a dog, or getting one NOW. Adjusting to new baby AND new puppy/new dog especially when the protective mama bear hormones are raging sometimes doesn't have a very happy ending for anyone, especially the dog.

Just about any dog, if it really thinks its family is in danger, will rise to the level of protection. Even annoying little yappy pipsqueaks can set off an alarm. The problem with some of the breeds you have mentioned is that they have tendancies towards dominance and high drive, and that means that they are a time commitment. Especially when they are puppies, you ARE going to need to play and spend time with them every day. So I think that especially if your wife is anticipating being a stay at home mom, to be honest you are going to have to follow her lead and make sure to get a dog that she is both comfortable with and connects to. She might be able to overlook slobbery if you find the right dog and she falls in love BUT that's a big if.

Some normally slobbery breeds sometimes have lines that a "dry mouth". That doesn't mean that they don't drool, but generally that means that you won't have a waterline on your ceiling from head shaking like you can get otherwise. :)

ETA: I know three people with bullmastiffs (hmmm, one might be an English mastiff or cross though, she is a lot bigger than the other two, and those are males). They are all love bugs, even with strangers (of course, if their owners were fearful, that might be a different story). They will drool ropes to the floor if you're eating a hamburger in front of them, but none of them are particularly slobbery. *However*, the shedding is quite incredible. When ever I visit one of my friends I come back coated in fawn hair, even at Clean Freak guy's house. :)

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by urbnx » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:32 am

throwback wrote:Many of my old instructors swore by Rhodesian Ridgebacks, even with small children.
+1.

My neighbor has one. Great dog if you're a friend, but I wouldn't want to get into a scuffle with one. Plus, they're good looking, short-haired, and from what I understand they don't drool a lot. Their breeding and temperament make them good guard dogs. My neighbor has a boatload of grandkids that are always crawling all over his house, and I haven't heard of the dog being even remotely aggressive towards them.

Maybe give this a try:

http://www.iams.com/iams/breed-information.jsp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It's a short form you can fill out with all of your desired qualities for said dog. It then goes through it's system and matches your choices with dog breeds and gives you a list of breeds that have the greatest compatibility with your choices.

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Re: Guard/Family Dog

Post by unkieford » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:00 am

You might consider a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Much like a Lab, but with a good deal more 'tude (from my experience, anyway).


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