Choosing a Family Guard Dog

We have recently been assaulted in our house. This brought up the discussion of which dog breed make good guard dogs.

Having been assaulted in our house last week, we decided to make a few changes at home.  Supplementary to the beams and bars and panic button approach we consider getting some canine protectors.  Since the death of our Great Dane more than a year ago, we were reluctant to fill the Dog vacancy at home – what dog could fill those . . . . . paw marks?

 The current pair, both 11 years old, consists of

1. a Maltese Poodle / Foxterrier cross  and

2.  a Husky / White Alsatian cross

 Both of them are very strong in the affection arena but not very useful when it comes to protection.  To be fair, the foxese really tried to warn us of impending danger, but since his exited yapping sounded exactly the same as always (when he barks at cats and other foxese sized dogs roaming around), we did not heed his warnings.  The husky is very loving and lovable, but by the time the perpetrator entered our home, hit my husband on the head with an iron pipe and left with a handbag, she has just managed to get to her feet.

 So now to the task:  add a dog to the protection plan.

 I realised that I have NEVER had the privilege to actually choose a dog.  We have always had a dog though – usually bestowed upon us by the acquaintance of some friend or family member.  We never had reason to complain, since these dogs, mostly cross-breeds of unknown origin, matched somehow with the family context. 

 The most protective dog we owned was a German Shepard, who having flunked the police academy, was then owned by the older brother of a friend of a friend of our eldest son.  This dog’s reputation for chasing and killing cats, and jumping the fence to chase passers-by, made him the perfect gift to us – a family then living on a smallholding (with various cats and many passers-by).  In the end this was a perfect match.  Smirra became the dog to compare all other dogs to.  He protected without showing much aggression, got tamed by a small kitten, got in all sorts of trouble (running up the vet bill) and was loved by the whole family.  But buying an Alsation will not necessarily recreate this wonderful experience for us.

 Googling “top 10 guard dogs”

  After spending half a day googling dogs, I am so confused that would have preferred a dog dumped on me.  My life feels amiss with not experiencing at least some of these glamorous sounding dogs.

 Some sites make a distinction between guard dogs, watch dogs, protective dog, but not all, and so the list of TOP 10 guard dogs does not always make sense.  In fact, looking at the different lists, more than 50 dog breeds were identified as good guard dogs.  German Shepards, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Bull Mastiffs are on every list.  Then comes an interesting list of dogs, some of which I have never heard of:  Komondor, Dogue de Bordeaux, Kuvasz, Puli, Fila Brasileiro, Akita Inu, Argentine Dogo, Belgian Malinois, Cane Corso, , Tosa Inu, Ca de Bou, Caucasian Ovchara, Saplaninac, etc

 Reading about their characteristics, I identify the Giant Schnauzer and the Rhodesian Ridgeback as dogs available in South Africa that might integrate with our family – the very cute fluffy exotics will find it much too hot here.  I am definitely not into the fierce types like Rottweilers.  But – we had such a good experience with our German Shepard?

 Can’t I put an ad for a dog vacancy?

 Dog wanted.  Large dog, naturally protective of its family and good with children, with non-allergenic, non shedding hair. Must have good intuition of who the “bad” guys are.  Should look dangerous. Will be assisted by a small  watchdog.  Can sleep in the house and watch television with the family.  

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User Comments
  1. Carolyn Cordon

    On February 8, 2011 at 3:43 am

    Good luck with your hunt for a guard/watch dog. I’ve had a bullmastiff before who was probably too friendly to be a great guard dog.
    I’ve had schnauzers too, but the small standard schnauzer, so too small for your needs. The Giant schnauzer is and intelligent dog, and would be a good choice – they don’t shed at all, but you have to get them clipped during the year.
    Getting the right dog for your needs is important, and I wish you luck with it.

  2. Calare

    On February 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Don’t discount Rotties… they are loyal, easily trained, and wonderful family dogs. Ridgebacks should be a natural choice, given your location.
    I bet if you put the word out, you will soon have offers/dogs coming in… yours sounds like that sort of home.
    Good luck.

    And sorry to hear about the assault on your husband and the burglary. How very scary.

  3. alvinwriter

    On February 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Choosing is fun.

  4. anndavey650

    On February 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Aww… it always seems that the perfect pet will turn up on your doorstep when you are least expecting it… the only problem is… it is never quite what you’re after at first lol. Good luck with your choosing!

  5. Raj the Tora

    On February 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    yes, the “Dog is guarding” sign itself keeps the miscreants at bay. Analyse well and pick the right one. Thanks.

  6. Erin Miller

    On February 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    That’s cute. I am partial to the Akita breed. I really like them. There is also the St. Bernard and if you can find it the half german shepard half collie mix.

  7. shobhana

    On February 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Dog hunting??? Well, if you have to have one, after what happened to your hubby it is highly recommended that you choose the best candidate. All the best.

  8. RR crazy

    On June 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I strongly suggest a Rhodesian ridgebck there strong,big,scary,protective,good with kids and a amazing guard dog my second choice would be a Doberman third would be a giant schnauzer

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