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Discussion Starter #1
Ok... I'm a grown adult with a teenage son... my 10 year old daughter also visits regularly but is not a true part of the normal household dynamic she is over several times a week. I am looking for a guard dog as I have a high profile job and am a target. I am aware an alarm, camera's etc etc... but I also do LIKE dogs and have been a dog owner in the past. My dogs in the past have came from the pound, labrador mix, pit mix, boxer mix. Growing up I was around Samoyed's as well as we had a German Shephard. I would like a guard dog but yet a dog that will be fine with my son and my family and can be part of the family so to speak. Some particulars of my situation:

I do NOT have a fenced in yard. Typically walking would be main form of excercise.

Excercise would be roughly 30 minute walk per day. In summer months obviously this could be more as I regularly used to (several times a week) take dogs to island area let them run on beach/swim.

The dog would be kept indoors.

The breeds I have looked into include: Doberman, Rotweiler, Dogo Argentinia, Boerboels, Cane corso, BullMastiff...

I don't like the look of the Giant Snauzers, not wanting to go back to a German Shephard and no pitbulls... American bulldogs I've heard are great but honestly from what I've seen my top 4 pics at the moment are Dogo, Boerboel, Cane Corso, or BullMastiff... but availability make me wonder if I will need to get a Doberman or a Rot as I would like something NOW not later. I've done searches online for 'best guard dogs' things like that and seen several different lists. Done some looking on youtube to see them interacting. Was wondering what the 'experts' (and by experts I mean YOU ALL!) would have to say in regards? Advice? Suggestions? Maybe a breed I've overlooked? (have looked into a lot just didn't name them all but maybe you can sense a vibe based on my selections) Saw Tibetin Mastiff and Neopolitan Mastiff as well as English but to me it seems Bull and Argentinian mastiff are my top choices, as well as I believe the others are 'forms' of Mastiffs as well. Hope to hear back from you all! Thanks for reading!
 

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What level of "guard dog" do you want? Most dogs will guard their home and family to some extent (as in barking and bluffing), but if you want the dog to actually attack he will need extensive training in order to also be safe with the family (and even then I don't think I'd trust an attack-trained dog with kids younger than teenagers).

A half-hour walk will not be enough for a high-energy breed (pretty much every breed you mentioned except maybe the Bullmastiff). Will there be any other provision for exercise in the winter?

It's difficult to get a puppy from a decent breeder NOW. Generally the breeders who have puppies always available are not producing stable, healthy dogs. Your choice of breeder is as important as your choice of breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you willowy. I seem to be sensing that and your post reaffirms that. I'm located in Ohio it seems that every breed mentioned would be available near me. I'm having trouble getting very much info on the Dogo's but the others (especially the BullMastiff) seem to have more info available. I do not necessarily want the dog professionally trained (well wasn't thinking that anyway but maybe need to consider?) I work nights and am gone where my 16 year old son is at home sometimes by himself. My daughter also spends nights as well on weekends. If I am gone I am wanting a dog that once 'word gets around' so to speak that would make someone think twice... and if someone actually broke in I would like a dog that would at least by my children some time (we're talking worst case scenario here). If someone were to break in while I am home I do have firearms that I would not hesitate in using.

As for excercise in the winter the walk would typically be it. I've been told you can get a treadmill (serious) and put more powerful breeds on that but certain dogs will but certain dogs won't in regards to walking out their needed excercise. But yes, mainly walks especially in winter but *could* get a treadmill for that purpose (not to replace the daily walks but to accompany it). Are there any reasons any of my top 4 would NOT be good?
 

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I have to agree with the exercise thing. I know I have 3 fairly high energy breeds and they need at least an hour of running a day (we go to the off leash park or play fetch in the yard) plus they also like to go for a walk at least once where they can smell around and stuff. In my opinion, a treadmill isn't the answer. Dogs, especially the ones you listed will need some sort of interactive play exercise. What are those dogs bred to do (besides protect)? I have a mountain cur (a type of treeing hound) and every day we go for a walk in the woods that allows her to use her nose, tree squirrels, chase birds, etc. My lab goes swimming regularly, and we play fetch all the time. My border collie is allowed to be with livestock and act on his herding instincts.

Also, if you get a pup it is best to go on a limited number of short walks, and allow them as much free play as possible, that way they can quit when they are tired. This is most important in the large/giant breeds where extra stress on growing bones and joints could cause big problems in the future. I can tell you are serious and want to do your research, but you need to seriously consider if you have enough time for a dog at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply cowgirl. I guess walking at the puppy stage I probably wouldn't do too much of. Have a local school yard could easily take the puppy there or even in the backyard (I have a back yard but it's very small). Can you think of any pluses/minuses of one breed over the other of the top 4 listed?
 

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Not really, I do know that probably 90% of the people you meet with any of the breeds listed besides the bull mastiff will think its a pit, so be prepared to sort that out with your home owners or rental insurance, neighbors, etc. who will think that it is 1. a pit and 2. aggressive because its a pit. Personally, if I were you, I would probably pick a German Shepard. Fits all of your criteria, wonderful, SMART dogs who are naturally protective of those that are in their pack.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I had the German Shepherd as a kid... it was a great dog for me. The only thing is... and you're going to hate me saying this but I want to be honest on here... I don't like the look lol. Also just as a un shallow comment, I think the German Shepherd from what I've researched ideally would require just a *bit* more activity no? As a kid I used to play with it and take it for long walks almost daily quite a bit anyway. I just thought they required a bit more and the difference of a half hour from a happy dog to an unhappy dog I am assuming happens? I've also never paid out $$ for a dog as stated my previous 3 as adult were all pound dogs. I guess I was figuring in regards to the 'look' if I was actually going to pay out $$ I wanted to get the ideal dog for me and I also think all the other dogs would physically give more of a badass repuation aka 'stay away' than a German Shepherd as I've truly never even looked at them as an intimidating dog but maybe that was due to being around one growing up?
 

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I've never had personal experience with the breeds you listed, so I can't say much about their energy levels. I just know that for any dog exercise should stimulate the mind as well as the body. That is the key to a happy dog. If you can't find the time to actually interact with him or her in a play/exercise setting for at least an hour (it can even be a half hour/45 min in the morning, the other at night) then you shouldn't have a dog, in my opinion. Please do not get a dog for its looks.If the dog barks and looks intimidating and is large then it will accomplish what you want. My lab accomplishes that quite well. He knows his pack, and while he is so friendly he would probably invite the person in and show them where his treats are, he still barks (loudly and quite deep) if someone pulls up or is in the front yard. Knowing there is a dog in the house is enough for people to leave 90% of the time.

ETA:
I have an "alarm" (the border collie) he hears EVERYTHING and will go to the window and investigate, if its something that should be there he barks. Then I have the "enforcers" My Mountain Cur and Lab, who are both friendly but big (100+ pounds each, solid muscle) and sound intimidating. That seems to work for me, we've had a few trespassers but they all leave once they hear the dogs, they leave even faster if they SEE the dogs lol
 

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Dogo, Boerboel, Cane Corso,
For a 3 or 4 dog owner especially since I have not read of any formal obedience work you have done with your previous dogs (unless I missed it) the dogs above can be a handful. (including the Shepherd, Dobe, Rott)

I know few people I have met that disregard the looks of a Shepherd as a deterrent. It sounds like you are asking for the typical protect family but bite the bad guys but maybe not the mailman, UPS, FedEx etc. or any friends or kids that may drop by. Good luck.
 

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Really, the best dog you can get is just one that will bark at an intruder. That's most dogs.
 

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I would get a bullmastiff, simply because it's more likely that you will find a great, reputable breeder and they aren't as much of a handful as the other three you listed. I wouldn't even worry about protection training unless you have that time personally to do so. Just having a dog will be enough of a deterrent for most people and honestly, if someone wants to break into your house the biggest dog on the planet isn't going to stop them.
 

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30 minutes of walking per day is VERY short for any of those breeds you are considering, and really for nearly any dog. Particularly if the walking is basically on sidewalks or walking paths. A brisk pace on strenuous hills, maybe 30 minutes for one of two walks or combined with some other exercise. A bored dog will be destructive or act out.

Things to consider:
Dog Aggression- several of the dogs you are interested in have tendencies towards dog aggression. Which means you have to be prepared to manage that, as in, no dog parks, crate and rotate if you have a second dog, difficulty in finding a dog boarding facility, never off-leash outside of a private fenced yard, and even walking can be an issue because you are talking about a 100+ lbs dog that might want to kill dogs it sees on walks.

Training- any of your choice breeds really should have extensive training even without trying to make them into "guard dogs." A trained guard dog is a liability for most people, especially around children and really especially if the kids ever have friends over. But just as bad is a large and powerful dog that isn't trained as a "regular" dog (as in, basic obedience and such) and has natural protective instincts that are encouraged but not properly controlled and directed. Figure at least a few months of classes with your dog at minimum. You really do NOT want to try to train a dog to "bite the bad guy"- dogs can't tell the difference between a bad guy and a repairman by sight - and once a dog does bite, you're in for a world of financial and legal difficulties.
You want a deterrent, of which nearly any larger dog will be. Labs, GSD, large hounds and curs, even larger Boxers are plenty to send the typical small time criminal towards an easier target. Like any door lock or alarm system, you are keeping out the majority of criminals while knowing that the small % can still get through your "protection."

Insurance- a trained guard dog will need its own dog liability policy and you'll also want to look at the breed restrictions (if any) and/or extra costs for adding one of those breeds to your homeowners policy. If you rent, I really suggest avoiding all of those breeds and going for a larger, calmer, black shelter dog.

And, in many ways, a big intimidating dog can actually be as much of a theft TARGET as a theft DETERRENT. Pits, pit mixes and dogs that look like pits can be at risk of theft by dog fighters. It isn't common per se, but it isn't unknown either.
 

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From what I understand, it's generally the barking that deters most intruders. Many of them don't want to risk an attack so they leave when they notice there's a dog.
To be perfectly honest, if you're not looking for formally train your dog, what you're looking for is a loyal dog, a breed that is known for being loyal and protective, and an individual dog who will love you and be willing to do anything for you. I have to definitely agree that this is the German Shepherd Dog. I know some will argue with me that it comes down to the individual dog -which, in a way it does- but, speaking for myself, I believe the GSD to be one of the most loyal, pack oriented breeds. I grew up with a pair of GSDs, who were not only incredibly loyal to their people, but to one another. When the male was PTS at 14 years, his mate of 12 years pushed herself through an electric fence to find his grave and be with him. And she succeeded. She stayed by his grave for almost a week before coming home again.
I'm not sure what you mean by not liking their look, but if you mean physically, shepherds can be found in varying degrees of a sloping spine (which, in my opinion, isn't very attractive) or working bred dogs with a strong spine. They also come in plenty different colors. If you mean they won't intimidate an intruder, I have to completely disagree. Due to their popularity as police dogs, I'm inclined to believe they would easily frighten an intruder. Even I take a step back when I see them until I'm told by their owner it's alright for me to approach or not.
They also have a very strong, deep bark, and most generally make lower noises when they bark. It's a sound that can rattle you.
They're also highly intelligent and trainable and as long as you're willing to give them proper training and socialization, they should not be a real danger to any visitors you approve of.
 

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I've owned 4 of the 6 and I'd say any will do for deterrent. Most big dogs will.

I've never had a Bullmastiff but know they can make good family pets and some still have some instinct but I do feel something has been lost in a lot of them, I'm also not a fan of their squished in faces but that's just me.

I've never had a Dogo Argentino but while they can be good protection dogs they are less so guard breed compared to other true guardian (again not that they can't do the job) they are great hunters which means some do have a wicked prey drive.

If you want a pure bred from a breeder you are going to need to do home work on not just breeds but breeders to find a good one.

A lot of Dobies have been watered down, some lack nerve. They are (imo) extremely intelligent dogs. I'd say they have a moderate energy level you may want to add more exercise and mental stimulation (these dogs have a good capacity to learn).
They can be drivey as well. Be very aware of health concerns DCM can strike suddenly and be deadly without previous symptoms (a test was developed but still not a guarantee), whobblers is also a serious condition so that makes it a big concern, its estimated possibly about half the population are carries for (type I) vWDs and of course you have affected and none carriers but you could "easily" get affected pup from a breeder who doesn't test.

Rottweilers are probably the most overbred of the batch. Which can mean more problems in temperament and health but a good Rott is really a great family dog. They too have health concerns (hip dyplasia being one). I wouldn't say they are as high energy as say the Dogo Argentino but they do need exercise they were meant to move being drovers and carting dogs. Wouldn't give them have marks for biddability but they are by no means dumb (some feel they are just simply "dumb") and just as loyal to their family as most any other breed.

Boerboels can be fairly large dogs but are generally dry mouth breed (which is awesome imo), they do need training (of course) and enjoy activities I wouldn't say a ton of exercise is a must as long as daily is provided they are content to stick close to you around the home and lay around. But this is still a fairly athletic mastiff type which can really work hard when given the opportunity weight pull, work cattle, protection and sport work. Hip dyplasia is also a concern, they are in top 10 of the OFA stats, though you might want to check out a breeder who uses pennhip to get an idea on measurements. Whobblers has also been seen in this breed but not as often as in Dobies. Prey drive is typically low but most have an intact defense drive. The bullmastiff is one ancestor (brought to Africa to guard diamond mines).

The Cane Corso is a "popular" rare breed with too many byb and splits in type. I've seen some bad temperaments as far as extreme shy and nervousness, fear aggression breeders contining to breed like this is normal and ok. Drives vary usually I'd say medium prey drive to medium high defense drive is what I'd find a good balance. These are not the most biddable but not super stubborn either. They are most happy with daily exercise some require more than others. They are meant to work not just in laying around and guarding but can catch hogs, work cattle and of course you have weight pull and protection sports. I like the reserved but non aggressive to non threats though this isn't displayed by all. They are #12 in OFA stats (again you might be interested in pennhip). There are others concerns too one would be hypothyroidism, a serious concern is epilepsy so I don't think this is a common problem just one of the serious to be aware of. They really have a huge size range but the 150-170lbs are not what I like (males should too out at 110lbs though balance is most important but these types I've seen are usually heavy set, wrinkled and may not be dry mouthed).
 

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How much exercise can you put into this dog? For most of those dogs listed a 30 minute walk just won't cut it. They need to run and use up energy. Walking and hanging out in the backyard doesn't really do that.

I would definitely consider exactly what you can and cannot offer before selecting a breed of dog, like:

How much time a day can you commit to physical and mental exercise (running/training)?

Will you sign your dog up for training classes?

Are you willing to wait for the right dog and breeder for your family? A good, ethical breeder will probably not have a puppy available "now", you usually have to wait for the pups to grow up or another litter to be born and be put on a waiting list.

BTW I think all dogs should have training, guard not or not. A large dog that is untrained and under exercised can be a huge liability, especially one the general public thinks looks scary and dangerous, which is pretty much every breed you mentioned. Animal Control, law enforcement, dog nappers, etc, could confuse one of those breeds with pitbulls. As unfair as their reputation is, as a pit bull or pit bull look-a-like dog owner in America it is just something you have to put up with and handle. Which means you must have proper training, always always always have your dog under control and/or on leash, and insurance. Anything could happen, and even if it isn't you or the dogs fault, you could be liable because of the breed of dog you have.
 

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I'd like to echo what previous posters have said about deterrence. We have a 40 pound blonde retriever mutt with a deep bark. She gives warning growls and barks at bumps in the night or other things she thinks are suspicious. And her name is Biscuit, which is a pretty good indicator of how vicious she really is. A few months ago, she scared off people who were trying to break in late at night - we heard people talking in the courtyard outside our window, then Biscuit barked and we heard the people say "that's a dog." In the morning, we found marks and scratches all over our door and frame where they had tried to jimmy it open.

I tend to think that a big, deep dog bark is as much of a deterrent as it takes for most would-be bad guys. If you want a visual deterrent, get a big black or brindle dog, any kind will do. (I would not recommend a floppy-eared blonde dog as a visual deterrent, but a good sized black lab mix will scare off most unwanted attention.) As most have said, many dogs are naturally loyal to the family and excellent watchdogs, but guarding behavior is much more complicated and you should think about the consequences of owning a dog that will attack strangers.
 

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I can't say anything that hasn't been said already. I think that many of these breeds aren't a good idea. Thirty minutes a day is NOT enough for many of these breeds and, speaking from experience, it's definitely not enough for a doberman. My boy is pretty laid back, especially compared to other dobes I've met. That being said, I can take him to work with me (doggy daycare) where he can, and does, play with other dogs for 6-8 hours and after work I can take him to the dog park where he runs nonstop for another two hours, and when we get home he is still full of energy until I crate him for the night.

Any larger dog that barks, especially a black one, can keep somebody off of your property. Unless the stranger on your property is prepared to "take care" of the dog and in that case it doesn't matter what breed of dog it is. I read a story the other day from a friend whose neighbor's house got robbed. The GSD in the house fought back against the robbers and the intruder beat down the GSD with chains and locked him in a room.
 

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I agree with PatchworkRobot. If someone really wants to get into your house and pose a physical threat to you and your kids, a dog isn't going to stop them. Sad as it makes me to say it, they could lock it away like the German Shepherd, or just stab or shoot it.
 

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My chihuahuas are the first to sound the alarm! Then the big guns wake up to see whats going on. I have an anatolian shepherd, a doberman, and a malamute shepherd cross for protection. The anatolian intimadates a lot of people just by her size alone. I went with a girlfriend to her protection class. Her shepherd was awesome at that work. Of course there was a cane corso and he did great too.. Surprize of the night, a standard poodle. I think you always think of those dogs being prissy and she was.... till the command was spoken. Then she turned into a ball of fire. Surprize for the intruder who would be taken by surprize by that dog.


PATCHWORKROBOT AWESOME NEW PICS. your doberman is so good looking I really miss my black and tans. I have a red now but will go back to black after him. Good looking dog.
I also agree with your post! If someone wants to get in and do damage they will. I have seen dogs shot (one was bc a drug buy went bad) and one where a rott pup 6 months old had been hit over the head with a machete. The owners came home to find the house full of blood, the bloody machete and the dog laying there. Surprizingly the dog survived.
 

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Any larger dog that barks, especially a black one, can keep somebody off of your property. Unless the stranger on your property is prepared to "take care" of the dog and in that case it doesn't matter what breed of dog it is.
Agreed. If you have a high profile job and you are a target there is no dog that could protect you. A small barker would be as effective as a giant mastiff.
 
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