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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be moving in to the country side at some point, when I do my mother and I would like to get a largeish dog with a protective personality, to be a sort of guard dog. I am looking for a breed that is
  • About Alsatian size
  • Good with cats, we have a special needs cat
  • Good with dogs
  • Intelligent (by that I don’t mean easily trainable
  • Happy to go out in cold rainy weather
  • Protective

Breeds I am looking in to.
  • Laekenois
  • Rhodesian ridgeback
  • Beaucerons
If any one has any experience with this breeds I would like to hear it
Thank you!
 

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All three breeds you list tend to have very high prey drive, so they might not be the safest options if you have small furry animals like cats. They also tend to be very dog selective as adults.

Standard Poodle checks most of your boxes, with the possible exception of protective. They are about the right size and quite intelligent, but can be difficult to train, mainly because they tend to dislike repetition and drilling. The typically get along with other animals, and as water retrievers, usually don't mind getting wet. And any dog that barks at people coming up to their house can be a deterrent, and a lot of people are hesitant to approach a larger dog when you are out and about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
All three breeds you list tend to have very high prey drive, so they might not be the safest options if you have small furry animals like cats. They also tend to be very dog selective as adults.

Standard Poodle checks most of your boxes, with the possible exception of protective. They are about the right size and quite intelligent, but can be difficult to train, mainly because they tend to dislike repetition and drilling. The typically get along with other animals, and as water retrievers, usually don't mind getting wet. And any dog that barks at people coming up to their house can be a deterrent, and a lot of people are hesitant to approach a larger dog when you are out and about.
Thank you!
 

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First of all, you want a dog that is balanced in the head and confident. No dog aggression and, honestly, no people aggression. Genetic Dog aggression and Human aggression usually mean dogs that are also unstable. If the traits are genetic based you cannot train them to be reliably un aggressive.

If you want to have a protection dog you need a dog that has balanced drives and you want to find a trainer who is good at training personal protection dogs (and believe me there are a LOT of bad trainers doing this out there so be careful). It is NOT something you train at home. Period. Exclamation point. It is very specific training and you need to be involved in that training with the trainer and the dog. There is a reason that a good personal protection dog costs $25,000.

The right dog (note I said Dog, not Breed) will be trained to behave neutrally unless turned on. The dog should be tolerant but stand offish with strangers. If you have a dog that does this remember, it is like carrying a gun. It does no harm unless cocked and the safety is off and it is pointed at a target. A gun that will fire randomly is dangerous as is a dog that makes the decisions on when to be protective. This animal will likely be bonded with you and no one else and needs to be with you most of the time. It is not a pet for your kids to play with.

Dogs that bark and carry on with their hackles up are NOT PROTECTING YOU. That dog is in full defense and is protecting itself. Reactive dogs are often thought to be aggressive or protective. They are neither. They are SCARED and so they get all big and tough looking to try to make the threat go away.

KNOW what you are asking for when you say you want a dog that is protective.

Most of the breeds you mentioned are not happy to be pals with other dogs. If you want a dog that lives with other dogs that you already have and will go places with you to visit people with dogs and you want it to be all happiness, then get a golden retriever and teach it to bark on command while on leash.

The fact is, most of your criteria screams a dog more suitable to be a pet.. and does not point to any of the breeds listed or to the breed I own (working line German Shepherd). You stuck protection in there and with that you may need to abandon some of the other criteria such as likes other dogs and will be good with a cat.

I am fortunate that my working line dog is very good with the cats. He tolerates people. He doesn't give a rats behind about other dogs other than my one other dog (an old female) and they are friends. All the other dogs in the world he would just as soon not see and certainly has no desire for them to come and play or do "group walks" with friends and their dogs. He is also EXCELLENT with the two cats, one of which is completely blind (both dogs are good with the cats and I believe that is training and the dogs recognizing the cats as family members).

I know you said "Happy to go out in cold weather." If you expect the dog to be happy to go with you in cold weather that is one thing but if you want the dog to live outside that is another. You need to choose a dog with a double coat so they are insulated in cold weather and shed the rain with it is wet.

Good luck in your search.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
First of all, you want a dog that is balanced in the head and confident. No dog aggression and, honestly, no people aggression. Genetic Dog aggression and Human aggression usually mean dogs that are also unstable. If the traits are genetic based you cannot train them to be reliably un aggressive.

If you want to have a protection dog you need a dog that has balanced drives and you want to find a trainer who is good at training personal protection dogs (and believe me there are a LOT of bad trainers doing this out there so be careful). It is NOT something you train at home. Period. Exclamation point. It is very specific training and you need to be involved in that training with the trainer and the dog. There is a reason that a good personal protection dog costs $25,000.

The right dog (note I said Dog, not Breed) will be trained to behave neutrally unless turned on. The dog should be tolerant but stand offish with strangers. If you have a dog that does this remember, it is like carrying a gun. It does no harm unless cocked and the safety is off and it is pointed at a target. A gun that will fire randomly is dangerous as is a dog that makes the decisions on when to be protective. This animal will likely be bonded with you and no one else and needs to be with you most of the time. It is not a pet for your kids to play with.

Dogs that bark and carry on with their hackles up are NOT PROTECTING YOU. That dog is in full defense and is protecting itself. Reactive dogs are often thought to be aggressive or protective. They are neither. They are SCARED and so they get all big and tough looking to try to make the threat go away.

KNOW what you are asking for when you say you want a dog that is protective.

Most of the breeds you mentioned are not happy to be pals with other dogs. If you want a dog that lives with other dogs that you already have and will go places with you to visit people with dogs and you want it to be all happiness, then get a golden retriever and teach it to bark on command while on leash.

The fact is, most of your criteria screams a dog more suitable to be a pet.. and does not point to any of the breeds listed or to the breed I own (working line German Shepherd). You stuck protection in there and with that you may need to abandon some of the other criteria such as likes other dogs and will be good with a cat.

I am fortunate that my working line dog is very good with the cats. He tolerates people. He doesn't give a rats behind about other dogs other than my one other dog (an old female) and they are friends. All the other dogs in the world he would just as soon not see and certainly has no desire for them to come and play or do "group walks" with friends and their dogs. He is also EXCELLENT with the two cats, one of which is completely blind (both dogs are good with the cats and I believe that is training and the dogs recognizing the cats as family members).

I know you said "Happy to go out in cold weather." If you expect the dog to be happy to go with you in cold weather that is one thing but if you want the dog to live outside that is another. You need to choose a dog with a double coat so they are insulated in cold weather and shed the rain with it is wet.

Good luck in your search.
I don’t want personal protection dog. By good with dogs I mean I want it to be fine with my dog and not dog aggressive, I don’t expect it to go places and be super friendly with people or dogs. What I want is a dog who won’t ran away from somebody breaking in to my house and won’t think its their new best friend who came in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most people see a big dog barking and turn the other way.
The best protection is a deterrent. Do you really need one that will actually attack people?

Something to consider. Most people don't want to find out if the dog will bite them or not.
I am not looking for a dog who attacks people , unless it is a extreme situation.
 

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I can't recommend a breed. I have Rottweilers, and in truth they're friendly to strangers, and while they each reacted appropriately to the threatening stranger in a temperament test, I'm not counting on them if someone actually breaks into my house or threatens me outside.

HOWEVER, their mere presence is protection. Most people are leery of them until actually meeting. I've had big dogs all my life and wouldn't walk into a yard with big dogs I didn't know running loose. I've had young guys who I was eyeing suspiciously cross the street as I approached walking one of my dogs.

On the flip side, I believe anyone determined to do me harm is going to "take care" of the dogs, whether by poison, gun, or club. In that sense, my dogs are "hostages to fortune" like anyone's family members because they are my family and I love them.

So - IMO dogs can be a deterrent. They definitely are an excellent early warning system. After that it's up to me to flee or fight.

P.S. I see you don't live in the U.S., and things may be different where you live, but I've lived in the country most of my life, and I've never worried much about my safety - except when I'm forced to go into the city, which is where the crossed-the-street-when-he-saw-me-coming-with-my-dog thing happened - as did every other dicey event I can think of.
 

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Labs have a reputation for being one of the worst watchdogs (possibly only second to Newfoundlands) because they basically love everyone. But I watched my gigantic black lab walking with my wife or my 9-year-old daughter and he would physically place himself between either of them and anyone who happened to approach from either direction. If he happened to bark, which was rare, your teeth would rattle and your ears would ring. He was alert and self-confident, which is what you want.

Unless a dog has specific (and very expensive) training, it's more a question of the dog's personality than it is of breed. And perception is so important. People with bad intent might be intimidated by a 116 pound black lab, but wouldn't think twice about approaching my son's miniature, long-haired, dappled dachshund, who is much more likely to bite you and badly.
 

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If someone's actually coming planning to do you harm, they'll be prepared to dispatch your dog as well. The best guard dog in the world is no match for a poisoned hamburger or a bullet.

If you want a dog that's a deterrent/alert to casual trespassers, opportunistic burglars, that sort of thing, any big barky dog will do the job. Ideally what you want is a dog that is big and barky but ISN'T actually likely to attack, as the vast majority of people visiting your property, even in the countryside, are there for benign purposes (meter reading, deliveries, got lost hiking, chasing a lost pet, whatever). Most dogs are territorial - it shouldn't be hard to find one that barks at trespassers.

If you want a dog that will be safe with your cat your more sure chance is to get an adult dog that is already known to be safe with cats, so I'd look at rescues or rehomes.
 

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If you want a dog that will be safe with your cat your more sure chance is to get an adult dog that is already known to be safe with cats, so I'd look at rescues or rehomes.
I won't disagree with parus about an adult dog known to be good with cats but will point out that a lot of dogs discriminate about cats. In other words, a cat that is safe inside may be prey outside. A dog that is good with a cat that stands its ground may go after one that runs. I've had dogs that wouldn't bother their own cat inside or outside but who could identify a strange cat that came into the yard in a heartbeat from a distance and would go after the stranger.

And I never had a dog I raised from a puppy that wasn't good with my own cats. Although they pestered the cats a lot as puppies, they got the idea that was a no-go pretty fast, partly from the cats and partly from me if they got too rambunctious. It wasn't an area where I worried about all-positive training. No, I'm not talking about yelling or hitting, but a squirt bottle (with some lemon juice mixed in if plain water didn't impress)? You bet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Get a Fila, have it grow up with the other dog..... cross your fingers for the cat.

If you’re in the UK you can’t have a Dogo. Mine is great at alerting and not afraid to protect.
Thank you!
I can't recommend a breed. I have Rottweilers, and in truth they're friendly to strangers, and while they each reacted appropriately to the threatening stranger in a temperament test, I'm not counting on them if someone actually breaks into my house or threatens me outside.

HOWEVER, their mere presence is protection. Most people are leery of them until actually meeting. I've had big dogs all my life and wouldn't walk into a yard with big dogs I didn't know running loose. I've had young guys who I was eyeing suspiciously cross the street as I approached walking one of my dogs.

On the flip side, I believe anyone determined to do me harm is going to "take care" of the dogs, whether by poison, gun, or club. In that sense, my dogs are "hostages to fortune" like anyone's family members because they are my family and I love them.

So - IMO dogs can be a deterrent. They definitely are an excellent early warning system. After that it's up to me to flee or fight.

P.S. I see you don't live in the U.S., and things may be different where you live, but I've lived in the country most of my life, and I've never worried much about my safety - except when I'm forced to go into the city, which is where the crossed-the-street-when-he-saw-me-coming-with-my-dog thing happened - as did every other dicey event I can think of.
I don’t think anyone will do more then try to steal something. Thank you!

Labs have a reputation for being one of the worst watchdogs (possibly only second to Newfoundlands) because they basically love everyone. But I watched my gigantic black lab walking with my wife or my 9-year-old daughter and he would physically place himself between either of them and anyone who happened to approach from either direction. If he happened to bark, which was rare, your teeth would rattle and your ears would ring. He was alert and self-confident, which is what you want.

Unless a dog has specific (and very expensive) training, it's more a question of the dog's personality than it is of breed. And perception is so important. People with bad intent might be intimidated by a 116 pound black lab, but wouldn't think twice about approaching my son's miniature, long-haired, dappled dachshund, who is much more likely to bite you and badly.
I am looking for a dog who also looks “scary”. I thought with the personality of the breed being protective I have a higher chance of getting a dog who is
If someone's actually coming planning to do you harm, they'll be prepared to dispatch your dog as well. The best guard dog in the world is no match for a poisoned hamburger or a bullet.

If you want a dog that's a deterrent/alert to casual trespassers, opportunistic burglars, that sort of thing, any big barky dog will do the job. Ideally what you want is a dog that is big and barky but ISN'T actually likely to attack, as the vast majority of people visiting your property, even in the countryside, are there for benign purposes (meter reading, deliveries, got lost hiking, chasing a lost pet, whatever). Most dogs are territorial - it shouldn't be hard to find one that barks at trespassers.

If you want a dog that will be safe with your cat your more sure chance is to get an adult dog that is already known to be safe with cats, so I'd look at rescues or rehomes.
I think I will get a higher chance of it getting a long with cats if a get a puppy and it grows up with the cats, specially because of my special needs cat, she loves playing with my current dog and she sometimes jitters and walks weirdly. I don’t think shelters test their dogs if they are okay with being pounced on by a cat🤣

I won't disagree with parus about an adult dog known to be good with cats but will point out that a lot of dogs discriminate about cats. In other words, a cat that is safe inside may be prey outside. A dog that is good with a cat that stands its ground may go after one that runs. I've had dogs that wouldn't bother their own cat inside or outside but who could identify a strange cat that came into the yard in a heartbeat from a distance and would go after the stranger.

And I never had a dog I raised from a puppy that wasn't good with my own cats. Although they pestered the cats a lot as puppies, they got the idea that was a no-go pretty fast, partly from the cats and partly from me if they got too rambunctious. It wasn't an area where I worried about all-positive training. No, I'm not talking about yelling or hitting, but a squirt bottle (with some lemon juice mixed in if plain water didn't impress)? You bet.
My special needs cat likes playing with dogs should I discourage? Or just teach the puppy not to be too boisterous with the cat?
 

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Thank you!

I don’t think anyone will do more then try to steal something. Thank you!


I am looking for a dog who also looks “scary”. I thought with the personality of the breed being protective I have a higher chance of getting a dog who is

I think I will get a higher chance of it getting a long with cats if a get a puppy and it grows up with the cats, specially because of my special needs cat, she loves playing with my current dog and she sometimes jitters and walks weirdly. I don’t think shelters test their dogs if they are okay with being pounced on by a cat🤣


My special needs cat likes playing with dogs should I discourage? Or just teach the puppy not to be too boisterous with the cat?
I will make an addendum to my recommendation then. A Fila may still be a great fit, but do your research. A Fila with a strong breeding line will bond to those it is raised with (little kids and other animals in the home etc) but will absolutely attack any unknown threat to family or home. It’s called Ojeriza...... it’s considered a desired trait in the breed, and it means that you can have the dog for years, invite a friend over, and that dog will not allow that friend near the home, no matter how welcoming you are to them or whether they appear to be posing a threat. A Fila can’t have a casual encounter with a mailman or solicitor or anyone really at the house. They do ok outside of the home, but don’t let a stranger approach you even when outside on a leash. Their purpose in life is to defend their family and home, and will do so to the death if necessary.

You can’t board them, have friends “pet sit” etc. It’s a lifestyle change most aren’t willing to deal with.

An intimidating and vocal dog is likely a better choice for you, and most others. I had a doberman who loved everyone but as far as intimidation level they are pretty high on the list and probably a better option than a Fila
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will make an addendum to my recommendation then. A Fila may still be a great fit, but do your research. A Fila with a strong breeding line will bond to those it is raised with (little kids and other animals in the home etc) but will absolutely attack any unknown threat to family or home. It’s called Ojeriza...... it’s considered a desired trait in the breed, and it means that you can have the dog for years, invite a friend over, and that dog will not allow that friend near the home, no matter how welcoming you are to them or whether they appear to be posing a threat. A Fila can’t have a casual encounter with a mailman or solicitor or anyone really at the house. They do ok outside of the home, but don’t let a stranger approach you even when outside on a leash. Their purpose in life is to defend their family and home, and will do so to the death if necessary.

You can’t board them, have friends “pet sit” etc. It’s a lifestyle change most aren’t willing to deal with.

An intimidating and vocal dog is likely a better choice for you, and most others. I had a doberman who loved everyone but as far as intimidation level they are pretty high on the list and probably a better option than a Fila
I had a quick look at Fila and found out they are illegal in the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am now looking at:
  • Komondors (Might be too large)
  • Puli (too small I think)
  • Giant schnauzers
  • Standard poodles
  • Briard
  • Bouvier des flandres
  • Airdales
  • Apennezell mountain dog
 

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And I never had a dog I raised from a puppy that wasn't good with my own cats.
The thing is, it only takes one miniscule lapse for the dog to grab at the cat - maybe in play, maybe in predation, maybe just by reflex - and injure or kill the cat. No training is foolproof, and even if you're supervising the cat can be dead before you can intervene. We did have a dog kill a pet cat it had been raised with, just being playful. It was awful. I'm actually of a mind that people should only voluntarily invite cat and dog cohabitation if the dog is tiny, the dog is older and thoroughly disinterested in cats, or they're willing to risk sacrificing the cat. But that's not a popular view here.
 

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My special needs cat likes playing with dogs should I discourage? Or just teach the puppy not to be too boisterous with the cat?
My attitude is that cats are holy and not to be messed with under any circumstances. Dogs don't play with cats, they ignore them. Or else. Like puppy biting and chewing on hands, it takes months to instill that attitude, and it's harder with the kinds of dog you're interested in as they tend to have high prey drive.

I'm not sure what I'd do with a cat with problems such as you describe; it would really up the potential danger to the cat. I think I'd wait until the cat has passed on to get another dog, but obviously you have reasons for wanting another dog sooner. I think I might come up with a totally enclosed cat habitat or something like that. The problem there is you have to have all humans in the household willing and able to be careful about keeping doors closed.

The thing is, it only takes one miniscule lapse for the dog to grab at the cat - maybe in play, maybe in predation, maybe just by reflex - and injure or kill the cat. No training is foolproof, and even if you're supervising the cat can be dead before you can intervene.
I know of people who have had a similar experience with big dog/small dog in same household, and like you I've lost a cat to a dog, although in my case it was a dog that came to me as an adult to foster. What happened was absolutely my fault for not being careful enough, and I will never get over the guilt.

My last cat died before I got either of my current dogs, and while I miss having cats, it makes life much easier to not have to worry about them with large dogs that have high prey drive in the house.
 
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