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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about being a dog owner for the first time. I'm looking for a female dog/puppy that:

*is calm
*is quiet
*is smart
*loves water, boats/ships. beaches, and swimming (I want a swim buddy)
*is able to get along with a cat(she will be living with one cat)
*will like the taste of fish meats, seafood meats, and certain types of people foods
*most likely be living in an apartment
*has a deepish/scay sounding bark that can scare away potential muggers/attackers
*is capable of protecting/defending a 5ft 1in human
*can handle harsh winter/summer climates (I'll soon be living in the state of Minnesota)
*will be a good dog for someone in their 40s/50s
*is healthy
*is a good city dog breed
 

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Well, the protecting part kind of negates most of the other requirements. An actual personal protection dog is a LOT of dog. Even a bite sport dog is more dog than most people want or need.

On the other hand, it sounds like what you really want is a medium to large-ish dog that looks intimidating enough to deter the casual scary person (a serious scary person would probably just shoot the dog and be done with it). In which case, I'd suggest that you look for an adult black Labrador Retriever. They are big enough to be intimidating, research shows that black dogs "look" scarier than other colored dogs of the same breed/type, they have a big bark, Labs will (typically) eat any and everything, usually love swimming, and have dense, double coats.
 

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LeoRose is spot on about protection dogs. 99% of good pet dogs will make crappy protection dogs and vice versa (actual percentage made up, but realistic)

Look for water retrievers. Tend to not be animal aggresive, tend to like water, tend to be sturdy and medium size.

Labs are the most common probably.
Chesapeake Bay Retrivers, Portugeuese Water Dogs are other more rare options

A Standard Poodle with a black or brown coat cut in a hunting style cut (not "froo froo") is an often overlooked quality purebred option. From a breeder than works their dogs.
 

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I'd second the recommendation of a big black standard poodle or lab. A Newfoundland might also fit the bill. All of them can look intimidating and have a nice deep bark but are softies that are easy to live with. Poodle is probably the healthiest option of the three, Newfie the most chill, labs the easiest to find and to train. Of course, those are generalities, all dogs are individuals.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like the ideas of the standard poodle, the newfoundland, and the labrador. Since I'm squeamish about dog drool, which one drools the least? Are adult dogs easier to handle than puppies? And these can handle the harsh midwestern winter climates, correct? I hope they're not breeds that "chatter loudly".
 

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All dogs will drool some, generally when they are about to eat a meal or treat. The floppier the lips and jaw area, the more drool tends to drip. So dogs like Boxers, St Bernards and Newfies are more drooly than dogs like Poodles, most terriers. Labs are probably mid-range.

Puppies are like toddlers. They have higher energy than their adult counterparts of the same breed, shorter attention spans, need to use the potty more often and tend to explore the world with their mouths (chewing) and get themselves into trouble. They can be a blast and a hoot but they are more work than an adult dog who has some basic training.

My thought is that an adult standard poodle from a good breeder (research required!!!!) such as one that didn't quite fit the bill for showing or maybe not quite up to the task of hunting etc, maybe one that needs rehoming due to no fault of its own (owner passed away, deployed with military, went to nursing home, has financial issues etc-- many rehomes have nothing to do with the dog) maybe 2-4 years of age.
That will get you a full grown dog with a known temperament, able to participate in exercise but able to be alone at home without destroying it.

With proper booties and jacket and an indoor home, most any breed can handle winter even in the upper Midwest.
 

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You've already received some great suggestions!

Newfoundlands are horrible droolers, you probably wouldn't want one if you don't like drool! Neither poodles or labs are overly drooly unless you're holding something delicious.

An adult dog will be easier to handle than a puppy. Puppies are coming to you completely untrained and without basic manners. That means you will have to train things such as leash manners, potty training, not jumping up on people, not play biting, and all of the other things! An adult dog likely has some manners and is not nearly as crazy as a puppy! Adults can still have behavioral issues, don't get me wrong, but they usually have more experience living with humans than puppies do!

All of those dogs can do quite well in midwestern climates. You should still monitor them closely in the -30 temps and -50 windchill, though! It's usually their feet that succumb first to the cold, so investing in a set of dog booties can help them last longer for outdoor exercise. I live in North Dakota and own an Aussie/Collie mix with a thick wintertime coat, and usually when the temps fall into the "incredibly frigid" range, he's not too happy to be outside very long.
 

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I live in interior Alaska and my poodle loves the winter. I don't even put booties on him, honestly, let alone a jacket. I just let him get extra fuzzy.

Someone ran the Iditarod with a team of Standard Poodles once. It was a sort of a stunt but they did finish the race.
 

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Oh, for clarification, I mostly suggest booties for city sidewalks due to the salt. Not the snow itself

I've done 2 hour walks in a foot of snow (yes, not deep by northern standards but the temperature of snow is the same at 12 inches as at 24) with no booties and the short coated dogs never minded at all.
A short city walk with some road salt and their feet are red and they limp.

I used to put a coat on my old male dog with thick but short fur at about 5-10 degrees out for leisurely walks or for icy rain. Brisk walks or runs, basically no need above zero.
Our winters here are not super cold but they have weird ice and sleet bouts that are worse than plain old snow.

(The pit bull demands a sweater at the bitter chill of 40, 45 degrees. She's delicate like that, lol)
 

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On the Schnauzer......I'd suggest either the Standard or the Giant.

The Mini only gets to about 15 lbs as an adult.

I walk my mini-schnauzer 3X each day. Last winter there were 2 days when we did not go out. Both days had windchill in the -40 to -50 F range. Otherwise, no coat but I do use booties below 20F.
 

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Of course all dogs are individuals, but I would not get any of the three schnauzer types expecting them to get along with cats. Schnauzers have a pretty high prey drive and standard and giant schnauzers are big enough to easily hurt or kill a cat.

My boy was as gentle as a lamb with humans and other dogs, but considered all other animals lunch.
 

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I'm thinking about being a dog owner for the first time. I'm looking for a female dog/puppy that:

*is calm
*is quiet
*is smart
*loves water, boats/ships. beaches, and swimming (I want a swim buddy)
*is able to get along with a cat(she will be living with one cat)
*will like the taste of fish meats, seafood meats, and certain types of people foods
*most likely be living in an apartment
*has a deepish/scay sounding bark that can scare away potential muggers/attackers
*is capable of protecting/defending a 5ft 1in human
*can handle harsh winter/summer climates (I'll soon be living in the state of Minnesota)
*will be a good dog for someone in their 40s/50s
*is healthy
*is a good city dog breed
Rottweiler’s are the best !!!
 

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I have and love Rottweilers but I wouldn't recommend one to someone with the OP's list of wishes. They're a breed with a high risk of orthopedic problems (yes, even from good breeders and even with parents and grandparents that have had all their health clearances). Some are calm, but many are high energy and have high prey drive that would make them iffy with a cat. Not all love water. None of mine have. They aren't automatically protective. Again, none of mine have been. They love any and all people and I'm sure would follow a burglar around wiggling with joy.

I'm less sure they all would ignore a physical attack on me, but I wouldn't want to stake my life on the reaction of any of them. Because of the breed's reputation, they do intimidate non-dog people, but the Akitas I had years ago did that better because they were standoffish. Not that an Akita would suit the OP either. I don't know many other breeds well enough to make a recommendation, but I do think that's an optimistic wish list.
 
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