What type of dog fits my lifestyle?

Halee.R

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#1
I've been looking at dog breeds for quite awhile trying to see which one fits me/my lifestyle the best, and i guess i need some help choosing.
I've figured out what i want in a dog, but after looking at some dog breeds, i don't think any breeds fit what i want. I'm not that experienced with dogs and training them, so I think dogs like Rottweilers might be kinda difficult for me. But yet, I want a dog who is wary with strangers. I'm not that fond of those friendly to everybody breeds like Golden Retrievers.

I want a dog that is vigilant and bark and size alone will restrain intruders. So my problem is, i like the big vigilant intimidating dogs, but yet i'm a novice and experienced dog owners and trainers say that a novice shouldn't own those type of dogs because they are assertive and strong willed. This got me stuck in the mud because i wouldn't be that comfortable owning and controlling a strong willed dominant breed. So now i don't know which breed would fit me because i want a big, vigilant, intimidating dog........(i don't know about an attack guard dog) but i'm not experienced, and a dog like a Rottweiler would probably be too challenging for me. So i'm confused with that part.:confused:

Shedding doesn't matter to me, I'm willing to groom but not too much. I like velcro dogs and I'd prefer a more easily trainable dog.

I've looked at quite a few dog breeds but i can't find any that fit me.:( Could you guys help me out?? Do you know of any breeds that fit this?

I've most often considered either a Bernese Mountain dog, or a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, but a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog might be a little challenging too. What do you think?
 
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#2
I'm posting just to bump this back up, I know when your threads get caught in moderation they tend to fall behind and not get seen.
 

crazedACD

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#3
From what you are describing..I'd almost think chow. They are pretty easy to housebreak, not horribly destructive, etc. They are somewhat independent and are happy doing their own thing. Their people usually love them. But...your average chow is not going to be social. They do not typically appreciate strangers..dog parks, boarding kennels, social events...you may have to put one away when friends and family come to visit. A lot of groomers won't groom them. They shouldn't be over the top aggressive but definitely wary of strangers.
 
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#4
Perhaps a more mellow mastiff type, such as a bullmastiff? I don't have any experience with them, personally, so i don't know how dominant/assertive they are. Akitas are very cool, stranger-aloof dogs, too, but they can be tricky to train because they don't exactly jump to please you.

Be aware that a guarding breed without structure/training can be a liability. Whatever you get, make sure to socialize, and you should probably take a few training classes with them so that someone with more experience can teach you to teach your dog. Woth the socialization, even if you don't want an outgoing dog, it is important they have that exposure so that they know they don't have to guard you against friendly strangers. Guardians need confidence, and that comes from experience in the world. JMO.
 
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#5
To be perfectly honest a big, guard-type breed isn't the only type that will give you what you are looking for. A medium sized dog can also meet what you are looking for. For example I have a standard poodle. Very friendly, extremely easy to train but will bark when someone comes onto our property and will continue until I say it's OK & greet the person. Also, a black dog is more intimidating looking. I can remember one time when I woke up to hear my dogs barking at the sliding door - I knew by the bark that there was a stranger at the door. When I looked it was a deputy sheriff. He came to see if I had seen or heard anything the night before because a street over had a couple of break-ins. He said they were warning everyone to make sure to keep their doors locked but that he was sure that wasn't necessary for me with my barkers! He was surprised how friendly they were once I had greeted him & told them it was OK.

While I agree with the prior post about Chows I wouldn't recommend the breed for a novice. I personally think they need a someone with experience with their type of personality.
 
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#6
I have a 25 lb black ball of fluff, and I see people cross to the other side of the street when I'm walking her. You don't need an overly large dog to deter people.
 

HayleyMarie

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#7
Why not go to the local shelter and look at some medium to largeish black dogs, I've found no matter what the breed or mix if the dog is black people will make sure to stay out of that dogs way.
 

*blackrose

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#8
If you want a dog for intimidation...any large, dark, "scary" looking dog will do the trick. Also, from my experience, even breeds that are "friendly" can definitely have a watch dog type instinct and by very intimidating to something they deem unnatural.

Honestly, especially if you are interested in Bernese Mountain Dogs, I would look into Newfoundlands. They are large, dark, intimidating looking dogs. They LOVE their people and are typically very friendly dogs. Since they are so large, training is an absolute must to make sure they don't get out of control, but I wouldn't call them a breed that needs an experienced dog owner.

Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, Leonberger (maybe? Don't know much about them), Great Dane, Mastiff, Bullmastiff...you just have to remember that a larger a dog is, the more important basic training is. A 10 pound dog pulling on a leash or jumping up on people isn't that big of a deal, but a 150 pound dog pulling on the leash or jumping is dangerous.

Also, I wouldn't discount adopting an adult dog from a shelter. Then you will have an exact idea of what the dog's temperament is like, you don't have to worry about everything you have to worry about with a puppy, and you'll know if the dog will be a good fit for you or not.

If you don't have any dog-experience, it would be a very good idea with any breed you get to attend training classes in order to help you start off on the right foot. If you are willing to do that and read up on how to raise/train/socialize a dog, then you should be a step ahead of most people that get a dog and have no idea what they are doing.
 

Sit Stay

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#9
I think I'd be inclined to look for a rescue, in this instance! I would think any black medium to large dog would do as far as looking intimidating, and in the case of getting an adult rescue you have a little more insight into their temperament and personality so you can pick one that is more "beginner friendly" and suitable for your lifestyle. Not to mention that big black dogs have a lower adoption rate, so you'd probably be helping out a life big time :)
 

Dizzy

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#10
What exercise level can you offer? Are you home a lot? Do you have kids or plan to have kids? Do you live in a city or countryside? Do you plan on learning to train or joining a club?

How can we tell you what fits your lifestyle if you haven't described what that lifestyle is? ;)
 

Freehold

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#11
Silly thought, but a Wolfhound is huge, is gentle to most, but can be stranger-wary, not super hard to train (though their teen period can be fun...), and definitely intimidating to anyone with bad intentions. They are not guard dogs by any means, but most will bark when someone comes to the door or up the driveway. They are also super loyal to their person/people and would defend bravely if in a dangerous situation.

It's not the breed for everybody, but might be something worth looking at. They are good with kids, other dogs, and often smaller animals like cats (though some lines are more prey-driven than others). They need a good run here and there, but are not terribly active dogs. Their biggest flaw is that they are short-lived :(

Anyway, just an idea.
 

Halee.R

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#12
LOL, I forgot to mention how much exercise i can offer! :O I would say, moderate amount. I'm not overly active, I prefer taking long walks instead of jogging.
 

*blackrose

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#14
Thank you all for helping. : ) I'm going to do some research on Newfoundlands. :)
They really are great dogs. I would just stress the basic obedience while they are puppies - seems like most that come in for grooming are complete and total IDIOTS (loving, slobbering idiots, but still idiots) because their owners never taught them any manners. So we get to deal with a 100+ pound puppy that acts like it is still eight weeks old. No fun. Their exercise requirement would probably be about what you want, too.
 

Halee.R

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#16
Newfs look pretty cool but, from what I've read, they seem to be the top shedders and droolers, along with being a poor watch dog. Those are some cons i guess. : (
 

JessLough

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#17
To be perfectly honest a big, guard-type breed isn't the only type that will give you what you are looking for. A medium sized dog can also meet what you are looking for.
That. I have a GSD/BC mix, she's about 40lbs, and the sweetest thing EVAR. Yet, people cross the road when they see us coming ;) She also is a good guard in the sense she barks if somebody is coming, and will rush the door when they come in. I'd say anything over 30lbs, darker coloured with prick ears would do the job :p

Also, people are less likely to break in if you have a dog(s) rather than if you don't. Dogs make enough noise that it's easier to just go to the next house without one, no matter what the dog looks like.
 

*blackrose

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Newfs look pretty cool but, from what I've read, they seem to be the top shedders and droolers, along with being a poor watch dog. Those are some cons i guess. : (
They do shed and they do drool, but from what I've seen about them they'll bark at the door. Heck, even Labs bark at the door. And no, they aren't going to eat whoever is at the door...but anyone who is stupid enough to take on a 100+ big black dog isn't really going to care if the dog has a bite to back up the bark, just IMO.

We have a Bernese Mountain Dog that boards quite frequently, and if I'm walking him alone outside in the yard and he sees any men walk by on the road he postures and woofs at them. He is the friendliest dog in the world and he would make a horrible "guard" dog in the sense that he would get physical with someone, but he is sure as heck imposing.
 

Halee.R

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They do shed and they do drool, but from what I've seen about them they'll bark at the door. Heck, even Labs bark at the door. And no, they aren't going to eat whoever is at the door...but anyone who is stupid enough to take on a 100+ big black dog isn't really going to care if the dog has a bite to back up the bark, just IMO.

We have a Bernese Mountain Dog that boards quite frequently, and if I'm walking him alone outside in the yard and he sees any men walk by on the road he postures and woofs at them. He is the friendliest dog in the world and he would make a horrible "guard" dog in the sense that he would get physical with someone, but he is sure as heck imposing.
I guess I'm not really looking for an actual guard dog, so I don't mind if a Newfoundland isn't a guard dog, I'm looking for a vigilant watch dog and when I read that most Newfies make poor watch dogs not alerting anything new, that was a little of a draw back. But besides that, I could probably put up with hair and drool. (I'm not a neat freak :p)

Are Berners good watch dogs? Better than a Newf?
 

javadoo

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I have labs (I know, not the scariest breed...lol).
One of my girls is very protective and she alerts me to anyone pulling into my driveway, people walking by the house (we live in a very rural area-so this is a good thing) or shady people(handy because I walk my girls at the park alone).
She will raise her hackles and she has a nasty bark. She's also a big, blocky chocolate girl-so she's darker. Someone actually told me she looked mean...lol
I totally encourage her protective tendencies and reward them. She is a very friendly dog-but she's always very alert and aware of her surroundings and other people/animals. I have no doubt she would protect me if it was necessary/

She also alerts on animals in our yard-coyotes, foxes and recently a big black bear outside our windows.
 
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