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Discussion Starter #1
Glad I discovered this great forum! We're looking to add to our family which currently includes myself, my wife, and our 7 year old brittany/king charles cavalier mix (looks like a big cavalier, acts mostly like a brittany and athletic like a brittany).

We both are self-employed, and are going into business together. The new puppy, and our current dog, will be with us (leashed) at our new place of business with dozens of customers in and out every day.

What we're looking for
-Medium to large size (40-80lbs)

-Other dog friendly. Our current girl will definitely assert her position as queen of the castle, and we plan to get a young puppy for this reason, so his place in the pack will be well established from a young age.

-Protective instincts. My wife has taken to trail running and I can't go with her every day. When we do go together, I'm astounded at the number of single creepy guys out on all the trails, and should one threaten her, I'd like the dog to respond instinctively to his pack being threatened. Likewise, she may be opening our business by herself at 5am, so I'd like her walking into work not to look like an easy target.

-Looks like he means business (see above ... ideally creep will just see dog and say ehhh why risk it) ... basically not a lab/golden/beagle/etc

-Short or medium hair (no longer than golden retriever/chessie) ... ruling out something like a Puli or Komondor

-Energetic and athletic enough for a daily 3-5 mile run (not as a puppy, of course), but energetic not to the extent that they'll be bouncing off the walls even after the run -- as an adult... expect some exuberance as a puppy.

-(related) must be sufficiently heat and cold tolerant for 30 min runs in all 4 seasons of mid-Atlantic weather ... so usually 20-90 degrees.

-Intelligent and perceptive. In other words, while we want him to be protective, he will be at our place of business regularly exposed to dozens of people often (though we can begin this from a young age). We'll want him to be friendly or at a minimum aloof, and not threatening toward our customers. That said, don't want him to become so used to others -- particularly at home, so perhaps less of an issue? -- that he never thinks to protect his family, either.


Dogs we're considering currently, though would love to hear about others or hear thoughts on the below:
-Chessie
-Rhodesian Ridgeback
-Doberman

Any thoughts or suggestions? He'll get plenty of attention and exercise, and we're moderately experienced dog owners -- our current girl has the typical brittany stubbornness :)

Thanks!
 

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My only suggestion is to get a male, since you have what sounds like a very dominant female. I wouldn't count on age to establish any "order" once that dog reaches maturity. Fights between females are not pretty.
 

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Dobermänner can be pretty sentitive, perhaps a more stable temperament would be more your taste. they also need a lot(!) of exercise and mental stimulation. they also often come with high territorial drive, which can be not so well if it is meant to be an office dog.
they're also not very tolerant to too much cold... because of their short coat.
I'd suggest a black, male lab. they can be pretty bulky, but they're generally not too territorial.
one of the Bully breeds (American bull terrier, english staffordshire bullterrier) could also work, when you can provide the necessary exercise and are okay with terrier temperament.
they can be very people friendly, but people often will keep their distance. which is exactly what you want, I suppose.
there could be also a problem with the cold though. perhaps think of getting them a dog coat in winter.

A majority of dogs of all kind of breeds want to protect their family if they feel their loved ones are in danger. from little chis over poofy poodle to giant fluffy Rottweiler, there is a potential in all of them that they want to protect a family member. with some it has more consequenses for the "attacker".
 

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In reading your post, I'm struck by the dichotomy of wanting a dog that will be able to interact well and be comfortable with dozens of customers a day (and presumably one that will not scare off your customers) and a dog that looks like he means "business" and will scare off creepy guys.
 

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I would personally suggest a black Lab. Big black dogs look like they mean business, but a Lab would be more likely to be friendly to both your current dog and your customers.

Most of the time, just the presence or bark of a dog is enough to ward of intruders; it's probably far more important that your dog isn't a liability - so stranger selective there's a chance of a bite, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
In reading your post, I'm struck by the dichotomy of wanting a dog that will be able to interact well and be comfortable with dozens of customers a day (and presumably one that will not scare off your customers) and a dog that looks like he means "business" and will scare off creepy guys.
Probably should've clarified. By "means business" what I really mean is won't lick you to death and show you where all the valuables are hidden should you break into the house. Basically not be a breed that is well known to be ultra friendly to strangers.

In terms of being friendly w/ customers, that's where intelligence comes into play and knowing when a situation calls for more guarding.
 

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Probably should've clarified. By "means business" what I really mean is won't lick you to death and show you where all the valuables are hidden should you break into the house. Basically not be a breed that is well known to be ultra friendly to strangers.

In terms of being friendly w/ customers, that's where intelligence comes into play and knowing when a situation calls for more guarding.
so what do you do if you've got a customer with a seemingly dangerous bodylanguage.
you can't just turn protection drive on and off.
you can try to train a dog being more reserved aorund strangers, but you can't train them to be so open protectiove behaviour in one situation and a little fluffball in the next and expect this to be reliable in my opinion.

i still think a black, male lab would be a good fit for you. they can look very intimidating, but they're people friendly. you can train them to not bulldozer every human being with their love and you have a dog that is not so likely to decide for themself that they should protect you.
 
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I feel like a German Shepherd would be great for this situation for obvious reasons. They can be extremely protective and, since they are known as police dogs, can look very intimidating. They're on the large side and have a medium coat.

Maybe even consider and Affenpinscher. The only reason I didn't suggest that breed first is simply because the hair can get quite long and requires a little bit of grooming (my Nysha in my avatar is an Affenpinscher; we only had to shave her every 2 months though, we never shaved her in the winter, which was when the photo was taken). But they are very protective and love exercise. My Nysha was 11 and still acted liked she was 3 because she was so energetic. Affenpinschers don't necessarily look tough, but I know my dog scared away a lot of creeps from me when I would go for walks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I feel like a German Shepherd would be great for this situation for obvious reasons. They can be extremely protective and, since they are known as police dogs, can look very intimidating. They're on the large side and have a medium coat.

Maybe even consider and Affenpinscher. The only reason I didn't suggest that breed first is simply because the hair can get quite long and requires a little bit of grooming (my Nysha in my avatar is an Affenpinscher; we only had to shave her every 2 months though, we never shaved her in the winter, which was when the photo was taken). But they are very protective and love exercise. My Nysha was 11 and still acted liked she was 3 because she was so energetic. Affenpinschers don't necessarily look tough, but I know my dog scared away a lot of creeps from me when I would go for walks.
Thanks for the input. I spoke with a few GSD owners, and one breeder -- about GSDs, Belgian and Dutch shepherds as well. The overwhelming consensus was that a GSD/shepherds in general would probably not tolerate a dominant smaller dog (she's about 30-32lbs) very well.
 

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Thanks for the input. I spoke with a few GSD owners, and one breeder -- about GSDs, Belgian and Dutch shepherds as well. The overwhelming consensus was that a GSD/shepherds in general would probably not tolerate a dominant smaller dog (she's about 30-32lbs) very well.
depends on the individual dog of course, but I can see this being a problem. I met a few Schäfis that took politeness very serious.
 
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You might want to check out a Tri Colored Male Smooth Collie. Smoothie males are around 60-75 lbs. Because of the short hair, most people don't readily identify them as a Lassie dog and the darker color and size makes them intimidating. They are protective, but in a more passive aggressive way. They're more likely to stand between you and danger and bark at it vs bite anybody. But when a 75lb dog is barking at ya, it's enough to back down most people. Nobody came onto my property without me knowing about. Nobody got close to me, when I was out walking one of mine at night either. I had more than one occasion where a guy (who would have scared me if I was out walking by myself) crossed the street to get away from us.

I had two 11 year old Cairn Terriers, when I decided to add a Smoothie, Oz, to my household. The female Cairn, Maddie, was pretty curmudgeonly and not a big fan of other dogs. She tolerated my other male Cairn at best. My friends thought getting another dog would be a huge mistake. I spent a good year researching breeds, to try and make sure I got a good fit for me as well as the Cairns. And that's why I went with a Collie, who are known for their gentle nature and a male. Maddie fell instantly in love with Oz and the male Cairn, Murph, did too within a week. I also had a friend with a female Jack Russell, who hated all other dogs, that loved Oz too.

They're generally very friendly around people and other animals and have a fairly calm and gentle nature. And it seems like most other dogs can tell they're not a threat and respond in kind.

They have a moderate energy level. They can keep up on a 3-5 mile run, but are not what I would call hyper and will be happy to snooze next to you in the house when nothing's going on. I think they'd do fine in a business environment, because past puppy hood, I just don't see them bouncing off the walls or jumping on customers. I could see'em goosing a customer in the butt with their nose though, left to their own devices. :) But they're easy to train, so appropriate manners around customers wouldn't be that difficult to train I don't think.

Here's a general list of what I think their pros and cons are:

Pros: So smart, easy to train, versatile, protective but not aggressive, emphatic, attuned to you and your feelings and environment. They're very observant, so they will let you know when anything's amiss. My two, had quite a few of their own versions of Lassie, "Timmy in the well", moments over the years. Reliable off leash. Very bonded to you and home, so not prone to try and escape. Very clean dogs, making them very easy to house train. I live in a very hot climate and also am not big on having a dog that needs a lot of grooming. So the short hair of the Smoothie was a huge plus for me. My two, loved it when it snowed here one year, but they seemed to handle the heat okay too.

Drawbacks: They will bark to communicate and it's loud and shrill, so I don't think they make good apt dogs. "Quiet" is a very essential command with them. They do shed. I think it's considered moderate, but coming from low shedding Cairns, it always seemed like a lot to me. They can be a lil' timid, so lots of socialization as a puppy is very important to make sure you end up with a confident adult dog.

Oh and let me just add, I requested a middle of the road puppy in temperament too from the breeder. Not the most dominant or submissive from the litter. I think that helps, especially if you've already got a dog in the family that's dominant.
 

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Thanks for the input. I spoke with a few GSD owners, and one breeder -- about GSDs, Belgian and Dutch shepherds as well. The overwhelming consensus was that a GSD/shepherds in general would probably not tolerate a dominant smaller dog (she's about 30-32lbs) very well.
I know a few people whose min pins and chihuahuas are totally in charge of larger dogs living in the same households - GSDs and a rottweiler. It all depends on personalities.

By the way, how does your dog demonstrate her dominance?
 

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I have a 65 lb. black pit/boxer/lab mix that looks "pit" enough and sounds vicious enough (though I don't think he'd actually hurt anyone, he puts on a good show!) that I'm pretty sure no one would try to mess with me when we're out together.

I have a 100 lb. black lab/??? mix (not sure what he's mixed up with, but he's not overweight at all and weighs an honest 102 lbs. on the vet's scale, head is about hip height on me). He doesn't have to do anything but be present and people respect his size. He's also wary of many strangers (especially some men) and sounds downright terrifying when he's "warning" them. I've had people come to my place who won't get out of the car because of him. Unfortunately he's getting on in years now and isn't quite as able to strike terror into the hearts of strangers, but I've enjoyed having him here since I live alone.

My Australian Shepherd would welcome anyone in that offers to show him some love. A watch/guard dog he is not!

I'd honestly look for a black, male, lab MIX (maybe with Boxer, Pit, Dobie, or GSD). I don't know about where you are, but where I live there are scads of Lab/Pit puppies born every freaking day it seems. I think it's a pretty good combo, and mine (which also has Boxer) gets along fantastic with all of my other animals (dogs, cats, and horses) and even my neighbor's dogs that try to start fights with him. He just doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body, but he can appear and sound intimidating in some situations (usually involving strange men).

Just a thought!
 

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I've noticed a very specific lab mix "type" that I see all the time. I have one, lab mixed with maybe pit, border collie, terrier, a few others. She's pretty much a smaller medium sized (~40lbs) black dog that acts like a lab with family and other well known people (very loving, crazy about water), but is weary of strangers and has taken as much as a few years to really warm up to new people. She's crazy smart and sensitive and has loved jogging the few times I've taken her. Because she has the double lab coat I've never seen her bothered by the cold- she's still ready to chase balls and sticks into the long island bay and ocean well through fall and into early winter.

Personally I think she's the perfect family dog- not quite a velcro dog but very aware of where her family is at all times. She's naturally protective of us and our new puppy as well and usually will express it with a low growl or short bark that she'll stop with a firm "quiet". When people come into her house she'll hang back and watch but isn't overly excited about it. I think her personality would translate well to a dog that was able to hang out in a busy storefront but also be intimidating/not lick invaders to death/give a good warning bark at home if you wanted her to. I have no doubt she'd protect her people and our other dog with all she has if she ever needed to.

Also, these black mutt type dogs are both very common and very slow to move through shelters, probably because they're not as "fun" looking/colorful/more intimidating than a lot of other mutts. They really need people rooting for them. Personally, once I have a family, I'd rather have one of these mutts that are a little less everybody's best friend than a purebred happy go lucky lab.

I'd say:
- look for a double coated mix for weather resistance
- maybe shoot for an older puppy that will give you a better idea of how big it will be as an adult or one with semi-known parentage
- IMO getting an older puppy and getting right to intense training might help with some of the conflicting things you want out of your dog; for example I would guess an 8 month old puppy will be able to figure out and retain that, for example, it's allowed to bark at home but not at the store or stuff like that (plus the younger black lab mixes are the ones that usually go from shelters, the older ones stay there well past when a lot of others dogs are adopted out)
- get a male to go with the female you have (I found two females to have been a nightmare when my first two females; the second time has worked better but thats because my lab mix is really good with other dogs, unless your girl is as well I'd look for a male)
 

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My Australian Shepherd would welcome anyone in that offers to show him some love. A watch/guard dog he is not!
Mine is like this too! He'd invite you in and offer you some refreshments and show you where we keep the valuables.
 

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Just something about a Chessie is that they can be pretty kid intolerant as well as just have bad attitudes. Being from Maryland (on the Chesapeake Bay actually) it seems like everyone and their mother's brother owns one and from my experience this seems to be the majority not the minority.

Giant Schnauzer's are one of my favorite "protection" dogs. They were used as guard dogs for butchers and distillery's in the past, now they are used as police dogs (since WWI). With a traditional Schnauzer cut you could eliminate the hair.

The AKC Standard calls him "a bold and valiant figure of a dog -- amiable in repose and a commanding figure when aroused."
Giant Schnauzer Club of America — The American Kennel Club® parent club for the breed. Founded 1962.
 
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