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Discussion Starter #1
Hello friends,

Wishing all of you a happy new year. My partner and I live in Houston, TX. We are moving from an apartment to a country home in the area, i.e. a home with plenty of land.

The weather in Houston, TX is moderate/cool in the winters and hot and occasionally humid in the summers.

We both have kept Dogs in the past, and are ready to start keeping them when we move into our new home.

I was wondering if you could suggest a breed that:

1) Enjoys being indoors and outdoors - we will have about 5 acres of land.

2) Is a good guard dog, i.e. can alert us when strangers are around. This is very important, as we will not have a lot of family living with us, so we need to be aware of our surroundings

3) Is friendly with other Dogs, that we may get in the future, and maybe horses

4) Is loyal and friendly to his keepers and welcome guests, e.g. friends, family who visit.

If you have any suggestions to share, please do so. They will be welcome.

Thank you, I appreciate it.
Oxonian
 

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It sounds like you might be interested in a flock guardian breed, but they are not first time dogs (I don't know your dog experience). Also, two of the things below are a bit conflicting.

2) Is a good guard dog, i.e. can alert us when strangers are around. This is very important, as we will not have a lot of family living with us, so we need to be aware of our surroundings

4) Is loyal and friendly to his keepers and welcome guests, e.g. friends, family who visit.
If you want a guard dog, it sounds like you want one wary of strangers. He won't be able to tell if a stranger is a burglar or Cousin Ted and Aunt Marie who only visit on Thanksgiving. This is not to say that dogs like this will attack all people indiscriminately, but it probably wouldn't be safe to have surprise guests the dog does not know. They can be ok with people you introduce them to, but a dog that's used to guarding his property isn't the kind of dog that greets new people with wiggles and kisses. So I think you just need to clarify exactly what it is you want.

However, if you want an outdoor dog that will guard your property and you have a good deal of dog experience, and access to a trainer if need be, I think a flock guardian like Great Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepherd might be a good choice. Both are also being found in shelters more often now because people get them as pets but they need a job like guard a property like yours. I do suggest you do more research on breeds like this first. @timber has a good deal of Livestock Guardian breed experience so maybe she can have some input on this and tell you more about them.
 

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Just about any dog will alert bark if something is up or a person is around. Even my outgoing, friendly dane. And her size intimidates most too. What size dog do you want? Hair type? Do you mind grooming? How much grooming do you want? Some of the things you list are an individual dog thing. Friendly to friends and family has a lot to do with socialization. Same with other animals. At least to a point.
 

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I agree with annageckos that it sounds like you want a dog to alert you to welcome or unwelcome visitors rather than a guard dog.

There are quite a few breeds that would fit the criteria listed above (changing "guard" to "alert"). To help narrow it down, a little more information is needed.

What are your size requirements?
How much exercise and training can you provide?
How much grooming do you want to do?
Is there anything you'd like to do with your dog (e.g., agility, rally, camping, hiking, running)?
How trainable and attentive do you want your dog to be?
What breeds do you have experience with?

As an alternative, you could find an adult dog that meets your requirements in a local shelter or rescue.
 

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1) Enjoys being indoors and outdoors - we will have about 5 acres of land.

Pretty much every dog. Some dogs that bond extremely strongly are going to want to be by their human first and foremost, but all dogs are going to be drawn to outside first. Some dogs that have a hard time staying warm like tiny breeds may balk at outdoors when it is cool, let alone cold. But it's a temperature preference not an inside/outside thing.

3) Is friendly with other Dogs, that we may get in the future, and maybe horses

Some breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier, their kin, and mixes, can have dog aggression issues. Note many are totally fine with other dogs, but a small percent aren't. Other than that, pretty much every breed or mix should be friendly with other dogs (some individuals raised in isolation or who had a scary experience may be the exception, but this is at the individual level not breed level)


2) Is a good guard dog, i.e. can alert us when strangers are around. This is very important, as we will not have a lot of family living with us, so we need to be aware of our surroundings

4) Is loyal and friendly to his keepers and welcome guests, e.g. friends, family who visit.


These are a bit of a contradiction. Welcoming to guests but alert of strangers? Well guests/family that the dog has never met ARE STRANGERS.

You really have a few options here.

#1 get a dog that is loving of everyone, but also loves to bark, so you'll know when someone arrives.

#2 get a dog that is moderately reserved around people he doesn't know well (which is most dogs) they will get to know and accept the family/friends that visit often, especially after the owner makes it clear those people are fine.

#3 get a dog that generally doesn't care much. He'll not greet strangers be they friends or family, will just do his own thing. I think a lot of sighthound breeds fall into this category.

I think option #2 is probably your best bet.

Finally there are a few big truths I need to bring up.

First, dogs are very adaptable creatures. You can teach a golden retreiver to herd sheep (won't do it as good as a border collie but still) you can teach a Great Dane to retrieve ducks (again, won't swim as strong as a labrador, nor be as 'go get em' about it, but can absolutely be trained to do it)

Yes, be somewhat aware of breed tendencies (some breeds are more barkers than others some like retrieving breeds tend to like water more, etc) but don't get too hung up on it.

Second, even once you pick the 'perfect breed', dog breeds aren't like cereal boxes, where you face Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, and Wheaties...where you decide which is best for you and then go get a box knowing that all Cheerios are going to be the same. If you think German Shepherd, Poodle, Labrador, and then decide on one, each individual dog breeder is creating something unique and different. Getting a lab that is bred to be the best hunting dog ever doesn't mesh with a family, and getting a lab that is the best family dog ever will disappoint a hunter...who would get better results from poodles bred to hunt than from a lab bred to be a family pet.


That being said...

Some of the places that dog breed matters is size and other physical characteristics, and some of those are related to how well a dog can handle the heat.

I think a Rhodesian Ridgeback is worth a look. It does well outdoors, does well in hot climates, and is a moderate toward strangers. Note, some will try and say they are super brave super dogs because they 'were once used to hunt lions'...take that with a huge grain of salt. Even if that was true, the dog of today is very different temperament wise. It's really very similar to most 'general purpose farm and hunting dog' just one that developed in hotter climates.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hello friends,

Thank you for your replies, I appreciate them. To answer some of the questions above:

1) We want a Dog that had moderate to low grooming, i.e. one that needs to be groomed once every two weeks or so. As opposed to a breed that needs to be groomed daily.

2) The property will have plenty of land and also an enclosed backyard. So, if there is a breed recommendation that is ok off leash, that will be great. Of course, we do not want the Dog to wander off, but there will be fencing on the outer perimeter of the property

3) My partner and I will be at work durin the day about 4-5 days a week, so the Dog will be home for 6-8 hours a day for about 3-4 days a week. This is an important consideration because we do not want the Dog to get depressed etc.

4) I guess the correct term, as suggested by akodo1, another user on the forum, is an alert Dog, as opposed to a guard Dog. One that "get a dog that is moderately reserved around people he doesn't know well (which is most dogs) they will get to know and accept the family/friends that visit often, especially after the owner makes it clear those people are fine'

5) We want the Dog to be intelligent, e.g. be able to alert us at night when we are sleeping, and trainable to a good degree.

6) A medium or large sized Dog, e.g. a Labrador, would be fine, as opposed to a Great Dane

My partner and I are patient and willing to work with the dog

I hope this is useful information. Please let me know if I can provide additional information.

Thanks,
Oxonian
 

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2) The property will have plenty of land and also an enclosed backyard. So, if there is a breed recommendation that is ok off leash, that will be great. Of course, we do not want the Dog to wander off, but there will be fencing on the outer perimeter of the property

3) My partner and I will be at work durin the day about 4-5 days a week, so the Dog will be home for 6-8 hours a day for about 3-4 days a week. This is an important consideration because we do not want the Dog to get depressed etc.

4) I guess the correct term, as suggested by akodo1, another user on the forum, is an alert Dog, as opposed to a guard Dog. One that "get a dog that is moderately reserved around people he doesn't know well (which is most dogs) they will get to know and accept the family/friends that visit often, especially after the owner makes it clear those people are fine'

5) We want the Dog to be intelligent, e.g. be able to alert us at night when we are sleeping, and trainable to a good degree.
Wandering and staying within your property has nothing to do with a dog's breed, and all to do with training. Some dogs do tend to wander more, but all untrained dogs will likely wander and explore all over new and interesting places. So that's something that isn't breed specific and you just need to work with the dog so they listen.

I really have to say there aren't many dogs I've met that don't alert bark when they see strangers or strange animals on their property, so I'm not sure if your search will be that difficult. You probably want a dog that's in the middle between super friendly and aloof and uninterested.

You said you want a dog that's intelligent, but honestly I don't think you do. Dogs don't have to be smart to alert you do noises, that's an inherent thing in most breeds, and some "slow" dogs are still like to alert bark. All dogs are trainable too, but some breeds like hound dogs are more stubborn or harder to train than others. It's just that intelligent breeds--Your Border Collies, Dobermans, Weimeraners, etc. have LOTS of energy and typically don't do well without an active job. They would probably get bored just sitting around all day outside and go explore and find something more fun to do. Intelligent dogs don't do well spending lots of time alone either. So you probably actually want a dog that's more of moderate or even slower intelligence. And due to your schedule it would be best to adopt an adult dog, not a puppy. I think bringing your list of qualities to a shelter might help them find you a nice mixed breed that might fit your description. Right now I keep struggling to pin down a breed that's totally in the middle like you want. For example, Collies alert bark a lot but they're not typically quite friendly dogs. Akitas are great guard dogs and wary of strangers but probably a little too intense and hard for what you want.
 
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Collies fit most of your requirements. Grooming really isn't as bad as you might think. They need a good brushing several times a week, but not daily.
 

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And if you are interested in Collies--which might be a good fit if that dog isn't super friendly to most people, the smooth variety downer have a lot of grooming requirements.
 

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how about looking into one of the German Spitzes or Eurasians.
they're great alert dogs, if socialised right they're okay with new cpeople though.
they're intelligent but adapt pretty well to their surroundings and humans.
the only thing that might be not fitting would be the heat resistence...i don't know how vhot it gets over there.
the Spitzes I met were fine with up to 35°C here in middle europe...they all had possibilities go into the shadow and/or the house of they wanted to though.
Collies might also be a good fit.

Since you want a dog that is open towards new people, I'd not chose a breed that was bred on protection, like Doberman, the Lifestock guarding breeds or the Weimaraner.
 

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Slightly contrary to what some people have suggested, you could also look in to getting a dog that is bred to guard and then make sure you get them from a reputable breeder, do mega socialization, and have a trainer work closely with you from an early age. If you have experience with dogs and some time on your hands, going this route could potentially produce all the things you want.

A dog that is bred to guard will be loyal and have a stronger proclivity towards staying on his property and with his people. It will be easier to train him to have reliable recall. If he is socialized well, then likely he will patrol the territory and keep you alerted to the goings on with a bark, but will be able to tell the difference between threats and non threats. He will be less likely to chase animals and won't purposefully leave the property once he knows where it is.

I worked for a woman who keeps Cane Corsos on her farm. I think she has 4 of them. They are all incredibly well socialized and she began training them at day one. If she puts them on a leash to met a new person, those dogs are all tail wags and face licks, but if somebody came on that property at night then I would hate to see what would happen. Like she did, you could go for something like a Rottweiler, Pit or Bull Terrier, Ridgeback, Cane Corso, or Mastiff, who have been known to adapt to family lifestyles and may be considered "easier" guard breeds. Working closely with a breeder could help you identify an individual puppy. I would consider a Doberman but stay away from livestock guarding breeds and intense guarding breeds like the German Shepherd, Malinois, Kuvasz, or any of the large Asian spitzs (Akita Inu, Chow Chow, Sharpei).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello friends,

I hope you are doing well.

I was wondering if a Siberian Husky is a suitable breed? Or will the warm summers in Houston be an issue?

Thanks,
Oxonian
 

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Huskies require a lot of grooming in that they shed like crazy. Most people I know with huskies only stay on top of the shedding by grooming daily with a tool like the furminator. And even then there houses are covered in hair!

Based on the work days alone, the proclivity to stay relatively nearby, and easy trainability your best bets are probably breeds like the labrador, golden retriever, flat-coat retriever, etc. All are very friendly and outgoing, but will bark to alert you of comings and goings. They're more OK with being alone (compared to say GSP, Vizsla, Aussies, cattle dogs, Brittany, etc) and they are fun outdoor dogs without requiring heaps of exercise.

Rottweiler, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Dobermans might actually work well for you as long as you put in the effort early on to socialize, train, and manage. But I know individuals of each breed that are loving family pets - -but they are definitely a step up from your typical lab or retriever.

I'd stay away from livestock guard dogs unless you really know what you're doing or are willing to invest the money to get someone who does know what they're doing to help you train. I'd also stay away from the hunting/gun dogs as I think they'll be too high energy, too intelligent, and too velcro-dog-ish for your situation.

If you're OK with an adult, then your best bet is definitely going to a rescue with your wish list and having them match a good candidate. Honestly there are SO many mixes and mutts out there that would fit the bit perfectly for what you're looking for. Plus your set up sounds like a doggy dream home!
 

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Stay away from Huskies.

(I have a half Husky. The grooming is pretty intense. They generally have no desire to please people. Their prey drive is insane. They rarely have a solid recall. They roam. They are super friendly with everyone and make awful guard dogs. Their exercise needs are ridiculous. A Husky is everything you don't want.

Mine is really excellent- and so many people look at her and think they can get a Husky similar. But it's important to remember mine is a mixed breed. So the temperament will be different. Some of her litter mates have the typical Husky temperament and are handfuls.)
 

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As someone else suggested, I would take your requirements to a few different shelters, be patient and find a rescue to suit your needs.
 

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I would suggest a German Shepherd, or Belgian Malinois. However, if you are a first time dog owner than any sort of guard dog would not be the best choice for you.
 

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I would suggest a German Shepherd, or Belgian Malinois. However, if you are a first time dog owner than any sort of guard dog would not be the best choice for you.
Compared to other breeds GSDs and Malinois are not natural guard dogs. They're just highly intelligent easily trainable dogs often used as guard dogs.
 

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Hello friends,

I hope you are doing well.

I was wondering if a Siberian Husky is a suitable breed? Or will the warm summers in Houston be an issue?

Thanks,
Oxonian
I wouldn't have a husky in Houston. While you could make sure they wouldn't suffer by constantly providing a well air conditioned space, why chose a breed so poorly adapted to the climate?
 

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I would suggest a German Shepherd, or Belgian Malinois. However, if you are a first time dog owner than any sort of guard dog would not be the best choice for you.
I wouldn`t suggest that.... GSDs bond very strongly to humans and are not really interested in staying outside alone & guarding in my experience.

LGD types are more fitted to property guarding (born to do their own thing, not clingy, excellent human radar - mine can tell perfectly between "normal" strangers and those who would pose a threat.. it sounds ideal but in big city is not very comfortable because there are all kind of weirdos... ) they LOVE being outside - I have to beg mine to come inside but they have other erm.. issues (size, independent nature, require mega socializing etc). In general I wouldn`t suggest them to first-time owners. They`Re also big and need space to burn steam off.


I`d suggest looking into shelters in the area and get a large mutt :) All you need is someone who would bark every now and then... that combined with size is more than enough to scare off the casual invaders.... and those who really want to come probably wont be kept back by a dog anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hello friends,

I hope everyone is doing well. My partner and I moved into our new home, and now have a better understanding of what some of our requirements for the Dog is.

1) The Dog will be home alone for 6-8 hours for 4 days a week, unless we get a service that checks in on the dog during the day, or we put it in a day kennel/spa

2) As of now we do not have any livestock, but may get some horses in the near future.

3) I know there has been some discussion about an alert dog vs. a guard Dog.

After having stayed here for a few days, I think I can elaborate on our needs a bit more.

We want a Dog that is loving and can be introduced to family members, e.g. our adult siblings who visit, or our children, when we have them.

We are thinking of getting two Dogs, either of the same breed, or different breeds, at the same or different times.

The Dog should be alert, i.e. bark when they sense something unfamiliar, but not be barking all the time.

The Dog should enjoy the outdoors, as we have a couple of acres of land.

Of course, it should be comfortable in the Houston climate.

Please let us know your thoughts as we want to get it asap.

Thanks,
Oxonian
 
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