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I'm looking for a good breed of dog for my family. Here are the things I'm looking for (in order of importance):

  1. Will not hurt my children.
  2. Will protect my family and home from unwanted people and animals.
  3. Will not attack guests if they are invited (but can be trained to attack on command).
  4. Low maintenance (doesn't require daily grooming, log walks, etc).
  5. Can be "paper trained" (even outside) or at least trained to go in the same place every time.
  6. Only barks when there really is a problem (not at every little thing).
  7. Can handle the heat of Phoenix, AZ (with shade and water of course).
  8. Will not damage the rental home I live in (chew on things other than what is provided).
  9. Will be happy with a 1/4 acre back yard.
Am I asking for too much? :confused: I know that many of these things require training.
I'm willing to train but I'm looking for a breed that is likely to learn without too much trouble.
Any suggestions on what breeds/mixes might be a good fit?

Thanks!

EV
 

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I think a boxer would suit you best, heat may be a problem but if you give proper shelter and water it shouldnt be a big problem.

Boxers are great family dogs and easily trained! Don't require too much excercise as long as you play with them too which will be easy with kids :)

If you visit a shelter they will match you up with suitable dogs too!
 

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I'm not sure that you're really going to find what you're looking for...
Personal Protection dogs and training are extremely costly (literally thousands) and PP dogs often are not suited to the average household. Also it's unlikely that your landlord's insurance will cover such a dog...

Personally I would just look for a medium or large kid friendly dog. Barking and size alone will be a deterrent for a great many people. And if you really need protection, then I would suggest a nice home security system. ;)
 

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Most of the things you mentioned are training issues rather than a specific breed.
I also advise against getting a dog and training it to attack on command. It takes so, so much training and if you don't do it right you have a very dangerous animal on your.

Dogs that don't need a lot of exercise are toy and giant breeds (Danes, mastiffs, ect). What size do you want? How much exercise can you give a day, minimum?
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A German Pinscher may fit the bill I have meet a few Pinscher and they are great dogs. They are a medium sized breed, similar in appearance to a Doberman only smaller in size. A German Shepherd may also fit the bill for you, loyal but protective when needed to be. I have owned Shepherds for years and each one has been different in there own way. None of them showed any aggression to children and when I lived in the city in a apartment the Shepherd was more than happy with a short walk to the park. No two dogs are the same, no matter what breed they are so take that into account. Another breed to take into account is a boxer they could be trained fairly easy to do what you need but they are a little on the active side. If you want a dog that you can paper train your options may be limited to smaller breeds, like Pugs, who may not offer you much protection but there could be a big breed that is capable of being paper trained. Like I said no dog is the same so watch out. I also found this website that might help you in your search for a new dog. I have also included a picture of a German Pinscher. Hope your search goes well.

Dog Breed Questionnaire : Dog Breed Selector : Animal Planet
 

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Almost all of that is training and management. Any dog can hurt a kid if they're not well managed and the kids are not taught to respect the dog.

Teaching a dog to attack on command is a huge liability.

If I am being honest, I think you are asking too much. I would suggest finding a nice, calm, older dog if you do get a dog. Puppies will be a lot of work and can be quite a destructive force.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the suggestions! Ok, I take back the part about attacking on command. I don't have a "Serious" protection need. We just don't live in the best neighborhood. Probably something that is large and has a good bark would be enough.
 

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How large? How much exercise are you willing to give?
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Definitely take your lifestyle into consideration.

Many of the breeds suggested are incredibly high energy.
So unless you're a jogger then personally I would stay away from the German Pinscher (this breed is also extremely drivey and will need tons of training/a job far above the basics), the Boxer, and even many GSD's.
 

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I was thinking Boxer size but I'm open.
As far as exercise...between me and my 5 kids we could probably give it quite a bit of exercise. But I don't want it to require long daily walks. I do go on bike rides almost daily. I could get one of those special bike leases and take the dog on a nice run.
 

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Greyhounds are laid back dogs. Gentle. Maybe, maybe a Boxer if given lots of exercise.
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Okay if you want large size and a mellow personality then get a Great Dane. They are couch potatoes with big hearts and are very willing to please there human masters. If danger is around then these dogs are willing to protect there masters if need be, trust me I have seen them do it first hand. The come in large or jumbo sizes but they are still loveable. Here is my warning for you: do not get a male because as puppies who are still being housebroken they can be on your coffee table.
 

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You need to look on a list of best WATCH dog breeds, not GUARD dogs. My dog (which would meet almost zero of your requirements so don't bother asking) is an amazing WATCH dog...he rarely barks but when he does, even my big manly husband perks up and goes to investigate. He sounds ferocious. He's 20 lbs though and could bite someone and cause real damage. My last one (same breed) was a sweet goofball but once he thought my husband was attacking me (he grabbed me around the waist and was holding & tickling me and he leapt so high he grabbed my husband's wrist (he's 6 feet tall) and tore a chunk out of him. Never hurt anyone before or after that, but when he felt I was being threatened, enter kujo the wonder dog.
 

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Have you researched Bullmastiffs? I have experience with them and they are great dogs! Gentle giants with family, but will give their life in your defense. Low coat maintenance, low exercise requirements, excellent with children. But they are pretty big, so if your children are small (toddlers) they may not be the best choice. Here is a piece on them from dogbreedinfo.com:

"The Bullmastiff is a devoted, alert guard dog, with a good-natured temperament. Docile and affectionate, but fearless if provoked. Although unlikely to attack, it will catch an intruder, knock him down and hold him. At the same time, it is tolerant of children. Intelligent, even-tempered, calm and loyal, these dogs crave human leadership. The Bullmastiff is extremely powerful and needs a firm master who is confident and consistent with the rules set upon the dog."


I've also heard that English Mastiff's are great for family/protection but I have no personal experience with them. I also grew up with Boxers and have a great love for them as well. If a more "medium" sized dog would be better for you I would say Boxer fits the bill perfectly. (But they are quite energetic!)

Hope that helps :)
 

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How much time can you devote to training?
 

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in all honesty, with 5 kids and all the requirements you listed, are you absolutely certain you want a real live dog? there are no guarantees on behavior with any living thing. your list is really quite high as far as expectations, and the fact that you are asking for a breed that would fit those things says you don't really have a lot of experience with dogs. that isn't necessarily a problem, but well behaved/well socialized dogs take a lot of work, and i mean A LOT.

before getting a dog, i suggest you start now with researching more than breed or even size, but all the other things having to do with dogs, training, behavior, housing, medical care, feeding etc. adding a dog could easily end up being much more work than adding even a 6th child... it is a different species. you would be responsible for keeping your kids safe from the dog, and for keeping the dog safe from your kids. you could not rely on the kids to exercise/train him, in fact, you would have to train your children and the dog how to get along properly with one another.

as far as breed... it really varies, all dogs are individuals, so any one of them could turn out to be a high drive/intense dog, when you least expect it. that said, i ditto the grey hound as a prospective dog, and perhaps a beagle... still, it will be much more important to choose the right individual, then train and socialize the dog properly, than the particular breed ;)



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I'm looking for a good breed of dog for my family. Here are the things I'm looking for (in order of importance):

  1. Will not hurt my children.
  2. Will protect my family and home from unwanted people and animals.
  3. Will not attack guests if they are invited (but can be trained to attack on command).
  4. Low maintenance (doesn't require daily grooming, log walks, etc).
  5. Can be "paper trained" (even outside) or at least trained to go in the same place every time.
  6. Only barks when there really is a problem (not at every little thing).
  7. Can handle the heat of Phoenix, AZ (with shade and water of course).
  8. Will not damage the rental home I live in (chew on things other than what is provided).
  9. Will be happy with a 1/4 acre back yard.
Am I asking for too much? :confused: I know that many of these things require training.
I'm willing to train but I'm looking for a breed that is likely to learn without too much trouble.
Any suggestions on what breeds/mixes might be a good fit?

Thanks!

EV
This is one big list of requirements!

I would NOT suggest a Boxer. Mine is nearly 9 and still needs a mass of exercise - we are talking at least 3 off leash hours long runs each day.

Most Boxers are lovers and not fighters despite their reputation

My boy came from LA with me to the UK - the heat there was not ideal for him. He stayed indoors with the A/C on and under a fan!

He needs brushing everyday - short hair breeds need just as much grooming as long hair one (in my opinion).

I'm not too sure there is any one breed that match all of your criteria - but I wish you luck with your search.
 

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I feel like the reason you want a dog is to protect you and your children... I don't think a dog is the answer here, rather an alarm and security camera installation...

I live in AZ and outdoors is no place for a dog... They belong with the family indoors.
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I suggest a poodle (any size) they are extremely friendly, smart, easy to train and they love people. I dont think they are very high maintenance (as long as you dont give them the full poodle cut) They need brushing about once a week and their fur doest shed so they wont leave fur everywhere. You might have to take them to a groomer every couple of months to trim their fur but apart from that they and perfect family dogs! (I know, I have two poodles at home and they are amazing!)
 
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