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I cannot decide. I had a staffy mixed with lab? She was the best dog ever. I havent had a pet in several years. I am thinking about the above listed dogs. I want one that will provide family fun and love for all yet have the ability to defend if that rare occasion ever happenes. 3 kids 4, 5, and 10yrs. frequent guest and firends, I really loved my staffy breed so I have a place in my heart for APBT and Staffordshire dogs, but open to the others. let me know your personal experiences.

Thanks!!
 

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Rhodesians are an intense breed that need a lot of exercise and not always the best with frequent guests. Bull Terriers can be fun, but they need to be trained very well or else they can easily overwhelm small kids with their strength and habit of crashing into things at full speed. Shepherds can be great too, but you need to find a good one or raise it from a puppy because they are a large, powerful breed. I'm usually not one to say "Get the same dog as the last" because you'll never find one exactly like that, but Staffy/Pits mixed with Labs are very common in shelters, and in my opinion, a fantastic family dog. So I would either get a German Shepherd from a very good breeder with a thousand and one health checks on their breeding stock, or get another Pit/Lab mix.
 

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I might be biased but I grew up with a purebred Rhodesian, a Rhodesian/ lab mix and then with a Rhodesian mix and currently have another Rhodesian mix. They are great dogs, they do like a fair amount of exercise and all have been very smart, which means they can become bored easily, so they do like a lot of engagement from their owners.

All dogs mentioned have been great with kids and loved guests, our current dog Asha did have some fear issues with guests at first (caused by experiences she had before we got her), but would stand back and observe people from a distance, rather than acting out aggressively towards them. She has become great with guests now, after some positive reinforcement training.

I can't really think of anything else right now, but if there's anything I left out feel free to ask.
 

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I think German Shepards and Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be overwhelming if you are never owned the breed before. RR are very intense, require a lot of exercise, need a firm leader, and do best when they have a job. GSDs can again try to run their owners without a firm leader and there is great variety in temperament from the ones I have met.

A 4 year old is really small for both the RR and the GSD. Even if they are playing nice they could inadvertently run them over.

I agree with @traciek88 that maybe looking for a Staffie/Lab or Pit/Lab could be a great fit or even just a Staffie.
 

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I grew up in South Africa and we had many Rhodesians growing up. If you want a dog that can exercise for 3 hours and still have energy to spare... then a Rhodesian is the right dog for you.

I always advise people to stay away from Rhodesians unless they have a family that are more active than the average American family. Meaning... if you are the kind of person who has no problem popping your three year old in a backpack and going hiking for the day... yes, then by all means, get a Rhodesian.

My sister owns GSDs and they make great family dogs if you don’t mind the occasional shedding. They do need mental stimulation however, but if they are raised with children, they make great companions.

I can’t speak for bull terriers because the bull terriers I’ve met I wouldn’t necessarily call family friendly dogs. I have known some awesome staffies and for many people they make excellent family dogs.
 
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