1-I'm a female AND I live in suburbia
-- this shouldn't be seen as a "con", but I've read some pretty derrogatory remarks about "suburban wives" on this board before. ;) I'm 5'5.5, 127lb, into fitness -- ie, cardio, weight training, pilates, etc -- so smaller framed, but fit. I work from home most of the time, but also go into our office occasionally. I'd like to have the protection of a guard dog for home, as well as for when I'm in the office. My personality is ultra-feminine, but I'm also a disciplinarian and have no problem laying down the law, when needed (my dad was Army, and raised my sister and I as if we were also enlisted, lol.... 'nuff said). On the con side, I admitably have a quick sharp temper, though I'm learning to be calm assertive (thanks, Cesar! lol). In other words, while I love my toy dog, I don't have any qualms about owning/handling a working breed, as I'm a good student and am willing to put in the neccessary time and effort needed to own a guard dog. My main worry is finding a large guard dog whose temperment will be SAFE around my small dog -- see point 3, below.
2-I'm married (hubby is 6'4", 228, ex college football, personal trainer part time, owns guns, etc), so while he can easily take care of himself, while I'm home alone, I'd like to have the protection of a guard dog. I am going to start going to the shooting range with my dh, starting in the next month, but still...I really want to have a large guard dog with me at home, in the car, at the office, while traveling, etc.
3- (now for the killer point here, I know....)
I am the proud AND loving owner of a beautiful little 6 yo, f, spayed Shih Tzu :) :) :) (go ahead, laugh, but she's a baby doll and the love of my life, and yeah....she's a pet. And oh yeah, she comes from a very reputable show breeder, too boot! lol).
4-I've owned many breeds in my lifetime, but most have been either Toy Breeds or small Hounds (Peke, Beagle, Basset, and now a Shih Tzu). My family did have a GSD when I was growing up -- that is the closest experience I have to owning a guard type dog.
Guard Dog Requirements:
1- ok, again, I'm sure a lot of you will want to laugh/mock, etc this point, but it's the most important criteria for me:
Whichever breed of guard dog we purchase, he MUST MUST MUST be able to SAFELY co-exist (temperment wise!) with our Shih Tzu. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. She is my first responsibility.
2-The guard dog MUST be able to be kept as an INDOOR dog (hence the importance of the above point!). I don't care about drool, as I'm super anal and am able to keep my home sparkling, regardless of how much attention I must pay towards it. :)
3-The guard dog MUST be able to move/function without undue stress. We're not speaking frisbee here, nor the need to go on a long run, for hours at a time, but I do want a dog who can at least walk a mile a day, without fear of causing him some injury. A low to moderate energy level is what I want, but "low" NOT meaning he can't walk!
4- We want a guard dog breed who is NOT going to have a host of breed specific health ailments, nor one who is going to have an unusally short lifespan! I do not want to invest the love, time, nor money into a dog who will only live 5 or 6 years. That is not a dog, imho. And though I know that most large breeds cannot live as long as a Toy Breed, I would hope that a 10+ year lifespan is do-able.
5-The guard dog breed must be one who is controlable/trainable/reliable in temperment, in that if I am taking him to the office, he must be able to be SAFE around employees as well as customers. Yet he must also be reliable to guard, should the need arise. And add to that that living in a suburban area, we are surrounded by kids, and other neighbors. We'll need to walk the dog IN the neighborhood. We do not want a lawsuit-on-a-leash. I have to be sure that IF we socialize and train the dog in obedience, he can be relied upon to NOT charge/attack without provocation. Is this even remotely a possibility??
6-The guard dog MUST be able to be BOTH a guardian, as well as a PET (yes, I know some of you may be cringing, but we have a social lifestyle here. I need a dog who will be safe amongst extended visiting family, friends, etc). Is this even possible, to have BOTH a guard dog as well as socialized "pet"??
I live in a State where the winters are pretty mild (45 deg F, is on avg the coldest here), but the summers are HOT and HUMID (90F+, with about 80+% humidity is fairly common for June-Aug). I'm guessing we'd need a short coated/single coated guard dog?
1- What purebreed of guard dog is best for my situation? Please give me at least 3 purebreeds to research (again, NO smart-aleck replies, puh-leeeeeze)
2-Is training that breed in PP, overkill for my situation? IF so, what type of training should I search out, to make the dog a good guardian as well as a reliable socialized "pet"? (and safe to be around my small dog)
This seems like a simple one. I would go with the Boerboel.
The Boerboel is a large dog that is muscular and will be seen as a deterent to those that may be a threat.
Anyone would feel safe around one.
They have a nice amenable personality.
He will be okay with your other small dog. He most likely will become good friends with Shih Tzu.
They are confident yet don't have to display it unless called upon.
They are able to decipher friend from foe.
They're healthy among other large breeds. They will live longer than 10 years.
They don't need a lot of exercise. A daily walk will suffice.
They do want to be by your side and want human affection.
Yes you can have a pet and guard dog in the same dog.
They like all guardian breeds should be socialized as a pup. Take your pup boerboel with you as you would during your daily routine. This will let your pup see what is normal and as he gets older he will know what is normal and what is not normal.
When he's a pup and as he gets older properly introduce to him friends and relatives.
Enroll him and yourself in basic obedience. You may enjoy some of the classes and find other classes you may want to enroll in.
I would not suggest any of the bully breeds they will not get along with your shih tzu. They also have strong personalities. They will be a little too much for what your looking for.
I would not suggest the Neo because of their health and lack of mobility. I would not suggest the Dogue De Bourdeax or Mastiff because they may not rise to the occasion if needed.
The Boerboel is somewhere in the middle of these breeds in temperment and seems to fit your situation and needs for a dog.
When you look for a breeder find someone that only has one or two breedings per year.
Make sure their parents hips are xrayed and okay.
You want a breeder that treats them as family.
Good luck :)