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Help Choosing The Right Breed

We do have some of the best breed profiles out there.. so here is the one for the Italian Cane Corso and the American Bulldog. The dogs will be fine in winter, after all, they will be inside most of the time. I know dogs in Michigan that spend a lot of time outside during the winter and they seem to enjoy frolicking in the snow. Other dogs to add to the mix would be an Alaskan Malamute or an Akita. They would do well inside and outside and have protective tendancies though not at the level of the aforementioned breeds.

Lastly - you may want to look at the Central Asian Ovcharka which in some respects is a milder version of the Caucasian

Replies (13)
  • Hello. 

    I live on a small plot of land and I am looking into bringing home a large dog for protection and companionship. I do go on hikes, camping trips, and trips to lakes as often as my work schedule allows. I understand the breeds I'm interested in are all very different with different purposes and every individual dog is different but I'm looking for generalized info. I currently have a Lhasa Apso and a Heeler. I absolutely hate the Lhasas disobedience and the fact that every command is met with a "middle finger". So please tell me if any of these breeds are that stubborn. 

    I do not like having a dog that is overly friendly and willing to go home with anyone, I love Velcro dogs but if they are more independent yet protective of their home/charges that is fine too. I have raised Heelers and Pit Bulls as an adult and as a child I have been around many other breeds. 

    I'm looking for somewhat biddable, won't stray far from me while out together on hikes/walks, tolerate people when out on hikes or within the city, protective but intelligent enough to differentiate friend from foe.  My next dog doesn't have to go into the city with me but will have to go on camping trips/hikes.

     

    I'm not a social person and as such I rarely have people coming over to the house but we will occasionally pass people closely on trails during hikes or at the store as I bring my dogs along for every trip into town as possible. I already have a couple dogs in my home and I would like for my next dog to be accepting of current and future household dog members, as well as leaving other hikers dogs alone as we pass them. Currently I have to step to the side with my Heeler when people/dogs pass as he doesn't appreciate others in his "bubble". I understand a lot of this is based on training but you can't always fight breeds original tendencies/purpose, like my examples given of my Heeler and Lhasa. Thank you!

     

    Here are the breeds that I have been researching: CO, Sarplaninac, Pyr, Newfoundland, St Bernard, Leonberger. I am open to other breed suggestions as well. 

    • Hi Brooke,

      Whether you are in Portland, Maine or Portland Oregon the breeds you mentioned below would all do well with the weather.  So lets take it step by step as there are a few more pieces of information that would make this more helpful.

      1. Will this new addition live inside or outside the home?

      2. Do you have a fenced in property and if so how tall and strong is your fence?

      3. Are you more interested in protection of the home or of yourself while hiking?

      4. What terrain and distance do you normally hike?

      5. Have you had any experience with a very large powerful dog like the CO or Sarplaninac?

      All things being well and based on your description so far I would recommend the Great Pyrenees or Sarplaninac. Both of these breeds will give you headaches with hair inside  your house if they are housed inside but will provide the necessary deterrence to an intruder and are imposing enough to keep bad people away just by their stature and size. The Shar - is heavier duty guard dog of person, home and property than the Pyr.  Notably left off my recommendation are the CO - maybe to hard of a dog for what you need and when actively defending they are very very motivated and difficult to control.

      The Newfie, St. Bernard, and Leo are not close to what you describe as needing.  I would add the American Bulldog and the Cane Corso to your list - and give them a good look also. 

      Lets continue the discussion as others jump in.

       

      • Thank you for the response.

        1. Will this new addition live inside or outside the home? He will live inside and be a part of the family.

        2. Do you have a fenced in property and if so how tall and strong is your fence? Some is fenced, I have a 6ft wood fence around the back of the house as a back yard but the rest of the property is mostly fenced with barbed wire or wood slats.

        3. Are you more interested in protection of the home or of yourself while hiking? I am interested in both. I'm more concerned with wild animals like moose and bears coming onto the property or running into them while on hikes. 

        4. What terrain and distance do you normally hike? I don't know terrains technical terms but it seems fairly mountainous. We don't usually go too far, maybe a couple hours before turning around. 

        5. Have you had any experience with a very large powerful dog like the CO or Sarplaninac? I have not had any experience with dogs of that nature. I have only raised Heelers and Pit Bulls. I grew up around German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers but I didnt have much input on their training. 

        I will look into Cane Corsos and American Bulldogs. My stepmom had an American Bulldog who was just lovely, and a very big girl. I'm a little concerned their short hair might make the harsh winters we have here unbearable for them. 

        • We do have some of the best breed profiles out there.. so here is the one for the Italian Cane Corso and the American Bulldog. The dogs will be fine in winter, after all, they will be inside most of the time. I know dogs in Michigan that spend a lot of time outside during the winter and they seem to enjoy frolicking in the snow. Other dogs to add to the mix would be an Alaskan Malamute or an Akita. They would do well inside and outside and have protective tendancies though not at the level of the aforementioned breeds.

          Lastly - you may want to look at the Central Asian Ovcharka which in some respects is a milder version of the Caucasian

          • There are many breeds that fit your description. I suggest looking through the breeds here and maybe also speaking to a few different breeders of selected breeds and put your hands on them to see which one you personally prefer. Make sure your honest with whomever you choose to purchase a dog from and explain what you are after so they can best select a pup within the litter for you.

            Best of luck!! 

            • Thank you. I am a little concerned with what I have read about dog aggression in many other mastiffs. I read on a few websites that cane Corsos and bull mastiffs are very dog aggressive and are hard to have in a multi dog household. Is this similar to what people say about pit bulls and boxers? Or do they tend to be more difficult with other dogs?

              • Well most of the large Molossers will be challenging for the unaware owner. They tend to be very strong and dominant and that means they want to be leader in a multi-dog household especially if they are in close quarters like - inside.  So, don't be put off by what you may read on some pet websites - read our profiles on here and get a true picture of the breed knowing that there is great variation of individuals in the breed.

                When we remove the complexity of breeds it boils down to what you are looking for.  Get the size, and look you want and train the behavior.  You have to start with a good strong dog and through training and example you can moderate the drive to suite your need. So look again at the breeds you and others mentioned and then reach out to breeders or other forums for opinions knowing that they will just be opinions.

                On this site you will get the truth from our members so thank you for posting here.

                •  

                  3. Are you more interested in protection of the home or of yourself while hiking? I am interested in both. I'm more concerned with wild animals like moose and bears coming onto the property or running into them while on hikes. 

                   I'm interested in this to if anyone knows regarding bears.

                  •  

                    regarding bears.

                     There are two ways to look at this and in my opinion - only two.

                    First - there are bear dogs such as the Karellian Bear Dog or one of the Laikas such at the Russo European Laika. These breeds are very agile and tenacious - bred to keep bears at bay and for the hunt.  They are very high energy and are perfect companions for hiking and long trecks in the forest. Highly driven and will chase furry things so you would have to watch out for that.

                    Second - you have an aggressive bear or predator you will then need a couple of dogs or more that are brave enough to attach.  In combat with a bear the dog will normally loose unless the bear chose flight instead of fight. A dog capable of this type of action would be one of the ones mentioned before.  We an also include the Central Asian Ovcharka and Kangal in this mix.

                    so, for a house based dog that would be good at what you require and if none of the ones mentioned before - you can look at the two mentioned above.

                    •  

                      Thank you. I am a little concerned with what I have read about dog aggression in many other mastiffs. I read on a few websites that cane Corsos and bull mastiffs are very dog aggressive and are hard to have in a multi dog household. Is this similar to what people say about pit bulls and boxers? Or do they tend to be more difficult with other dogs?

                       It really depends on the lines specifically. Speak to breeders of which are in question and explain your household set up, most are very honest and will tell you if that will work for the dogs they breed or not. 

                      Best of luck!

                      • I now have a pack of 4 dogs.  Out of those 4 dogs, 3 of them are breeds known for dog aggression.  So far, all of my dogs are living in harmony.  Dog aggression can exist in any breed, one bad experience can bring that on.  I have an American Bulldog mix, a German Pinscher, a Rat Terrier & a Cimarron Uruguayo.  Although mastiff dogs are known to be dog aggressive, they can also live in harmony with their own family pack.  The dog aggression may just show with dogs outside the home (like my dogs do).  My dogs are fine with each other, but they aren't very fond of other dogs that don't live with us.  I'm OK with that, I'm not one of those people that believe in doggy friends.  As long as they are fine in my house, I don't care about external doggy friends.  I keep my dogs on a leash at all times & keep my distance from other dogs.

                        Although dog aggression is something to be mindful of, I don't consider it a deal breaker since any dog can decide they don't like other dogs at any given time.

                        I agree with the previous poster who said go with the breed you like the most & do lots of training.  Go with the one you know you can live with. :-)

                         

                         

                        • Hi,

                          i would certainly go for an LGD breedif i were you.

                          newfy, st bernard are out of the question. Not healthy enough, will cost you alot in the long run.

                          pyr is an option, but too soft and to much of a house pet now of days.

                          if your dog needs to deter a bear, please don't kid yourself that 1 dog is good for the job. You will put him/her up for failure.

                          consider atleast 2 dogs if the treath is real. 

                          Both sarpla or CO's are a good choice concidering a good breeder.

                          99% of the people think they know what the real deal co and sarpla is, but they don't. 

                          I don't know if there are any aborigional breeders in the US. I do know quite alot of them in europe.

                          do consider other LGD breeds. Look for similarities in terrain/ envirioment / weather conditions to pick the correct breed

                          ( look for the less known breeds to have more of a chance for a healthy and good/ correct temperament dog) 

                           

                          kind regards.

                          frederik

                          •  

                            do consider other LGD breeds. Look for similarities in terrain/ envirioment / weather conditions to pick the correct breed

                             Hi Frederick, this is great advise indeed. It should be a major consideration when bringing in a dog.

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