Would like help in choosing the right breed for us

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 1:20pm PST 
We won't be ready to purchase for a few years (it won't be til our two senior dogs pass away), but want to have plenty of time to research, find a good breeder and do all our background work to get ready since it's been awhile since either of us have had puppies and these dogs will be near full time companions for both of us.

I'll give you a bit of background.
Currently my husband and I have 3 dogs, 2 of which are Seniors. We have a bit of a motley assortment since we have always rescued previously. We have an English Mastiff, Australian Shepard mix and a Chow/Lab mix. Both of us are experienced dog owners.

Our actual home is small (less than 1000 square feet) since we purchased acreage and we will hopefully be building larger in the future once we've paid down our property. We have a 5 acre farm with 3 horses, our 3 dogs, 2 indoor cats and 20 chickens. All of it is fenced in with 4ft field fence with a strand of hotwire running along the top. We're working on putting a second strand 8-12" above the ground as well. Either way there is plenty of room to run around like fools.

Both my husband and I work full time. I work 10 miles from home and have no problem running home on my lunch break. I do work set standard hours, his hours vary daily. We do not have children nor will we be having any. They will get most of our attention every evening. We do Civil War Reenacting and do enjoy travelling, most of the time we do take our 1 dog who's travel friendly.

What we're looking for:
-We would like a large breed dog, but not an extra large. As much as we love our Mastiff to death and dote over him, he's really just too big to travel with us often everywhere we'd like to go.

-Medium energy to possible high energy with an off. We're both outside people and constantly out working on our farm. We want a dog who's happy to run around and have a good time. I like to run and would like a dog who's good for two miles at a slow jog. However, we don't want a dog who's so high energy they can't think straight. We do want a dog who also likes to chill out in the later evenings on the couch. I would like to do obedience training and possibly Schutzhund. We have several respected clubs in our area that are open membership. It's something I've been interested in and considering pursuing with my Aussie.

-We do prefer protection breeds. We do live out in the middle of nowhere with plenty of people who aren't scared of the average dog. A dog who's good with warnings and with more training possibly more is ideal. However at the same time, we don't want a dog that's immediately aggressive to strangers since we do enjoy travelling. This is something I'm mixed on, they don't need to be stranger friendly, wary is perfectly fine, but something that's not going to snap if someone sneaks a pet while we're out and about.

-Grooming wise, I would love a dog who doesn't shed a ton but we already have a Mastiff who's an inside dog so it wouldn't be a big deal. Would prefer the type that we could just keep cut short. We have a good professional groomer already. No allergy requirements. This is a very flexible requirement.

-These dogs will be inside dogs, but we will probably be installing a doggie door for these two. Some occasions have just happened to where we were unable to get home til later. Of course when we're home we're mostly all outside for several hours.

Breeds we've been considering:
Giant Schnauzer
Belgian Malinois

Very open to breed suggestions as well. We don't have our hearts set yet but have been leaning towards the Giant Schnauzer.


The Monster
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 3:05pm PST 
I tend to focus more on herding breeds than others, so I'll just comment to say that it sounds like a GSD from lines which display exemplary temperament would be my suggestion. I don't think a Malinois would fit, as I find that they're very busy at home in their down time. A puppy of any of your listed breeds would present its own host of challenges, but would all be quite lovely once mature.

Pet me NOW!
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 9:53am PST 
Hi! After reading your post and thinking about it a while.

I came to the conclusion there are Two perfect breeds for your life style and hobbies. You said you are Civil war re-enactors and you have a mini homestead.

So, why don't you go with one of the original all purpose farm dogs?

Black Mouth Cur (out of Texas herding lines)
American bull dog

Both of these dogs fit 90-95 percent of all of your wants/needs both will protect you the animals and the house plus travel etc., However, if your set on Schutzhund training then ABD is the better choice as they do schutzhund pretty well if they are out of working lines. If not then the BMC would be my first choice. But, that's really up to you.

And the best part of these two dogs is they would be appropriate at one of your events these are the old school all American Dogs and most likely seen a battle or two in there history.


Best goat herder- around!!!
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 2:12pm PST 
At first I was thinking of a hound. Then, you got me thinking about German Shepherds or Australian Cattle Dogs with the whole farm setting. I love the American Bulldog idea though. A dog that fits into the whole civil war setting would be very cool.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Sep 30, '13 9:26pm PST 
I would scrap the Giant off what you are looking for. They are a breed that is full of mischief, extremely pushy, and it will take four to five years to find their off button. Very explosive energy until then (particularly ages one to two, where it is unfathomable), coupled with extreme vigor. They do have an almost infantile obsession with being the center of attention, are intrusive when not, in other moments being pouty or depressed. Very childish dog laugh out loud Ultra tough breed to raise when both people are working; they truly are a full time project in their first three years of life.
They also can impetuously jealous in multiple dog households and have a decided possessive streak. If you want a dog who will let you chill out to wrap your day, this is not that dog wink I personally get a kick out of dogs who are thoroughly obnoxious, so we get along ok! laugh out loud

Black Russian Terriers are a lot more even and steady than Giants can be. We have a breed regular who frequents these forums who could be helpful to you considering them. You need to be very selective about your breeder when it comes to them, and socialization is critical. Bouviers may be something you had not thought of. They are a farm dog, so there ya go laugh out loud These two are a more serious brand than the Giant Schnauzer, who remains a bit of puppy life long. When the going gets tough they can be ultra serious....they have a surprising switch "on".....but the rest of the time specialize in being charming wise arses.

The Bullmastiff comes closest to what you are seeking functionally as a property guard, and is very level headed. They are a nice balance as they are very easy to live alongside indoors, are natural guardians, but off turf can be extremely personable. Very sweet dogs.

Not a Schutzhund dog, though. If you think are serious about that route, then I'd shift to a Rottweiler (they do shed more than you'd imagine), who I think on presence alone very few people would mess around with.

I'd be happy to deal with any breed specifically if you have more q's re the breed or your situation smile

Edited by author Mon Sep 30, '13 9:27pm PST