Not sure what larger dog breed would suit our family

(90 Posts)
Ihavepixies Mon 20-Jul-20 21:19:02

We are looking for the right breed of dog to replace our whippet who passed away recently, she was a very old girl and the children are heartbroken.

I am toying with the idea of a bigger dog this time, partly because I usually walk the dog alone in remote areas with youngish children and have had one or two worrying instances that have ruined my enjoyment as I am always on my guard. I am thinking that a larger dog (provided it isn't a labrador or other obviously incredibly friendly breed) may make a potential threat look for an easier target. Perhaps a dog that doesn't instantly greet strangers or could be trained to give a warning growl or a friendly dog that looks a little bit more intimidating than a whippet (same with a labrador/springer which would otherwise be perfect). However I am also worried a larger dog could potentially harm one of the children? I think a small dog can do damage with a bite but typically less so because of the size and bite strength being less. My children are excellent with dogs, very gentle, but you never know.
I'm also keen on a dog that is fairly obedient and easy to train as my whippet had a tendency to forget everything including her name when she caught a scent. My eldest is also keen to train the dog to do agility or similar.

And a dog that would happily go for a fairly long jog a few times a week.

Ideally we want a dog that is affectionate, not aloof with its family. One that is not too much of a one person dog and has love for everyone.

Also not a shy and retiring breed of dog that is going to be stressed out by our noisy house. Children can make lots of noise. We'd like a dog that wants to join in and play and fetch a ball.

I just wondered if anyone could advise on a breed or a cross between breeds that might fit some of these.

A friend suggested a poodle cross rottweiler but I think they were joking!!

We thought some of these might be possibilities:
Weimaraner (a one person dog?)
German shepherd (a one person dog and not very cuddly/affectionate?)
Hungarian viszla
Standard poodle
Border Collie
Rhodesian ridgeback (apparantly hard to train and potentially aggressive? Same thought with dobermans etc! Plus my children's friends may be scared to come round!)

Any advice appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
mamapants Mon 20-Jul-20 21:22:17

Greyhound or lurcher.

Pugdoglife Mon 20-Jul-20 21:25:50

A greyhound would definitely be my choice of large dog

tabulahrasa Mon 20-Jul-20 21:30:31

Tbh, a black lab...

I know you don’t want a lab because you’re wanting something that looks more intimidating, but you’d be surprised how many people are nervous of a large black dog, even when it’s a lab.

They don’t have to greet everyone they see you know, that’s training... show bred Rottweilers are just as over-friendly as labs.

Ylvamoon Mon 20-Jul-20 21:42:26

Dog de Bordeaux or English Mastiff

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Mon 20-Jul-20 21:43:58

You've got Weims and Vizslas on there - have you considered German Pointers too? The shorthairs are generally regarded as being a bit more biddable, or least less obstinate, than the wirehairs.

They come in solid liver, liver and white, solid black, and black and white. A large black dog (the bitches tend to be smaller) would look pretty imposing, but they are great in active families and good with older DC (a bit likely IME to skittle smaller ones).

Vizslas (IME again) tend to be a bit shyer and more nervous than GSPs, though there is one around here that is very gung-ho. Weims are lovely dogs too but according to one owner I talked to, you don't so much tell them what to do as explain why it's a good idea (and this was a working gundog, so the owner wasn't making excuses for a dog that wouldn't do anything).

All the HPRs (the German pointers, Vizslas, Weims etc) are great runners and will go for miles - I know of a couple that though marathon training was the best thing ever and went out with their owner for regular 10-15 mile runs. They are all intelligent and trainable, but high energy and they need training, fulfilment and their prey drive to be kept in check. I know a lot of them and I don't often meet one I don't like.

Pacif1cDogwood Mon 20-Jul-20 21:44:25


Best of both worlds smile


Honeyroar Mon 20-Jul-20 21:47:17

We had a GSD as a child. He was the most wonderful family dog, despite adoring my dad most, certainly wasn’t a one man dog. Lovely crossed with a lab too.

Imnotsomesortofchump Mon 20-Jul-20 21:48:17

We have a saluki she's brilliant with my toddler and 5 year old.

SecretNutellaFix Mon 20-Jul-20 21:48:30

Border Collie will need to work/ be kept busy most of the day or your house may well end up destroyed. They can get very focused on an individual, sometimes even guarding them from affection from other family members.
They are a very highly strung breed- amazing dogs but they do need quite a lot of input when young. Some can be quite nippy and many show rounding up behaviour with children, other animals, vehicles.

I used to have one that would try to escape her leash to round up cars on the road. She was amazing and very easy to train but so damn stubborn.

From your list I'd almost be tempted by a standard poodle- they are very active and friendly and often score highly on lists of most intelligent dogs.

RubaiyatOfAnyone Mon 20-Jul-20 21:50:24

I grew up with an English Mastiff - she was amazing. Looks like the hound of the baskervilles; has the personality of an affable hearthrug.

Borderstotheleftofme Mon 20-Jul-20 21:54:33

I have a border collie.

She is an exceptionally sweet and gentle dog with children.
She is rather aloof but not at all aggressive towards strangers.
She doesn’t approach them, if they are talking to me and reach out to touch her she’ll tolerate a few strokes then move away generally speaking.

Now I don’t for one minute believe she would have the sort of confidence to properly ‘take on’ a dangerous individual but twice in her life she has growled in what I think is a true ‘threatening’ rather than fearful way, that is, very deep, not undulating.

Once was towards two young men who appeared to be high on drugs and acting very bizarrely and the other was towards a single man, I can’t put my finger on quite what it was about him but you know when you just immediately sense you are in danger?
I got that feeling about him.

Those two incidents aside she has never exhibited any hint of aggression to anyone.

I highly doubt you could train a border collie ‘proper’ defensive/protective training, but I am quite certain you could teach them to watch a person or bark at them on command and/or hand signal.

If you decided to go for a border collie I would say the following:

- Definately go for working line.
If you looking for ‘aloof’ with strangers, which mature border collies often are, you might be disappointed with a show/pet line collie which a ‘good’ breeder will be trying to select to have the traits associated with nice family pets eg happy to see everyone and be everyone’s friend.

- make sure you see the parents and are satisfied with their temperament.
Nervousness is a big problem in all herding breeds.
It’s perfectly normal for a border collie to be aloof/disinterested in strangers but avoid pups from parents which appear to be scared of strangers or aggressive (which is likely to be hiding a fear of strangers) of strangers.

- don’t allow herding behaviour to be exhibited towards people.
It’s usually evident in puppies as young as 8 weeks.
Any herding behaviour towards people warrants an immediate verbal warning and removal from the situation.
They need to learn that humans are not be herded. Ever.

- focus on training ‘settle’ from puppyhood in lots of different environments and don’t over exercise.
Collies are prone to dysplasia.
Strictly 5 mins per month of age leash walking.
While a healthy collie should be able to go all day and will thoroughly enjoy long walks don’t fall into the trap of offering massive walks everyday.
You won’t tire the dog out.
All you’ll do is create a very fit dog that expects huge amounts of exercise and may get obnoxious or destructive if they don’t get it.
Vary walk lengths and don’t go too crazy.

- limit ‘high excitement’ activities like the ball thrower, agility etc.
This is a high strung breed generally, they do better in calm environments.
Focus more on calm activities.

GrouchyKiwi Mon 20-Jul-20 21:56:51

Wolfhound? My sister has one, and she has three little children as well. The dog is a DARLING with the babies, but people find her intimidating as she's so big.

Borderstotheleftofme Mon 20-Jul-20 22:02:44

Ah, reading another post has reminded me..

Yes, the breed is indeed prone to jealousy and may try and guard their favourite person.
As with herding, jealousy imo requires a firm approach.
Firm verbal marker and removal.
Do not tolerate any form of jealousy.

And yes, they are very stimulated by movement and want to chase/control moving things like cars.

Re the children.
Be aware they are a high strung breed and some of them can get very distressed at children who are excessively loud and boisterous, running round etc.
Would strongly recommend trying to get a puppy already used to children and practise ‘settle’ around the kids frequently.
Keep a close eye, making sure the pup isn’t getting agitated.

ihoeihoeihoe Mon 20-Jul-20 22:02:47

Grew up with Doberman’s and whilst they do tend to have ‘one master’ they’re certainly not a one man dog. They love everyone in their pack and the ones we’ve had (males) have needed barely any training in being protective, it has mostly come natural, eg. Would growl at strangers at the door and make them selves known. When we’d walk him he was always aware of other people and would pay attention to them which made me feel much more at ease. They’re easy to train and excellent family dogs. Doberman’s are basically short haired Rottweilers in personality.

Downsides are I don’t think they’d be great at agility - males can be quite big and bulky and also first 12-18 months have to have a more relaxed exercise routine as they’re growing - same with most large breeds though. Despite their short hair they do malt quite a bit and we have always found despite living with men most have been wary of them - which is great alone on walks but they can still be a bit standoffish if you have men at your house eg the plumber etc

ifoundthebread Mon 20-Jul-20 22:11:25

I grew up with a GSD and she was the most snuggly ball of fur (and lots of fur that was), but she was also one of them dogs people avoided because she looked mean and she also sounded it when someone came on the property. I'd love another but couldn't cope with the fur along side the dog I have now.

I currently have a Staffordshire bull terrier x husky. He is an amazing fit with our family, very tolerable of the children but not one to snuggle with them, think hes conscious of the size difference as will snuggle with dp and I. So easy to train. Main downside is the fur, due to him having a husky coat, twice a year I literally sit and pull his fur out and make an second dog 😂
The fact hes got a massive stuffy mouth automatically makes people cross the road out of our way, its brilliant most of the time but we had issues initially finding people who wanted to socialise their dogs with ours.

tabulahrasa Mon 20-Jul-20 22:20:27

Oh also with labs, they’re usually fairly chatty - so easy enough to train to bark on command.

I don’t have a lab btw, lol, just as you said labs were almost exactly what you wanted... I think they’d do what you wasn’t actually.

tabulahrasa Mon 20-Jul-20 22:20:53

Want not wasn’t angry lol

StillMedusa Mon 20-Jul-20 22:33:40

If you want aloof with strangers and can sound intimidating but is soppy as hell with family... you just described my Eurasier. The boys are bigger than the girls (I'd say mine was medium large.. she's 23k tho looks bigger because she's all hair, boys can be quite a lot larger)

Very easy to train as intelligent, ditto toilet training, very chilled in the house but loves a mad off lead dash. Gets mistaken for a GSD/husky cross.
If she is uneasy about someone she does bark.. and sounds scary , but is in reality very gentle. They are a 'reserved' breed so just want their family (tho whole family)
So many kids have said 'is that a wolf?!' :D

MiniTheMinx Mon 20-Jul-20 22:41:17

I grew up with boxer dogs. They love children, are playful and boisterous, need lots of exercise. Not too difficult to train in all respects except on the lead. Good recall but absolutely hated being on the lead. They make brilliant guard dogs. In trials they proved to be the most intelligent guard dog being the only breed that didn't give chase letting the intruder out to run away, instead they prevented their escape!!
The two we had loved people and other dogs but in several occasions when I felt uncomfortable or threatened the dogs were aware immediately and reacted by getting between me and another person and growling.
Many people think they look a bit scary. I don't because I know their temperament. They are the only breed I would trust with young children.

Lilithpaws Mon 20-Jul-20 22:45:23

Golden retriever.

CMOTDibbler Mon 20-Jul-20 22:45:39

I have two lurchers, and both are affectionate, protective, playful, and trainable. One of them is a slightly odd mix of whippetish x doberman (he's a rescue and was born there so we know mum) and he is incredibly protective of me and it makes him very restless if we are sitting in the park etc.
The other is saluki x greyhound and if any of his family were threatened in some way you would see how many teeth he has and get a good growl. Not sure if he would do anything, and he isn't looking for trouble like the other does. However currently he's tucked up under a duvet with ds smile

elizabethdraper Mon 20-Jul-20 22:49:22

Leonberger would be perfect
Looks huge and intimidating really beaten by the locate cats
You need to be strong on training but omg they are justamazing family pets

AbbieLexie Mon 20-Jul-20 22:53:09

We have a female Giant Schnauzer. Very very happy with her and I feel this breed would be worth looking at.

leafeater Mon 20-Jul-20 22:54:23

Pointers are fab. Beautiful, big, can be loud when necessary!

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