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Protective family dogs(33 Posts)
We're considering getting a puppy that will be a family pet primarily but also one that will be protective in terms of a deterrent for burglars etc (I know all dogs will be protective to an extent but we're thinking more along the typical guard dog lines, a bigger dog etc). We were thinking German Shepherd initially but not sure now whether that is the right option for our family. Can anyone recommend another medium/large breed who would be a protector and good family pet with young children?
We had a good dc protector. So good she didn't like anyone in our home.
She was put away when anyone came. Nightmare.
Other people may have better experiences..
Labrador. Ours had the most impressive bark and she used it effectively. Soft as butter, otherwise, but anyone casually thinking of trying door handles etc would have been put off, I’m sure.
German Shepherds are incredible family pets and protectors of the home when trained properly. You're talking some serious training with this breed otherwise you will have problems. If trained correctly they are one of the best breeds you can have for a family. They will literally die for you!
From personal experience I would recommend a Rottweiler. Controversial for some but again trained correctly they are incredible pets. Mine was as daft as brush and soft as anything! Worse thing he would have done to you would be slobber all over you! However, he was an amazing deterrent for strangers. His presence alone put people off and his bark was incredible.
When put to the test they will guard you and yours with their life if they to. Loyal until the end.
Another decent breed is Mastiff, Shar Pei and American Bulldog.
Our old lab was as soppy as they came. We have so many pictures of us as kids all sprawled on the floor with him right in the pile. We did agility with him over bean canes, and when he got tired he’d go and hide in his bed - but if we went to find him he’d huff a bit, do the canine equivalent of an eye-roll and come and play again. He was the absolute best and soft as they came.
However! I had a good friend who used to run across the playing field at the back of our house and climb over the back fence to find me. Barney knew and loved her... but when we were out and she tried to come and visit (not knowing this), Barney would NOT let her off that fence. He was going to look after his garden! And another time, he chased a cat up the garden (never caught one, never came close, and I honestly don’t think he’d have known what to do if he had) and as it happened, there was a police officer on the other side, checking the fiend as someone else had reported kids mucking about in the dark. The cat nearly took him out and he said he thought about popping up the fence to look, but in his words ‘I could hear a bloody big dog barking and I didn’t fancy it!’ Dad was also a copper so found out - the other copper hadn’t known it was our house. As a young teen I used to walk for miles with him and my friends with their dogs - never worried about it and neither did my DPs. Because Barney was looking after us all.
So I’d say Lab, tbh. Get a good one, with all the appropriate health tests on both parents and the right temperament and give it the right environment and they’re excellent family dogs imo - but they’ll look after you too.
I’m now tearing up a little at remembering Barney He was a bloody great dog.
Have you had dogs before, from a puppy, and how old are your DC? Do you have time for the training a ‘traditional guard dog’ would take (over and above the time an ‘ordinary’ family dog puppy takes)?
Labs are big dogs who can be intimidating if necessary with a big bark but easy to train and do well as family pets.
I’d steer clear of many ‘guard’ breeds if your kids are young and time-consuming and you’ve not trained a dog before.
My small dog makes a perfectly good guard dog 🤣
Jumps up and barks at front door even before delivery person has rung bell etc. When dh came in late one night, dog flew out of bed to warn me!
Barks at visitors (not the usual visitors, he accepts them).
My spaniel/terrier cross is one hell of a guard dog!
I have a GSD. They are incredible with children.
Most people are terrified of him because of his sheer size and deafeningly loud bark (and he looks like a lion) but he’s soft as a brush in reality.
My small terrier polices the whole village. Nothing gets past her, not even leaves or dustbins. Not a chance she’d let someone in to the house without a noise. Once they’re in and accepted by us, she’s soft as butter.
With the GSD though, unless you’re willing to put the time and effort in, and get support From a good trainer who knows the breed I wouldn’t advise.
They are big dogs, and extremely intelligent. There id a reason that there are a lot of GSDs in rescues, and that’s because people severely underestimate the effort required
@Spudlet, he sounds fabulous ❤️.
My Lab would be very wary of men when we were out together. Fine if they had a dog with them, uncharacteristically
What do you mean by protective?
Do you mean a breed that sounds off-putting (eg loud, deep bark) or an actual guard dog? Because dogs bred to guard (German shepherds, dobermans etc.) aren't the easiest of pets and if you don't train them properly then you could have a real problem on your hands).
But like PP said, labradors have deep barks and can "look" intimidating but will be soft as anything with your DC.
@Saucery He was absolutely wonderful. Sadly, his breeder passed away many years ago or I would go to her for a puppy. Her dogs were wonderful.
Ddog is a spaniel and he is wonderful too, but if we have another after him (I don’t know if we’ll be able to, it depends how work and job hunting goes on) I’d love another lab. And if I can find one with her strain in its pedigree somewhere (that also meets all the other criteria above!) I’ll be well pleased.
Quite honestly a protective guarding breed is the last thing you want with children.
People get shepherds and cane corsos as they are great ‘guard’ dogs and then wonder why they act aggressively towards visitors to the house, and suddenly your children can’t have play mates over.
Pretty much any breed of dog from Doberman to chihuahua will bark if someone tries to break in your house.
Get a breed that suits your life style and exercise regime, and they will protect your house anyway.
A large dog and small children is a terrible idea.
Get a small/medium family friendly breed that you can actually enjoy.
If you are real user on a guarding breed, have you thought about a standard schnauzer? They do require a lot of training (as do most dogs)
My terrier is far more of a guard dog tan many of the big dogs I know!
What are you meaning when you want protection?
Generally speaking, mixing a dog whose job is “protection” and expecting it to be a family friendly pet is a recipe for disaster.
My Goldie is very soppy and scared of most things but when someone came round the back of the house unexpectedly and he was out there he switched to guard dog mode in an instant. He has also got a bit aggressive when we were walking in the woods and a man came past acting oddly ( was drunk). He stood between us and the man and wouldnt let him past.
So you could have a GSD who wont protect you or a soppy Retriever who will.
Staffy - big bark and can have a threatening appearance to strangers/intruders, but lovely friendly dogs.
a lot to be said for terriers. my little poppy who sadly left us last year after 15 wonderful years was good as gold but certainly let anyone know who came to the house she was looking after us.
one day i was walking home up the old railway line where i used to live. a man was behind me and poppy stood guard against me and would not shift until he had gone past and walked into town.i did not think anything wrong but she obviously sensed something.
our terrier now people are very cautious of him and his bark certainly stops them in their tracks. he is a chihuahua x jack russell. my chihuahua makes a racket when needs be and he would tackle anything!
certainly think about a terrier or a cross breed not one of these posh designer cross breed but a good old fashioned mongrel
We have a Vizsla, very living and affectionate with family but has a good guarding instinct. He is aloof with strangers until he gets the vibe that all is well and has a ferocious bark if something unusual is going on outside the house.
We had an attempted break in last year and he was epic.
They are a high energy breed though, don't get one if you can't run him everyday off lead.
German Shepherds are beautiful, but you will have your work cut out for you and if you don't do the time, you'll have a nightmare on your hands. It's become a popular breed around my neck of the woods and I have developed a strong dislike for them because every (local) one, bar one rescue my 87-year-old neighbour has loved and worked with militantly for 10 years (she has been rescuing German Shepherds since the 1970s!) is aggressive. It's not the dogs' fault. It's the owners. They get this breed (or any breed) and they don't put in the work to help the dogs be the best they can be.
If you do get one, do the dog a favour and totally and utterly throw yourself into training it properly. There is no dog so amazing as a beautifully trained German Shepherd.
But my take-home advice would be: Get a male Labrador. They're gentle and loving, playful and sociable, an all-around brilliant family dog... with a perfect bark to scare of intruders and foxes.
Well said @TheVanguardSix 👍🏻
I couldn't agree more and similar to what I posted earlier.
I have a male labrador and he's so dopey and soft and just plain lovably stupid but if the doorbell goes off his bark is awesome!
The second you walk through the door it's just kisses from him but for the initial stranger you would definitely be put off entering my home!