Reason Number 5 – You live very remotely
Maybe you have a remote ranch, a farm or just a house literally in the middle of nowhere: No neighbours for miles, no traffic, and hardly anyone coming to visit. And if you do see people nearby, chances are, they should not be there. These could be potential burglars, or people considering stealing some of your livestock. Depending on where you live, those unwanted visitors could also be roaming dogs, wild boars and even bears.
So, which kind of guard dog should you choose to protect your home and your animals? I would say: Unless you are in immediate danger, you have the luxury of time – at least to some extent: Enough time to select and raise a puppy. Quite frankly, if this were me, I would get littermates of a large Mastiff- or livestock guardian breed. Simply because when it comes to warding of packs of stray dogs, coyotes or even bears, one dog is rarely enough (and could get killed by predators himself). So, best to go for a team or even a threesome of canine specialists. These large farm- and livestock guardians bark quite a bit, but they do this to proactively warn predators to stay away. And as you live so remotely, neighbours being offended will not be an issue. But the best thing about these breeds is: To get them to protect your property and yourself, all you have to do is feed them – and be a calm, consistent canine leader to them. Possible breeds to choose from are: the Turkish Kangal, the Caucasian Shepherd, the Estrela Mountain Dog, the Spanish Mastiff or the Boerboel.
Reason Number 4 – You live in a high-Risk Neighbourhood
But what to do if you live all but remote – and instead, you find yourself sitting in an apartment, in the middle of a troubled neighbourhood, where assaults and robberies occur with alarming regularity? In this case, having a loudly barking livestock guardian is not practical. But not to worry: You still have quite a few powerful and naturally protective breeds to choose from. Breeds that – contrary to popular belief – absolutely can make good apartment dogs. Simply because they have a medium- to low energy level, do not bark excessively and will be far easier to socialise than the more archaic livestock guardians. Such breeds include the Rottweiler, the Bullmastiff, the Neapolitan Mastiff, and even the Doberman. Each of these breeds comes with an incredible intimidation factor, and hardly anyone would try and test their resolve. But if you are still uncertain, join a local club where protection work is performed, or hire a guard dog trainer. Again, unless you have reason to believe that your are in acute danger, you have the time to start off with a puppy. As a side note: Especially male Rottweilers are known to naturally come to the defense of their owners starting from 6 months of age. Therefore, getting a puppy does not mean you will be without protection for at least a year.
Reason Number 3 – Your Home has been broken into
As anyone who has ever lived through a home invasion can attest, this is NOT an experience you ever want to have repeated: No matter whether or not you were present at the time of the intrusion, it will leave a mark. Most people will never feel 100% safe and secure in their home ever again after such an incident. Unless, of course, they invest in a guard dog. Now, on this channel, we speak a lot about selecting the perfect breed for your needs. And usually, people will then choose a breeder and get a puppy. But if you have experienced a home intrusion, I would personally advise you to consider an adult dog. Of course, take the time you need to select a breed you are comfortable with, and educate yourself on its characteristics and needs as much as you can. If you are an inexperienced owner, I highly recommend you turn to a local guard dog trainer for assistance. Such a person will be able to mentor you through the process of selecting an adult dog – either from a shelter or directly from the dog’s previous owner. In the vast majority of cases, the mere presence of ANY barking dog is enough to repel would-be burglars. But better to err on the side of caution and get a large breed with a high intimidation factor: A German Shepherd, a Doberman, a Giant Schnauzer, or any of the large Mastiff breeds such as the English Mastiff, the Bullmastiff or the Boerboel (which is the South African Mastiff).
Reason Number 2 – Your personal Safety is at Stake
This ties right into what we said before, but it is one level up from a “mere” burglary: If you have reason to believe that your personal safety is at stake, do all the obvious things – go to the police, report what is going on, and ask for their help. However, oftentimes, the hands of Law Enforcement are bound until a crime has actually happened. So, if you have received serious threats to your health and well-being, “wait and see what happens” is not a good strategy. Getting a capable, reliable and TRAINED guard dog is possibly the best thing you can do to ensure your safety in the short term: More often than not, a potential attacker will refrain from testing your large dog’s resolve. But in the unlikely case that they decide to enter your personal space, you need to be sure the dog will attack. Therefore, do not waste time: Contact a canine professional in your area, and explain your situation. Ask them to set you up with an adult dog that has been trained in personal protection work. In many countries, there are agencies specialising in raising and training personal protection dogs of different breeds. Mostly, they work with Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Malinois. But some also train Cane Corsos or even Pitbulls to be highly reliable guardians. At the same time, these dogs are stable and well-balanced, and will not attack anyone unprovoked.
Reason Number 1 – Your Family’s Safety is at Stake
Again, this number 1 reason why you need a guard dog is closely connected to what we said before. But I have awarded this one (your family needing protection) an even higher priority: Possibly because I take this matter extremely seriously myself: There is nothing more important to me than my family’s safety and well-being. So, if your partner or your children have been threatened, or even attacked – this not the time to hesitate. Obviously, again, you would get the police involved first. And if this were me, I would immediately pick up the phone and speak to a reputable guard dog agency, or an experienced guard dog trainer. I would explain what happened, and request their assistance in finding a ready-trained guard dog suitable for family settings. Personally, I would still be mindful of which breed I choose: Getting a Rottweiler, a high-energy German Shepherd or a Malinois may put small children at a risk of an entirely different kind. And that is to be bit by a dog whose prey-drive is through the roof. Any good protection dog agency will know this, and specifically give gentler breeds (like the Cane Corso or the Doberman) to families with young children.