The Top 3 Guard Dogs
Guest Post by Drew Kobb
With several recent advancements in home security technology, more and more people are resting easy knowing that if their homes are broken into, help is on the way. However, even the smartest technology has its flaws. Despite law enforcement’s best efforts to reduce response time, not all homes are in a convenient location for an immediate response. Additionally, while a home security system will alert the authorities of an intruder, your family isn’t necessarily safe until police arrive.
Adopting a reliable guard dog can be an effective way to protect your home and family. However, some dogs are better at the job than others.
German shepherds are known for their intelligence, strength, and protective nature. It’s for these reasons German shepherds are the most popular choice among law enforcement agencies’ K-9 units. German shepherds can learn simple commands after only 5 repetitions or so. They are also very obedient, responding to a first command 95% of the time.
German shepherds are also very strong, which is why they are often employed in search and rescue efforts. Larger shepherds can weigh up to 100 pounds or more, which is not a bad attribute to have in the case of a home intrusion. On average, German shepherds bite with around 236 pounds of force (that’s in comparison to a human male’s 80 pounds). They also rank high on speed and agility tests.
This breed is very good around children. As dogs are pack animals, German shepherds in particular have a keen sense of family; they can easily pick out who is not welcome. The one drawback is that modern German shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia, a genetic condition which can lead to arthritis in later years.
An intimidating figure, the Doberman pinscher is another intelligent breed that can be easily trained. One advantage to owning a Doberman is that they are very easily identified—stopping potential crooks in their tracks before they even start.
Dobermans are similar to German shepherds in a lot of ways, including their aptitude for companionship and their relative size and strength. And while they can be very aggressive toward unwanted guests, they also have the potential to act more hostile around any stranger—friend or foe. However, Dobermans tend to rank lower on overall aggression and are great household pets when properly trained.
If you want a big, mean dog standing guard, a Rottweiler might be the best choice. Rottweilers easily weigh in around 130 pounds or more. As opposed to the German shepherd, a Rottweiler’s bite force is somewhere in the neighborhood of 328 pounds of force.
In addition to being larger and stronger than most domestic breeds, Rottweilers are also known for their persistence and toughness. In other words, not only will Rottweilers ward off intruders, but they’re also more likely to chase after them, even if they are somehow injured in the process.
The average lifespan of a Rottweiler is around 9 to 10 years—a bit lower than the other two breeds. This may be due in part to their proneness to obesity. If you decide to adopt a Rottweiler, make sure it is not over-fed and receives plenty of exercise.
A Final Word
One advantage guard dogs have over automated security systems is that they provide companionship as well as security. They are pack animals and will be loyal to your pack if they are properly cared for. However, just like your parents have probably told you, dogs are a big responsibility. Your duty to your dog extends far beyond feeding and walking. There is a right way to train your guard dog—neglect, abuse, and starvation are the wrong ways. Before getting a guard dog, consult trainers, breeders, and veterinarians to help you know what to expect and how to keep your dog disciplined in a controlled and healthy way.
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves animals, and keeps himself up-to-date on training tips, new aquarium supplies and animal rights news. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.
Did you know that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States? About 800,000 of these bites are bad enough that the victims seek medical attention, and anywhere from 20-40 dog bites result in fatalities each year. What is astonishing is that almost 80% of these fatal dog attacks occur from two dog breeds alone! These are the Pit Bull Terrier and the Rottweiler. The Pit Bull is at the top of the list by far though, with over 60% of fatal attacks attributed to this breed. Many of these attacks however, are from dogs who are not properly trained and restrained, or are abused and neglected by irresponsible owners. It is also important to note that any dog could be considered dangerous under the right circumstances.
Below are the 5 most dangerous dogs in the United States. These are in order based off the number of fatalities attributed to each.
#5. Alaskan Malamute. The Alaskan Malamute is descended from an old breed. Its ancestors were dogs living with the Mahlemuits Indian tribe in Alaska. Bred originally as sled dogs, they are now kept more often as pets. They must be given a lot of attention and have proper discipline. If not, they can develop bad behaviors which could prove dangerous.
#4. Husky. Huskies are another very old breed of dog and distantly related to Alaskan Malamutes. Being used as sled dogs as well, they have high energy which must be channeled into productivity. Aggressive tendencies can come out, especially if they are not properly trained and disciplined. Smothering them with love and attention is a must for these dogs!
#3. German Shepherd.German Shepherds, another high-energy dog, come in third and are known for their intelligence. They have an amazing ability to learn and can be trained quite readily. They are very loyal and obedient, but should be trained from an early age to insure these qualities. Jobs which German Shepherds are often used for include police dogs and guard dogs. And don’t forget what wonderful companion pets they can be!
#2. Rottweiler. Even though Rottweilers are the second most dangerous dog, they are a well-loved dog breed by many. Being one of the oldest herding dogs, they have a strong instinct to hunt. If they are socialized and trained well from a young age, they make fantastic guard dogs and are fiercely loyal to their families.
#1. American Pit Bull Terrier. Pit Bull Terriers top the list as the most dangerous domestic dog. In fact, they are completely banned in some areas. Pit Bulls have a reputation of being aggressive dogs. Most likely being descended from Bulldogs and hunting terriers which are now extinct, they possess a strong instinct to hunt and protect. One of the reasons these dogs are dangerous is because they have a strong bite and a tendency to not let go of their victim. These dogs have specifically been bred to be fighting dogs, which is thought to be part of the reason they have such an inborn tendency to be aggressive. It is illegal to fight dogs in the United States, but there are still people doing it. Even though Pit Bulls are considered dangerous, many people successfully raise well-behaved and loving pets, and truly believe their behavior is a reflection of the owners discipline techniques.
Other potentially dangerous dogs include Wolf-dog Hybrids, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Presa Canarios, Boxers, and Dalmatians. Wolf-dog Hybrids are actually responsible for more fatalities than Alaskan Malamutes but aren’t included in the list because they aren’t true domestic dogs. Strict regulations regarding owning and breeding wolf-dog hybrids exist in many areas. The Presa Canario is another dog which was bred specifically to participate in dog fights and bans have previously been placed on this breed.
Precautions should always be taken when you come across any dog you are unfamiliar with.
Some suggestions for interacting with dogs you don’t know:
- Never approach a strange dog. In fact, walk the other direction! But don’t run, as this could attract their attention.
- Don’t try to pet any dog that is tied up, behind a fence, or in a car.
- Even if a dog seems friendly, never pet them without first letting them sniff you and determine you aren’t a threat.
- Avoid eye contact with a dog. Some dogs may think you are challenging them.
- Never yell at a dog you don’t know. Any type of discipline could trigger acts of aggression.
- If you ARE attacked by a dog, don’t move. If you run, their fighting and hunting instincts kick in and they will chase you with even more aggression. If you are knocked down, try to curl up in a ball and call for help.
- Report any dog you find who appears menacing or threatening, even if they haven’t actually attacked you.
Whether a dog appears to be a stray or with someone, don’t approach them until you know it is safe! Another thing to keep in mind is that many attacks happen in people’s homes or on their property. If you know that a friend or relative owns a potentially dangerous dog breed, use caution when visiting them, especially if you are bringing a child. Ask that they restrain or remove their dog from the area you will be visiting.
Dangerous Dog Laws
Laws are in place in many areas to strictly regulate dogs and owners or to even ban some dangerous dog breeds altogether. These laws address both dangerous dogs as well as the owners who often facilitate their dogs behavior. According to the ASPCA a dangerous dog is any dog who injures another animal or person without being provoked or having good reason. The ASPCA really favors reckless owner laws, where the owners take primary responsibility for any dangerous behavior on their dogs part. They also believe that some situations warrant aggressive behavior. These cases would include a dog protecting himself or his/her family from a threat from other animals or people. A few laws that really help to keep bad behavior in check if enforced include:
- Universal leash laws
- Spaying and neutering (to reduce aggressiveness and reduce stray populations)
- Owners held legally responsible
- Progressive levels of violation for owners
More Interesting Dog Bite Facts from the American Humane Association
- Most fatal dog attacks (92%) occur from male dogs.
- 94% of these male dogs are not neutered.
- 67% of dog bites occur on or near a victim’s personal property.
- Most people personally know the dog who bit them.
- 58% of deaths occur on the owners property by unrestrained dogs.
- 25% of fatalities are attributed to chained dogs.
- Over 25 dog breeds have been involved in fatal attacks in the United States.
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Rottweiler!
Rottweilers often get a bad rap as being aggressive dogs. It is true they can be aggressive, but with the right socialization and training they can turn out to be good pets. I have known several Rottweilers or “Rotties” as they are often called. Once they got to know me, most of these dogs seemed quite friendly and loving towards me and I felt safe. All of them had fantastic owners who really spent time with them and helped shape them into great dogs!
A major appeal of the Rottweiler is its propensity for being a great guard dog. They become extremely loyal to their owners and will protect them at almost any cost. If they are well socialized with other pets while they are young, you can expect your Rottie to get along with just fine with them. Other characteristics they are known for are being calm and affectionate towards their family, including children. You can expect to have a wonderful addition to your family with a trained Rottweiler!
Rottweilers have a very long history stretching all the way back to the Roman Empire. They were first bred in Rottweil, Germany and are most likely descended from the Italian Mastiff. They were used first as herding dogs, and may very well be the oldest herding dog breed in the world. They were also used as war dogs and guard dogs and were highly valued during times of turmoil. But as the need for them subsided due to other technological advances, this breed diminished in quality and quantity, nearly becoming extinct. In the early 1900’s, while gearing up for World War I, there was a renewed interest in the breed as a need for police dogs came about. In 1931 the American Kennel Club recognized the Rottweiler as an official breed. Today the Rottweiler is a very popular dog, having more registrations than any other breed! Hybrids such as the Boxweiler and the English Mastweiler are also becoming more popular.
Rottweilers are impressive looking dogs and many consider them beautiful. They are heavy dogs with a muscular build and forefront muzzles. Their coats consist of short hair and are predominantly black with some brown markings. I have been asked in the past if there are all-black Rottweilers. Curiously, purebred Rottweilers cannot be all black! They will always have some brown on them. These dogs also reach a good size, with males weighing up to 130 pounds! Females are usually somewhat smaller than this, with a maximum weight of 115 pounds.
This breed of dog needs to be trained from an early age. From the beginning, you should let your dog know you are the boss. Once this is established, most Rottweilers are eager to please. They are obedient, very good at following commands, and fearless. In general they have a very good-natured temperament and are alert. When trained for a particular task, they can be relied upon to get the job done. Guarding and herding are their most notable strong points.
The reason this dog sometimes has a bad reputation is because of irresponsible owners. These dogs have the potential to be aggressive and have serious behavior problems if not trained and socialized. Their problems often stem from an owner not investing enough time to spend with them, or worst case scenario completely neglecting or abusing them. Rottweilers are also very strong dogs, which can increase the risk for problems in a neglected or untrained dog.
Basic Care of Rottweilers
Because Rottweilers have short hair, they don’t need much grooming other than just a quick brushing once a day or so. Regular vacuuming is a must for inside dogs, because they do shed and dog hair will accumulate! Rottweilers need a lot of exercise. Large yards which provide room to run and play in are ideal. Daily walks and/or swims are helpful too. They love to let their energy out, and regular activities also provide good opportunities to keep up on their socialization and training skills.
Puppies should be fed a good quality puppy food until they are close to 2 years old. After this, you should feed them a diet comprised of mostly protein (such as poultry and lamb) mixed with some wheat and dairy. Most good quality dog foods will provide the needed nutrients.
Vaccinations. Vaccinations are very important for dogs to keep them healthy. They should be given their first shot at 6-8 weeks of age. This shot is the DHLPPC or Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus shot. They should get their second shot at 10-12 weeks, their third shot at 14-16 weeks, and then annually from their on out. A rabies shot should also be given and 14-16 weeks and then annually as well.
If Rottweilers are given their vaccinations, they are a pretty hardy breed. They don’t have a lot of problems with disease or many physical problems. They can be prone to hip or joint dysplasia because they are a larger breed. It is also important to take note of a puppy’s genetic history before selecting one. Heart Disease and Von Willebrand’s Disease are hereditary problems that should be taken note of.
Availability of Rottweilers is widespread. They can be found in most areas of the United States from reputable breeders. $800 to $1000 is a price you can expect to pay for a puppy with a good genetic background.
Do you have experience with Rottweilers? What do you like or dislike about them? Are there any tips you would like to share?
Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.