What would be best dog for country?

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OK, I have lurked here long enough. I have been visiting for a few months, but have contributed anything yet. My question is what y'all recommend for a good watch dog/guard dog for the country. We live on 2 acres on a county road, but are surrounded by quite a few housing developments. My wife stays at home with our four year old daughter. She would like to have a dog that would let her know if someone has driven up into the yard. I would like a dog big enough to let everyone know he means business. The other night I was out in front of the house and a truck turn it's lights off and drove by real slow. I stood up and when he saw me he turn his lights on and drove off real fast. Now I am a little worried about being gone all day. Any suggestion? We would like to find one that would be good with small children.

-- Curt (SARAH0724@EXCITE.COM), October 13, 2000


Curt, do a web search for farm collie or American Working Farmcollie Association. I'll see if I can cut and paste a couple of links here - - if it doesn't work (I'm not too good at this yet) I'll e-mail you privately. http://www.geocities.com/farmcollie1/index.html http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Valley/5755/links.html

Ha! It worked! Try the two urls above, they should give you plenty to consider -- and good luck! We are getting a farm collie pup in November, and are really looking forward to him!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), October 13, 2000.

great pyrenees!!!! love them to death. big but good w/ anything small,will let you know if anything is wrong or out of place. must say if shedding is a problem skip over them.

-- renee oneill (oneillsr@home.com), October 13, 2000.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Renee on this one. With only two acres, you would have problems with a Great Pyrenees. They bark a lot at night (a couple of thousand years of breeding to meet nocturnal predators can't be undone in a few generations!), and need a larger territory to guard than two acres. In other words, they won't stay home. And as they are notoriously un-smart about car traffic, they don't last long when they roam. I like GP's a lot, but realistically they aren't the best dog for a small parcel of land with close neighbors. That's why so many end up in rescue. The farm collies, on the other hand, are very protective, and territorial. They can be taught to respect your boundaries and not go beyond them without your permission. I'm not sure about the barking at night with them -- as it won't be a problem for us, I haven't been concerned enough about it to ask. If you decide you are interested in one, I can ask for you, or you can join the farm dog list and ask yourself. Also a good place to find a puppy.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), October 13, 2000.

Go to the pound and get a shepard cross or anything that will be good size .Size is the point , most people up to no good will leave just with the sight or sound of a large dog .Good luck.

-- Patty Gamble (fodfarms@slic.com), October 13, 2000.

Hi Curt, I currently have five big dogs ,(I'm biased that way, the only useful dog is a big dog, at least in a rural or protection needed role!), and of them all, even counting the previous ten dogs we've had, is the purebred or mostly purebred (at least 80%) German Shepard. Get a German type bloodline if you can. They are exceptionally intelligent, quick to learn, eager to learn and please their most beloved(I'm not exaggerating here, the dog will worship the ground you walk on!) master, don't shed in any appreciable amounts, require little or no grooming, have incredible eyesight and hearing, and, most importantly, have an extraordinary sense of their territory and to protect their people/family. Of all our dogs, Shep is the only one allowed to run loose at all times, even deer season when the "bubbas" invade, and he never leaves the immediate acre or two zone (we have a hundred acres here so thats a small patrolling area area to Shep) around the house and barns. He sleeps within 50 feet of some point of the house at all times, and if no activity is heard/seen, he's on the back door rug. He has learned not to bother the chickens or the cats, and most of the time, will avoid laying in the flowerbeds. A stern look and reproachful word will correct undesired behavior quickly. The best way to train one is to pick one out of a whole litter of pups, get the one who seems the least afraid and who likes you best. The pup should be no more than 7 or 8 weeks old, you want him/her to bond to you, and at this point it is best if the primary care giver/trainer work with the pup only, although if you have children, now is the time for them to get down on the pups level and play with him DAILY, with supervision from you of course. He will then learn that the children are special members of the family and require extra attention/consideration. Introduce the other family members at this point also, but you should have the majority of contact with the pup. Spend a lot of time with him ,especially in the first 3 months, every day is necessary at this point, it's when the greatest bonding takes place, a well bonded dog will try to do anything for you, and protect you from anything. Other dod breeds will work also, but will take much longer to train/bond, and some never will bond regardless of what you do. Whatever you do, have the pup spay/neutered at the proper time, this is not an animal for breeding purposes, but for protection of people and property, an animal not spay/neutered will have other things on its mind and could care less about that strange man approaching through the bushes towards your children! Good luck puppy hunting! Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (annie@1st.net), October 13, 2000.

Curt, if you want a good family dog that is protective but not overly aggressive unless he knows someone means a family member harm you can't go wrong with a full size collie or a border collie. When I was little growing up on a cattle ranch we had a border collie. Best dog I have ever been around. When we were little we pulled his fur and wrestled with him but he knew we didn't know we were hurting him...he just whimpered a bit. He would actually keep us 'herded' into the yard when we were tots. Most of the time when people came up to the house he would just lay there and thump his tail. A few times though he came up growling.....that dog was the best judge of character I have ever seen. We now have a full size collie and he is just as good about judging character but is cranky in his old age (got him from a shelter and he was 10 when we got him). Only complaint I have with the full size collie is the shedding (you've never seen so much hair come off a dog). If you just want something to let your wife know when someone is around get a chuhuahua.....nothing will get past the little yappers. Amanda

-- Amanda Seley (aseley@townsqr.com), October 13, 2000.

I hate to be a dissenting voice, because I've always loved my dogs...however...on two acres with a housing development nearby, better check first with the police about FINES for barking dogs when some of them turn you in -- it happens all the time, and the dog ends up (back?) at the pound. Another problem that I always worried about with my dogs was that the intruder would just shoot them. For the casual intruder it might work, if they're determined, it won't. I hear stories about break-ins with the dog left with broken bones and the home burglarized.

That said, a friend of mine has NO trouble with tresspassers anymore - - she erected a 6' chain link fence around her home, put her 4 Dobermans inside it, and signs that say "GUARD DOGS. DANGER TO LIFE" on it. No one comes around who doesn't have business there.

-- Julie Froelich (firefly1@nnex.net), October 13, 2000.

Best breed of dog I've ever seen for acreage/home/livestock protection is the Kuvasz..pure intelligence and fearlessness, lots of dog hair everywhere and guaranteed to defend you and yours to the death, literally, without ANY additional training.IMHO, they make Great Pyrenees look like wimps (which is saying a very great deal, since GPs are NOT wimps). A Kuvasz is afraid of nothing..period....once they know what they are supposed to protect, that is all that they need. Why doesn't everyone have them? Because there are not a zillion of them running around. Our Kuvasz, Sophia, is 93 pounds of pure love..the cats adore her. Each night she goes from window to window periodically and peeks out to make sure 'all is well"...I feel 100% safe with her here. So much so, we are getting two puppies of the same breed this Winter. She only barks when there is something to bark about, and then we had better pay attention to her, she is right ALL of the time. If you would like more info on Kuvatz, e-mail me and I will be glad to direct you. God Bless!

-- Lesley (martchas@gateway.net), October 13, 2000.

My husband used to work graveyard and one night at about 1am this car drove up our driveway. Turned it's lights off about halfway. The reason I knew all this is the dog ( Chocolate lab) was barking. We can tell when it is a bugger bark and the real thing. Because there is this obvious growl with it and the bark is way more intense. I looked out the window and saw them turn their lights off. Let me tell ya nothing will wake you up quicker than that. Well that dog was trying to get inside of their car. I know they got a real good look at her because she was in their face! Yes they may have shot her, or beaten her but they would not of gotten inside before I shot them. They decided to make haste and backed out faster than they came up. We also have a collie, about three years old. She is getting better but she is still way to friendly to people to be much of a watch dog. However she is very protective about animals that don't belong here. That is not much good against people. That particular incident at 1am is why our lab dog has been with us for 12 years. She is not much good for farm animals. She rather enjoys killing chickens. My husband did remind me that she is a bird dog after all. You know some dogs look scarry enough to be a deterance.Good luck.

-- Bonnie (josabo1@juno.com), October 13, 2000.

Border collies are the best..You dont even need to train them they will naturaly protect and only bark when necesarry. you can teach them to do any thing that you want them to do, they will follow your children around. When my kids go out in the paster the border goes with them. I raise and sell chihuahuas if you want somthing that is agresive, female chihuashuas can be agresive and you can get larger ones about 10 lbs. good luck

-- Lisa Hopple (hopplehomestead@safezone.net), October 13, 2000.

I kind of like mutts myself. You can get them for free, and with a bit of love and time can wind up with a totally devoted protector. I'd never own one myself, but one of my neighbors had a little cocker spaniel hold two men at bay who had attempted to abduct her 7 year old daughter from her front lawn. I had an Irish wolfhound that scared people because of her size, but she'd have gotten in their car and ridden away with them. The best dog I had was a stray mutt that showed up and insisted on living with us. He is gone now and I still miss him.

-- Anne Tower (bbill@wtvl.net), October 14, 2000.

We can see that there are a lot of different breeds and mixes that will make a good family watch dog. I like the collie/aussie, shepard/collie type dogs.

There are some training issues for any dog that you choose so they will be protective and gentle with your family. While the dog needs to be well socialized with your children and other children, when you have adult company, the dog needs to be isolated in a different room so it doesn't become familiar with "strangers." Later, he can be introduced to you closest friends. He needs to be wary of strangers. If anyone asks, "Does he bite?" The reply should be, "He's got teeth." Whe you first have him around strangers, restrain him by the collar and do not let strangers pet him.

The other training issue is barking. If the dog is allowed to bark at rustling leaves, a car three blocks away, the wind or just because he's bored, how will you ever know when there are trespassers? He needs to be trained what is a barking event and what is not. When he barks, go see what he is barking at. If it is not appropriate, he needs to be told "NO." If it is someone coming into the yard, even if a friend, he needs to be called back, praised and rewarded for letting you know they are there.

Under no circumstances should a dog be taught that barking is a way to get let into the house. What if you decide he is too big, hairy stinky, dirty, bad potty mannered to keep indoors? He will stand in the yard and bark all night for the rest of his life.

What kind of dog for a family watchdog on a small farm? Any well trained dog from the Lupus family that still has its teeth will serve very well.

-- Laura (gsend@hotmail.com), October 14, 2000.

Are there any animal shelters near you? Tell them what you are looking for[ a good shelters dogs have been temperment tested]Take your wife to look as she needs to feel a bond toward the dog and vice - verca.. Most people are afraid of large dogs and wont wait to find out if they are friendly or not.A well treated and loved dog will naturaly want to protect the people It loves.

-- kathy h (saddlebronc@msn.com), October 14, 2000.

I agree with Kathy about letting the shelter folks help. I got my most protective dog that way. I live alone, and felt that I needed one that was really going to scare uninvited people off my porch when necessary. Jasmine is a muscle with teeth, a white Pit Bull, and it has been a joy watching men run away when she greats them unexpectedly. I am positive that she would bite an intruder. I'm up to three now, and they are pretty scary looking. My girls are great with kids. I strongly recommend a shelter.

-- Cathy Horn (hrnofplnty@webtv.net), October 14, 2000.

Cathy, you were lucky at the shelter here they dont adopt out pitbulls they just put them to sleep.Thats how we ended up with our gracie. She is 100lbs 3rd level obdience trained and went to senior homes with the share a pet program and she is a american standard pitbull. When we found her as a pup we kept her so thay wouldnt put her to sleep and she has been the greatest dog!And our son learned to walk hanging on to her ears.But they are a big responsibilty and definatly not for every one.

-- kathy h (saddlebronc@msn.com), October 15, 2000.

You have received alot of good suggestions. But be sure to research the personality and needs of whichever breed you chose. Border collies need something to do or they can cause problems, Great Pyrenees like space to roam, etc. Every dog has certain quirks. You can find a web site for almost any (if not all) major breeds.

I suggest when you do get your dog find a sign that says MY DOG CAN REACH THE FENCE IN 3 SECONDS CAN YOU? Funny but will give you pause. Check out some of the pet catalogs.

-- Vaughn (vdcjm5@juno.com), October 15, 2000.

Lots of great advice. There is so much involved, personality of the people, of the dog, etc. that it is hard to go with a specific kind of dog. Even the best breeds have dogs that don't match that breeds characteristics. I would suggest looking for a local humane society - which is often different from the city/county shelter - often times in humane societies they take dogs from shelters, have them live with "foster parents", so they really know the personality of the individual animals - some shelters do this to, you just have to research. But I wouldn't rely on a shelter, etc. telling you to get a specific breed just because of the breed characteristics. Each dog is different, and is raised in different circumstances. But I advise NEVER buying a dog from a pet shop, or from a breeder who sells to pet shops, or from "breeders" who don't let you meet the parents, have lots of animals being bred at the same time, etc. In the vast majority of cases, these animals are not up to breed quality and have been overbred and raised inhumanely. Most all dogs in pet shops come from puppy mills - horrible places. I would check with humane society, look into different breed websites (by the way - a dog being AKC just means someone paid to register the dog, can still be poorly bred - "AKC bred or registered" doesn't really mean anything anymore). I've had many dogs over my life, so far, my best guard type dog has been a lab mix I found abandoned. This dog scares the heck out of people, but is gentle as a kitten with family and kids. And check local city ordinances - more and more areas are not allowing some breeds, or may have special regulations for owning some breeds - (like pit bulls, rotts, etc.) Good luck!

-- Julia inTally (tofubiscuit@excite.com), October 17, 2000.

Female lab mut, I'd avoid chow mix but most others are wonderful!! DW

-- DW (djwallace@ctos.com), October 17, 2000.

Gotta sing praises for this one - can't get much better than a good sized Standard Poodle. Don't laugh - they used to be hunting dogs - 2nd one I had we used for dove, ducks, hogs for crying out loud & squirrels. Anything, really, except deer. Wouldn't chase horses or cows or sheep either, but none of them ever have. I think it's a poodle thing. ALL have a few characteristics I like - terriorital, protective, SMART like you wouldn't believe, eager for company & love kids, stay puppies forever. It's a nice combo. Don't kid yourself, tho, one did, after I had given him away & he'd been gone a couple weeks, do serious damage to someone trying to get one of "his" kids in a strange car. Seems the little girl screamed & that was all he needed to hear. Seems the dog came out of the yard like Hell's half acre & did what any good dog would do. Lady came back to tell me about it. Tried to tell her it was normal for the breed.

Your kids would love 'em & you'd never need to worry about temperment quirks. I keep mine in a "Persian lamb" cut coz the velcro hair attracts stuff where I live. So, just clip it down & they look like real dogs. That's another thing - they don't shed & they don't smell like a wet dog - they have hair vs fur, which is why folks allergic to dogs can have poodles. Standards are from 40 lbs to the 110lb one I had so long ago. They don't have to look like FOo-Foo & my then husband used to love getting poor Shadow all dolled up looking like Barbie's Wonder, then take her hunting. On the other hand, he made a dollar or 2 when the other rednecks would freak at this big guy & his wife's dog in the field, that is, until they started putting $$ on who's dog is better, etc. Lonnie never lost, but Shadow didn't care, she just loved being a retriever. Hard for me to keep a straight face.

Great all around dog, in spite of what the show people have done to the breed. On the other hand, it's kept the big ones out of the popularity race, which is good. They also like to live for a long time.

Anyway, it's an idea & if you want more info, I know a couple real websites where folks use them for real dogs & you might find it interesting. Great critters.

-- K-K-K-Katie (yarsnpinnerkt@hotmail.com), October 18, 2000.

I won't laugh at your poodles, Katie. I know they're very smart. Actually, the miniatures and toys usually are too -- smart enough to train their owners! Unfortunately, the little ones have been to popular and consequently popular in puppy mills too. >:-(

A friend used to have standard poodles, and they were very nice dogs. Considering their size, I don't know why one wouldn't take them seriously. And I'm not sure of what you mean by foo-foo. The "show" clip has its roots in practicality. The dogs would retrieve from water. They were clipped very short to cut down on water resistance. The "puffs" on their joints were to protect the joints and help keep them warm. I think the clip LOOKS ridiculous, but it had it's purpose. Now, ribbons, rhinestones, and toenail paint, THAT's foo-foo -- IMO of course! ;-)

So, being bird dogs, how are they around chickens, ducks, etc.? How about pet birds (parakeets, cockatiels, parrots, etc.).

-- Joy Froelich (dragnfly@chorus.net), October 18, 2000.

Dear members:i live in argentina,a freind of mine wants to know the history and origins of KUVATZ DOGS.Ill be grate if someone of you could answer this difficult item. Thank you,Sergio

-- sergio kosac (coolser_4@yahoo.com), May 02, 2001.

Here ya go, Sergio:


-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), May 03, 2001.

Ok,No problem here,The best all around farm dog is the Catahoula Cur.This dog will protect you and you kids, loves kids, will learn to hunt different animals (coons, squirrels,Hogs,Deer,rabbits and probably more) and still be that family dog you want.You can also use them to herd cattle and hogs and such.They are pretty big dogs and definatley scary looking. But usually don't bite unless provoked.We live in Louisiana and it is our state dog. If you are interested e- mail me and I may can find a breeder for you. We have a male (Zeus) And we love him.My oldest daughter even shows him for 4H.and has won with him. Just my opinion.

-- Jimmy Holiday (jholiday@charter.net), May 05, 2001.

I'm going to add to this thread. It has been several months since I first responded to the original question. Our male old-fashioned farm collie, Scout, is now almost eight months old and we love him! He's a good watch dog, and I think as he gets older will be protective of us, also. He is sweet, intelligent, good with the goats, and if I can just break him of thinking that the woods across the road are part of our property, will be the perfect dog!! (The woods are only less than a hundred feet from our house, so it is an understandable, but dangerous, mistake -- and the yard is getting fenced within the week!) Right now he is crashed out on the sofa -- he is energetic when outside, but very laid back in the house, which I appreciate! And our two-year-old grand-daughter loves him to pieces, and he reciprocates.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), May 09, 2001.

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