Tipper's Dog BreedSelection Tips

So you are thinking about getting a dog for protection...

First and foremost, most people consider the family dog a pet…a true member of the family.  For die-hard dog lovers, some would even say they love their dog more than their kids and their spouse!  They bring us affection, joy and comfort; but in many cases they afford us an additional layer of protection as well.



Any dog no matter how small or what its breed can display protective characteristics over its human family.  Many people when looking for family dogs that will also protect the family gravitate towards the larger dog breeds.  

It’s important to note that even smaller dogs make excellent watch dogs! According to the “Dog Whisperer” and world renown dog behavior expert Cesar Milan, miniature poodles, shih tzus, dachshunds, terriers, mini schnauzers, and Chihuahuas are wonderful watch dogs.  On the internet, there are numerous “Top 10 lists” of “good dog breeds for protection” or “great family guard dogs”.  You’ll notice that nearly each list is different.  Getting a dog is a huge decision and should not be taken lightly.  Make sure you research the breed you think you might want to make sure it is a breed that is suitable for you and your family. 





Things to consider:


*Size and strength of the dog.  Are you or your teenage son/daughter going to be able to “handle” that 120lb mastiff while on walks in the neighborhood?  Large breed dogs are extremely powerful animals. 

German Shepherds’ weight range, for example,

is between 65-150lbs depending on the genetic

breed line.  Rottweilers weigh between 75 and

135lbs but some can weigh upwards of 150lbs! 

Even if you are holding tightly onto the leash,

an 85lb dog lunging after a small animal or a 100lb

unsocialized dog lunging towards a toddler can be

challenging for even the strongest adult. While large

breed dogs when socialized and trained properly can

be excellent around toddlers and small children,

sometimes they aren’t the most agile.  Their tail

alone can knock over a 2 year old! The larger the

dog, the more physical space he/she requires not

only for playing/running in the yard but for sleeping

as well.  Do you have adequate space inside and

outside for the type of breed you are choosing?

Tipper’s helpful tips:

Selecting a Dog Breed

Best for You and Your Family

*Grooming needs.  Newfoundlands, Collies, and German Shepherds require more regular brushing than say Dobermans and Boxers.  Some breeds like poodles require visits to a professional groomer to keep their coiffe neat and tidy!



Newfoundland Dogs are known for their sweet and patient temperament with children

A German Shepherd puppy

at 6 months old

*Energy level.  The energy level of a standard poodle or border collie is a lot different than that of a bulldog.  Dogs that were bred to track or herd require a lot of exercise.  So its good to know what the dog breed was bred for…natural instincts are called “natural” for a reason.  Dogs are great communicators, they’ll let you know when they’ve been cooped up too long.  Dashing room to room, running circles around the dining room table, chewing your favorite pair of shoes, digging in the potted palm plant, bringing their leash to you and dumping it in your lap…these are all classic “I need some exercise” signs.

*Confinement.  Some dog breeds don’t do well confined in crates.  If you leave your house for extended periods and the dog has not learned to live harmoniously in the home environment without your ever presence and thus you prefer to crate your dog rather than let it have free reign of the house…know which breeds are content in small spaces!

*Social neediness.  Some breeds like Bernese Mountain Dogs don’t like

to be away from its “family pack” for long stretches of time. (Animal Planet) 



*Temperament and aggressiveness of the breed. 

Each dog breed has a certain temperament...some are mild mannered and others were actually bred to fight.  Educate yourself on the temperament of the breeds you are considering.  Socializing and training are key.  Any dog with improper care and negligent or abusive living conditions can be aggressive.  If you don’t have the time or resources to properly and adequately socialize and train a dog, especially a “protective” breed dog, consider getting a cat.  Remember that puppies grow quickly!  A German shepherd puppy will

be larger than an adult beagle by 3 months and its bark will be much

deeper…just big enough to frighten a small child.  It will be nearly full

grown at 6 months. The point is, you cannot delay in training/socializing

your puppy. You can’t wait for warmer weather or after you finish the

project you are working on…your puppy may already be the size of a small

pony by that time!  Train and socialize your puppy from day 1 for at least

two years preferably longer.



*Good with children.  According to Dog Training Central, Poodles, Boxers, and Norfolk Terriers are three of the best dog breeds for children.  Other “kid-friendly” pooches are Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Collies.

Attend a West Side Watch meeting…

many of the active members have dogs! 

If you’re thinking about getting a Doberman

or a German Shepherd, for example,

several members have experience with those breeds…

we’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you!


A German Shepherd puppy

at 3 months old