Archive for the ‘Guard Dogs’ Category
Thursday, August 19th, 2010
The Bullmastiff is a large and powerful breed with a muscular build. It is a molosser type breed, and came about as a cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog. The head and muzzle are broad and relatively square. The ears naturally fold downwards, and are usually left as-is. Cropping of the ears occurs rarely, if at all. The coat is short and fine, with fawn, red and brindle being the most common color variations. White markings are sometimes seen on the chest.
The Bullmastiff temperament is usually described as independent, calm, and docile. They are not generally agressive, and are mostly friendly towards humans and other dogs. In comparison with other breeds, they do not bark often, but may bark on alarm. Several health problems are common among the breed, with hip dysplasia being the most common due to the dog’s size. Hip dysplasia occurs in approximately one quarter of all Bullmastiffs.
The Bullmastiff was originally bred in England during the late 1700′s to early 1800′s. Their original purpose was to help guard the estates of gamekeepers. They were trained to tackle and hold down intruding poachers, but were not trained to bite them. Both their large size and gentle temperament reflect this. Today, their large and lovable nature lends itself well to life as a family pet. Despite originally being bred as a guard dog, they are not usually used for that purpose today. Though their large size is intimidating, they do not have the nerves or temperament required of guard dogs today. More common working breeds such as the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd are better suited to guard work, while the Bullmastiff is best left as a pet or companion dog.
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
The guard dog has a long history of working with humans. In fact, guarding livestock was one of the first working roles given dogs. Since then, the work of a guard dog has expanded to include guarding property, personal belongings and even families. Given the importance of these things, one should always strive to have the best dogs from the best breeds watching over what’s important to them. However, there has always been debate over which dogs are best for the job.
Before aeroplanes and automobiles, transportation was limited. This lead to a wide variety of different breeds being developed in many different regions, all for the purpose of creating the best guard dog. Today, the world feels just a little bit smaller, and the same breeds that used to be found only in very specific regions can now be found all over the world. What many people don’t realise is that the breeds themselves have continued to change over the years. In the world of canine breeding, genetics can change dramatically from generation to generation. Many breeds that were once excellent guard dogs have now been given the role of house-pet as they were unable to keep up with the strength, intelligence and nerves of other breeds. The best breeds for use as a guard dog today are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd, in that order.
Of course, one cannot assume that any dog of a favorable breed will be suitable for work as a guard dog. Every dog is different, and choosing a suitable guard dog happens on an individual basis. However, the basis of a good guard dog is good genetics, and the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd have some of the best bloodlines, which have been fine-tuned for years to be the very best.
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
The Cane Corso is a large molosser type breed of dog with a muscular build. It has a square muzzle that is typically about as wide as it is long, and naturally drooping ears. The Cane Corso is commonly seen with cropped ears and a docked tail, although the controversial practise of docking tails and cropping ears is discouraged in many dog shows, and has been made illegal in several countries. The coat is short and smooth with black and fawn being the most common colour variations.
The Cane Corso was originally bred in Italy as a working dog where it was used both for hunting, as well as guarding livestock. It’s name comes from the Latin “Cohors”, meaning “guardian”. Like many European breeds of dog, the Cane Corso nearly vanished after the Second World War, but has been making a steady comeback due to the efforts of enthusiasts who have been working to revitalise the breed since the 1980s.
Relative to many other breeds, the Cane Corso is exceptionally intelligent and easy to train. However, while they have a long history of guarding livestock against wild predators, this does not always translate to the ability to guard against criminals as a guard dog or a protection dog. For work as a guard dog today, it is best to stick with working breeds, such as the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, who have demonstrated clearly that they posses the nerves required of a true guard dog.
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
The American Bulldog is a stocky, muscular mastiff-type breed, and one of several breeds that grew from the original Old English Bulldog. Their coat is short, smooth and generally white, although color patterns including black, brown and brindle are not uncommon. Between the modern British Bulldog and the American Bulldog, the American breed is the larger of the two, and most closely resembles the original Old English breed.
Like many breeds of dog, the Bulldog nearly vanished after the Second World War. American breeders by the name of Alan Scott and John Johnson, among several others, sought to rebuild the breed. Keeping a close eye on preserving the breed’s original loyalty and working ability, the resulting breed became the American Bulldog that we know today.
Due to the bulky, muscular appearance of the dog, they are frequently portrayed in television and movies as a fearsome and intimidating breed, often in roles as a guard dog. However, the true temperament of the American Bulldog is actually much friendlier. Due to their history as a working dog being focused largely on hunting, their prey drive is especially strong. Even today, they are commonly used to hunt wild boar. Unfortunately, breeds with a high prey drive often do not make good guard dogs or protection dogs. Other working breeds with a naturally high defensive drive such as the Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd are much better suited for work as a guard dog.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
The Beauceron, less commonly referred to as the Berger de Beauce, is a centuries-old breed that originated in Northern France. While the name might imply that the breed is specifically from the Beauce region, its origins are actually spread across several regions in the North of France. The breed was originally developed for use as a shepherd dog, and to guard livestock. Since then, the breed has gained a reputation in France for it’s abilities as a guard dog and its service in both World Wars.
Physically, the Beauceron is a large, muscular dog. The coat is short, course and most commonly Black and Tan. Several color variations also exist, but they are not included in the breed standard. Unlike many other breeds which may or may not have a dewclaw, the Beauceron is known for having a double dewclaw on each rear leg. Similar in appearance to many of the Pinscher breeds, the Beauceron is one of the breeds from which the Doberman Pinscher was developed.
The history of the Beauceron and its natural guard instincts make the breed a suitable candidate for use as a guard dog. However, the mental development of the Beauceron is slower than in other common working dog breeds such as the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois. As a result, care must be taken to avoid rushing into vigorous training exercises before the dog is ready.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
Hip and elbow dysplasia can be found in a variety of animals, including humans. However, the disorder is commonly found in, and associated with canines. Larger and especially active dogs are particularly at risk due to the excess stress put on their limbs and joints.
Dysplasia is an inherited disorder, and diagnosis can be tricky. While some sever cases are recognizable in a dog’s infancy, many cases go unnoticed until well into the dog’s adult years. Dysplasia is the most common cause for arthritis in canines. The disorder often worsens as the dog ages and can be both painful and debilitating.
Work as a guard dog often involves rigorous exercise. As a result, flaws in the hip joints affecting balance and posture often become apparent far sooner than in less active dogs. Because dysplasia is inherited, dogs from poorly maintained German Shepherd bloodlines are often at high risk. Working line German Shepherd breeders need to pay special attention to the hips and elbows of their dogs in order to ensure that they are not introducing dysplacia into their bloodlines.
While your guard dog may not show symptoms of hip or elbow dysplasia for the majority of its adult life, there is still a chance that minor deformations in the joints will worsen over the years with standard wear-and-tear caused by the exercise your dog needs. Regular x-rays of your dog’s joints can help you and your vet monitor your guard dog for signs of dysplasia in the joints. For working dogs who may be getting on in their years, signs of hip and elbow dysplasia may be an indicator that it’s time to retire your canine to a less active lifestyle.
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Not a day goes by that I don’t get a call or email asking what the difference is between a guard dog and protection dog. As I have mentioned in another article, a protection dog has all the attributes of a family pet. The difference is that now you have a well-mannered, off-leash obedience-trained dog that is social, and that you can take anywhere, whether it be an airport or a shopping mall, and not have any issues. It will not hesitate to protect you and your family if the need arises.
A guard dog has little or no social skills, and merely guards a gated area, whether it is body-shop, or a car dealership. It is important when purchasing a guard dog that you get it from a reputable breeder. A good guard dog still has to have strong nerves, and will not back down from an unwelcome guest. It is also import that you purchase a guard dog that is trained for food refusal. After all, what good is a dog behind a fence if it can be stopped by a steak laced with rat poison? It is also important to consider purchasing two guard dogs, for they will work together and feed off each others energy. If considering purchasing two dogs, I would recommend a male and female, for the females are generally a lot sharper, and will indicate a lot sooner, while the male has greater size for intimidation.
When housing your guard dog it is very important to make sure that no only is your fence secured to keep your dog from getting out, but that you keep your dog in a crate during the day. The crate should be in a quiet and cool place so that he or she can sleep during the day and work during the night.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
The Boxer is a molosser-type dog of medium size with a square, muscular build. The head is widely recognizable by the broad skull and square muzzle. The jaws are powerful, with a protruding lower jaw which forms a slight underbite. The coat is short and smooth and is most often fawn or brindle with black around the face and muzzle. White markings on the chest and paws are also common. About a quarter of all boxers are born with excessive white markings, some of which cover nearly their entire body. However, while white boxers are as physically and mentally capable as their fawn and brindle counterparts, white is not an accepted variation of the breed, and they are not permitted to participate in conformation dog shows. Traditionally, all boxers had their ears cropped and their tails docked. Since then, such procedures have been banned in many countries. Several breeders in Britain have developed a variety of naturally short-tailed boxers in response to this ban.
The Boxer breed was developed in Germany during the late 1800s and is a direct descendant of the now extinct Bullenbeisser. The Bullenbeisser had traditionally been prized by hunters for its powerful jaws and bite. They would pursue large prey such as deer and wild boar and hold the prey until the hunter arrived. However, hunters began to favor smaller, faster dogs and the Bullenbeisser was often cross-bred with imported British Bulldogs. This excessive cross-breeding led to the extinction of the Bullenbeisser breed, but also led to the development of the Boxer. The Boxer was popular in Germany as a working dog, and was used by German military as a messenger and guard dog during the First World War. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that the Boxer gained international popularity.
The alert nature and strong jaws of the Boxer is well suited to work as a guard dog. The breed is also intelligent and is sometimes used as a service dog for the disabled, or taken on as part of a k9 police unit. However, the breed is most commonly used today as a family pet and companion. It has largely been replaced in working roles by other breeds seen as more capable of the job, such as the Labrador for work as a service dog, or the German Shepherd for work as a police protection dog.
Friday, September 25th, 2009
The German Pinscher is a lean, muscular dog of medium size. It has a short coat that is most commonly black with tan markings, although red, blue and fawn varieties exist. The breed is thought to be a descendant of early European herding and guard dogs, and shares a common lineage with other Pinscher types breeds such as the Doberman. Also, common to Pinscher breeds, is the practise of cropping the dog’s ears and docking its tail. The resulting pointed ears and stubby tail are supposed to improve the dog’s localized hearing, and prevent the tail from interfering with the dog’s work. However, the discomfort caused by such procedures has caused these practises to be banned in some countries. Dogs with cropped ears or a docked tail are also sometimes barred from participating in dog shows.
Traditionally, the breed’s primary working role was to hunt rats and vermin on German farms. Some German Pinschers are still kept as ratters today, but most are simply house pets. Owners keeping them as house pets should keep in mind that they retain the instinct to hunt vermin, and will attempt to do so if left off-lead. German Pinschers are also very watchful and somewhat territorial. They often make good watch dogs. However, their temperament and size prevent them from becoming effective protection dogs or security dogs.
The German Pinscher was a rare breed outside of Europe. Following the Second World War, the breed nearly vanished as many German dogs succumbed to famine in the years following the war. In the 1950s, Werner Jung, the supervisor of the Pinscher and Schnauzer Club in Germany, revived the breed from its few remaining survivors. Unfortunately, due to the limited gene pool from which the breed was revived, many German Pinschers suffer from a variety of hereditary diseases such as cataracts, hip and elbow displaysia, and cardiac disease. Today, the breed is uncommon in North America, but is slowly gaining in popularity. Many German Pinschers are now bred in Australia, and exported to kennels around the world.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
The first thing most people notice about German Shepherds and other intimidating looking dogs are the canine teeth, the four large teeth in the front. You don’t have to be bitten to know that contact between those teeth and any part of your body would hurt. A lot. Take my word for it. Anyway, dogs use these teeth for several reasons including grabbing, puncturing and shredding their prey. They also naturally use them for defense. Your personal protection dog, if trained correctly, also uses them for YOUR defense
So here’s the problem: the majority of protection and guard dog trainers don’t train their dogs to use these teeth. Instead, their dogs are conditioned to make use of the back molars, with the full mouth, in an attempt to deliver “bone crushing” bites. Police dogs use their back molars when apprehending a suspect. Once the dog has taken a bite, he or she hangs on (there are countless police dog training videos on YouTube that show this). This is called “bite-and-hold”. It’s not safe for the handler and it’s not safe for the dog either. Instead, dogs should bite with their canine teeth, multiple times after targeting the weapon hand. Ideally, they should deliver 7 or 8 shredding, devastating bites in a matter of seconds to different areas of the body until commanded to stop. The scene is quite frenzied. In theory, full mouth bites result in fewer injuries to the suspect and, I guess, less lawsuits for the police. In practice, the severity of injuries is just localized to one area of the body. The drawback is that the life of the dog is endangered as is the life of the K9 handler.
After biting and hanging on, the suspect is given an extended opportunity to stab or strangle the dog. It seems unlikely that anyone would be able to muster the courage to do this but add in the use of pain numbing controlled substances and we have a recipe for disaster. Adrenaline and the strong desire to evade arrest are also strong motivators. Once the dog has been killed, the officer is left to deal with situation. Training a protection dog for personal use to utilize a full mouth bite when deployed can lead to disastrous results. There’s no question. So don’t be fooled when a trainer recommends a dog that is trained to bite with its back molars
Mother Nature dictates that dogs defend with their canines; there’s really no need for improvement.
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