After herding, the guard dog is perhaps one of the oldest canine professions. Traditionally, guard dogs were bred to watch over livestock, and chase down predators in the area. These dogs had to be fast, intelligent and strong. Molosser and Mastiff type breeds are broad terms which refer to large dogs bred by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Celts for the purposes of guarding territory and livestock. Many of today’s most effective guard dogs share a common ancestry in the Molosser and Mastiff, and retain their strong build, intelligence, and territorial instincts. It is important to consider that while many smaller dogs have strong territorial characteristics, they often make better watch dogs than guard dogs in that they might bark, but lack the strength and skill to effectively stop an intruder. A true guard dog can be trained to know when and how to attack and disarm an opponent.
The ways in which dog breeds find their way into guarding roles is perhaps as varied as the breeds themselves. Some ancient breeds, such as the Rottweiler, were originally bred for herding, but adapted into guarding roles through the need to protect livestock. Others, such as the Tibetan Mastiff, were bred and trained to guard sacred religious locations for as long as history has recorded them. More modern breeds, such as the Doberman Pinscher, have been bred exclusively as guard dogs in the past century. Amazingly, other modern breeds who were bred as herding dogs, such as the German Shepherd, have adapted into a wide variety of other roles, including that of a guard dog, in only a few decades. Other breeds commonly used as guard dogs today include the Belgian Malinois, the American Bulldog, the Pit Bull Terrier, and the Bullmastiff.
The Rottweil Metzgerhund (butcher’s dog of Rottweil), known commonly today as the Rottweiler, is a stout, sturdy dog, bred for its exceptional strength. It has a short, black coat with patches of tan around the muzzle and paws. The Rottweiler has a long history as a working dog, and it’s name reflects this. The breed is descended from the working dogs of the ancient roman empire who herded cattle and pulled carts filled with meat and produce along common trade routes. One such route led to the town of Rottweil in South-Western Germany. The breed worked to both drive and protect cattle in the Rottweil area for centuries until the establishment of the industrial age and the rise of locomotives rendered them obsolete for this purpose. However, the strength and versatility of the Rottweiler made it ideal for other jobs and were one of the few herding breeds, alongside the German Shepherd, who found work with police forces and as guard dogs.
The Rottweiler has the unfortunate reputation of being a vicious breed. The stout, muscular appearance of the dog is probably a factor in their negative portrayal by the media, but studies have also ranked Rottweilers as being second most likely to be named in fatal attacks against humans, just short of the Pitbull. However, as with all dogs, acts of aggression towards humans are often the fault of the owner, and the breed’s appearance may play a part in attracting less responsible owners who might prefer a vicious or frightening pet. A well trained Rottweiler with a responsible owner should be loyal, obedient and alert.
Humans and dogs share a long history together. Of course, as much as human history has had it’s gruesome moments, the history of dogs has shared those moments with us. Some of the first roles of dogs in the military were as guard dogs in the armies of the ancient empires. The Huns trained giant Molossian dogs for use in battle, the Britons outfitted their mastiffs in spiked collars and chain mail, and the Romans formed platoons of attack dogs to use against infantry and cavalry. From the Egyptians, to the Greeks, to the Persians, it could be said that every great empire of the ancient world included dogs in their armies. Of course, as technology improved, and firearms become common-place on the battlefield, the role of dogs as attackers in the military became obsolete. Since then, countries have made attempts to include dogs in offensive military roles with limited success. The Soviet Union made attempts to train dogs to deliver explosive payloads to the under-sides of German tanks. Of course, the chaos of the modern battlefield, the inability for their dogs to distinguish between German and Russian tanks, and the ultimate demise of the dog upon detonation of the explosives all contributed to the end of this practice.
The roles of modern military working dogs, as well as the breeds used, lend themselves to the emergence of dogs as messengers, sentries and scouts. The use of messenger-dogs during the Seven Years’ War, guard dogs for the French navy during the 1770s, and the increased use of canine abilities to hunt and track snipers has led to a focus on intelligence and dexterity over raw power. While descendants of the original Mastiff breeds used by ancient Britons still perform guard and tracking duties in military and police roles today, the German Shepherd has enjoyed it’s place among the top breeds for military working dogs since the early 1900s. Originally bred in Germany for their intelligence, they quickly gained popularity throughout Europe, and even in America. However, the Germans continued to not only breed more intelligent and capable German Shepherds, but also German Shepherd puppies who were more capable of beginning training at a young age. Throughout the course of the Second World War, German military dogs, trained as early as five or six months old, easily outclassed dogs used by the allies. The reputation of German military dogs was so great that it prompted the US to begin what was known as the “Million-Dollar Dog Program” in an attempt to match the superiority of the military dogs used by the Germans. Soon after, the war ended, as did the Million-Dollar Dog program. However, both the German breeds as well as the practice of beginning training at five to six months has continued on in today’s military working dogs.
It’s always great to match a perfect dog with an equally perfect family. Deno a Male German Shepherd, Level II personal protection dog who graduated at the top of his class.
Deno passed the executive personal protection program with flying colors and is an expert at targeting the weapon hand when defending his family. His level of hardiness with his man-stopping devastation in defense and sound nerves. He was enrolled in the Level IIprogram when our clients, a couple with a Boy decided he fit the profile of everything they wanted. Deno acclimatized very well and seemed as delighted with our client’s family as they were with him.
Our clients are extremely pleased with their newest family member and we are pleased to have provided a dog that will not hesitate to come to our client family’s defense.
It’s deliveries like these that allows me to sleep at night, knowing that my client is in good hands.
It’s a rare day when I don’t receive an email asking what the differences between security, guard and protection dogs are. This being my favorite topic, I’m always happy to explain no matter how many times I repeat myself.
Security dogs work with their handlers at concerts, events and anywhere else where security and crowd control is needed. You’ll often find these dogs working to find explosives or narcotics. They have to have a strong relationship with their handler in order to work as a team. The best security dogs possess a sharp guard drive and are able to respond to a threat if called upon. Semi-social, they are not as highly trained as protection dogs are but have better social manners than a guard dog. In North America, they are not required to have a certificate such as a K.N.P.V. PH I, which is necessary in Holland.
Guard dogs’ primary focus is to guard an area such as an enclosed estate, compound or business. CCK9 provides many guard dogs to businesses, which use them to patrol an enclosed outdoor area or to guard the inside of a building closed during the night time. Anyone that attempts to enter their territory while they are on duty will be greatly dissuaded from doing so (through barking, snarling and/or the visual deterrent of the dog itself)and will be bitten if they make the mistake of entering anyway. Guard dogs are not social, except with their handler(s), and do not possess the intelligence, talents and abilities necessary to train to be protection dogs. This isn’t to say that they don’t serve an important purpose. Your average dog is not equipped with the drive necessary to guard. In the world of dogs, guard dogs can best be described as ‘street smart’. It is a good idea to ensure they are trained for food refusal.
Referred to as personal protection dogs or executive protection dogs, those chosen for this special training can do it all. Strong nerved, highly obedient and balanced, they defend their handlers on command and in situations where a credible threat is determined. Great with children and other animals, they are on and off leash trained. Looking over our website, you’ll see that we feel the best breeds for protection work are German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherds. Protection dogs may be trained to do guard or security work as well. However, it is important to evaluate your security needs since guard dogs and most security dogs are less expensive than quality trained protection dogs.
Jim and Sue, clients of mine (and also good friends) called me after hearing the news about the successful cloning of Trackr, an exceptional search and rescue German Shepherd famously known for his work at the World Trade Center. They were excited to find out that there is an option for cloning the excellent genetics of their own protection dog, a CCK9 Level II German Shepherd named Dexter, and plan to investigate.
Cloning mammals is not new. The technology, called nuclear transfer, involves transferring genetic material into an egg that has been stripped of its own DNA. It’s a method that has been around since the 1950’s and has resulted in the cloning of rats, pigs and even sheep. Dog cloning, however, has proven more difficult since canine ova are less mature when released from the ovary than other mammal’s. Unpredictability of the canine ovulation cycle made egg collection complicated. The material is hard to work with and thus dog cloning was stunted – until now.
The first clone was an Afghan Hound in 2005. The South Korean firm that accomplished this is now partnered with the California business Bioarts International. Together, they are responsible for cloning Trackr, which resulted in five doppelganger puppies. I’m excited about the new technology, especially the implications it has for other types of cloning such as human organs.
Genetics plays a vital role when it comes to selecting dogs for protection work and really is the foundation on which our training rests. I like to think that all of our CCK9 dogs possess the genetics to make them ‘cloneable’.
Cloning is expensive and not within everyone’s reach yet. The technology costs about $140K. Jim and Sue are aware of it but it doesn’t make a difference. And really, with a German Shepherd like Dexter, how could it?
Erika is a solid black, 1 year old German shepherd. Highly obedient and easily controlled, she is both on and off leash trained. Her genetics are excellent; her father is a German imported Level III elite executive protection dog (see photo below). Erika is a working line dog. One of five dogs, she was the pick of the litter.
Erika is very social, affectionate and especially fond of children. She has a high degree of guard drive but has not been trained to do bite work. She currently weighs 75 pounds (will be 85-90 lbs) and has a dense bone structure and a robust build. Her appearance and personality are very masculine for a female; she is remarkably similar to her father.
Erika would be suitable as a family companion/property protection dog.
Please call 1.866.865.2259 if you have any questions.
One of our recent clients is the owner of a small computer shop in a very nice part of California. She called me after having her shop broken into afterhours, resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars of equipment as well as a broken back door. Her alarm system did not deter the person or persons who broke in. We were happy to help and after determining her needs and evaluating her situation we delivered a balanced, strong nerved guard dog.
A few weeks ago I posted a blog called “Guard Dogs: Defined”. The flood of calls and emails I received surprised me! Obviously, there is a void in the amount of information available on this topic. I’m happy about such a positive response and would like to address some of the questions in case anyone else is wondering about the same thing.
Businesses, especially businesses with valuable inventory, use guard dogs as an alarm system. It would take a very stupid burglar to break into your business after hearing the serious bark of a guard dog on the other side of the door. Their most likely response is to skip your business all together and move on to a locality that presents less obstacles (such as a huge, snarling, barking and possibly hungry German shepherd who has been awoken from a sound sleep). They are also used to protect outdoor assets, such as in a fenced construction site.
As I have said before, beyond training and genetics, balance is part of what sets a guard dog apart from an elite personal protection dog. Guard dogs lack the social skills and perfect manners that a protection dog is genetically equipped and trained to have. They are highly territorial and trained to protect their (really your) space. Protection dogs specifically protect YOU and your family though part of this includes eliminating threats in your environment. For instance, if someone were to break into your house as you slept, the dog would prevent the opportunity to harm you.
My client who owned the computer shop was under the impression that a personal protection dog was the best choice for her. However, she didn’t personally feel threatened, it was her business she was worried about. There is a large price difference between a guard and personal protection dog. While protection dogs run between $18K to $35K and above, a guard dog only costs about $3,500-$5,500. I did not want my client to incur the extra expensive so after explaining the difference she happily took delivery of a guard dog. In fact, she said her dog cost less than the security alarm system she had installed!
It is possible to rent a guard dog though for most home and business owners this is a much costlier way to go. It does provide a good solution if you have a short-term situation but if you want to protect your business for an extended length of time, buying is definitely the way to go. Most businesses have worked the numbers and are increasingly purchasing dogs rather than subcontracting with a security company. Additionally, rented guard dogs always come with a patrol officer. This really drives up the cost. Whenever I’m consulting with a client I’m always upfront about the rental alternative. We do not rent dogs, they are only available for purchase at CCK9, but I want our clients to know every option.
Another consideration is the environment that the dog will be guarding. It is important that much thought is put into potential dangers for the dog itself. Automotive shops, for example, need to ensure that anti-freeze or other chemicals aren’t lying in the open. If the dog will live outdoors, a doghouse needs to be stationed to protect and keep the dog warm. Guard dogs are known for their toughness but have needs like any other dog.
I specialize in training elite personal protection dogs. However, given the state of the economy and rising crime, we are increasingly asked to provide guard dogs. We put a lot of effort into training or locating guard dogs that have balance. After all, our clients are paying for dogs that are obedient and present less liability. Otherwise, they would just pick up an aggressive dog from the local pound.
So know the difference and assess your needs. We ask A LOT of questions in order to determine what is the best fit for you. Always feel free to call us with any questions.
The work that we do at CCK9 is unique and very special. As a rule, we usually do not release videos showing training. However, in this case we have made an exception. Our most recent litter of Belgian Malinois puppies are everything we were expecting and more. They are the product of breeding Cindy and Ducko, both Level III personal protection dogs. The above video shows Brutus taking a bite and holding onto a bite suit. He is only 5 weeks old. The other pups from this litter are also highly intelligent and are learning at the same level. As we have said before, genetics are a major factor in producing top notch, highly intelligent protection dogs. We took into account the genetics of both of the parents and grandparents in planning this litter. All will be suitable to train for our Level III program.
In my industry, you’ll hear a lot of people refer to training as “working the dog”.While possibly offensive to those not in the field, the terms “train” and “work” are commonly used interchangeably.
Sometimes, though, people will ask if dogs actually see personal protection training as “work”.Here is what they really are asking:do dogs enjoy being trained?
The answer is an unequivocal YES!
It takes a special dog to do personal protection and service work.Only the top 1% of dogs actually qualify for our rigorous program.Being so selective serves two purposes.First, it is important that a dog possesses all of the genetics, natural talents, abilities necessary to finish the program.It is nearly impossible to train a dog to completion without the proper attributes.In fact, trying to force a dog into something it isn’t ready or willing to do is like pushing a rock uphill.Secondly, training is a time and labor-intensive endeavor; our dogs all have years and years of training behind them. We are extremely selective when choosing puppies because we really want the dog to complete the program.
Every dog is born with a purpose. Most dogs will become family pets and companions.However, there are a few that are simply born with everything that it takes to do protection work.Just like humans enjoy developing their talents, dogs born with the desire and intelligence to protect enjoy the challenges of fine tuning their given abilities.These simply aren’t the type of dogs who would prefer to lie in the sun all day.They would rather be practicing their bite work or learning commands, tracking or testing their agility on the course.They need stimulus.I would not allow a dog to continue in our program if he or she seemed reluctant, uncomfortable, or disagreeable.It is not good for the dog or for our clients or for us either.
My motto is “do what you love”.This is why I am a protection dog trainer.Our dogs express the same sentiment, not in words but when they complete their agility training for the day and are still ready for more or when they execute a command without the expectation of anything more than verbal praise.
I have a job to do but it doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy it and it is my purpose in life.My dogs? They feel exactly the same way.