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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.

We live in the middle of a small town. The yard is quite large and fully chainlinked fenced. We already have two house dogs, but they sleep inside. I keep our livestock within a combination of 48 inch high cattle pannel fencing, and Electronet with a solar charger. The chickens and rabbits are further closed up in separate hutches at night. Nevertheless, the neighborhood is infested with skunks and racoons, and I've seen enough of racoons (the ones here would be big enough threaten small children) to not trust the soundness of any physical barriers defeating them indefinately.

We also seem to have a growing local population of people who would rather not work (to put it kindly), so the padlocks to both gates are ALWAYS locked. At night, I also paddlock the goat gates and rabbit hutches individually too.

I want something visually intimidating, that will only bark when necessary, that is more inclined to corner an intruder than to rip him apart (lawsuit avoidance), that won't want to dig or climb out and roam, that won't scare off my goats, or harass the poultry (both are on the otherside of the electric and cattlepanel fencing.)

I need the dog to sleep outside even in winter. I would provide a companion, if necessary, and good housing. I am in the South West, so we also have extended blazing hot summers. I'm comfortable with big dogs, but don't need something 300lbs, and don't want a heap of health issues.

I looked at some rescues, but they all seem to restrict adoption if the prospective owner wants the dog sleeping outside. I take good care of my animals, but the dog can't protect the yard as well if it is in the house. It would still be a member of our household, and certainly NOT neglected. I'm always outside, and would take it for the usual 2X daily walk with our current two dogs.

From recent research, the mastiff personality seems like it might be a good match. I very much like the South African Boerboel mastiff (from what I've found online), but would be concerned for its comfort in winter with its short coat. The Spanish Mastiffs have a full coat, but, then the heat worries me. The Spanish Mastiffs might also be too much dog for our space.

Any thoughts?
Thanks.
Distaff
 

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You mention you want to avoid a lawsuit...Boerboels are out. If someone comes over that fence..they aren't going back out without blood being drawn. Also, they need a tall fence...any mastiff breed will because they will go over a regular chain link type fence if they perceive a threat. Boerboels are one of the "harder" mastiff breeds. They are still a breed that has not been modernized much and sticks close to its original purpose...protect the family at all cost and protect the home at all cost. They take this job seriously. Mastiff breeds also are very close to their people..they need to be with them. Their sole purpose in life is to be with you and to guard you. They also do not tolerate extreme temperatures well. They suffer in the cold as you have already suspected because they do not have much of a coat. Their size means that they do not do heat well. Their temperature range is from 70-75 :teehee:. I would suggest one of the harder livestock guard dogs (not a pyr) simply because they are bred and designed to work without humans and to think and assess things on their own. I do think the spanish mastiffs fall in between guard and livestock guard. We have a breeder on here who knows all about them and uses them on her ranch. Another couple of things about mastiffs, they are prone to health issues because of their size. Mostly bone and joint problems. They eat a LOT and they need really good quality food to stay healthy. All that being said we love our big boys and will never be without at least one mastiff on the farm. They take every step I take. The president has the secret service, we have the mastiff service!:happy2:
 

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Most of the LGDs will bark alot, espec if there is alot to bark at (ie prowlers etc)... I was thinking bullmastiff in terms of low key, not so much energy and would nt shred an interloper.... (you could provide good shelter- dogs are amazingly hardy and take a good range in temps provided they have shelter and water).
I havent had a bullmastiff though so not sure about leaving them outside fulltime....
Chows do come in a short haired version and they are pretty independent and fierce(the black dogs are pretty intimidating)...

ok I take it back on the chows, the short haired version's is really too thick still and I dont think the heat factor is going to work.

How much area are you talking the dog will be patrolling? For just laying around looking indimidating and truly short haired would be the Neopolitan mastiff....
 

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The first thoughts I had in reading you lived in the middle of a small town with fenced acreage is either of these: German Shepherd (short haired type), Rotweiller & Pitbull. All are quite protective, easily trained and quite intimidating. (As for their prey drive, that can be curbed by adequate training.)
 
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Avoid LGDs if you live in town. You will get complaints. They don't just bark to let you know something is out there. They bark to let everything else know not to even try to get in. They patrol mostly at night and will sound off regularly.

I second Rotties or Pitts as far as urban guarding breeds but there are obvious liabilities. If they're trained to guard and they get out, then you are responsible for what happens. If a neighborhood kid jumps the fence, then you may still be held accountable.

A lab has a pretty resounding bark and can look pretty intimidating, but they're not nearly as unpredictable in nature. They urbanize pretty well with regular walks and they're very easily trained.
 

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Avoid LGDs if you live in town. You will get complaints. They don't just bark to let you know something is out there. They bark to let everything else know not to even try to get in. They patrol mostly at night and will sound off regularly.
I'll back this up. My Kangal/Boerboel cross uses her dog door between 2-6 times a night just to patrol. Many nights she's quiet if nothings going on - maybe a few woofs or a growl, sometimes she only barks a little - like if a drunk person stumbles by at 2:00am - just to let them know that this isn't their house and they should move on. But if she catches the scent of a raccoon - Oh man - she goes berserk. We've got a double fence set-up: wire inner and wood outer. Once I had to physically pull her down off of the 6' wood fence after she jumped the 4' inner. If I wasn't there, I think that there was a good chance she would've made it over that fence.

Now I've actually doubled-up the inner wire fence so it's over 6' tall. We also have a double gate just to be sure we can keep her in.

She really needs to be a country dog (Move coming soon).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies.

There may be no dog breed that can do what I need.

I used to volunteer at the local animal shelter, and several dogs of various breeds that lived there were kept in a large comunal area outside year 'round. They had basic dog houses with straw bedding. One of those dogs was what looked like to me to be a stout heavy set mixed breed mastiff-like dog.

That dog looked after the place.

I never considered adopting her, because she seemed like such a "fixture" at the shelter. She considered the head volunteer to be her owner. Several weeks after I left working there, I learned she had been put down. I never dreamed they would do that to her. (Based on the way the place was run, that didn't make sence, but a certain level of irrationality there was why I finally had to leave.)

I'm sorry she is gone. I think she would have worked out at my place, and had a good life here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Still searching.

Checked on line for the English Shephard, and the German Shephard (I prefer the old fashioned E. German working lines) breeders. $1500 is more than than I am prepared to spend now. I realize the good breeders have overhead, and deserve compensation for thier time and skill, but that amount is not in the budget.

I checked our local shelter (where I used to volunteer). Nothing much currently except a very neglected sad old pit. Looks like he could use about $1000 in vet care. The problem with the local dogs, is that almost no one around here seems to care for thier dogs. Pedigree brand food is considered premium, most people won't even spend for that. Most of the animals at this shelter have always looked listless and dreary. Intelligence seems to have been permanently compromised in all of them, even in the German Shephards that occasionaly showed up.

Will try the next town over.
 

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My current dogs are female. I've never owned a male dog.

I am wondering if the marking of a newtered male dog around the yard fence line (I am assuming this is expected behavoir) would be a likely deterrent to skunks and raccoons?

The skunks here are impressed by neither me nor my dogs. My dogs (and I) have been sprayed multiple times and the girls are now afraid of the skunks. The skunk will just stand there and look at us. The last time it DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER to spray.

No luck on finding a big dog locally that I can trust out with the livestock. I was in brief correspondence with a LGD breeder, but that doesn't look promising. There IS a terrific little dog available. I know his temperment because he is a long time resident at the shelter where I used to volunteer. Short hair mix, however; he will have to sleep inside in cooler weather. I also would not put such a little guy out alone with *****.

Thoughts?
Thanks.
 
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My female spayed dog used to **** Hike and mark her yard. Successfully.
She was a nothing. Boxer/Pit/Akita/Romeo
I watched her be born, saw her first breath, and felt her last breath under my hand 17.5 years later. She helped me raise my children, and screened many potential dates... She was free.

Good dogs are where you least expect them.
 

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Where the primary problem is raccoons and skunks, a couple terriers might be just the ticket. That little guy might work. He could probably even be just fine outside with some acclimation, a warm doghouse, and perhaps a doggie jacket. He would certainly need a friend or two while antagonizing ***** but I can assure you that in a pack, even 10 pound dogs can hold their own.

I have two short coated terriers: a "Shorty" Jack Russell Terrier who is my yard guardian and is very good with all my livestock. Her daughter, who has her father's long Parson Jack legs isn't so good with my chickens, but she's just 5 months and is learning now that I got a young rooster that doesn't tolerate her chasing him or his hens.

They both took on a badger together that was trying to get one of my rabbits and because they worked together, they were able to corner it without any serious injury (the less experienced puppy did get some scratches) I don't doubt they could drive off raccoons and skunks, but they would probably get stinky.

Edited to Add: I also live in town, a small town in the mountains though so lots of wildlife passes our yard.
 

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my Jack Russell Terrier when she was younger put the fear of god in ***** twice her size, but i think she would have been murder on chickens if i had hem back then
 

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I have a neutered male Blue Heeler/Blue Tick Hound cross. His coat is thick enough for winter, short enough for summer. I am in North Central Texas, we get the cold and hot. Pal will run off everything that comes around, including raccoons. He trees them, then backs off enough that they come down and then he runs them off. He only barks to scare off. He is good with all of my animals, including chickens and guineas, horses and donkeys, and my cats and other dogs. He has found snakes for me and stayed on them barking until I come get the snake. He walks right past my baby chicks but won't let me other dogs near them. He loves my small grand children, but will run off a stranger with his barking.
 
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