Family friendly large dog suggestions please?

Sussexbythesea

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Boxers are wonderful family dogs we had 5 in succession. 3 from puppies and 2 adults from Boxer Rescue. They can be quite destructive though and are pretty boisterous although having said that the last three we had were fine. The second one we had ate the cushion out of the drivers seat out of her Morris Minor and she had to sit on a washing up bowl! He also managed to fall out of an upstairs window by jumping on a sideboard next to it and sliding out the window. He was rather a character. :D
 

Scarlett

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Boxers are wonderful family dogs we had 5 in succession. 3 from puppies and 2 adults from Boxer Rescue. They can be quite destructive though and are pretty boisterous although having said that the last three we had were fine. The second one we had ate the cushion out of the drivers seat out of her Morris Minor and she had to sit on a washing up bowl! He also managed to fall out of an upstairs window by jumping on a sideboard next to it and sliding out the window. He was rather a character. :D
I was going to suggest Boxer - brilliant family dogs and usually with a good guard instinct. I'd love a full boxer one day.

I have two boxer x's and both are amazing dogs, any 'bad' traits are a result of their 'other' half!

As for Staffies - there are hundreds of good staffies in rescue that would fit straight into a family home. One of my dogs is Staffy x boxer and is literally the perfect companion. He came from a rescue at 8 months. I know of dozens of rehomed staffies who came from rescues and have fitted into family homes with no problems. Any breed that's been in rescue can have issues, infact any breed that isn't socialised and trained right can have issues. getting a puppy from a breeder doesn't guarantee a well behaved dog!

The only issue you might have with a Staffie is that they are fairly rubbish guard dogs, most are too lazy and too soft!

If you might fancy a Boxer check out Joeys legacy Boxer Rescue - they have some lovely dogs who have found themselves in rescue and offer excellent support and back up.
 

Clodagh

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Are boxers good with children? I only know two and they are downright nasty, mind you their owners can be a bit difficult, too.

If you got a rescue I would go with one that fosters the dogs in homes, rather than a kennel rehoming situation. Most rescues will not rehome to an unfenced garden though.

Our young lab, who is a bit neurotic, is the best guard dog as she is so terrified she hurls herself around with all her hair standing on end - looks quite frightening!
 

Apercrumbie

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I agree that a Rottie sounds like the perfect option for you. Burmese Mountain Dogs are lovely and you do find rather large golden retrievers who could do the job. Actually, a friend of ours has a Pointer who is a very good guard dog, and previously a Flat Coat Retriever. It sounds like you will struggle with rescues but you may find someone selling a suitable older dog.
 

SusieT

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With small kids I would start any large dogs from puppyhood as such - they learn to tolerate much more I think and you can trust they havent any hidden issues - i'd go labrador personally - cheerful happy family dogs. but most of the large breeds if raised from pups would suit. Avoid weimeraners imo and german pointers can be highly strung - go and see parents first.
 

Chiffy

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Flatcoated retrievers love everyone wouldn’t hurt a soul, but are boisterous with young children, not meaning to be, they lick them to death! I have had six over the years including two at the moment. Never had one that barked at anyone, they just wag and say DO come in!
My daughter’s in laws have always had boxers. Very good with children. Like a bull in a china shop when young. If not well socialised can be dodgy with other dogs.
 

pippixox

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How old are you children? I thought we would never manage to find a new rescue dog when we lost are GSD as we had a 4 month old baby- but we contacted small rescues and were approved by all 3 in principle, including GSD rescue. I know they shed a lot but they in my opinion are perfect family dogs and guard dogs (ours would bark at the front door but then let anyone in and lick them) we currently have a rescue collie and lab, both around 3 years old, with my toddler and a second child due soon. But they are useless at being scary- jump up to lick everybody, including complete strangers at the farm where my horses are.

Would not be surprised if a rescue had something suitable that may have even grown up with kids and is just needing a new home due to circumstances (how we got both ours- already used to kids and not in puppy mouthing stage)

Agree with comments suggesting staffies, any I know are wonderful family dogs, but due to there butch build and sadly bad rep they can seem intimidating. Muscle and hugs!

We are ‘broody’ for a GSD at the moment, been over a year since we lost our boy (he was 1/4 rottie)
 

Pearlsasinger

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My rotties have all been fab but never from a puppy always a rescue how bad are they? I have heard horror stories about them being totally hyper and destructive? Mine all came at two plus so were pretty chilled already.
They were honestly no more trouble than any other pup we've ever had - and we've had lots!, mostly Labs, the two that were most trouble, were JRTs and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone, tbh. Our first Rott was a rescue but we knew her from 5 months old. The only problem we had with these two was that we had no adult dogs and we did say "Oh they don't speak English!" That was a shock as we had always had older dogs to teach pups for the last 50+ yrs. They soon learned though, they are very intelligent dogs. You do have to be 'on top of' Rotts but you know that as you have had one before.
 

Sussexbythesea

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Are boxers good with children? I only know two and they are downright nasty, mind you their owners can be a bit difficult, too.

If you got a rescue I would go with one that fosters the dogs in homes, rather than a kennel rehoming situation. Most rescues will not rehome to an unfenced garden though.

Our young lab, who is a bit neurotic, is the best guard dog as she is so terrified she hurls herself around with all her hair standing on end - looks quite frightening!
All the boxers we’ve had have loved children (I was one for two of them) otherwise I’d never have recommended them. Personally I’d be wary of Rotties, Weimaraner, or GSD because I’ve met some nasty ones so I guess it really just depends on the individual and how they’ve been brought up as clearly others have different experiences. I’ve also had Staffies attack our boxers and also a JRT latched onto one and I had to practically poke its eyes out to get it to let go!

I love labs also and a friend had two flat-coated retrievers that are lovely and sweet but badly behaved although that’s down to training more than anything.
 

Clodagh

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All the boxers we’ve had have loved children (I was one for two of them) otherwise I’d never have recommended them. Personally I’d be wary of Rotties, Weimaraner, or GSD because I’ve met some nasty ones so I guess it really just depends on the individual and how they’ve been brought up as clearly others have different experiences. I’ve also had Staffies attack our boxers and also a JRT latched onto one and I had to practically poke its eyes out to get it to let go!

I love labs also and a friend had two flat-coated retrievers that are lovely and sweet but badly behaved although that’s down to training more than anything.
You are so right, in fact the only dog that bit me as a child was my Grandpa's lab, but things were more laid back in those days so we were just expected to keep away from her basket! Not a bad life lesson.
I too would never recommend any HPR, not because of aggression but because they need so many hours training and are mad as a box of frogs.
I know nothing of rotties, but dogs bred for guarding worry me.
 

cbmcts

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I know nothing of rotties, but dogs bred for guarding worry me.
A good rottie, while a guarding breed is steady enough to stand their ground to see off a threat rather than actually 'attack'. Of the 8 ( plus many more fosters) I've had over the years only one would actually go for a person he saw as threat - he's a cross breed and I blame his mastiff side for that :) All the others had enough presence and what I describe as a hard eye so when they felt the need to guard, usually me/family rather than property IYSWIM they would put themselves between me and the threat and square up with an attitude of c'mon then if you think you're hard enough. Only one idiot thought they were and kept coming (he actually tried to hit me) so the dog jumped up and put him on the ground and was prepared to keep him there if I hadn't called him off.

The only problem I've had with any of mine and small children is that their spatial awareness is lacking - they don't just knock them over by mistake but add insult to injury by sitting on them! They can also be a bit over protective so you do need to train an absolutely solid leave it command to stop them spoiling games. They do shed and can be quite hard work as pups, especially the 8 - 14 months stage when even the best trained pups turn into obnoxious, knowitall adolescents. There is a reason so many end up in rescue at that age... If your kids are below school age I'd probably look for an older, steady rescue dog trying the breed and smaller rescues. Children and a bouncy young dog weighing similar to them could turn to tears easily.
 

stencilface

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The only problem I've had with any of mine and small children is that their spatial awareness is lacking - they don't just knock them over by mistake but add insult to injury by sitting on them! They can also be a bit over protective so you do need to train an absolutely solid leave it command to stop them spoiling games. They do shed and can be quite hard work as pups, especially the 8 - 14 months stage when even the best trained pups turn into obnoxious, knowitall adolescents. There is a reason so many end up in rescue at that age... If your kids are below school age I'd probably look for an older, steady rescue dog trying the breed and smaller rescues. Children and a bouncy young dog weighing similar to them could turn to tears easily.
Ha ha yes, my rottie x GSD is s beggar for knocking kids over, although now aged 10 and living in a house with more space we do ok, he does like to sit on me, whoever said rotties aren't lap dogs?!

I'll be honest most dogs I've had a problem with are black labs, they love to have a pop at my boy, maybe he's said something insulting, I don't know. My kids could literally crawl into his mouth and he wouldn't care, not that I'd let them!
 

travellingpony

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My youngest is 5 and they have a childminder so really they aren't here too much except at the weekends.

So much to think about and loads of great suggestions thank you. I got to the beach every day or out walking somewhere different in the morning and the others are all crated in the car so need to work out the logistics of something big even though I do have a 4x4 it will be four dogs then!

Really exciting anyway to think about. Just browsing its insane the amount of puppies for sale online.
 

druid

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I'd avoid the breeds that pretty much come with preordained cancer (Boxer, GSD, Bernese - in vet school we were joking told if you can't remember what the breed predisposition is for a disease then Boxer or GSD are the safe bets as they are prone to so much! Big dogs like Berns also have short life expectancy around 8yo)

A retriever or rottie seems the obvious choice but a Russian Terrier might be worth looking into - there is a breed rescue
 

ponyparty

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I know you said big dog, but my Manchester Terrier is a fantastic guard dog. He may only be about 17" tall at the withers but when he is in house/garden/yard protection mode (i.e. he heard a tiny noise...) he does look and sound threatening. They have a big bark for their size - people often remark that they thought he was going to be bigger, when they only hear him first! Due to their sleek black and tan Dobermann-esque looks, threatening growl and bloomin' massive teeth they really are quite a deterrent. NOTHING gets past my boy, without my permission! Not even a fly is allowed in the house.
Once they accept strangers, they are doting, loving and affectionate and they never forget a friend they've made. They are cuddle monsters, just want to be lying next to you (stealing your body heat) all the time, and will play fetch for hours on end. Really clever little dogs.
They are also as mad as a box of frogs and their adolescence can be challenging - but then, so can most breeds! And at least they're not child-knocking-over size.
They are so short-haired that although they do shed hairs, they are so few and so small, you barely notice. And if they get muddy, they wipe clean like Teflon :)

If we're talking strictly big dogs, I love Dobes - nothing looks more the part of the protector than a Dobe, but with the people they know, they are absolutely soft. They are descendants of the Manchester Terrier so share some characteristics. Or how about a Leonberger? Bet they shed something rotten though. I rather like English Mastiffs too but couldn't be doing with the drool!
 

CorvusCorax

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I must have been really lucky, never had a GSD with cancer or HD/ED, if you know your lines (or get guidance) that can help mitigate a lot of issues.
I've only had one dog I could describe as 'unhealthy' and looking back, it was quite apparent from when he was a puppy, that he wasn't going to make old bones.
Again only a differing opinion but I've met a couple of BRT and I would not have one.
 

travellingpony

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Someone I know has a mastiff the drool is horrific and the poo and hair! I am wondering how I would even get one into the car this thing is like a dog mountain I would have to get a ramp I think like I had for the rotti!

I'm wondering about labs but mine as a young dog was horrific and then so soft it wouldn't know how to bark so i'm not sure. Can you tell what they will be like from a puppy?
 

Moobli

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OP - I know you aren't keen on hair, but a GSD makes a fabulous family companion and pet as well as a convincing watchdog and visual deterrent. I also live in the middle of nowhere with no near neighbours and with rural crime on the up, I feel very safe with my two GSDs. I prefer the working line type with a standard double coat, but my other is a longcoated dog who sheds very little at all. He is prone to matting a bit if not groomed regularly, but it could be an option if you don't mind brushing regularly.
 

Trules

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Hi. I have a black labradoodle bitch. Black lab cross standard poodle. we are in a similar set up to yourself. Plenty space but non secure boundaries. She loves kids and is as soft as butter. But she is an excellent guard dog as she looks imposing and has a deep bark which notifies us of any visitors. I trust her implicitly. She is very jntelligent. Too intelligent really. She could not be the more perfect mix of appearing intimidating whilst being the most loving dog on the planet. She does moult but she is first cross. Amazing dog. X
 

druid

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I must have been really lucky, never had a GSD with cancer or HD/ED, if you know your lines (or get guidance) that can help mitigate a lot of issues.
I've only had one dog I could describe as 'unhealthy' and looking back, it was quite apparent from when he was a puppy, that he wasn't going to make old bones.
Again only a differing opinion but I've met a couple of BRT and I would not have one.
I meet the bad ones - I see more boxers and GSDs in for chemo than any other breeds, GSDs make up a large proportion of our orthopedic work also. I doubt these are well bred working line dogs though!
 

CorvusCorax

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Back issues do come in both types. The Germans are now doing spine x-rays along with hips and elbows.

The BRTs I've met are working ones and a bit, er, single minded!!
 

D66

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What about airedale terriers?
Soft coated wheatens are fantastic dogs but often need lots of grooming to avoid matting.
 

Orangehorse

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It is interesting to get all the different opinions.

The only thing that troubles me about the big strong guarding breeds is that however soft and gentle they are with their own family and own children, when visiting children start running around, and maybe start screaming and making lots of noise, the dog is on the alert and think that "their" children are in danger and attack the stranger.

Like sheepdog breeds that are perfectly OK with the sheep in the field next door, but if loose will chase sheep in another field.
 

cbmcts

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It is interesting to get all the different opinions.

The only thing that troubles me about the big strong guarding breeds is that however soft and gentle they are with their own family and own children, when visiting children start running around, and maybe start screaming and making lots of noise, the dog is on the alert and think that "their" children are in danger and attack the stranger.

Like sheepdog breeds that are perfectly OK with the sheep in the field next door, but if loose will chase sheep in another field.
That's a valid concern. As I said above you do have to train a really solid leave command and tbf I wouldn't leave any dog unsupervised with visiting children, no matter what size or breed - you just can't rely on kids (and many adults!) to be able to control or read your dog.

Mind you, the most protective dog we ever had was a collie. She used to get between us kids and anybody who even looked crooked at us - especially my parents... :)
 

yhanni

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When I lived in the middle of nowhere, I had Rotties in the house and Rottie x Mastiffs in the yard. I still have one Rottie left and he is wonderful. He was 6 months old when I got him (private rehome) and he has been no trouble at all. The Rottie x Mastiffs were lovely as well. Appeared very fierce but were great with their friends and family. No drooling. My brother has one now and she is fab as well - very obedient but looks the part.
 

BBH

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Bullmastiff

I wouldn't have anything else.

I think op has to decide if she just wants big or imposing to deter unwanted visitors.
 
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