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A dog for my sister--Rotty, Dobie, Boxer or German Shepherd?

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Bedlam

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All,

My sister has an aging Boxer, Sonny Liston, who she adores. He is exceedingly well-trained and her best pal. Sonny knows many commands and is her constant companion. But due to some medical issues, she is anticipating having to choose another dog soon and would like some "overlap", so as to integrate a new dog into the household.

Info: My sister is a single, petite, 40-ish lady who lives alone (don't get any ideas. She's heavily armed and doesn't suffer foolishness easily.) She is an avid hiker and camps out on the trail alone, with Sonny. She wants a dog that can stand to be alone while she works, but is eager to go out and play when she does. The new dog will be a house dog, but expected to be watchful and on guard, given her vulnerability as a single gal. But she really wants a dog with personality, too.

She is considering a Doberman, a Rottweiler, another Boxer, or a German Shepherd. She would like to avoid the genetic issues that would deprive her of her new pal prematurely, which is what is happening with Sonny.

And for those of you who don't have dog advice, but want to just get into my sister's pants, I am heavily armed, too. :ban:
 

CatHead

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I would personally go with a Boxer, or German Shepherd, then a Doberman. I wouldn't get a Rotweiler especially for a petite female. Rot's tend to be very tempremental and if it gets the bluff on her she will never be able to control it.
 

ddahl84

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I was going say Rottweiler. Mine is the sweetest dog I've ever owned. Listens very well and my fiancée who is 115 pounds has never had any problems with him.
 
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Bedlam

Bedlam

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I would personally go with a Boxer, or German Shepherd, then a Doberman. I wouldn't get a Rotweiler especially for a petite female. Rot's tend to be very tempremental and if it gets the bluff on her she will never be able to control it.
She's no shrinking violet...current Boxer is over 80# and trim. But what do you mean by temperamental?
 

ddahl84

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Bedlam said:
She's no shrinking violet...current Boxer is over 80# and trim. But what do you mean by temperamental?
I've had my rotty for over three years and have no idea what he's talking about.
 

forcabrew

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Poor Sonny. Due to Boxers High risk of cancer I would not get another Boxer. I have a lab my cousin had a rotty that was the smartest and best dog (2nd to my lab). For your sister a rotty maybe much for hiking and to control. My cousins rotty was great but only because he had to put her in her place a few times. German shepards are great dogs but they have a high risk of hip displaysia. I had a bad experience with a Doberman so I am not a fan if the breed. Out if the dogs you listed I would go German Shepard just get a pure breed so that you can check the linage and see if there's history of hip displaysia. When I got my lab 13 years ago I wanted a rotty but when I saw her I fell in love. I love labs and highly recommend them especially for a dog to go hiking, swimming, or hunting. My dog loves everyone but she was also protective. Just not to the level of the dogs you listed.

If I get another dog though its going to be an animal rescue
 

Airplanedoc

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Shepherd

My cousin (female) had one for years that went tree planting in the bush with her every summer for 7 years. It was a great dog awesome around the house, and awesome in the woods on bear patrol. That dog never left your side once it adopted you. my mom and i were going for a walk into town and she said take moonshine with you. moonshine walked Right next to me the whole time and laid on the sidewalk when we went in a store. I didn't even have a leash, and this was the first time Either of us had ever met the dog

Your sister sounds a lot like my cousin however my cousin is Canadian so a bit anti gun

Edit: My grandfather raised GSD's, as well as my Dad when I was younger.
 

Airplanedoc

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In my expirerience dobermans are a high maintenance pain in the a$$


. I have known 3 different people that owned one and the first statement covered all of them. The dog that is.
 

CatHead

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I've had my rotty for over three years and have no idea what he's talking about.
Let me be clear ANY dog can be a little weird, I had a beagle that would get obsessed over weird things. I am sure 95% of Rotweilers are great dogs and most of the ones I have seen have been great dogs but I just think of a couple that I had dealings with that were quite territorial and one that I felt uncomfortable every time I was at their house because of it. But the owner was a big guy and in dog terms I think the dog knew who was the Alpha in the house. I just don't know if a petite female would get that from the Rot. Shepherds can also be terretorial but they are also one of the best at taking training.
 

Zuljin

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What about a collie? They come in medium to medium large size. Smart. Trainable. Energetic. Like the outdoors. Friendly and loyal. They watch out around themselves and their people pretty good.

Oh. And say hi to your sister for me. ;)
 
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I vote for German Shepherd. Smart, loyal, trainable dogs. And a well trained GS will make anyone think twice about messing with your sister.
Whatever breed she decides, there should be lots of research into the dog's line to make sure it's likely to be as healthy as possible with a good temperament.
 

thood6

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Just got a rotty puppy. Definitely have to be assertive with him. I'd recommend a female as they are supposedly easier to train.
 

LabRatBrewer

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I'd go for the shepard, but would prefer a mix. I know its not on the list, but a full size poodle is an amazing dog. If I can overcome the haircut, that will be my next dog (although none of my dogs are ever planned...I sound like my dad [sigh]).
 

ezzellca

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Doberman would be my first choice of those. Sweetest dogs ever!

What about getting a rescue mutt instead of a purebreed? Shelters are filled with big dogs that they have to put down because no one wants a large breed these days.

My brother adopted a boxer pitbull mix that was an abused fighter. She was a few years old then. Best dog ive ever met.

Worth a thought.
 

TNTgill

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I am a vet so take this for what its worth. All of the dog breeds you mentioned are notorious for their genetic issues. Boxers/GSD/Rottie are all know for for developing cancer. I call boxers cancer factories....its not if but when they develop a tumor. Dobermans are know for bleeding disorders, heart conditions and to some extent cancer too. With GSD you also worry about arthritis/hip issues. Temperment wise I would go best to worst Boxer, Dobie, Rottie/GSD. I don't trust a GSD as far as I can throw one. Honestly if she is dead set on one of the 4 breeds you list then I would lean Dobie or Boxer for temperment and health issues. If you have any questions or want more info I would be more than happy to help.
 

BrewingViking

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Shephard.
I've grown up with them my whole life. Breed and trained. Best dogs ever. They were rated the best dog around at one point, if not still, because they're number 2 in every test they had. Smart, loving, protective, easy to train, fluffy, love to play. Also they love brewing beer!
 

JeepDiver

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Any pure breed is going to have genetic issues. Find a great breader and they can be minimized. Check the local shelters for a mix with one of the dogs she likes. Had a boxer who died of heart issues. Got a border collie mix and a australian Shepard mix now. Both great dogs
 

Brewtah

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None of the above. All those breed are great dogs. I camp, cycle and hike. I live in Utah so a bit of a coat on a dog is a good thing. I want a dog I can take on a trail or in a camp-groud, believe it or not there are some restrictions. I also want a dog I can physically pick-up. I have 2 dogs. A German Shorthair-Lab mix and a German Shorthair-Newfoundland mix. Excellent smart dogs. Newfie to big to pick-up. German SH is a great breed, high energy and extremely smart, I like the Short Hair mix.
If you own a home make sure there are no insurance issues with the German Shepard and Rottie. A friend of Mine is a foster for Rotties she has a lot of knowledge.
 

shoreman

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Check out petfinder there are tons of dogs on there that need rescuing and since you have a perfect idea of what you want you should be able to find the exact dog for your sister

We got an awesome dog from down south through petfinder.
 

autobaun70

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I have 2 labs that I absolutely love, 1 a rescue (black male, found him running around and could not find his owner), and one a purchase at a fund raiser (Choc. female). I am also a huge fan of German shepherds. One of my neighbors has a lab shepherd mix that is a great combination of the two. Has the playfulness of a lab, but with protective, semi dominating qualities of a shepherd, without being overly aggressive.
 

unlucky

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Look into a Giant Schnauzer. I love my GSD, but I spend alot of time brushing the dog and vacuming the carpet.
 

wickman6

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I have an 8 year old boxer and she's awesome! She's in great health, energetic, protective but smart (she knows when not to be). She's been my very best friend since I got her.

I would not consider another breed unless it was a dog in need and I was able to provide for it.

Boxer all the way!

DSC00105.JPG
 
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Bedlam

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+1 on all who recommended rescue dogs. I personally have 3 rescues and that's the route I choose to go. My sister just chooses differently.

I'll show her this thread, which was started at her behest.
 

Goodyear

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The gf and I have 2 Rotties, a 19 month old male and a 6 month old female. The male is the best dog I have ever owned. He has been a quick learner and thanks to all the training my gf has done with him, he is quite obedient. His little sister isn't picking stuff up as fast as he did but she really isn't getting the same one on one training that Till got. Both are incredibly affectionate and laid back but I wouldn't recommend entering our yard or house without having one of us there to introduce you. They are fine with people we bring in the house but the male is very protective of his property. Unfortunately it seems he thinks everything he can see from the house or yard is his property. We've had to start locking him up on Friday and Saturday nights because the drunks in the parking lot at the bar across the street set him off. The female is getting to be the same way but not as bad. If the dogs see people while we are out walking, they will watch them but are not at all aggressive towards them. People will often go out their way to avoid us when they see the dogs. I feel like I should try to educate these people and show them how nice our dogs are but at the same time I kind of like that they stay away, especially when the gf is out walking one by herself. We have made sure they are well socialized, both with people and other dogs. I think that helps a lot. Like I said, both of ours are very affectionate but in different ways. The male wants to sit on our laps and be hugged and petted while the female will either try to climb on top of your head and lick you or lay on the floor waiting for a belly rub. I'm hoping she'll be more like her brother as she gets older.
 

wolfstar

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Get a mutt from a rescue....

That being said, I am a behaviorist and a trainer (canine)...

My first choice if she chooses to go to a breeder would be a Shepherd.

A vast majority of the Shepherds i have been dealing with have been poorly bred. If she chooses a Shepherd, she should make sure to do her due dilligence in researching the breeder. You want a breeder that offers desensitisation from the day the puppies are born. This includes handling, loud startling noises, lights, smells, and surface textures. Getting a dog from a breeder that knows about these things is not going to be cheap, but your sister will save down the road from having to call someone like me to rehab her dog, or call a vet because the dog has a poor genetic line.

Shepherds are capable of incredible focus and loyalty to the owner (of cousrse Dobes and Rotts can too) but thet also can be easily shaped into the dog you want.

Dobes and Rotts are excellent pets, however, I have rarely met one that can be called off once they become highly aroused (if they decide to chase a cat, rabbit etc). If your sister expects to have a companion that she can trust to not run off and get into trouble...Shepherds are the way to go among the three....


Now really? I would suggest an Australian Shepherd or Border Collie before a German Shepherd as the odds are your sister is much more likely to find a genetically robust Aussie or Border than a GSD...

Hope this helps...i can go forever on this topic:p
 

wolfstar

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I am a vet so take this for what its worth. All of the dog breeds you mentioned are notorious for their genetic issues. Boxers/GSD/Rottie are all know for for developing cancer. I call boxers cancer factories....its not if but when they develop a tumor. Dobermans are know for bleeding disorders, heart conditions and to some extent cancer too. With GSD you also worry about arthritis/hip issues. Temperment wise I would go best to worst Boxer, Dobie, Rottie/GSD. I don't trust a GSD as far as I can throw one. Honestly if she is dead set on one of the 4 breeds you list then I would lean Dobie or Boxer for temperment and health issues. If you have any questions or want more info I would be more than happy to help.

I can agree with you on a lot of this...but we should talk about the GSD sometime.

Too many times I have client calles for aggressive GSDs that I eventually find out were trained with a shock/prong/choke collar. AVSAB (American Vetrinary Society of Animal Behavior) has some very specific statements regarding this type of training and how it can adversely affect the behavior of a dog. GSDs can be behaviorally shaped so easily, that it is TOO easy to inadvertantly install undesired behaviors. This is a major factor in the unpredictabillity of the breed...For the record, I am a behaviorist, my wife is a vet tech, and we have devoted our lives to animal welfare....
 

HokieBrewer

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We've got a boxer/pit mix who's about 60 lbs, so sweet esp with kids, but can be really scary looking and sounding in the right situation. Mixed breed helps with health issues too.

Another option should be a pit. My wife and I foster dogs and that was the hardest one to let go of. So lazy (most of the time) and sweet, but I guarantee no one on here would want to mess with one if just for the stereotype :D
 

gratus fermentatio

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IMHO, you can't go wrong with a German Shepherd. Smart, loyal, easily trained for multiple tasks/duties. Golden Retriever would be a great choice too.
Regards, GF.
 

kellzey

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We're on German Shepherd #2 for our special needs child. The major genetic issue you can get is bad hips (dysplasia), but this can be minimized with a good breeder, x-rays, and vet records.

Smart, loyal, great with kids and cuddly (my GS lives with 5 pugs and he thinks he's a lap dog). Completely trainable. Good temperments... gorgeous breed. I can't say enough great things about them.

Gunner, our current GS, was a rescue. Great dog.

 

CreamyGoodness

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Can I just cross-pollinate threads and mention that here in big scary New York, none of the single ladies pack pistols or get their dogs to protect them (more so that they can hang out at the dogpark).

Goodness gracious, I think I'll stay in New York where its safe! :cross:

I loved my golden growing up... sweet, athletic and more protective than any rot I've ever met. That said, my father and several of my friends swear by their German Shepherds when it comes to being protective while still obeying the "heel" and "release" commands. There is a reason the working dog of the NYPD is the Shepherd, and not just because Ray Kelly liked Rin Tin Tin as a kid.
 

Mdsutton

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BOXER!! You just need to get from a good breeder. Make sure the proper test have been done for common issues. Labs are also great. German Shepard the hip thing and most I have seen seem to be under sized now (bad breeding.) If you can get one of recent European decent, I would consider it.
I love my boxer, she is AWESOME!

Good luck!
 
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Bedlam

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All...thanks for the replies and great dawg pics! You guys got some good-lookin' furry pals.

Just to clarify, after talking to my sister, she hasn't ruled out a rescue and had looked at a lot of rescue organization sites. The issue is that they usually don't have puppies, but older dogs and neither of us think that her current Boxer would tolerate that very well. Also, she has a cat and most of them say that their rescue doggies don't do well with cats. She really isn't opposed to a mixed breed, but wants to know what direction to start in.

My advice was that she should go pick out a shelter puppy with orange eyebrows. That would cover Rottie mixes, Dobie mixes...and Dachshund...errrr... not sure how that last one might work out...:p

As for the safety issue, she is a single professional in a rural county rife with meth, pill heads and lax gun laws. A 911 call would result in at least a 30-45 min wait for law enforcement. She also got skeeved one day while hiking and she walked up on a guy cooking meth just off the trail. There is a good chance that having her Boxer with her that day kept her from having to shoot somebody. It isn't NYC, Creamy, but it is what it is around here.

She has a big, loud-barky boxer who is a goofball with everyone he trusts. He has a great personality and has been her constant companion these last few years. She may end up getting another Boxer, but wants to consider all options. Other than the recently-diagnosed medical condition, he's been perfect for her. She doesn't want to go through this grief again (none of us do), so she's trying to weigh her needs and options carefully. Thanks again to all who've chimed in for your help.
 

krackin

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She is better off looking for herself to find a dog. She will know the right one.
 

jbford

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Having a GSD is like having a 3-yr old child. they are anxious to learn. It is easy to teach them the borders of their property and they learn to stop when you walk off property. They have an uncanny ability to memorize their territory and will alert if something has changed (even if the trash cans have been moved) Nobody will get between them and their master.

an animal this smart requires a lot of attention and demands to help you with all the outside chores.

if someone not very well known appears unannounced (and who has not been greeted by master) while master is outside, watch out! After 3-4 visits they learn who is friend. We always hug new visitors so dog knows they are OK.
 

emjay

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Having a GSD is like having a 3-yr old child. they are anxious to learn. It is easy to teach them the borders of their property and they learn to stop when you walk off property. They have an uncanny ability to memorize their territory and will alert if something has changed (even if the trash cans have been moved) Nobody will get between them and their master.

an animal this smart requires a lot of attention and demands to help you with all the outside chores.

if someone not very well known appears unannounced (and who has not been greeted by master) while master is outside, watch out! After 3-4 visits they learn who is friend. We always hug new visitors so dog knows they are OK.
All of this can also be said about my papillon. :D
 

wolfstar

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Malinois are excellent dogs, but they are a lot of work. We have one (as well as a GSD). Lots of work in a Mal though...
 
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