Your Questions About Akita Shepherd Mix Size

Steven asks…

Which dog breeds should I look into?

My husband and I are buying a house soon. He is going to be working for weeks on end and I will be alone with our two year old daughter and our current dog. We plan on having livestock at some point–chickens, rabbits, a pig, maybe a couple sheep–but they will be kept completely fenced off and separated from any area the dogs will ever be allowed to enter. We have firearms and will get an alarm system installed when we find the house we want but I’m still looking for a good guard dog that I will buy from a reputable breeder. We’re thinking about getting a German Shepherd, but I thought I’d see if anybody else had any suggestions.

Our yard will be fenced, at least a quarter acre in size. Fence will be 6 feet high. Our pointer/heeler mix gets two 4 mile runs every day so exercise is not an issue.

We have a two year old daughter and will have more children in the future so the breed must be known for getting along with children. We also have frequent visitors to our house, friends and family, some of whom also have children, so the dog shouldn’t require physical restraint every time somebody knocks on the door.

As I said we plan on having livestock. We will be raising our own animals for meat. The dogs will never be allowed access to the other animals, they will be kept in separate fenced areas.

We’re thinking of getting a couple cats, it depends on if our current dog can learn to leave them alone. He doesn’t get much kitty cat interaction, though so far he’s only tried herding them.

I was thinking of a German Shepherd, but have also considered an Akita. The Akita is problematic because I think it’s too high maintenance when there’s company over and we plan on probably getting a third dog at some point in the future. I don’t know much about the breed, though.

I plan on researching breeds of interest very, very thoroughly and likely won’t be getting a dog until sometime next year at the very earliest. I plan on buying from a reputable breeder, perhaps from working lines if applicable. Anybody have some suggestions? 🙂
@Kelly – I didn’t even think of rottweilers, but I do love them. I’ve also considered the doberman but I don’t know how they handle cold weather. I guess since my dogs are indoor dogs and can come in whenever they want it doesn’t really matter lol.

@Kelsey – I love bichons 🙂

@Chris – No pit bulls, husband thinks they’re ugly and that’s that, apparently lol.

Good with livestock would be a plus, but we don’t plan on having flocks or herds of anything more than chickens and rabbits for several years to come.
Sorry I suppose I should add we live in North Idaho. Gets pretty cold in winter and can get pretty warm in summer.
Training and exercise and socialization are not issues for us. I have owned sled dogs in the past, and currently our dog gets two 4 mile runs every single day, one in the morning, one in the evening, when he wants to go further we go further. When I think “guard dog” I don’t think “lunge at the fence and bite faces”, I think “confident dog that will bark when somebody is there, and if necessary display true protective behavior. I don’t consider yapping, biting, and puffing up to be protective. The dog would be trained and socialized very thoroughly.
@Dreamer – It’s pretty obvious you didn’t even read the question.
Also I’m a stay at home mom. I literally have all day to work with the dogs.

Sarah Jones answers:

I do not suggest anybody get a dog based on the though of it being a “guard dog”. If you have a gun and an alarm system, the need for a guard dog is already irrelevant.

German Shepherds, Rotties, Dobes, and other “guard” breeds are high-energy working dogs that require a lot of time, energy, training, and socialization. They have all gotten bad reputations because people buy them as “guard dogs” and inevitably, they end up biting someone they shouldn’t because they haven’t been properly trained and socialized. I own a working line GSD. Since he was 8 weeks old, we have socialized him extensively- he comes to my work with me 3-5 days per week, we’ve taken him to farms, dog parks, shooting ranges, beaches, state parks, everywhere you can imagine. He gets walked daily, in addition to going swimming at least once per week, professional training two days per week (8 hours each), hiking, dog parks, friends houses with other working dogs, and more- every single week. A few short jogs an a quarter acre is not anywhere near sufficient exercise and mental stimulation for these breeds. The fact that you have small children and want more means you are not in a good place in your life to own such a high energy working breed right now. Lack of proper stimulation tends to cause severe behavioral problems in these breeds, including self-destructive behaviors, aggression, and property destruction- digging, chewing, barking, etc.

I do not think a GSD or an Akita is the right breed for you at all. I would look into something more along the lines of a Great Pyrenees. They are farm guardians, they look after the livestock and family, they require far less exercise than GSDs and similar breeds, they are easy going and social with company, and they are large enough to offer visual intimidation without the risk of unnecessary bites.

Edit: I did read the question. You just don’t like my answer. Like so many other questions on here, all you really want is everyone to chime in “Yes, get a GSD since that’s what you want”. You really don’t care what’s best for the dog or your family, all you want is affirmation. Sorry, but I actually spend my life working with dogs, including rescuing the ones that people think they want and then realize they don’t, so I don’t sit here and sugar-coat reality for people like you. I would never put a GSD into a home with the expectations you’ve listed, period. You’ll probably get one anyway, because again, you’re not here for real advice, you’re just here for people to tell you what you want to here.

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