Some dogs will face down a cougar or rush into a burning building to save a child. Others will duck and hide when threatened. Yes, there are small, yappy dogs that won’t run from a fight, but they lack the weight and chops to intimidate an attacker or yank a child from danger. The following are five fearless breeds that have the courage, the weight and the chops to make a difference when danger strikes.
1. Rottweiler. Tracing their lineage to the drover’s dogs that accompanied the herds Romans brought with them when invading Europe, Rotts have a natural instinct to protect what they consider their property. Strong and fearless, these dogs can weigh as much as 130 pounds, which makes them ideal for guard duty. They are loyal to their owners and suspicious of strangers. If you get a Rott, make sure he or she is properly obedience trained. Their vise-like jaws will not let go unless commanded by their owner.
2. Presa Canario. Developed in the Canary Islands as a farm utility dog, Presas were highly effective in catching unruly cattle and wild boars. Tipping the scales at a robust 125 pounds, today’s Presas are docile, affectionate dogs that are often distrustful of strangers. Bred as family companions, they make great guardians. A quiet breed with an intimidating bark, Presas exemplify the alpha nature of canines, so it’s important owners and family members are entirely comfortable around this large dog. Early socialization and obedience training are important with this breed.
3. Pit Bull. A descendant of the original English bull-baiting dog, and bred to bite and hold bulls, bears and other large animals, Pit Bulls have been falsely portrayed as bloodthirsty monsters with powerful locking jaws. But according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, “controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous.” Their natural aggressive nature is often directed toward other dogs and animals, not people. A courageous and intelligent guard dog, a pit bull can weigh up to 79 pounds. They seem to have an uncanny ability to know when to protect and when to hold back and stay.
4. German Shepherd. Made famous by early TV shows like Rin-Tin-Tin, German Shepherds trace their roots back to the old breeds of herding and farm dogs. Fearless and confident, German Shepherds are highly intelligent, loyal and very protective of their charges. Fond of children once they get to know them, Shepherds make ideal family pets and excellent guard dogs. They are big enough to intimidate any threat and have been known to save small children from danger.
5. Boxer. Brought to the U.S. from Germany after World War I, Boxers have a hefty, square jaw and can weigh up to 64 pounds. They are imposing, fearless and intelligent. Often referred to as the “Peter Pan” of dog breeds, Boxers are high spirited and playful with lots of energy. They are alert and play well with children. Headstrong and independent, they don’t respond well to harsh training methods.
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