I recently read this 2006 article from Mother Earth News: "The Best Guard Dog for Your Homestead." The article discusses the innate talents of different dogs depending upon the duty that is desired from them.
I recently installed a new home security system in the form of a large, purebred German Shepherd. Just out of her puppy years, she had been found as a stray in the streets. No one knows why such a beautiful and elegant dog was out and about, but I suspect her release may have been intentional because she came to me with an awful, gasping upper respiratory infection and a relentless dry skin/itching problem. Spending a little dough on two rounds of antibiotics and a supply of Omega-3 fish oil cured her maladies. Six weeks after her adoption, the cost-benefit analysis has weighed far in my favor. Sure, an ADT home security system might work well, too, and I could spare the expense of an ample supply of cookies, people meat, and soup bones. But ADT wouldn't roam the boundaries of my homestead letting others know who's the boss.
Depending on whose rankings you read, the German Shepherd is always ranked at or near the top as both a watch dog and a guard dog. These depressed economic times make crime attractive for seasoned criminals as well as marginal folks who are in need of what others have that they cannot afford. Like gold/silver, some food and water storage, and other prepper items, a solid canine security system is a value-added amenity. One online snippet aptly describes this dog:
This breed has a personality marked by direct, fearless willingness to protect human children. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as a companion and watchdog.
A couple of years ago, I came home to cops and neighbors standing in my front yard, and a rear window pane that had been mangled. I doubt if the criminal ever got far enough through the window to plant his feet on the floor. Perhaps the bandit spied a neighbor, but most likely, the dual alarm system (a Shepherd-Husky and a Chocolate Lab) turned him around quickly.
I am fortunate that this dog is not only a sweet and loyal pet, but she is training beautifully as a protective watchdog that can turn on a stranger when necessary. She has all the noble traits of a Shepherd: great with children, loving and playful, loyal and elegant, and composed. She also has very keen powers of observation. And she does not tolerate people coming in between her and her owner or grazing the outside of her property. A few days ago, much to my satisfaction, the sight of her rushing the fence and barking sent a stranger (next-door house hunter) scurrying to his car in fear. Follow me on Twitter @karendecoster.