A Guard to Guard the Guard.
My wife was deeply considering getting a new dog, a small dog like Clara, but she doesn't want a dog solely for company. Maui is practical because he's a layer of protection, and does his job well entertaining us. He alerts us when people are knocking, and even barks in odd instances where things were out of place like when our water tank was somehow spilling water. Depending on how Maui barks, we could also tell if a stranger or a known person is at the gate. It may sound completely utilitarian, but this view helps us appreciate what we have, even more.
If we are to get a small dog, it needs to be one so small that it doesn't significantly impact our monthly expenses, but has advantages, such as being very alert or being better at chasing off pests. For the sake of deliberation, I asked that we remove the "small" part first, and focus on the best services that a dog can offer naturally.
The immediate topic is having a guard dog. Maui is already doing a great job and we wouldn't mind giving Maui company. Dogs can often work better in pairs or even in groups, and I can bump my training skills by training 2 dogs at the same time. Some dogs like the German Shepherd come into mind, and of course, Maui's half-breed, the Australian Shepherd. Both make excellent guard dogs but if I don't train a German Shepherd well, it could become either a hard-to-control pet or a couch potato who lets Maui do all the work. There's also the matter of logistics on where to get one. We could always adopt. The only problem is that the nearest adoption center is far.
Another option is getting a good nanny dog, but most nanny dogs are gentle giants apart from a few that are quite fancy like the Bichon. My wife did like the idea of getting a pit bull. She was aware that the Pitbulls are a loyal breed that is only violent if they are abused, or if their instincts for being protective are directed toward violence. I also added that some nanny breeds are also great guard dog breeds, which then leads us to get a list of guard dogs and nanny dogs and identify the common breed between each until we have a list of potential dogs so when we start looking for them, we have a list of choices.
First was the shepherd breed, or breeds that have "shepherd" in their name. We already mentioned the Australian and German Shepherds and there's the Caucasian Shepherd, Anatolian Shepherds, and the Border Collie. These dogs have great attention to detail as it's their job to protect their flock so they make for great guard dog breeds, and since they also shepherd other animals, they can be decent nanny dogs or at least dogs our daughter can play with. I argued that by the time we get another dog, our daughter may not need a nanny dog, and would want a dog she can play with.
Apart from the german shepherd, all the other dogs seem like great choices. We removed the German Shepherds from the list because of the impression they could make. I argued that the presence of a german shepherd could indeed repel would-be intruders and potential people with harmful intent, but if I'm not careful, I could scare actual visitors and people I want to be in the house, like any service personnel. So we needed a friendlier face.
She argued that consistent training can make german shepherds become excellent family members and family protectors, but my position on getting a friendlier-looking dog stood, as any of the other dogs can be both great security dogs, and still be easy on the eyes. Maui is like that. When you look at him, he'll make a funny face, or sometimes, just look away, pretending he's preoccupied, but his wagging tail betrays his expression.
Going away from livestock guardian dogs, we switch to those who are bred to guard property, like the, also stigmatized, Doberman Pinscher, which is like Clara, but bigger, meaner, and faster. My friendlier face argument took it down. My wife considered any dog from the droopy-looking Mastiff family, which are very large dogs like the Tibetan Mastiffs but are also gentle giants to family members. I just raised the drool issue and the fact that they are perhaps 20% bigger than Maui, which means they eat 20% more. After some deliberation on food costs, we're now considering a dog that's either around his size, or smaller.
Breeds like the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, or any of the Terriers, alongside the Boxer breeds are known as "brawlers" but are quite friendly. They need lots of regular exercises, and mental stimulation, which regular walks and my open shaping training can hopefully satisfy. The same goes for all the other breeds
As we did our deliberations, we drifted into much smaller breeds. If Maui can do most of the guarding, we can settle for someone who can alert us. A breed with a good bark like Clara could be more than enough. If a second guard dog is too much, then perhaps someone who can work in synergy with Maui is better. We would like to avoid aggressive dog breeds and focus more on protective breeds. The idea of getting a mini pinscher is already there, but we would like to keep our options open.
These kinds of barking dogs are called Watchdogs. A guardian breed can also be a watchdog, but not all watchdogs are natural guard dogs. My wife was happy to see that the Mini Pin is part of the list of great watchdogs, and so are the Schnauzer breeds that have a mini version. My wife wondered if she could get a Mini pin that has the colors of a Doberman Pinscher. The dog would look threatening, but its diminutive stature would make it look even more adorable. With proper training, we can make it so that the Mini pin would act all furious, but won't land an injury-causing bite. My only problem with the Mini Pin is that their legs and the overall build are so stiff yet brittle, that jumping off the couch might cause injury to their legs.
I don't know if the same can be said for other mini breeds like the Mini Schnauzer, who could be softer, and therefore more flexible.
As a joke, I considered a Chihuahua, as they have fierce territorial instincts, but she had the impression that a Chihuahua is like a neutron star. Compressed and small, but holds the might and fury of a supernova, if disturbed.
From the looks of it, we are down to Mini Pinscher or a Mini Schnauzer as our top picks. Bottom of that barrel is another mongrel breed like Maui, whose breed is at least half of any livestock guardian dogs.