While the article discusses three specific breeds of protection type dogs, the author is incorrect in saying that German Shepherd dogs are a danger to families with small children. As a former USAF K9 handler and former law enforcement officer, we’ve now had German Shepherd dogs in our family for the past 35 years with not a single “issue”, bite, or wanton/reckless/attack to our children, grandchildren, their friends, or neighbor children. Well trained dogs do not attack at all, and even a family pet does not attack without provocation. Oh, and yes our insurer (the same one for 38 years-USAA) knows we have two and have had two pure bred German Shepherd dogs; we haven’t had an increase nor a claim from those dogs either. Have our family pets (trained protection dogs as well) stopped potential intruders cold? Absolutely. So, on that point, the author is correct. Inbred dogs are far more likely to have behavioral issues, resulting in attacking their owners; in particular, pit bulls have been horribly inbred, and most of the wanton attacks from pit bulls are not from family pets but from lowlifes who have them since they are unable to legally own or possess firearms. So, yes those dogs are usually abused by those same people, and yes, those are the dogs from my professional experience that “attack” children and seniors in the neighborhoods in which they reside. – M.S.
HJL Responds: German Shepherds are actually listed on the list of the top 10 most dangerous dogs. There is some controversy in how this list is maintained, but the fact remains that German Shepherds do account for a significant number of “accidental” injuries and deaths caused by dogs. We also have had German Shepherd dogs for several decades in our family, and I will state that if you really understand German Shepherds and people this is not difficult to see. The German Shepherd has a higher-than-average intelligence, and like all intelligent dogs they will get into trouble if left to themselves. It is a breed that is bored easily and demands a job to perform. Add to that the natural aggressiveness that they are bred for and you have a recipe for disaster, if you buy one and toss it into your backyard, expecting it to patrol your property. These dogs demand a close working relationship with their handlers and under those conditions, they make wonderful working dogs and family pets. Left to themselves, they will eventually cause issues. This is not a breed that a family who is not willing to have the dog by their side should own. I have personally seen this breed turn on children who taunted it and turn on a master who was attempting to discipline a child whom the dog felt protective of. Conversely, I have never seen a German Shepherd cut loose when it had a close relationship with an adult handler. The exact opposite is true at that point; the dog strives to please the handler.
You can consider owning a German Shepherd in the same class as a firearm. If you buy it and spend no time with it, it will probably hurt you or someone else from misuse. If you take the time to develop familiarity and a relationship, you will have one of the finest companions/helpers there is.