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A lab (Labrador Retriever) gets my vote! Big enough to seem menacing to the bad guys but big teddy bears with the children. I'm a person fan of the yellow labs, but they also come in chocolate and black.

They are a little hyper as puppies but if you've got plenty of space to run them around and wear them out you should be fine.

Golden retrievers! I have two of them now and grew up with them. They are sweet and perfect with kids, but they sound vicious when they bark at people coming. They are also very easy to train and smart (like labs, they are used as seeing eye dogs, bomb sniffers, rescue dogs, etc).

I am not a big fan of retrievers as they are too rambunctious. They take at least 2 years to mature out of the puppy stage and require a lot of attention. Boxers get my vote. They are great dogs even though their reputation is not a good one. They are not aggressive unless they are trained to be.

I know no one is going to agree with me, but my vote goes to the doberman pinscher. I grew up with 2 huge ones and we have had at least one in the family ever since. Granted, it is important to socialize and train them, but we have never had one that was mean in the least...not aggressive in any way, if anything perhapsthey're a little passive! I let toddlers ride the dogs and the dogs love it and then lie down to be toddler pillows. And, yeah, they're definitely scary looking.

I vote for chocolate labs!!!They are wonderful with children and can look very scary when they are protecting their territory. They are also fun to name because of the chocolate connection.

I have a chow/lab/etc/etc dog. She is the most friendly dog in the entire world. But to scare away the bad guys, she has a horrible underbite. It makes her bottom teeth stick out and this always makes it look like she is growling. It makes salesmen take a step back from my door. There is a picture of her on my blog, on my November 1st post. You can't really see her teeth though. If I find a better one, I'll post it.

I recommend getting a free dog from a shelter. (I don't know if South Africa has them, but most places I have been do.) I find that mixed breed dogs have fewer medical problems than purebreds. Plus, they are usually much cheaper.

Let me also put in a vote for getting a grown-up dog. Puppies are too much work.

We recently got a black lab puppy (purebred) and while I think he'll be great with the kids eventually, right now he's a handful! Seriously, he's more work that my newborns Ever were! (I wish dogs could wear diapers!) The only plus is he can go into his crate when we need to get him out of our hair (we're crate training). He loves to jump on the kids, "mouth" them, steal socks off their feet, etc. He means well, but he's still a baby and still learning. I wonder if getting two would have been easier (they'd keep each other company).

I've heard Chows and Akitas are not as kid friendly. There are tons of sites out there that list all breeds and their compatability with kids.

We got Boxers, specifically because they are historically good with children. Any dog you get as a puppy will be as much or more work than a toddler. As puppies we did things that we thought a toddler might do, and they grew up thinking that it was ok for people to bother them while they ate, pull (gently) on their ears and loose skin, etc. So we have 2 boxers who will walk up to our 13 month old, lick him in the face, he whacks them with a spoon (obviously we also do not encourage this behavior, but sometimes it's unavoidable) and they simply walk away or endure more whacking (one of the dogs is not that smart.) They are sweet and loving, but people who don't know them are usually afraid of them.

Oh yeah, we debated getting an older dog vs a puppy and went with the puppy. I kind of wish we had gone with the older dog, it's exhausting! (We love Griffin though!)


Our dog, Maxine, is a German Shepherd/greyhound/chow/everything else big mutt. She is the smartest dog in the universe. We got her at the shelter, and from the moment we found her (she had escaped from her pen!), we knew she was ours.

This dog is so protective of me, and of the kids. I never have to worry when Max is on guard. I've wrote about her here:


Compared to my mom's two pure-bred mini-dachshunds, Max is healthy as a horse, too. They are forever at the vet for various problems that result from being inbred and overbred - problems that most "pure" dogs have. Not our Max. She had to have surgery when she tore the canine equivalent of her ACL, and that set us back a bit, but otherwise she has always been extremely healthy.

Some people don't like mutts because you never really know what you're going to get, but all the mutts I've known have been awesome dogs.

Your last dog was a Rhodesian Ridgeback, wasn't she? Maybe you could get another one. As a child, I had a friend with a Ridgeback and I swear, walking up to that house was the scariest thing I ever had to do, it was a big dog with an even bigger bark. Once inside, of course, the dog became my best friend.
The other option? Go to an animal shelter or animal rescue with the kids and pick a big, scary looking dog with a deep bark that is really just a big softie. Shelter dogs often make the best pets.

i was actually going to chime in with the doberman recommendation too. i have a dobie mix - he is the sweetest, most loving dog and just his presence scares the crap out of most repairmen and delivery men who come to the house. the most important thing to remember about dog behavior and temperament is that how the dog is trained and raised is much more important than what the breed. i would recommend reading "the other end of the leash" by patricia mcconnell in all your free time. ;-) i would also recommend hiring a trainer to come to the house to teach the whole family to work with the dog.

To me, it seems like the breeds I'd rec. for kids are not ones I'd be happy having as "outside dogs."

I love a big dog. OK, that sounds wrong.

A friend has an English Mastiff. Riley is gi-normous. And the biggest marshmallow you'd ever want to meet.
In my experience, the larger dogs are very often the friendlier, gentler dog.
Those little yip-dogs are the mean ones.

I guess a St. Bernard would be out of the question huh?

Hmm, it's not as simple as simply saying some breeds are kid-friendly while others aren't. It depends very much on how you train, and treat, your pets.

Some dogs require LOTS of attention and frequent walks on new routes, which they're simply not gonna get from city-slickers. A border collie is a great pet, but can go mental on you if stuck in the backyard without plenty of stimulation.

I've also heard boxers make good pets, they're gentle but still fierce-looking enough to scare off strangers. We grew up with German Shepherds, Pekingese, Whippets, Great Danes, an assortment of other small mutts, plus leopard cubs, baby baboons, piglets etc.

Don't get a baboon...

Irish Wolfhound !
They are THE Biggest marshmallows I've ever known :)


You, Marko, Rose and the kids still need to eat, right?

Hmm...feed dog or feed family ?

After the experiences I've had and/or witnessed with two pups at once, I will never, never, never again be a part of such a purchase. One dog can be bad enough to train! As for a particular type, labs are rowdy when young, but they are also protective, and if well trained, fine around kids. I've also heard good things about German Shepherds, though I've never had one. Oh, and while it may surprise some people, chows are actually very good guard dogs. My parents have had one for years, and she will go nuts on a stranger, but has been good with every known child and small animal around, including my Pomeranian pup.

Good luck!

I don't have a specific dog recommendation but would argue strongly against getting two puppies at once.

You have a lot on your plate (understatement), right? And given what I know from your blog about your home life, my guess is that you will be the person responsible for caring for this creature. I would advocate for going to a shelter and selecting an adult dog that has been surrendered by a family with children (surrendered for reasons unrelated to the dog's behavior, obviously). The ideal would be to find a situation where you could talk to the placing family (open adoption!). When people move, or due to health problems, etc., they do give up "good" dogs -- you want something that is adult, trained, and friendly with children. I have no breed recommendations but bet that if you follow my proposed approach, you'll recognize "your" dog when you see it. And I'd go look first without the kids, but have them meet the dog before finalizing the adoption.

We LOVE our german shephard (have had 3) Captain is great with the kids (even with them pulling his hair, etc.) Really a great dog and people are always leary of him (even though he'd run and hide if they said boo!)

As a dog rescue person and canine advocate, I please ask that if you absolutely insist on getting purebred, please do your homework, thoroughly. (NO pet stores) Additionally, since you will only allow this dog outside (sorry, I disagree - even for breeds that thrive outdoors they should be allowed in to interact with family, if it's cold, etc.) you will need to find a breed that is conducive. I'd recommend another Rhodesian or a Great Dane that you won't doc. I'd also find one that will interact with your other Rhodesian - bonding is important and the existing dog should be thought of first.

With all of that being said, why not a rescue dog from a shelter? Do you have these in SA (I unfortunately can't imagine not)? You could adopt a youngish dog and would be able to bring A&K to test out. And if you're bent on a puppy, well, a puppy can't stay outside initially. Time, consistent, loving training is a MUST and IS like having a toddler...I can't forsee you having time for that. Think through this hard and if you decide another dog route, you will BOTH have to work together (you and Marko) so the dog respects each of you as the leader(s) - important with children.

Are you sure you want to do this? If I could I would open my back door and let my dog walk away. He's one more person in my house that needs tending to!

If you must, you will laugh at this I'm sure, but we have a big black standard poodle (without the poofy hair cut)his bark is fierce but he is the most gentle, smart adorable creature you could ask for. Plus they don't shed! If you grow their hair out no one will know it's a poodle. I'm sure Marko will scoff at the idea, but keep it in mind..

Go with the mutts! I'm in complete agreement here! If you have shelter options, that's the way to go. I've gotten two dogs (both lab mixes, one yellow lab and beagle mix that I've had for 16 years and one black lab and german shepard mix that I got for my parents 7 years ago) from shelters and I swear they KNOW they are lucky to have YOU.

There are so many arguments for getting a shelter pup vs. supporting the breeding of more animals that will end up homeless. It's the way to go. And if you tell the shelter what you are looking for they should be able to help you find a dog (or dogs!) that will fit in great with your family.

i haven't read the other responses, but we have a black lab and he is the BEST. he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, from an intellectual point of view, but he's sweet, sweet, sweet and incredibly obedient. also a quick study on matters of obedience. he is v. protective of the baby (and us), yet is the friendliest dog. the fact that he's dark colored and has a very gruff, mean-sounding bark is a plus. I would recommend getting a full-grown dog. puppies are a PITA. we got this one when he was about 1.5-2 years old, perfect.

I'd recommend a Beagle. They're GREAT with kids, very gentle. They're very much pack dogs, so you can get two Beagles at the same time (without hassle) and they can entertain themselves.

Hi Tertia, I haven't read all the comments but I found this site which might help. You fill in the info and it tells you what kind of dog might suit your family. I thought that, combined with the info from others, might help you


you have to scroll down a bit to find the form


oh, and while I am here, I am still giggling over the agapanthus escapades! Too funny!

Staffies are awesome. In the 50's they were known as the Nanny Dog, because they are so good with kids.


I have two shelter beagle mixes, Bonnie and Clyde, who are awesome. My twins are just a little younger than yours and they are fantastic with them, even though my son is not always as gentle as he could be and is a little too fascinated with Clydee's penis. Shelter dogs are awesome, and mixes tend to live longer.

Good luck.

I'm a vet, and I agree 200% with the commentators who said don't get two puppies at once. In fact, I don't know any reputable breeders who would let anyone HAVE two puppies at once - it's a classic recipe for disaster, although of course some people have good experiences of it. And I also agree that it's not as simple as what breed is good with children - I think I would advise against rescue dogs of a "scary-looking" sort with children as young as yours - you never know what past experiences they've had. If you do get a puppy, then get another of the opposite gender a year or so later, you will minimise your chance of any problems; and if you get from a breeder, make sure it's one who provides support, help and advice afterwards!

My advice? Read this book: The Other End of The Leash.

We had a Newfoundland when I was a kid. The dog was enormous, but by far the sweetest tempered dog I have ever seen. By far. Wiki them. Definitely wouldn't go with 2 dogs at once, especially if you want a well-behaved dog.

I wiki'ed them myself,out of curiosity. Here is a quote
"International Kennel clubs generally describe the breed [newfoundland]as having a sweet temperament.[2][3][1] They have deep barks, are easy to train and are known as guardians, watchdogs and good with children.[4]

My Aunt and Uncle breed Doberman Pinschers for the show ring in the united states (very naff, as you would say in South Africa), so they are never with less than 10 of the beasts, also have four children, and they are just AWESOME with the kids. They are very family oriented dogs, very protective of their families and very SMART. The ones I knew just instinctively behaved differently around their young children and were always very respectful of them. A little rambunctious, however. A german shepherd might also suit nicely! I haven't known any personally but I do know they are great with kids and also protective, maybe a bit less rambunctious than a dobe.

Putting in another vote for a doberman pinscher or a boxer. Both are typically used as guard dogs and therefore have that scary dog image. However, both are extremely loyal and faithful to THEIR humans.

When I was a toddler, we had a doberman. I climbed all over her, played with my doctor kit by giving the dog "shots" using my stethoscope, etc. My brother's family have 2 boxers and 3 kids (13, 5 and 4 months). The kids play rough with the dogs. The dogs are incredible with them, playful and also protective. NOBODY can get anywhere near the kids unless the dogs know the other people and it is obvious to them that the people are being welcomed in by my brother or his wife. (Seriously -- they have growled and barked at me through the door very viciously until my brother told me to just come in -- as soon as he said it was alright, the dogs went in the other room and went to sleep)

I have a Bernese Moutain Dog and a Rottwieler. The Bernese is a huge dog with a big bark and they are known for their love of children. Rottwielers are also known to be amazing with kids. For protection, a rotti will ALWAYS protect it's family. The Bernese will bark but probably not do much more than that.

I would highly recomend using the breed selector found at this link:

Rhodesian Ridgeback. Scary as all heck but really love able lazy giants.

I'm going to second the recommendation of golden retriever. We rescued a golden retriever as a pup and he is seriously the sweetest dog we've ever had. He's nine months now, and we did training on our own, and he's been well-trained since about five months. He's pretty laid back with kids and other dogs too. I don't think golden retrievers are at ALL scary looking, but they do have one viscious bark. Our dog is very protective and every time anyone even walks around outside he barks so loudly and fiercely! Loyal little bugger.

We had a boxer who was absolutely fabulous with our young children (3 and 9 months). She died earlier this year and we will be getting another boxer early next year. I am sold - she was the absolute best.

No help on the recommendations, but what happened to Bruno, the homosexual guard dog? Did I miss something?

Oh wait, PS, don't get a border collie unless you want to run, run, run with it! Mine's mad.

We had a German Shepherd until last year when she died. So I had her before I had babies but she was always very very kind to them. She was scary looking. It always surprised me to see big guys giving me a wide berth when I walked her. Shepherd are supposed to be smart. Mine really wasn't. She was rather stupid in fact but she was well trained and she only barked when someone came to the door (which I appreciated).

My daughter is actually afraid of dogs (I don't know why - she never had a bad experience with them) but she isn't afraid of German Shepherds. Those little yippy yappy things scare the hell out of her but a dog that could actually eat her? She thinks is nothing more than a teddy bear.

We loved our golden retrievers--we've had two. They are sweet and very good with children;also very protective. They are known for their good dispositions. My SIL has a lab who is also great with kids.
Please do NOT get a chow. They are one person dogs who in old age become quite fiercely jealous and protective of that person; I have had to deal with two of them who belong to a relative and both have threatened to bite not only me but the little children visiting in the house.
Mixed breeds are unpredictable! We have a sweet little dog who loves the children; my SIL had one who seemed good but over time turned ugly and tried to bite those of us who were always around and ended up biting a delivery person. You just don't know what you are getting and I would not take the risk with small children being around a mixed breed.
Rottweilers are alpha dogs (same as chows) who attach themselves to one person; they make excellent guard dogs but I'd avoid having one with small children.
good luck!

Dogs don't exercise themselves, so steer clear of high energy dogs like labrador retrievers unless you want to risk them digging up your yard and acting like psychos out of boredom. Trust me, I just raised one. She was an inside dog, but she needed to sprint for 4 hours a day early on to be chill. Now she's two and much better, but she still NEEDS exercise once a day, some kind of running.

If it were me, I'd try a German Shepherd. They just need a job, not exercise as much, and they view protecting their humans, including your kids, as a job.

I'd go with a mutt/lab mix, whatever. My hubby doesn't believe in buying purebred dogs when they are so many doggies out there who need homes.

WE got a pomeranian mix that someone rescued from the pound, and we adopted her a couple of weeks later.

WE just got a lab mix from the local SPCA. She was 12 weeks old. She is wonderful with kids. DH and I always tug on her ears, put our hands in her food, etc. She loves my friend's toddler and my 3 year old cousin. We always watch her and stay in the room. But she's very gentle (even at 5 months, and will let them do whatever). Yes, she is a handful, but she was housetrained in like 2 weeks.. and she crate trained very easily. And she loves to lounge in her bed. I'm not sure what she is mixed with.. but it seems to be pretty calm.

I have 2 labs and a border collie, before these three we had a golden retriever. All have been absolutely amazing dogs. My helpful hints about choosing dogs: 1) GO TO TRAINING. 2) Dogs can be summed up this way, they are 2 year old children which never grow up. Great book for you to read before you choose a dog "The Monks of New Skeet: The Art of Raising a Puppy". Great pointers on now to pick a puppy for your family (not just the breed but the personality too). Wish you the best, my daughter and the dogs are v v close. They adore her.

I have a rescue dog and I adore him. He's a german shepard/black lab mix. He's got the german shepard smarts (learns about a trick a week) and the silly lovable side of a lab. People shy away from him, but he wouldn't hurt a fly. I agree with the previous commenter though that all dogs need inside time with their people. If you're worried about shedding, there are breeds that don't shed.

My absolute favorite dog is the beagle. That said, beagles are not very good with children. As much as I would love to have a beagle, I would not even dream of purchasing one while I have small children. I grew up with beagles (who incidentally make great outside pets), but when it comes to fight or flight, they fight, i.e. bite. I have several scars from beagle bites that required stitches. My parents were very conscientious about never leaving us alone with the dogs, especially when we were very small, but beagles move fast. I would not recommend a beagle for any household with children beneath the age of ten.

Another vote for a Great Dane. They are known as "Gentle Giants" - intimidating to strangers, but lambs around children, other pets, etc.

If you want a non-shedding type, perhaps a Golden Retriever/Poodle mix (called a "GoldenDoodle" in the USA... not sure about SA). Smart, sweet, large dogs (if bred with large poodle), yet very low-maintenance.

We just got two rescue dogs - 2 year old maltese/poodle crosses (moodles!). The lady who was fostering them knew their temperaments and knew they were good with kids. Poodle mixes are great, they don't shed and are very smart. As someone said above, if you don't get them clipped in a poofy way they can look like any old mutt.

I love having dogs past the puppy stage. Heaven. They are toilet trained, have some obedience training, don't chew and don't tend to jump up. They just moved in and set themselves up!

Only trouble with rescues is that you don't know if they've had bad experiences with kids in the past. But the rescue people usually know a lot about them.

Puppies are a complete nightmare. They cry at night and wee everywhere. Under no circumstances get two!! They can tend to become more "doggy" than people orientated and they need a lot of separate training. If you want two, get one then another one down the track a bit. The great thing about puppies though is that they will grow up knowing your kids. I know you guys are anal about the house but it would be seriously worth thinking about having the dog inside sometimes, they tend to become part of the family that way and will be great with the kids and protect you. Oh and make sure you annoy the puppy - take his food, play with his feet etc. He will grow up thinking it's completely normal and not bite one of the kids.

I've had 2 rotty crosses who were just amazing with kids. Old English Sheepdogs are wonderful too, but need a lot of brushing. I think the safest option is to get a lab or lab cross.

Have fun, dogs are such a great part of the family.

Oh and one more thing - puppies WILL bite your kids while playing with them, they think it's perfectly OK. They don't do it with malice, just play, but the teeth are needle sharp and your kids will be over them in no time!

We got two labrador puppies together (against all advice) 3 years ago. They really are wonderful dogs, and very trainable, but they do love attention and people, so if you want a quiet dog that minds it's own business and plays with the kids occasionally that's not a Lab.

2 together does help, if they don't have another dog to play with then they'll look to you for entertainment. Most folks recommend if getting two that you get an older dog and a puppy, but we didn't have a problem with two pups. At 3 they are still very playful though.

Hot dogs are kid friendly, well as long as you cut them the long way and don't mind the fact that they really don't count as food. Good luck

You just almost can't go wrong with a labrador retriever (or a lab mix, if you've got shelters there). I wouldn't get a puppy, though, with little kids. Puppies and little ones are kind of a hard combination unless your kids are exceptionally gentle (which I know you've said it hard for Adam) and/or unusually experienced with the gentleness an animal requires.

I'd try to look for one that's been around kids before and not worry to much about breed. I've known crabby golden retrievers and completely kid-proof rotties.

LABS!!! They are the best with kids. And they have a nice big old scary bark to rid the house of the bad guys.

Stay away from Dalmations, they look pretty, but I've heard they aren't very good with kids.

H and E LOVE our beagle, and they love him. I can't speak for beagles in general, but Zippo is a big baby and wouldn't dream of biting the babes. When it comes to fight or flight, he's out of there. That said, he's certainly not a fierce protector in any sense of the word:)

I do love beagles...

I'm not a dog person myself but a friend has a Doodle (Retriever/Poodle mix) and it is darn cute. Doesn't shed, great with kids, not at hyper as a golden, smart, biggish. Still licks though, and sniff at inopportune times and places. I think there is some shadiness in the breeding but I think that is true of any bred dog. Shelters are the humane/sustainable way to go.

When I was pregnant with my twins I got a afghan hound x lab. So I didn't have much time to do much with him. He is not as boring as a regular lab, he is a better watchdog, and what's great he entertains himself the whole day and gets lots of exercise just running around the house. He has a very soft mouth, loves the kids, come for a quick cuddle and then goes back to his own business. Whatever you do, don't take any kind of shepherd (cross), they get very miserable when you can't give them attention all the time.

I have had two lab mixes with small kids and DO NOT recommend.

Both were completely high energy pain in the asses. I am sure they would have grown out of it but frankly having one jump the fence every morning for a run and the other nipping and biting at my daughter taught me that perhaps lab X's were not the way to go. Each given long walk/runs daily which did nothing to curb their energy.

I am pretty much against having any dog that will be an 'outside dog'. Dogs need to be with their people for socialization and love.

My neighbors got a pug pup a year ago. Adorable small dog and very good with the kids.

My friend got a dog called a South African Boerbel. (I wonder if it is really South African?) Looks like a Rhodesian Ridgeback but bigger and even lazier.

Staffies are great with kids, but I am also partial to rescuing animals. We only ever have rescued animals in our home... Saves you lot of money because they're already spayed/neutered!

Staffie - if you want to get technical and go look at breed standards - they are the ONLY breed who has "good with children" in their breed standard! Here's a quote from a website:
"Traditionally of indomitable courage and tenacity. Highly intelligent and affectionate especially with children."

Also known as the "Nanny Dog" for the way they care for kids, always watching them and sitting next to (or on top of) them.
(So you could leave the dog to watch them in the bath! LOL!!!)
They don't bark and are not good watch dogs, but the "skelms" are very afraid of them because of their looks. We have a Staffie and a Bullmastiff, I walk them seperately and certain people are not afraid of the BM but cross the road when I walk the Staffie - unbelievable, because the BM is a huge dog!
And the BM is way too boisterous for my daughter (although he is 6yrs old), so we never let them play, but she plays with the Staffie constantly and they sleep together.

Look - all puppies are a mess, you need to look at the bigger picture, as with kids, or maybe try to adopt an older dog.

Tertia, I would really recommend either a boxer or a labrador/golden retriever. They are BOTH very energetic as youngsters, but mature into the loveliest family dogs. You might have to invest in a few classes, but it will be worth it! Oh, how lovely to have a new puppy to smell, squeeze and love!

I would definitely recommend golden retrievers. We had a golden retriever who was amazing with kids and adults both. So patient and loving. But she was not a guard dog in any sense of the word.

Airedale. They love kids and are nice natured but will defend their family if threatened. They are a medium to large size.

ditto to the following:

- puppies are a PITA
- whatever you do don't get two at once

We currently have a 1 yr old german wirehaired pointer. He is great w/ the kids and very smart. However, he needs a LOT of exercise and prob wouldn't do well outside alone. I will say though that his puppy existence in our house sure has thinned out the toy selection (if you know what I mean). In fact, when he came along I finally had a use for all those baby teethers and toys that no one played with anymore.

Personally, I'm not sure I'd go w/a lab or golden retriever. I know they get such rave reviews, but my neighbor's have always been so big and hyper that they run right up and knock my kids over again and again until they are about 3.

I would however recommend a big standard poodle (sans the foo-foo haircut). My in-laws have one and he is fabulous. Good with the kids and mellow too (even as a pup).

Whatever you do good luck.

I would recommend pug puppies. I have a black pug and he is the most adorable dog. Pugs in general are very playful and brilliant with children. Because they are so ugly, I can tell you that they scare the living daylights out of those who think they have a right to enter your property ;o)

what about going to the spca and seeing what they have there?

not sure what the pp's have said, but how an animal is around children is determined by how you train it. don't get one that needs to be walked alot if your schedule doesn't allow for dog walking.

most importantly - teach the kids that cleaning up the poopers requires a shovel (something more than hands), AND that cleaning up the "chow chow" is their responsibility, not yours!

good luck madame tee.

Labrador's (can be hard work when puppies if they are allowed to get bored but they are SO worth it in the end), Staffies (are considered the BEST breed for children - aka the Nanny dog)... Personally I think the key to getting new dogs is to train them and socialise them right from the start - whether you get a rescue dog or get them as puppies, the sooner they get trained and socialised the better... Good Luck!

Both my children have been bitten by dogs. My son twice by German Shephards & my litte girl by a doberman pincher. Please stay away from Boerboele and Rottweilers! Living in SA I understand the importance of scary-looking so thats why beagles and labs and the like, just wont do. Staffies are really sweet natured, just love their families and are fierce protectors. Second choice, boxers. Maybe one of both? I'd also get a vet's opinion.

Get 'n brak! Seriously - we have three dogs. Two purebreds and one brak. The purebreds are fine with the kids, but the Monster LOVES them. She is so protective over both my kids, it is the sweetest thing to watch.

Golden Retriever. No contest. They'll lick the burglars to death, but are big enough (BEEEEG teeth) to be scary to the less well-informed and are the most docile, child-friendly dogs on earth. I don't trust my labrador retriever with the kids, but my Golden Retriever is 104% trustworthy. And if the long hair bothers you, I have Phoebe shaved every September, so she looks like a Labrador Retriever (with a bushy tail), but has enough hair by winter to not be cold.

Oooh, I just saw someone's recommendation for a Boxer. Brace yourself, they are super-hyperactive. Utterly loveable, but energetic beyond belief. And they can jump @#%#$%! high! A six-foot wall is nothing. And they slobber. A lot.

I KNOW no one will agree but I will be honest. Pit Bull. Get it as a puppy and it will be the most loyal thing ever. My sister and I grew up with 2 Pit Bulls. My twins are often around my Dad's pit too.

Hi there - I'm a volunteer at the Sandton SPCA so am totally biased! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE rescue a dog - they are incredibly loving and you will feel great about saving it! No pressure - but pretty please??? xxxx

I would say a Labrador/Retriever mix. I have had one now for about 7-8 years ( got her when she was 8 weeks old ) and she was raised with my neice. She is great with children. I know this because my neice body slammed her once when she was about 2-3 years old and all she did was lift her head up and look at her and then went back to sleeping. She was a little hyper as a puppy and liked to eat my neice's outside toys, but as long you get them chew toys or bones you really don't have any problems. She is the calmest dog I have ever owned, but when she hears a noise or people on the other side of the fence she has an incredibly intimidating bark.

We have two rescue mutts who are diabolical with strangers (barking, leaping against the gates, frothing at the mouth) but lambs with the children. They know their place in the hierarchy and treat the children as higher up on the food chain.

We would never buy 'breed' dogs again. Heck, our kids are 'mixed' so why not our dog! Mutts and, particularly rescue mutts, are special animals. You know they are good tempered because the rescue centers won't let them be adopted otherwise. And you're rescuing an animal that will basically die otherwise. Our dogs (and cat) are precious members of the family and very much loved by all (well, not the postman. He could do without them).

Boxers, boxers, boxers, all the way. We had ours for 9 years before we had to say goodbye (I cried for a week). We had our 1st child about 7 years after we had the dog and we never had issues whatsoever. Absolutely recommend the boxer but go pure bred if you can. They have such gorgeous natures and their eyes speak a thousand words. Sadly, we have never replaced him, but if we do it will definitely be another boxer. Now we have twins in the mix as well so it should pose for some fun.

Like the vet who commented earlier, I would say that as much as rescue dogs need rescuing... They often come with problems (due to lack of training by previous owner) which is why they were surrendered in the first place.

So happy to see lots of votes for Boxers. They're smart and lovely and have very sweet natures. HOWEVER. They are SILLY teenagers until they're about 2 or 3.

Also. Puppies and toddlers = not so good situation. The kids are going to get bitten. The puppies will be played with too roughly. It's going to require a whole extra level of vigilance, which would exhaust me with one kid.

As my neighbor discovered - no more nakey runaround time for her 3-year-old with the new pup - his willy was a delightful moving target for her... Just a thought.

Had to comment on this one - love my BOXER. He's old now, 12, and my heart will break when we loose him. But I will def be getting another one.

He has grown up with my kids, and has never shown any agression whatsoever towards them. He loves little kids, and sometimes is overly friendly, and tries to lick them.

Be aware that they take forever to grow up, and are naughty puppies for a long, long time! (and he looks fierce enough at the gate for delivery men not to even want to hand me anything through my gate!!)

We have a Pharaoh Hound and he is just great with our 3 little ones. I can't tell you the things they have done to him (Oh course it helps that they are low to the ground and he snatches food from them. I think that's the payoff). Anyway, they are the color of a Rhodesian but look a bit like a doberman. I can't even imagine having two puppies at once, though! MUCH worse than twins I would assume.

I would recommend a lab or a golden retriever. Both are excellent with kids. I have a yellow lab and for as hyper and crazy as she can be, she is very gentle with my six year old step son. He can sit on her, pull her ears & tail and she does nothing! She is very protective of him too. Great breed with kids! Although as puppies they are a handful!
Good luck!

I had a wonderful Rottie/Australian Shep mix for 12 years and I recommend spending time with the dog or pup before getting it more than the specific breed. Mine was the runt of the litter and very mellow, even as a pup, but she looked more Rottie than anything else so was good to go camping with when I camped alone. At 90 pounds, she was a gentle, quiet soul and she helped a boy who had to get 60 stitches from a Malamute attack come back to starting to trust dogs again. As a child I was bitten by Boxers, German Shepards, and a Cocker Spaniel, so I don't care for them. Labs have too much energy for me. I've heard wonderful things about Bernese Mountain dogs, but they really need colder weather. The herding dogs require lots of exercise and they can be nippy. A mix is usually a good bet ... golden or lab with something else that perhaps looks more fierce? My dog was wonderful with my infant/toddler. I'd avoid two pups definitely. Sometimes it seems when there are three dogs, they go into a pack mentality and can be harder to train.

Don't get a poodle - they're 1 person dogs. Get a mutt! But not 2 at a time, your sanity can't handle that! LOL

I have read many of the posts about puppies. I believe labs ae the friendliest dogs in the land for children, but no dog thrives being out of doors all the time. Perhaps it is my American upbringing talking, but why get a dog at all if all you want it for is to live in a pack out of doors? Also, the bigger the dogs, the more poop you have to scoop.

My vote is for a Standard Poodle...with caution. These are not dogs who should live out of the house, they require attention, just like children.

Are you certain you want a puppy? Puppies are a BIG pain in the arse. They chew, lick, bite, jump, poo, etc. Raising a puppy is such a chore and it's nearly impossible with small children.

Are there any rescue groups in SA? We adopted a big lab from a rescue group. He was roughly two years old. He came to us completely housetrained and was a real gem. We were able to visit him a few times before taking him home an we learned a lot about his temperment before we made a final decision.

Well if you want a dog that will clean up it's own poop, get a Daschound..lol.

I have a Redbone Coonhound, two Treeing Walker Coonhounds, and a Basset Hound..they are all awesome. The Basset is our guard dog, he doesn't like for strangers to come into our yard, and he adores my children..perfect animal.

I researched the topic to death a while ago, my requirements were as dangerous as possible to strangers and as safe as possible to kids. My conclusion was a Staffie. They are fiercely protective of their 'own kind', which includes you as a family if they grow up closely with you, and very weiry of and aggressive towards what they perceive to be 'strangers'

I've heard a LOT of good things about them...however...they are very personable dogs and need individual attention because they are very intelligent. If security is your biggest concern I would say go with a staffie, they are the best security/kidsafe combo dogs.

Once you've got the loyalty of a staffie on your side, you've got your own personal body guard. Something we South Africans value very highly.

If security is not THAT big a deal, you can do beagles or labs..beagles are very cute! - but naughty! or so I've heard...labs..well labs are classic family dogs..but from what i've seen they crave attention and are too easy on the strangers.

black lab!! We raised labs for a couple years and have a momma chocolate and they tend to be more hyper then blacks. I can definately see it too having had puppies of both choc and blk. Our choc though is more tolerant of the kids crawling all over her then our blk but the blk just simpley gets up and leaves. Our choc is so fricken demanding it's unreal!! Good luck!!

I have a four-year old and two dogs, a purebred Doberman (rescue dog) and a 9 year old mutt. Both are good with my daughter, but please please be realistic about the amount of time you can give a dog. They need exercise, ESPECIALLY labs, boxers, shepherds, etc. You can't leave them all day and come home and think they will just lie around the house. You wrote earlier about your son's difficulties adjusting the strength and intensity of his touching; why would you subject a dog/puppy to a child that may not be ready to learn about/understand limits when it comes to animals? As much as I love my dogs, they are constant constant work in terms of daily walking, exercise, health, etc. It is a lot and your kids are young. I would get another rescue, however, most are screened to determine their issues, how they are with kids, cats, etc.

I know your other dogs were Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and I'm curious why they aren't a consideration with you again? We got our ridgeback when our first daughter was 2 and subsequently brought home 2 more newborns the next 2 years, and he is the best dog with the girls! And definitely one of the lowest maintanance large breed dogs I've seen.

Boxers! I grew up with them - and I now have 2. My older one (7) lets all the neighboorhood kids take her for 'walks' and dress her up, and the younger one (93 pounds!) is a favorite of one of the mentally challenged kids on the street. He comes over, Henry lays down and Conner sticks he forhead on Henry's forheads, and Henry licks and licks and licks while Conner giggles and screams. It's hilarious.

And on the scary looking factor - they were out in the yard when we were getting something delivered, and the delivery man called our house and asked "did you feed your dogs today" before he would get out of the truck. Too funny.

If you and Marko are already stressed by how much you have to do and how little time there is to do it, think very carefully about getting a dog at this point. Especially a puppy. You will have to put in a lot of time and effort, especially with a puppy, for training and socialization, and it's not negotiable really. Especially now that there are children in the picture. If Marko wants the dog, does he have the time to train and exercise it? If not, maybe it's best to wait.

I love Labs - I'm on my second yellow labrador retriever. They are terrific family dogs, love to please, big and cuddly and couldn't be better with children. Both of my labs were rambunctious when young, but ALWAYS had a keen sense of how to behave around children. It was always amazing to me (and still is) how instinctively gentle they are around children. They are very social animals, however, and really need to be part of a family.

Go with an adult dog from a humane society or from a breed specific rescue group. I have two dogs - one from each. I adopted my 2 year old australian shepard mix when my kids were 5 years and 6 months. They really checked out the dogs with kids and allowed us to play/feed/socialize with him over several days. I adopted the 1 year old dachsund mix when the kids were 7 years and 2.5 years and had the same great experience.

Both dogs came almost 100% house trained. The first one was past the chewing stage and it only took a couple of months with the second one.

My opinion is that all pets should be adopted from a shelter or rescue group. Just think of the good things you will be teaching your kids.

did you see this article today? http://nursery.apartmenttherapy.com/nursery/top-ten/top-six-kidfriendly-breeds-036153

and I would never recommend a dalmation, particularly females, they are high-strung breed and it is very rare to find one with a sweet disposition.

I would have to agree with those that said Boxer or German Shepard. Both are dogs that I've actually owned before and are great with kids and as guard dogs. My sister brought her Boxer with her when they moved back from Texas - we drove from TX to OH. I had the dog @ my feet and a cat on my shoulder and the dog was fantastic. She even "protected" me from a man at a truck stop (my nephew was 2 weeks old when we drove back and we had to stop to feed him). She was also very gentle with babies. She jumped on the couch not realizing the baby was there and managed to "tiptoe" around him even at the last minute. She was a good dog. We had a Shepard who wouldn't let the insurance man on the porch until we called her off, but she would lay on the bed all stretched out like a human with her head right next to ours. Another good dog. Sigh. Miss those mutts, I do.

I just cannot recommend a Newfoundland strongly enough. They are sooo calm compared to boxers/labs/retrievers. I guarantee you WILL NOT find a breed better with children. They don't need as much exercise as other breeds, they don't eat much for their size (4 or so cups of food a day.) They do drool and they are hairy, but when it is warm outside if you keep her coat buzzed both of those problems will be minimal. Plus, what could be scarier to an intruder than a 150 pound protective dog that looks like a bear? I just loved my newfie so much...

I would say Belgian Shepherd. Coal Black, pointy ears, thick longish coat --- but for South African summers, do you need a dog with a shorter coat? you can't shave Belgians because their skin is light and UV rays get to it -- it not, the Belgian doesn't have the risk for temperament problems from overbreeding like German Shepherds, and it attaches strongly to family and children. But it is a terrific guard dog and sounds absolutely ferocious.

I would say Belgian Shepherd. Coal Black, pointy ears, thick longish coat --- but for South African summers, do you need a dog with a shorter coat? you can't shave Belgians because their skin is light and UV rays get to it -- it not, the Belgian doesn't have the risk for temperament problems from overbreeding like German Shepherds, and it attaches strongly to family and children. But it is a terrific guard dog and sounds absolutely ferocious.

I guess I should work on my reading comprehension.

I got all excited and started to reply to this because we have the perfect kid friendly dog, then realized all the recommendations were for big dogs...then went back and read, and realized you WANT a big dog. Whoops.

Uh, so yeah. Then a pug probably wouldn't be the dog for you.

However, they are GREAT with kids. My pug and my daughter are BFF's. Split the difference. Get a Newfie for outside, and a pug for inside.

I'm going to vote Doberman too. They are loyal, kind, gentle, and brave. Plus, they're an added bonus b/c they are a big intruder/crime deterrent b/ they can look mean, and can be very protective of their people. They are naturally possesive of their home/territory. Ours lives with us, cats, a rabbit, and chickens, and she has never turned a lip towards any of them.

If not a Dobie, my next recommendations are a Lab or a Boxer. Boxers have been described as the short-haired Golden Retriever.

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