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Hey guys. I've had German shepherds for 20 years, I still have one GSD. I also now have a 4 y/o english lab. My lab is the easiest, most agreeable humble, delightful dog I've ever met. I like him so much it's crossed my mind to just stick with labs and never get another shepherd.

BUT my shepherds really make me feel safe. They are excellent watch dogs and do not seek out attention from strangers. My lab is I think a typical and correct lab, he is very social. Everybody is just a friend he hasn't met yet. He is very quick to wag his tail if someone makes eye contact with him even if he his on a leash and can't go say hi.

He's a 70lb chocolate but I doubt anybody would ever consider him a threat....he's just too sweet. He's also very quiet, he almost never barks. Which I actually love about him because too much barking really gets to me. He's super non confrontational with dogs which is awesome because I run a boarding kennel and he just tags around with me all day long and is totally safe around a wide variety of dogs. One night I came out of the kennel after doing night check and my lab was with me. We did not know my husband had gone up to the wood shed, and my lab let out this bark like I've never heard...he sounded impressive. He was obviously alerting me to the figure of a man in the dark when there ordinarily are no people around at night check. I appreciated this very much and I feel like most "dogs" regardless of breed would bark to alert of something very unusual and possibly threatening?

I'm very torn because I really love this dog and in many ways I find it enormously less stressful living with him than living with my shepherds. I've had 2 shepherds with terrible stomachs with long term, very expensive and difficult treatments for IBD or food allergies. The shepherds are also such empaths with the people, if there is any human emotion the shepherds just magnify it, where my lab does not seem effected by human emotion that much. He just is who he is no matter what else is going on if that makes sense.

All this rambling to ask you folks who have probably had more labs than me:

1. Are any labs decent watch dogs? I don't mean having any aggression, or actually protecting the home, I mean would they at least give a good deep bark if something sketchy was going on-- say a stranger behaving unusually near the house or at the door

2. Have you known people to ever be intimidated by your lab? Do you think they are any sort of a deterrent just by being a big dog.

Curious to hear anyone's input on this! And here is my good boy.
Snow Dog Carnivore Mammal Liver
 

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Greetings!

I've never owned a Labrador, but I do have experience with the breed because my cousin that I hang out with every so often owns two Labradors.

I can see why you feel torn about how to feel about Labs. They're lovable for so many reasons!

Perhaps these questions will help you decide whether or not to convert to Labs entirely:

Do you live in an area where it's legal to carry a firearm in public?

Do you feel comfortable carrying some other personal protection device? (i.e. pepper spray or tazer {sp?})

Do you live in an area where it's not safe for women to walk alone on the street at any time of day?

I want a dog that's as close of a match to my personality as possible. I'm polite with strangers and less well-known acquaintances, but I know better than to think that everyone is my friend. When my dog gets all wiggly waggly at complete strangers, especially strangers that make me keenly cautious, this irks me. (My previous Australian Shepherd was like this, although it's more typical for an Aussie to be polite to strangers but to generally assume a "wait and see" attitude.)

Labs will bark an imposing bark as an alert to something suspicious going on. I would not trust a Labrador to rise to my defense, however, there are Labs that have surprised me. I saw my cousin's male black Lab trot up to a stranger on the road when we were on an evening walk, sniff the guy, and step back and GROWL at the man. That dog hardly ever growls. So yes, there are possibilities, but I wouldn't count on it. Most people, even non dog people, just know that Labs are sweet and innocent without a mean bone in their bodies.

As for the health problems that your German Shepherds are experiencing, maybe it would help to change their diet to a human-grade canned or raw diet?

If it were me, I wouldn't ditch the shepherd dogs entirely. I live with other family members but there will likely be days where I won't have anybody available to join me for a walk. The dog still needs to be walked, but I'd rather not travel alone.

Maybe you should consider an Australian shepherd next? It's been my (limited) experience and opinion that Aussies are more sweet-natured and friendly than German Shepherds but less friendly and gullible than Labs. Aussies are also generally smaller and more affordable than Labs or German Shepherds.

Anyway, that's my two cents. If you differ or agree, I'd love to hear and learn. :)
 

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Hey guys. I've had German shepherds for 20 years, I still have one GSD. I also now have a 4 y/o english lab. My lab is the easiest, most agreeable humble, delightful dog I've ever met. I like him so much it's crossed my mind to just stick with labs and never get another shepherd.

BUT my shepherds really make me feel safe. They are excellent watch dogs and do not seek out attention from strangers. My lab is I think a typical and correct lab, he is very social. Everybody is just a friend he hasn't met yet. He is very quick to wag his tail if someone makes eye contact with him even if he his on a leash and can't go say hi.

He's a 70lb chocolate but I doubt anybody would ever consider him a threat....he's just too sweet. He's also very quiet, he almost never barks. Which I actually love about him because too much barking really gets to me. He's super non confrontational with dogs which is awesome because I run a boarding kennel and he just tags around with me all day long and is totally safe around a wide variety of dogs. One night I came out of the kennel after doing night check and my lab was with me. We did not know my husband had gone up to the wood shed, and my lab let out this bark like I've never heard...he sounded impressive. He was obviously alerting me to the figure of a man in the dark when there ordinarily are no people around at night check. I appreciated this very much and I feel like most "dogs" regardless of breed would bark to alert of something very unusual and possibly threatening?

I'm very torn because I really love this dog and in many ways I find it enormously less stressful living with him than living with my shepherds. I've had 2 shepherds with terrible stomachs with long term, very expensive and difficult treatments for IBD or food allergies. The shepherds are also such empaths with the people, if there is any human emotion the shepherds just magnify it, where my lab does not seem effected by human emotion that much. He just is who he is no matter what else is going on if that makes sense.

All this rambling to ask you folks who have probably had more labs than me:

1. Are any labs decent watch dogs? I don't mean having any aggression, or actually protecting the home, I mean would they at least give a good deep bark if something sketchy was going on-- say a stranger behaving unusually near the house or at the door

2. Have you known people to ever be intimidated by your lab? Do you think they are any sort of a deterrent just by being a big dog.

Curious to hear anyone's input on this! And here is my good boy. View attachment 22339
P.S. Your dog is so beautiful! What's his name?
 
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