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I could say something here about knowing your target and what’s beyond it. But I want to celebrate our Managing Editor’s ongoing love affair with dogs. Dan is a dog person through and through. Despite being the father to a strapping young man (who knows more about movies than any two cinephiles you know), Dan’s two labradors are his children. Love they get. Lots. In fact, when TTAG’s M.E. comes across any dog, it’s love at first sight. Every. Single. Time. For that reason, Dan can’t watch . . .

videos where cops shoot dogs. But he can get a post-funeral lift from TTAG’s readers’ positive stories about guns and their dog(s). So help a guy out.

Tell us about your canine companion relative to your gun thing. Do you have a hunting dog? Do you take your dog to the range? Is your dog your first line of defense against home invasion or is he like Dan’s hounds who’s surely lick any interloper? Name, breed and age please. Of the dog(s) I mean.

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  1. On our 2nd German Shephard. Guards the home when I’m away and my Wife when she goes anywhere. only flaw…when I’m going shooting she could care less…oh well.

    • Now known as a Zimbabwe Ridgeback ;-). Had one for a short time. It was a rescue and my wife was afraid it would eat our cats so we sent it back. Seemed like a pretty mellow dog. My Aussie Shepherd / Heeler mix liked to chase and play with the Ridgeback. Divorced from that wife now.

    • My boss at a dog training company I worked for had a 130 lb Ridgeback, Entered him in an AKC show and was disqualified for exceeding the 70 lb standard for males. My comment? “This is a dog bred to hunt lions. How can a lion hunting dog ever be too big?! I would want the largest dog I could find!”

      • The first Ridgeback I owned was only about 20lbs over but because he was a bit taller and longer than he “should” have been. One day out at a water spot a guy had a Ridgeback that was looked like an exact copy but scaled up a good 50%. Very impressive dog. He wasn’t a lot smaller than a Dane and of course all muscle.

      • Greetings,

        Traditionally. three Ridgebacks (standard weight) were sufficient to rout a pride of lions.

        If you wanted something heavier in South Africa, you’d get a Boerboel – South African Masfiff – averaging 220lbs. They were known to intercept an attacking leopard.

        As an aside, Labradors have a “bigger” bark than guarding breeds.

        Kindest regards,


    • They are indeed great as both family pets and alarms/guardians. Their ability to go from deep sleep to full ready never ceases to amaze. I have a few over the decades. One of my current dogs was adopted from an unwanted litter of a Ridgeback and pit. He was the only one that looked like a pit as a puppy which maybe wasn’t the best choice. 🙂 He is a much loved member of the family.

      He is shorter in length and height than any purebred I have had. At an only slightly overweight 125lb girth is another story. Most people are sure he is a full pit when they see him. He may be the most athletic dog I have ever owned and has proven himself as a guardian more than once.

  2. A 20 month old, 90lb Olde English Bulldogge named Gomer. Best home alarm in existence. He doesn’t bite, but he barks up a storm. Often even just when people he doesn’t know pull in the driveway. He also sounds a lot meaner than he actually is.

    • I recently had to put down my English Bulldog. Had her 9 years 6 months and 2 days, but who’s counting. Held her in my lap as they gave her the shot. Been thinking about an Olde English Bulldogge, but not sure if it’s the right time or breed.

  3. Lula (7 YO Yellow Lab) and Bodo (6 YO German Shepard Dog) are my companions. and more. Bodo’s bark would put the fear in anyone, and he enjoys barking to protect car and home. Lula is a lover, not a fighter, but she will protect the house if needed (to back up Bodo). Both love to come to the gun range with me, the noise doesn’t bother them in the least, but I have to take them for a walk before they allow me to shoot.

  4. Four year old Welsh Corgi, a rescue that was terrified of people, especially with anything in their hands. He’s still a little timid that way, but much improved. Someone evidently called him, and then hit him… repeatedly.

    He didn’t make much of a sound for the first four or five months, but gradually began to bark at birds, rabbits and some things going by on the road. Still doesn’t usually bark at anyone coming into the yard or knocking on the door. I just figure he’s decided that I am the “watch dog” since I wear the gun. 🙂

  5. Instant sadness reading this. Lost our 7 year old Rott to bone cancer one year ago.
    So while I don’t have one, my hunting buddy has the best 3 year old retrieving black lab.
    Dozer is the best dog to have on Chukar hunts.
    If you pick up anything that remotely resembles a shotgun, he goes bonkers looking for birds!

    • Only two times I ever saw my no-foolin’ macho man son cry–the last time I spanked him, don’t even recall how long ago that was, and when we had the vet put our black-mouth cur down (she had a gigantic tumor in the roof of her mouth that just kept coming back and growing). Has a real soft spot for animals, even had a pet cat.

  6. 3 year old brown boxer that looks kinda like Scooby doo named trixie. She saw her sister get shot by a 22 before we got her and is terrified by guns now. At our home pistol range (live in the country) she curls up under dads car and naps (and hides) while we shoot. Gotta love her

  7. Blitz, my 2 year old Siberian Husky will probably lick any intruder to death. That’s why we also have Lilly, a 4 year old Black Lab/German Shepherd mix, sweet and loving to those she knows but alert and vigilant. Nothing gets past her.

  8. Owned by Siberian Huskies for nearly thirty years. Completely WORTHLESS as watch/guard dogs. Could not imagine a better breed for me, however! My wife’s chows are the sentinels. Keep an eagle eye on anything that passes on our neighborhood street: “Hey, Mom!”

  9. 130 lb chocolate lab that stands about waist high (and I’m 6′ 4″). He’s second hand, his original parents took a job in Hawaii and called me to take him rather than let him spend six months in quarantine. They absolutely spoiled him rotten, almost to the point of being a complete shame for the dog. A quick crash course in coming when called and he’s the best dog I’ve ever had.

    Turns out he’s a GREAT gun dog. Complete natural on a duck pond. My only problem is he’s learned that when he hears a shot he gets to retrieve, to the point where he “chases” bullets, even out of pistols.

  10. Becker, 6 yr. old neutered male Golden Retriever, best early warning system (bark, growl coyote face) but very sweet to all that we allow to enter. His new dog buddy, Chili 4 yr. female Golden Retriever is the opposite, If it were a dog beauty contest, she would win Miss Congeniality. We don’t hunt – dogs don’t hunt. Their job is to Ralph Lauren carpet ornaments, and family members

  11. No dogs now but I grew up with Irish Wolfhounds. Always had two at a time because they really need companionship. Imposing looking is an understatement but way too sweet to be much of an alert dog. They do have some protective instincts toward family but it takes a lot to bring that out.
    That doesn’t matter much because the sight of 350 lbs. of a pair of 36 inch tall, 7 foot long hairy Wolfhounds galloping at you is a pretty good deterrent.
    Great sight hounds that love to spend all day outside. Give them room to run, long walks and lots of exercise.
    Unfortunately like most big dogs their lifespan is short. That’s a lot of heartbreak to go through every 6 years or so.

  12. I have owned or co-owned a Weimaraner, Aussie Shepherd / Heeler mix, Mutt that looked like a Dingo but likely wasn’t, Brittany Spaniel and my current dog, Katie, who is a “Taco Terrier” (Chi-Terrier mix). All pretty good dogs and I enjoy training them and keeping them company. Katie, my current pal, is a rescue mutt and would like to be a hunter. She seems to have the Terrier instincts for it but she does not get much of a chance to do that where I live now. I have read many books and had quite a bit of practice with positive reinforcement training for my dogs and I think that is the only way to go now. Most dogs tend to bind to their owners much better and retain their spirit much better with this kind of training IMO. Don’t think it is possible to do this 100% of course but for the most part that is the way I train and work with my dog now. My dog amazes my friends with what she can do and with her happy, outgoing personality.

  13. An Australian Cattle Dog who barks at literally anything that comes by the house. A little bit annoying, but I don’t think anyone will sneek up me.

  14. “My” dog (presently) isn’t technically mine–he was a Christmas present for my wife. But I’m the one who winds up taking him for his walks. He’s a Chihuahua whose ears won’t stand up like they are supposed to. Can’t recall his age, maybe 7 years? Gun-wise? Well, he is the house alarm system at night, altho he is a bit hyper-sensitive (a cat walking across the yard or an armadillo searching for grubs will set him off, as well as anyone walking by on the sidewalk). He might also be a great squirrel hunter, given the chance–LOL! But seriously, there have been–and still are–times when walking that dog is the only bright spot in the day.

  15. Two insanely spoiled Jack Russell terriers, the short legged variety:

    Don’t let the photo fool you. They are the spawn of Satan!
    They spend the day racing from window to window when anything is moving outside, then attempting the kill the African Gray parrot who is screaming “BAD DOG!!!” “BAD DOG!!!”and occasional curse words at them and then they race towards the front door barking and caring on before deciding the noise they heard was actually at the back door so they race past the parrot who is now screaming “STOP THAT!!” and then racing to the back door and finding out no one is there they decide to fight over the food bowl and manage to spill the water bowl which they promptly start licking up before heading up the stairs because there was a possible noise up there and hearing “STOP BARKING!!!” which was actually my wife but she was quickly joined by the parrott screaming “BAD DOG!!!” and if you’re wondering how they relate to firearms I often find myself daydreaming about shotguns and #4 buck while I watch them.

  16. 1 year old Norfolk Terrier. She is a terror to small creatures, sees and hears everything, and does her best to punch above her weight class. Absolute lover though.

  17. I’ve got three newfies for farm dogs.The three of them together weigh somewhere around that 575 mark. Definitely all softies, but they actually make pretty good guard dogs.

  18. 3 Pitbulls. Joker (11 months, 75#), Whiskey (3 years, 75#), and Willow (1 year, 60#). They love people who are allowed in the house, but are suspicious of every sound they here. They don’t need to be able to attack an intruder (although I have no doubt that they would), they just need to be able to alert me. Never taken them shooting, though.

  19. Sir Aurthur Jack Snuffie Rogers. He’s a Pure Bred Cutie Pie (aka mutt). He rescued us from the shelter a few years back. He’s not so much the barker and not fond of loud noises. He’s the main reason I would consider suppressing my PS90:

  20. I have one 2 year old GSD and one 9 month old GSD. Their job is to look scary and alert to things I need to go take a look at. I also have a 4 month old Elkhound that I am training as an all-around hunting dog.

    This of course not counting my wife’s 5 year old Black Mouthed Cur and her and the kid’s gaggle of Chihuahuas.

  21. I have Dolly, a nine year old solid black Bombay. She’s a… wait, what’s that y’say? Bombay is a cat breed? Hang on a minute. Well I’ll be damned, she IS a cat. Hmm, whoda thunk it?

  22. Two Australian Shepards. Jaing and Mereel. Boys 3 YO right now. They are attached to my boots and think they own my truck. If they had opposable thumbs I’d be in trouble.

    They love water. They love chasing ducks. Geese are they arch-enemies. Jaing loves to fetch anything shot out of the sky in water or on land. Mereel likes to carry the cats around in his mouth. I don’t know how that started or why the cats (who hate everyone except my youngest) tolerate it.

    They wonder why I have two eyes that are the same color. Silly human.

  23. Two coonhounds: Angela, a very small American English better known as a Redtick and Mr. Jethro a huge, overweight Tar Plott. Both are walking alarms with uncertain attack skills. Angela will certainly stand her ground. I suspect Mr. Jethro won’t. However, I doubt to many intruders will hang around to find out if a 90+lb bear hunter means business.

    You can unload a semiautomatic 12 gauge over her head and she won’t flinch but is terrified during thunderstorms. Nothing phases Mr. Jethro

  24. We have an Aussie Shepherd. She was a rescue apparently from a puppy mill. According to the vets she is about six years old and is totally protective and a has a great voice when someone comes near the door. While never tested my guess is she would protect if necessary. I have a relative who is in Assisted Living and when we take her there she becomes a therapy dog, totally calm and aware of her surroundings. Though she hates lighting and thunder and it makes her crazy.

  25. Man, I’ve got a guns/dog story for you. My (now ex) wife went behind my back into the gun safe and sold the guns that were in there, including the guns I’d bought and modified for my kids. She then told the police that I forced her to hurt herself and got me arrested (Glock pointed at my face from a Sheriff’s deputy at 8am), at which point the cops seized the rest of my guns. She got them from the police and sold them. Yes, that’s right, she sold _all_ my guns.

    When I was completely exonerated from the false accusation, and I got possession of the kids (2-legged kind) and the house, she got kicked out of the house. She took my dog with her. I’ll admit that she brought the dog into the house (against my advice), but after telling her to take it back, which was ignored, and telling her to get it trained, which was ignored, I knew that I’d have to train the dog, as I wasn’t going to have an untrained Pitbull around the house. I bought a bunch of books on dog training and set about training the dog. As anyone whom trains dogs will know, you develop a bond with the dog, and it goes both ways. The dog became “mine”, followed me everywhere, and he became well trained. I’m pretty sure that irked her, but hey, I put the effort into the training the dog, she didn’t do squat and the dog decided that he was mine. I even got a court-order to get the dog back, but the police wouldn’t force her to give him to me, so I left empty handed (except for the court-order).

    Fast-forward two-and-a-half years, the dog shows up at the animal control facility of a completely different city. I’d had him chipped and kept the data up to date, so they called me and told me to come pick him up if I wanted him. I left work right that minute and went and got him. He was a mess, ear-infections, rash, light mange, tapeworms, etc. He’d been fed was the best I could say. Well after several hundred dollars in vet visits and monotonous care in giving medicine, good food and plenty of play, I’ve got my dog back, and he’s now in good shape, and he’s still my little buddy.

    Never did get any of my guns back, but I replaced some of them with better ones, with decisions I’d gained from the experience of buying all those that are now gone. I’m just sad that I can’t afford to replace the kid’s guns yet, but that’ll come.

    So now, I’m in my house, with my kids (the 2-legged kind), their dogs, and MY dog, Ubiitsa, 75lbs, 4yrs-old and my guns. It was a long journey, and there’s still pieces to pick back up, but its better now.

    • Nothing like a crazy x. I got the kids when she left. Didn’t have a dog or gun at the time.(Yes, jwm did not own a gun at that time. Finanacial reasons.) Kids and grandkids are mine and I now have plenty of guns.

      Still no dogs. I haven’t owned a dog since I lived in the country in WV. Dogs are just about mandatory in the country.

      I like dogs. Will tolerate cats. Keeper wife likes goats. Probably why she married me.

  26. My current dogs are a Ridgeback/Pit mix and a chocolate Lab. Both serve alarm and guard duty and while the Lab was the choice of my wife I give it the edge in dealing with strangers. The Lab may not have the clamping force but makes up for it by not having any backing down in her.

    My last full Ridgeback lived 14 years and was the best alarm and guard dog I have ever owned. At the same time he was a baby with family members and anyone invited to come in or be close to us. He had a distinct growl that didn’t sound canine but undeniably meant something serious needed looking to. He did it only the two times uninvited guests entered our backyard and at least one time was trying to look through or enter through a window. He was also the best dog I have owned in the presence and use of a firearm.

  27. 3YO GSD. She barks at every unfamiliar animal, person, and vehicle that enter the property, unless / until a family member is there.

    She doesn’t like thunder, though, so I don’t know how she’d do at the range.

  28. Until a year ago, we had four; three Pugs & a chihuahua who thinks he’s a Pug. We sadly had to put our oldest Pug, Wilbur, down a year ago at 15. Until he went deaf & blind, he was a 200lb. dog stuffed in a 25 lb. body…absolutely FEARLESS. When he was 6 months old he took on a Bighorn Ram with a 20+ harem, and backed him down to the point they created a mini-stampede down a National park highway.

    The other Pugs, completely different personalities. The oldest (Amos) now is 16, deaf, doesn’t see or walk all that well, so he spends most of his time on my lap. The Female (Molly) is completely batshit crazy. The Chihuahua (Fred) is 15 and my riding buddy. He loves the Harley…even has a leather Harley jacket & DogglesHe’s cool about things unless someone laughs at him on the bike (constantly, at every traffic light) then HE goes batshit crazy, barking, snarling…all three pounds of him. None of them have ever been worth worrying about as a watch-dog, but I wouldn’t trade any of them for a million bucks…well, maybe the female (not referring to the dog)

  29. I’ve got a beautiful 5 year old Weinaraner named Layla and 5 year old lab / beagle(?) rescue dog named Charlotte. Both great pups. They’ll bark at damn near anything, and will protect daddy and family because that’s where they get the best love. And bacon.

  30. My 120lb german shepherd border collie mix always goes on walks with me, and since I always take a long gun on walks with me every time he sees me with an AR or CX4 he starts jumping around and getting excited to go on a walk, which makes me feel really bad if all I am actually doing is cleaning or going plinking.

  31. Bammer, my service dog, is nearing 7 years old. He’s an “oops”, they told me: an English foxhound somehow got into the kennel of a family which breeds a boxer-pitbull mix, and they got some puppies that weren’t pon the menu. He’s a sweetheart, but no stranger would know it from the way he greets anyone not of his “pack’ — he can be terrifying!

    Last winter he decided to wander off when I stopped along the highway to let him do his business and give him some exercise. I hunted him with as much determination as I’ve gone after any Bambi, but it still took six days to recover him.

    He has a limp these days, thanks not to that sojourn in the wilderness but to his young naive conception that coyotes were other dogs he could play with. That’s given me an abiding hatred of coyotes; every time I see him limp, or twinge in pain after a good run, I want to find the batch that hurt him and do them pain.

    When we go shooting he just looks around, curls up in a comfy spot, and goes to sleep. It took several afternoons and a few hundred rounds of ammo to get him to settle down at the sound of gunfire, and he overdid it; now he doesn’t seem to care. Happily, that carried over to fireworks, so we can sit right near the launching area and all he cares about is being warm at my feet.

    The only thing he’s ever hunted have been in the ground — he’s an incredible and incredibly determined tunneler. Somewhere I’ve got pics of just his hindquarters sticking out of a hole, dirt flying between his legs.

    What service does he perform? some will ask. Well, at the moment he allows me to sleep in the room temperature of my preference without a lot of heavy blankets (ha). Seriously, his biggest function is to keep an eye on my mood, which can slip into an anxiety attack faster than I usually notice; he’s there to turn me away from irritants, or get between me and them — though for human irritants, his ploy is to become a cute, appealing critter just asking for love and friendliness.

    (Hey, Bammer, that guy’s a tweeker — and he’s got a knife! You stall him at the door……)

  32. My little (45 lb) 3 year old black lab service dog, Dolly, guards me at all cost. This last week she sat on my feet and pushed back against me to protect me from the evil veterinarian that was going to check her eyes. Warmed my heart. Seriously, she loves everyone away from home but where she considers home she lets me know the second anyone steps on the property with fierce barking and growling. (She lives here, I’m just staff). She was not trained around guns and the noise frightens her (Fourth of July is awful for her). But I love her and shooting is one of two places I don’t take her. (The grocery store is the other).

  33. I don’t have a dog. 🙁 Is teh sadz. I really want one, but they take a lot of time and money, two things I don’t have much of at the moment.

    Closest thing I have is a big yellow dog named Jake (I think his people must be Adventure Time fans), who barks at me on my way to and from work. He looks like a cross between a Yellow Lab and some massive breed. Big, intimidating dog; probably weighs 120 lb. and has a deep, incredibly loud bark.

    He gets out of his yard every now and again, and though he had me pretty nervous the first time we met in the street, he’s actually a mellow dude. We get along great.

    The other day I came across him investigating some squirrel activity about 50 yards from his house. Said hi, gave him some affection, and then I went on my way. He ran ahead, taking a roundabout path, and when I got to his house, there he was, sitting in the driveway exactly one foot back from the sidewalk.

    I said hi as I walked past. He thumped his tail on the ground once in acknowledgement, then growled softly at me until I passed the fence line. I loved it. That dog knows his job.

    His owner, a semi-retired single lady, says he’s so gentle and shy that she’s afraid he won’t amount to much as a guard dog. I say different. That dog has great instincts. Reminds me of the German Shepherd/St. Bernard mix I had as a kid, and makes me want another one of those big, sweet-tempered, protective lunkheads.

  34. A small (55lbs) English style Lab. Stocky and blocky. Black as the Ace of Spades. Now that she is near 12 years old we are both semi- retired from hunting. But I have no doubt that at the first sign of a shotgun or a boat she would be ready to go. At least in her heart.

    She walks around sprinklers but gladly retrieved ducks from big water that was literally freezing. Even made her teeth chatter one time. We once got into a bunch of very big geese. 12-15 pounders. She somehow was able to pick one up and carry it back to the blind (field hunt). Not drag it but carry it. And she paused in front of every hunter and wagged her tail as to say look at me! She was death on pheasants too. Patient and persistent. I learned the hard way more than once to pay close attention even if we had just covered a spot. If she was still interested, there was a bird in there.

    We have a deal. It is her job to tell me something is going on, it is my job to do something about it. So she is my early warning system. Despite her size she has a huge deep bark and has sent numerous solicitors leaping off the porch when she startled them.

    She travels with me all of the time, content to wait in the car asleep till I come back. She is a local hero, known all about town for her friendliness and antics.

    I’m a lucky man.

  35. We have a shelter rescue named Amos Moses. He is a jack russle snauzer mix and the smartest most protective dog I’ve ever owned. He hates guns and all loud noises.

  36. Dan, I own an old farm pure bred old American hunting Airedale. The best dog, smart with people, mean when needed and hell on wheels with anything I have put her on. People say you get only one, I will always have a dog but none more loyal and with me.

  37. Ruger -1 year old boxer-85lbs.
    Zeddicus aka Zedd-12 year-old Labrador/Rottweiler-95lbs.
    Mandee-8 or 9 year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog-75lbs.
    Goldie-8 year-old Chow Chow/Akita mix-70lbs
    and finally bringing you death from below the knees, the low rider:
    Brumley- 12 year-old Basset Hound-55lbs.

    Man I sure hope no-one’s dumb enough to break in, that’ll be a big mess to clean up. And yes they are expensive to feed.


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