If you’re up to the challenge of an assertive dog with a big personality, I’ll be a special part of your life for many years. A strong and devoted guard dog, I’m affectionate with family but less so with strangers, animals, and children. I’m alert, watchful, and fearless, so intruders will stop at my loud bark. But I’m not all tough-guy business—I can be quite playful and have a spritely nature that lasts well into my senior years.
I have the energy and focus of a working breed and often act as a service or therapy dog. Be prepared to be a firm and disciplined trainer or I can become unmanageable. Apartment living isn’t ideal for me; I need vigorous daily activity like a good run to burn off my exuberant enthusiasm.
My coat is short, dense, and smooth—and easy to care for. Weekly brushing with a cloth or rubber mitt is enough to remove loose hairs and keep me sleek and shiny. My coloring can be shades of red, stag red (red with black hairs), light fawn, or black or blue with tan or red markings. At 25 to 45 pounds and 17 to 20 inches in height, I’m smaller than my cousin the Doberman.
Key areas of concern regarding health are hip dysplasia, cataracts, and von Willebrand’s disease, a blood clotting disorder that occurs between the ages 3 and 5 years. Beyond these issues, I should have a long and active life of about 12 to 14 years.