Five Large Dog Breeds for Tough Guys
A lot of tough guys think a tough dog will help their reputation. These are the breeds that are usually picked to fill that role.
This is a mastiff type dog so big, and so tough, that he really needs to be owned by a tough guy that likes to be alone. The dog is usually seen with cropped ears and is bred to look all muscle, standing wide and weighing up to 140 pounds.
The Presa Canario lives 8-12 years, about normal for a large breed dog, and has several health conditions common to large dogs like hip dysplasia and trick knees.
None of the tough-guy dogs should be put in an apartment, and the Presa Canario should never be owned and walked by someone who has no control over him. The most famous, or notorious, case of an attack against a person happened in San Francisco in 2001. A couple were keeping a pair of Presas in an apartment and were not in control of the dogs when they went out each day and became aggressive. They attacked and killed a neighbor in the apartment building.
I have known several Presa Canarios in this area and although they are not so tough, they are very strong. Dachshunds are a lot more aggressive but a Doxie can be stopped with a firm tug on the collar—a Presa Canario would just keep on pulling, and most owners would not be strong enough to stop him.
This tough dog is not available everywhere. They have been outlawed in Australia and New Zealand.
Known as one of the breeds that does not bark much, the Bullmastiff is a tough dog originally bred to pull buses and guard estates. They are tall and males can weigh up to 130 pounds, with a tough face perfect for a guard dog.
Bullmastiffs do not live long enough, probably only about 8 years, and almost ¼ of them have hip dysplasia. They are also prone to bloat, lymphoma, eye problems, and later in life many develop arthritis.
This dog breed is not aggressive but is so large and strong that he is not suited for some environments and owners. A Bullmastiff was owned by Sylvester Stallone, tough guy and star of the Rambo and Rocky movies. A dog was also purchased by the boxer Mike Tyson, and another is owned by the host of American Chopper.
Since the day that Spanky and Alfalfa allowed their Pit Bull to join the He-Man/Woman Hater´s club, this dog has been associated with tough guys. Really!
This dog has such a tough guy reputation now that a regular family can barely own one. Pit Bulls are regularly marched around with spike collars as the ultimate in macho, and also regularly killed by animal shelters worried that the dogs may become aggressive at some later date.
So many types of dog are known as “Pit Bulls” that it is hard to be definite about health issues. For the American Pit Bull Terrier, dogs usually live about 12-14 years, which is great for a large dog. Some do have hip dysplasia, trick knees, thyroid problems, heart defects and demodectic (red) mange.
Some cities and counties in the US have banned Pit Bulls of all types. They have also been banned in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and several other countries.
They obviously look too tough.
This tough dog from Japan has a thick double coat and a fierce reputation. They are big (the males up to about 130 pounds) and were originally bred to hunt bears, boars, and deer, but now are usually companion dogs although they do well in schutzhund (personal protection dog) competition.
They have several health conditions common to big dogs (like hip dysplasia, bloat, elbow dysplasia, and some others) and a few specific just to their breed and a few others (some autoimmune diseases, vaccine reactions, and tranquilizer and anesthesia reactions).
Akitas are tough guy dogs but still have a mild reputation because of the legend of Hachiko. He is the dog that waited for his owner outside the Shibuya train station in Tokyo every day for nine years, not knowing that he had died of a stroke.
Despite that reputation, Akitas have been banned by some countries as a dangerous dog. Tough guys who have owned Akitas include OJ Simpson and Evander Holyfield.
Although this dog breed is big and tough, they were bred for the lowly occupations of pulling carts and herding cattle. Now they are best known as watchdogs, guard dogs, and police dogs.
Almost everyone is familiar with these dogs. They have thick necks, shiny black coats, and are tall dogs who weigh up to 130 pounds. They are popular as family watchdogs because they bark a lot at strangers but guard members of their family as part of their pack. They are popular with tough guys because they look like guard dogs even when relaxed.
Rotties only live about nine or ten years, and during that time they may have several health problems like hip dysplasia or obesity. They are also more susceptible to parvovirus than other dog breeds.
Rottweilers have been viewed as evil dogs since the time of The Omen. They have been banned in some cities and even in some countries like Portugal and Ireland.
Kareem Abdul Jabaar is one of the famous tough guys who have owned a Rottie, but the dogs have also been owned by Hershel Walker (the NFL player) and Stan Lee (from Marvel Comics, inventor of all those tough superheroes.)
There are a lot of other tough dogs that could have been put on this list. A few years ago German Shepherd Dogs would have made it, then Doberman Pinschers. Dogo Argentinos, Cane Corsos, Japanese Tosas, and Fila Brasileiros can easily be picked but have not been favored by the famous tough guys.
Of course, although Norman Mailer said that tough guys don’t dance, he said nothing about dogs they could own, so if you are a tough guy and want to walk around with a little Chihuahua or Yorkie, you will do fine.
If someone doesn’t like it, tough!
More About Choosing a Dog
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- Five Dog Breeds For People That Like to Be Alone
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