Ideal Size of PPD

  • Good day everyone,

    I'm looking to get people's preference on the structure and size of their given protection dog and why (all breeds welcome).

    Now that my boy is over 3 years he is close to being what he will be for the rest of his prime. He's a compact 25.5/30 and weighs in at 96lbs of pure bone, fur, and muscle. Honestly, I couldnt be happier with how he turned out. I wanted a rottweiler right around 100lbs but super athletic. A compact rott has the ability to generate force from a short distance much faster than a leggier dog. The distance between the front and rear legs + the muscle mass in the dog makes it the pefect combination to explode into action. My reasoning for this is that at that size he will have the perfect weight and speed combination to dominate a human being in training or when called upon. Being a former rugby and bobsleigh athlete myself, I'm also biased towards a dog that resembls me most (aren't we all?).

    My personal view, breed aside, is that most dogs 60-80lbs lack bite power and physical dominance in general. My bitch would fall into this category. She bites hard and intense but can be slung around at 77lbs. I have caught one Mal and 2 GSD's that certainly would rival any protection dog but they were the exception (I have caught over 400 dogs and 10 different breeds). On the flip side, dogs well over 100lbs seem to wait for the bad guy to come within striking range and overpower with their size-not very explosive at all on the bite (but man some do bite hard!). I have never come across a very large dog who "desired" to bite the bad guy no matter what obstacle is in front of him. Kind of a "come close enough and I'll kill you" attitude but not one to go after the man with speed and determination. My goal when searching for my last breeding cobmbination was to get the best of both in a dog-thank God, mission accomplished!

    I'm interested in why you guys have your favourate breed and why based purely on physical attributes. There are traits in many breeds (and even lines of rotts) I really admire but for me it keeps coming back to the size and speed combination a compact rott gives (and other dogs who fall into this range).

  • fwiw, hard to look at any one variable in isolation and make any valid conclusion on much of general value without looking at the whole picture of structure, drive, temp,.... eg there as many physically inept big dogs as their are physically inept little and medium dogs.

    for example according to many show folks the most efficiently put together dog of any breed in order to trot and run all day, fight off wolves and bully sheep around to keep them of crops is the american show line gsd, they will supply vector drawings of forces and give polemic speeches of really smart sounding bio-mechanical analysis yada, yada but at the end of the day they can't produce a single dog including there own champions that would even come close to doing a days work.

    evidently size/shape alone does not provide a full solution to what you are asking.

    as a second example many in the bull/bandog crowd breed massive head pieces thinking that the dog will have more bite power ignoring that if the dog does not have intent then a snipey nose runt mal is more likely than not going to deliver a more devastating bite pressure.

    so other than give you a type of dog i think looks cool i find it hard to answer yr question.

    having said that extremes are clearly to be avoided which leaves a medium size well proportioned dog.

    thats all i got.

    eta - last part of yr question, as far as breed goes i realy wanted a ds for the stupidest reasons, eg a bit exotic, breed reputation...the deal did not work out and i got robbed and ended up with a gsd mainly cos of availablility, price and breeder reputation.

    i cannot get my head around my dogs shape, he is really long back and kinda narrow which i thought is a bad type for a working dog, the dog however is all athlete, top speed way above average for any breed - he hunts with sight hounds so i know and agility, nimbleness is really good for a big lanky dog. he literally glides up on obstacles very eficiently, i wish a conformation guru could help me categorise his type which i would never have bought just on looks alone but feel have a good compromise between speed, power, endurance and agility. most decoys would have trouble with my dog as he is long enough they get no leverage on him and heavy enough to bring the decoy in and not be twirled around like a cat attached to yr arm plus the speed and force to actually stop someone good.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Peter C ().

  • Thanks for the reply Peter.

    I agree whole heartedly that structure is one part of the equation and yes, larger head does not at all translate to higher bite force, relatively speaking (I cant stand that argument). Temperment and drive factor in big time but I was trying to cxl that out and assume that we're looking at all dogs of equal temperment and drive as much as possible. Clearly its unrealistic but breeding is founded on ideals, not the actual product.

    Sounds like your male has the goods-good on you!

  • the dogs that get "twirled" are usually hitting with a lot of force, but they are caught by experienced decoys who are expecting the dog, and deflect the energy of the hit into the spin so the dog does not injure itself and the decoy is not knocked down...

    use that force against someone who is not expecting it, on unprotected flesh, they're going to be in a world of hurt... yes, there are obviously exceptions, such as the guy who is so high on drugs he can't feel the dog biting him... but in that sort of situation you're going to be in trouble anyway...

    but, things depend on how the dog is used - a lot of the time during a mugging etc you won't realise the threat is a threat until they are up in your face, meaning your dog doesn't have time to build running momentum... i'm pretty sure any private citizen, anywhere in the world, who sent a dog after a person who was running away (and therefore no longer posing the level of threat needed to justify the use of force of deploying the dog), is going to end up getting dragged over the hot coals backwards, and losing their dog...

    some of the smaller more agile dogs can have explosive power even in close, where the bigger less agile dogs can't move as fast... they're probably less likely to actually take a person to the ground, but they often get the element of surprise, and any dog bite where they sink a few canines in is going to be damn painful...

    it also depends on what sort of threat you are consistently facing... the culture and weaponry vary in different parts of the world... and the numbers of people you are likely to encounter... keeping in mind that once you end up with a large group after you, unless your dog is a total brawler and you can keep them at bay with the dog on the leash sweeping back and forth, you're going to be screwed anyway...

    at the end of the day an angry jack russel that is latched onto someone's hand - especially if it's completely unexpected - can serve as a very effective means of sending an assailant packing, or at least distracting them while you draw your own weapon, IF you're lucky enough to be allowed to carry one... but i understand most people would want a bigger dog...

    IMHO the "ideal" size really depends on the person and their circumstances, what they face on a daily basis, and what sort of dog they can handle... myself for example... i am only a small person... i hate it, but there's not much i can do about it... i would absolutely LOVE to have a big Rott again or a nice black GSD... but at 60kg / 130lbs myself i just don't have the weight behind me to be able to hold back a big dog... so for now, i'll stick with my mals... they're more than scary enough when the muzzle comes off, and the teeth are level with your face... LOL

  • Totally get you on the momentum Jake. When I first started doing helper work in SCH 10 years ago I used to get crapped on for jamming dogs, all mals because I wasnt absorbing fast enough as they were sooo fast. I've seen alot of brutal helpers, some on the internet and some in person who jam dogs up so bad that if I was the handler I'd be ripping them a new a hole then telling them to try another catch on my dog without a sleeve for the reasons you stated above. A strong man however, even if not on drugs could knock a dog out cold with a hard shot if the dog isnt strong enough to pull him down-that's where the weight and muscle aspect of my given choice comes in. A regular guy at 5'10 and 80kg (180 lbs) wouldnt stand a chance against most dogs but if we're talking 6'4 and 100+ kg I would definitely want some weight behind the dog. If it's a situation where any of us felt we needed to send our dog then adrenaline would be running sky high.

    Interesting point of view on the situation one would call on their dog for as I didnt consider that in my selecction outside of the fact that I wanted an athletic dog with some size. I would hope that any dog turned on would be enough of a deterrant and if not-well, let's hope there's more behind the dog which is where temperment comes in. I found your points very good there.

    You said a rott or a black GSD would be your ideal-interested to know why if you want to share.

  • lets not forget that momentum is mass X velocity, if you are in a confined space no matter how fast a dog is it is not going to gain much velocity so the momentum has to come from the mass, distance = speed X time so over a short distance again speed works against gaining momentum in a lighter dog, acceleration = force / mass you have a trade off in play it all links to get an optimum.

    just like a confined bar room brawl the adavantage usually goes to the bigger guy over the more skilled quicker lighter frame guy.

    ppd generally is not offensive and generally the ppd will never chase anyone, furthermore in most animals the highest accleration comes from the more muscular animal. even a mastiff can be surprisingly quick over a short range but the same dog could prolly be out run by a fat guy over 100+ metres.

    for close quarters combat i think the more muscular dog has the advantage, i have more of a patrol style dog which would not be my ideal type for straight ppd, whatever that means. in fact if i saw my dog as an adult in a photo i would pass.

  • seriously, if your dog gets a good enough bite, there's not going to be that many people who will fight through it, and if they're that determined you'd be in trouble anyway, dog or not, unless you had some sort of weapon yourself...*

    personally, I've never been what I'd call badly bitten by a dog, but I've copped my fair share of the pointy end, both with protective equipment, and without... it fucking HURTS... if you end up with a trained dog trying to stuff more of your arm or leg into its mouth and thrashing you at the same time, you're gunna be screwed, and the crushing pressure would be enough to send some (note I've said SOME) people into shock...*

    ask most police K9 units, just how many people actually fight the dog... there might be 1 out of every hundred, or something pretty negligible...*

    the whole idea behind a GOOD protection dog is that they remain calm until called on, so they can be with their person in public... their person can interact with others, stand arm's distance from them and have a chat, etc, without the dog nailing someone for nothing...*

    people will often dismiss the dog as a threat and then when they act like jackasses and get bitten it comes as a complete surprise... or the handler manages to anticipate the problem and can fire the dog up first... there aren't that many people willing to tangle with gnashing teeth, and those that are, as I said, are going to be a big problem anyway, dog or not...*

    we can all sit here debating numbers until we've worn our fingers down to stubs from all the typing, but in the end, your dog is either good enough for YOU, and does what YOU require of it, or it doesn't.... if you're in the situation where you're training dogs for sale, then you've probably got some pretty clearly defined criteria that the dog either meets, or it doesn't....*

    Brody, as for my choice regarding a Rott or black GSD, I find that people tend to be more fearful of big black dogs, than any other colour and/or size combination... my two main work dogs are both 28kg / 60lb mals... one is a more reddish colour with a black overcoat, and due to being a clumsy little prick, has no tail anymore.... people are more scared of him than my younger dog who is a lighter colour, is far more patchy with his overcoat, and has a tail... both of them will just as happily nail you for being a fuckwit, though... (I'll post pics of both when I get home, posting from my phone at work...)

    while I need a nice calm dog that I can have around large numbers of people, I find that a big black scary looking mofo of a dog will put a lot of people off the idea of playing up, simply by being there, and that comes in handy in my line of work...

  • some comparison pics of my two... yeah the shots arent perfect but i've tried to get them in some similar situations... they are both very similar in size and build... my older darker boy is a little stockier and has a LOT more fur... but they weigh within a pound or so of each other...

    people are more scared of the darker coloured dog... admittedly he is a psycho little fuck, but, based purely on appearances i get more comments about how he looks scary/nasty/whatever than the younger lighter dog...

    something i forgot to add in my previous post - if you have your dog on a leash, which you should, if you're in public, and a situation happens and the dog ends up biting an assailant - there is nothing to say the handler can't use the leash to assist and pull the person to the ground... it doesnt all have to be up to the dog!



  • I've been training my female for PPD tailored to my needs.
    She is just 2YO. Around 60lbs. Built long in the back, slim at the waist and well muscled hindquarters and forelegs. I would equate her physique to that of a 800m hurdles sprinter. Not heavily muscled, but very fast and strong enough to make an impact. And, a very hard biter. There are several experienced decoys in the eastern US that will attest to that.
    In addition to the OB and bitework necessary for a qualified PPD, we do a good amount of running. For building endurance, a 3 mile run, lasting average 30 minutes, 4 times a week. And for building explosive strength, short sprints combined with the ball reward for OB training. By short sprints I mean 20 ft. up to around 100ft.
    I keep the sprints short with a lot of OB work in between them.
    In addition to those activities, there is a large amount of daily biting tug work which works out both of us.
    Other interspersed activities include mountain hiking with her carrying a loaded backpack, dock diving and swimming.
    I would like to mention that a big influence on the design of the physical training of my dog has been influenced by the recent post by Brody Thorne in another thread on the subject.
    For my needs, my dog is the right size. She is not overly imposing. And that is good because we are around many co-workers and "friendlies" throughout the day. But if I put her into a 'WATCH' command, she takes on a very menacing appearance which I believe is enough to dissuade 98% of the people with bad intentions. The other 2% will have to be persuaded with the next command 'STELLEN'.

  • Solid pics Jake. Love the colour of your lighter boy.

    The big black dog psychology I have heard of and I guess there has to be something to it after what both of you guys have said. Myself, maybe because I'm educated, wouldnt f with just about any dog who shows me he/she is more than willing to nail me if I dont behave. I'm not fearful of dogs, but respect them immensly and conduct myself accordingly.

    Yes, crunching numbers would have us blue in the face but maybe I'll ask the question a different way: Is there a size minimum and maximum for anyone? What about a breed people would absolutely avoid purely based on structural/physical characterstics?

  • without crunching numbers and assuming all drives are equal i would say a compact muscular and flexible dog with a minimum working weight of 30kg to a max weight of 48kg.

    i spent my youth chasing feral bulls before our remotest wildest land got deignated as world heritage, we could either bring the ears in for a fixed payment or ctach them live and they became our property which we could get a higher price at market 9meat works) we started with 3 choppers and vehicles....worked down to motorbikes, horses and then just men and dogs to extract the wildest most dangerous ones. i learned a lot about this topic, the big dogs were at a distinct disadvantage as the targets got bigger in respect to the dog, the smaller atrgets the big dogs dominated them and as in nature would try hold them from a dominate postion, when the ratio of dog to target increases so does the effectiveness of the dog untill it becomes suicidal for the dog. there is a "neat spot" in a compact medium size dog. for ppd this seems to suggest the working rott size and shape.

  • This is something that i've thought long and hard about. Where i am located in North Queensland, the weather gets very hot and very humid, even at night, so the heavier dog struggles for it and so do alot of traditional breeds due to their thick coats (so many of them seem to originate from cold countries). I have worked many kinds of working dogs in the tropics, in many different roles hunting, detection and currently PPD. In a perfect scenario i'd like a 35kg Dobermann that could bite like a crocodile and that the nerves to not back down if multiple people were trying to do me harm. Im trying out a rotti in the near future because as far as I can see my perfect dog doesnt exist at this point in time.

  • Never thought of temp as being a factor but I can see how the larger dogs would not cope well for you down there. Summers here get pretty bad too so training is always done before 10am or after 8am and thats on a day that isnt over 30C+ humidity. Anything hotter than that we dont train.

    As for the tough to find a good one. My old man had a beauty before I was born but he was a one man dog and a very rank driven prick. They dont make them like that any more except by fluke.

  • You're right Brody, they don't make em like that anymore and I really think there is an opening for PPD that is light weight, short coated with the right temp. I thought my Mal would be the answer I was looking for and don't get me wrong I have to pull him up long before he gives up but with his thick coat he does feel the pinch on a hot day. Maybe thats something I should pursue. I recently got hold of a young rott bitch (8mo), it will be interesting to see how she turns out and handles our climate. She is from melb and already doesn't like the heat, but she's only been here a week so I shouldn't judge her too harshly :). She is my first rott and seems to have a really sweet temp.

  • Congrats on the new addition Jarrad. Yes, rotts do not do very well in the heat. At sch nationals about 5 years ago 2 rotts died from heat stroke. On humid summer days it's best to give them no exercise unless its in the water.

    On the temp of your bitch-I have found a massive difference between female and male rott's. Females are much more willing to please, low rank drive, sensitive to corrections, but when turned on just as hard as a male. I honestly may switch back to a female when I get my next rott just for that reason-having to always assert my leadership with my dog gets a bit annoying after a while and some days I just dont have the patience for the BS which is probably why many people in the working dog community are turned off of rottweilers. I love my dog, but I work a high stress job and the last thing I feel like doing is using my brain to out wit my dog just because his genetics win the battle against his brain from time to time.

  • Dan (our admin and board owner) knows his Rotts, too... just post your questions as a thread and I'm sure someone will chime in! : )