We have a “defense dog”.
Or at least, I think that can be a good term to describe her.
She’s not an “attack dog”, both by breed nature and by well… this morning’s example.
Every few years, Austin Energy comes around to trim trees away from the power lines. This morning was our day, and they’d need to get into the backyard to have access to some trees. I knew the guys were out front, but they were still finishing breakfast (as far as I knew). Sasha had been wanting to go out and I figured one last pee break would be a good thing. I went into the backyard to check, saw no one, went back to the door to let Sasha out… she zoomed out the door, and by the time I turned around she was barking and going nuts.
It seems, by sheer coincidence of timing, that the moment I let her out was the same moment the tree workers decided to open the fence gate and come into the backyard! ¡Ay dios mio!
Sasha barked big and hard, but she didn’t rush the workmen. She barked, made aggressive “go away!” posturing, but was constantly fading back as if to assess the situation and buy herself time while things unfolded and she could determine where things were going (Kuvasz are smart dogs, they think). I know the workmen had the daylights scared out of them so there was certainly no posturing on their part, certainly retreat and signs of not just submission but “OH SHIT!” 🙂 Within seconds I was between them, ordered the workmen to leave the backyard, and was able to snap the leash onto Sasha with little trouble and get her back inside.
Once inside, I went to explain things to the workmen, and of course they had questions, like if she’d bite. And this is where I came up with “defense dog”.
You see, if we have the time to explain things to people, we can explain that she’s a Kuvasz, that the breed is a livestock guardian dog, that their demeanor is not to attack but rather to control the intruder, keep them away from the flock, pose and posture looking as big and scary as possible, all in an effort to scare the intruder away. They don’t want to attack, they don’t want to chase (because then they’d leave the flock, undefended, unprotected), but if attack is the only remaining option then so be it because protecting the flock is their job, what they are programmed to do.
But you see, that’s a mouthful. We’ve been searching for ways to describe and explain Sasha to others in a manner that’s brief, concise, yet accurate. That would explain what she’s like, and why we got her (in particular). To say “defense dog” I think can work, because that’s what she is. She is NOT an attack dog, she was not gotten to hurt anyone, to be aggressive to anyone. Kuvasz are there to defend the flock, and that’s why we got her… kinda rolls with the whole personal defense Lt. Col Grossman “sheepdog” paradigm.
So we’ll see how the term goes. My hope is that it’s enough to explain it, but that people will be likely unfamiliar with the term (and I expect they’ll be familiar with the “attack dog” term and will probably make a quick mental connection there that should make them go “huh?”) and then perhaps they’ll ask for more detail. Hopefully it’ll work. 🙂