The Holy Trinity
A detailed look at the Olympicdogs triad
The Olympic Road Dog
The Olympic Farm/Ranch Dog
The Olympic Silencer
Before we get into the weeds, on the specifics and differences, let's stay big picture on the greater needs. Spend a paragraph or two on the reasons, and reasoning. Type a little at the commonalities. Maybe even pay glancing heed to the possibilities afforded in mixing the branches themselves, down the line.
Context is, first and foremost I breed to satisfy my wants. In pursuit of dogs I might find ideal, dogs that work for me. So it perhaps goes without saying those dogs didn't already exist, could not simply be purchased, or I would have. Ergo I've no doubt all three branches of the Olympicdog Holy Trinity will fill much needed niches for many other people.
For my needs, diametrically opposed as they are on several fronts, a minimum of three distinct directions was warranted. The notion that one dog might do it all, as tempting is it may be, is only as realistic as one's needs are limited, specific, or at least not requiring conflicting instincts. For some one dog may well do. For others no one dog, breed, or cross can begin to play all the roles required. At best, a Swiss army dog of sorts may be versatile enough to play multiple rolls, to a degree, but if the rolls conflict it's less likely to be particularly good at any one.
This is a timeless dilemma, nor exclusive to dogs, "horses for courses" comes to mind. Or imagine trying to have one vehicle for all purposes, or one gun. For me three distinct k9 directions was a minimum. And though there may be mixing of those distinct lines, for those whose less specific needs might be met by doing so. Or even in the hopes of an ideally versatile dog. What I keep on the yard, what ultimately stays in the program, will likely have to clearly serve at least one of the three directions well. The swiss army dog is a tough sell win a slot here.
Having already done all manner of conflicting percentages, and border line-schizophrenic crosses out of curiosity, or as they say in Ireland
"jus fer fooks sake"
I can speak to the Swiss army dog mission with some experience. They might make decent "all rounders." They may serve many a family guardian position just right, neither too needy or too independent, neither too high or low prey drive. Not barky or silent.
But where there is a specific job, there is a such a thing as
"the right tool for the job"
And a working dog is a tool of sorts. It might become part of the family, it might be all the family some have. If you just need something to love, almost any dog will do. But to my way of thinking, you might as well get a dog that serves a greater utility. And love that useful beast all the more for its contribution. Love it more for the way it's instincts fit your needs.
Lastly, before we get specific about the distinctions, let's address the common ground. The traits that might define any and every, Olympicdog. The qualities we can never have too much of, regardless of trinity branch.
Huge, sound, healthy, athletic beasts, is job one.
Intelligence, courage, good nerves, confidence, heart, toughness.... can't get enough.
Stable, sane, devoted, and sweet with its own, is forever in demand.
Protective by nature of it's people and territory.
All of the above......All day..... Errayday !
All three branches want to be on a certain scale, which is giant.
30" plus at the shoulder for the males ideally. The only limit on height is the point at which movement starts to become compromised, which is more likely a factor of heaviness of frame, which also limits endurance, and should be limited. Long, tall, athletic is the drift, the prevailing wind.
And Movement should be a defining trait of any Olympicdog. Later for how that translates into structural commonalities. I'm a sucker for movement. In dogs, In people, pretty much across the board. Poetry in motion is a thing. We're breeding athletes here; not yard ornaments, nor footstools, nor couch potatoes...there is an abundance of those in the giant breeds already.
The Olympic Road Dog:
Temperamentally: Biddability, obedience, and devotion are paramount in the Road dog. We need good soldiers, sticky yes men, loyal dogs born to serve. Intelligence is welcome, but independence is not. Protective instincts and the backbone to be a man-stopper is welcome. Crazy, undiscerning, or unwarranted human aggression is not. Courage, confidence, and good nerves are welcome... a lack there of is a deal breaker.
Out in an unpredictable world, the most important thing a Road dog can do, is obey ! On a ranch/farm where life is more predictable, or in a livestock guardian cross where a certain amount of independent thinking is to be expected, we can live with some. In a road dog we want as little independence as possible.
Less is also more when it comes to "Dog aggression," because we don't want our dog to be starting fights, especially, if it's capable of finishing those fights. This is one of the harder problems to solve actually, balls being balls on some level, and serious dogs that might actually protect one from a cougar, bear, crazed human, etc. need balls. They tend to be dominant dogs.
That challenge reminds of one of the bigger pluses to mixing in a more "gentrified" breed, like the Great Dane. The modern Dane, for all its shortcomings, tends to be remarkably uninterested in fighting other dogs. "Country" for example, my best road dog to date, without a doubt owes his canine civility to his 25% Dane, because it's surely not from the Dogo Argentino, or the Boerboel. Having known all the dogs in play in him as purebreds, there is no doubt he got that from "Magic" the only Dane I ever used, who had zero interest in even sniffing another in-tact male.
I can go running on a strange trail in a strange town with Country off leash, and though other dog owners are often terrified at the sight, he will ignore dogs going the opposite way if I simply say
"stay with me."
So there will be no dog fight unless another dog starts it. In which case he's more than capable of defending us both, if I give him the word. Nor will he hesitate if the threat is a human. Despite being happy to accept affection from total strangers all day long, when appropriate. To me that is an ideal Road dog range.
Prey drive is largely problematic for me personally with a road dog, both back at the ranch or out in the world, so for me, less is more. Or at least more versatile. Which is why Boerboel or even a Tosa might be better than Dogo/presa/corso in my case. "Country" for example, is almost ideal as a road dog, but the Dogo/Dane makes his prey drive such that I can't trust him alone with stock/chickens etc. But I've had similar levels of biddability in pure Boerboels, which I could leave with farm animals. Which is precisely why the Boerboel x Kangal became our signature farm/ranch dog cross. And why the Boerboel has played such a significant role in the program.
Fortunately the Road Dog offers the most options in production, as there are numerous zero independence, bully breeds, mastiffs, and mollosers, to choose from. Unfortunately most all those breeds are already more or less ruined. More so the mainstream breeds, but increasingly and inevitably the rare breeds as well. Popularity and the dubious breeding it spawns, eventually, destroy working breeds-- this truth we hold to be self evident. So the challenge, as always, remains the same.
The primary challenge of a real breeder is finding the best examples to be found of a given breed, to begin with. Or finding another man who has made that effort in his Crosses. Then, and only then, can a breeders future sifting (and sift he should evermore ) have any real chance of producing value. I rather doubt any one man's life is long enough to start with garbage, and breed thew it it to real worth. And it's a fools errand anyway, it's convenience breeding. But with precious few exceptions, it's exactly what goes down. Truth be told it's the norm.
Once upon a time, any number of breeds might have made good Road dogs; now it's increasingly less likely to find most of the traits I value in any breed ( Courage, intelligence, heart, confidence, health, athleticism ) these qualities exist in direct and diminishing proportion to a breeds popularity/gentrification.
For example, if you're diligent, or maybe just lucky, you might still find a good Boerboel, Dogo Argentino, Tosa, Fila Brasiliero, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, etc. But You'll be very hard pressed to find a Great Dane or Old English mastiff, anywhere in the world, that is not a caricature of what were once a formidable breeds. It's a spectrum thing, and the longer a breed has been a household name, the less likely it is to be worth feeding.
Regardless for "road dog" purposes all of the breeds mentioned above are basically big zero independence, short haired, naturally devoted, biddable dogs. They may vary in dog aggression, prey drive, natural suspicion of strangers, or duration of gentrification/popularity. But they share more than separates them. So You're probably better off with an exceptional example of any than a bad example of any other.
"Breed" is often overrated, relative the individual merit of a specific k9, it's a sort of K9 racism :) With the Road dog I think that's even more so true, as so many different types might be plugged in effectively ( especially if one can live with a little prey drive ) The longer I've bred dogs the less hung up on breed I've become, the more I focus on finding exceptional dogs, labels be damned. Breed is less important, papers are less important, purity is less important. Great dogs are hard to find.
It really is a needle in the haystack pursuit, and I've only got so much time for sifting threw straw piles, or Bullshit breeders. So I tend to focus on a given ideal breed of choice for my specific needs, for pragmatism's sake. But I always keep my mind, and one eye, open to other breeds.
Physically: My road dog, like the Ranch dog, and Silencer wants to be long, tall, and athletic. Thirty plus inches at the shoulder, not too heavy of frame for endurance sake. It is the most likely of the three to be asked to keep up with a human runner, a bicycle, a horse, or a quad, so in theory it would be want to be the least heavy boned. There again the Dane does contribute nicely in scale and proportion. And it is also a little know fact that the average Penn hip score on Danes is about twice as good as average "mastiff" Penn hip score ( and yes I realize I've clumped all "mastiffs" but they are, in fact, in the same neighborhood via that metric (( penn hip calls it proprietary information and won't reveal more than three breeds score averages at a time, but if you know a vet you can get the data for all breeds, I have ))
"Magic" the Only Dane I ever used, had a pen hip score of .21 the average of Mastiffs is around .59 ( for those unfamiliar with pennhip, a lower number indicate less laxity in the joint, higher numbers indicate more which is directly associated with increased likelihood of developing DJD (( degenerative joint disease/hip dysplasia )) in fact last I checked there had never been a case in a dog with .30 or smaller.
Visually: all other things being equal ( which of course they never are ) I personally prefer tight jowls, and eyes, and less wrinkled faces. See these Dogo/Dane crosses below as an example. But if I'm honest intelligence and temperament are so much more important to me I'll differ to those considerations if a choice needs to be made.
Colors: also take a back seat to intelligence and temperament, but variety is a good thing on that score. Variety is probably the word on a lot of levels. Some people might want a more compact muscular dog like "Gronk" others might prefer something more like these Dogo/Danes.
In my mind, and despite purebred fanatics who will spin it as a negative, one of the most underrated benefits to mixing breeds is one will get more diversity of phenotype ( different looks ) different builds, and yes, different temperaments. That, to me, is more interesting. And I find more useful in meeting the needs of a very diverse customer base, with distinct preferences of their own, even for the same litter. Viva la diferance !!
The Olympicdog farm/ranch dog
We truly needed livestock guardians, to raise livestock up against a million acres of the olympic National forest which is full of Cougars, coyotes, and black bear. But the need for a livestock guardian, which is perhaps the biggest stretch in dogdom for any cousin of the wolf (to instinctively protect what most would instinctively hunt ) is synonymous with two traits that run opposite, maybe even inspired the need, for the other two two branches of the Trinity.
Independence and a bark first mindset is characteristic of LGD dogs across the globe. As one might expect from breeds intended to forego the company of their human master to live with his stock. They needed to make decisions of their own accord, often far from masters sight, to protect the herd from wily predators. They don't take orders, they make decisions, for themselves. The polar opposite of a good road dog.
And LGD of all stripes tend to work from from a wiring that effectively says
"when in doubt.... bark" ( Which is the polar opposite of what we want in an Olympic Silencer )
Some still need a doubt, others it seems bark into the sky just as a sort of preemptive strike on the very idea of potential predator. The distant sound of which may well have soothed the worried mind of shepherd in a yurt on the Mongolian steppes. It's far more likely to be a sleep interrupter to yours truly. Or a straight up annoyance for any number of modern day Livestock owners (and their neighbors ) not running hundreds of head across thousands of acres.
For me, and many like me, all we really need our LGD to do is not kill our shit. It should be a given that they will get all over any predator, most any dogs with with any balls will. So the Olympic Farm/ranch dog intends to be a less independent, less barky, more obedient, more biddable, ultimately more versatile LGD. A dog that might be equally suited to reside with the stock as to follow your kids around all day without wandering off, if given that noble task.
There are many many different types of LGD in the world. I've basically ruled out most simply by ruling out all the types that come with over the top bushy coats.
THE OLYMPIC SILENCER:
I'll be the first to admit "The Silencer" is in no small part inspired by having been surrounded for the last two decades by LGD ( livestock guardian dog ) and LGD crosses. When a man gets to certain age, he needs better sleep :) That said I do believe if I'm able to produce a giant, healthy, athletic, relatively biddable, fearless family friendly guardian that will protect, but virtually never barks, well then I'll have something many people, AND their neighbors, will greatly appreciate.
And though historically it's been a trademark of my program to be completely transparent about exactly which breeds were in play and to what percentage. Although we've never called a cross a "breed" or adorned our mixes with some BS new breed name/story/fable. Or claimed secret sauce recipes. I do think, for now at least, I'll keep my intended ingredients for this cross under my hat. Let's call it proprietary information.
I've given it much thought. I know which breeds I'll use, if not exactly in what percentages. But for the time being I'm gonna play hard to get with that info for now.
Suffice to say, if it can be done with minimal prey drive ( which is a greater challenge yet as virtually all the least barky candidates tend to be high prey drive silent hunters ) but .....if that can be done.... with low prey drive dogs, then an Olympic Ranchdog/ silencer cross may well be a step towards producing the ultimate modern day LGD.
An LGD that is not inclined to bark ? That's.... maybe too much to ask. But one could easily imagine an LGD more discerning in the bark department, one inclined to just go get that dam predator already, without all the warnings. Or maybe if a silencer can be created with minimal independence, I could see a Silencer x Road dog being appreciated by many as well.
But even if the cross back to the farm/ranch or Road dog never makes sense. If I can produce a worthy silencer I expect the world will reward me handsomely, in sleep, and dollars both. And it would likely be the most unique branch of the trinity, unlike any other breed, it would be its own dog Genre.
The mad scientist in me is keen on the endeavor. BUT, as always, the challenge remains. Finding the best examples possible of the purebreds to start the mix. The search is on, it's been on, it stays on. But I'm looking forward to spending more time on that sort of thing, and less on this sort of thing :)