German Shepherd Dog / Mastiff Mix

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization

Gender: Male

Training: Books

Quick to learn and train


Emotionally stable


Family oriented


Child safety


Safe with small pets


Doesn’t bark a lot




Easy to groom


Great watch dog


Great guard dog


Poodle/Chow mix


United States

Posted October 28, 2015

Truth be told, I loved this dog, but he wasn't a good fit for our family.

Poodles and chows can both be difficult breeds, and our mix, Charcoal, was one of the meanest, most stubborn dogs I have ever encountered. We adopted him as a 1 year old from the shelter, but in retrospect, we're not sure how he passed the temperament test. He was extremely food-aggressive.

Although we attempted to train him ourselves, the training never quite stuck. Eventually, we gave up, and he never even mastered "sit." He was a fun-loving dog, though, and did enjoy to play, especially tug-of-war. He also had a strong prey-drive, which resulted in many rabbits and squirrels meeting an untimely demise in our yard.

The best trait that Charcoal had was that he was a fantastic guard/watch dog, which is true to the chow chow breed. He would alert us to any movement within a block of our house. He was, however, extremely fierce and would have to be put in the bedroom if any company came over, as he had a dog bite history.

As far as health and grooming, he was high-maintenance. He had a long, high-shedding coat, and required professional grooming every few months. He also suffered from frequent ear-infections, and eventually went completely deaf (around age 10) as a result. At 12, he went blind, and had to be put down at 13.

Charcoal was not friendly with other dogs and once broke his tie-out in the yard to attack the neighbor's german shepherd puppy, which required a vet visit. Although he enjoyed frequent walks, they were a hassle because of his strength and over-protective nature.

Overall, I would only recommend a poodle/chow mix for someone who is familiar with both breeds and is willing to devote a significant amount of time towards training and socialization.

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