The NY Times has a report on $230,000 guard dogs for moguls and celebrities. For that kind of money, does she fetch your slippers and mix your drinks?
Donâ€™t call her a guard dog.
Buffy, a black German shepherd, and Deanna Louvier, a trainer, working out at Harrison K-9 Security Services in Aiken, S.C.
When she costs $230,000, as Julia did, the preferred title is â€œexecutive protection dog.â€ This 3-year-old German shepherd, who commutes by private jet between a Minnesota estate and a home in Arizona, belongs to a canine caste that combines exalted pedigree, child-friendly cuddliness and arm-lacerating ferocity.
Julia and her ilk have some of the same tracking and fighting skills as the dogs used in elite military units like Navy Seal Team 6, which took a dog on its successful raid of Osama bin Ladenâ€™s compound in Pakistan.
In fact, Julia was sold by a trainer, Harrison Prather, who used to supply dogs to Seal Team 6 and the British special forces. But then Mr. Prather switched to a more lucrative market.
â€œEither rich people discovered me or I discovered them â€” I canâ€™t remember which happened first,â€ said Mr. Prather, the president of Harrison K-9 Security Services in Aiken, S.C.
He and others in the high-end dog training business say prices have shot up thanks to the growing number of wealthy people around the world who like the security â€” and status â€” provided by a dog with the right credentials. Moguls and celebrities now routinely pay $40,000 to $60,000 for a well-bred German shepherd that is certified as an expert in the sport of Schutzhund, which means â€œprotection dog.â€ The price can go much higher if a dog does well at an international championship, as Julia did.