Throughout history, one of the main jobs of the domesticated dog has been to protect its owners and guard against unwanted people or animals. While many modern dogs will instinctually act as home guardians, there are specific breeds that are known for possessing the characteristics needed to best ward off unwanted intruders.
Due to their temperament, physical strength, courage, loyalty, and resistance to pain, expert dog trainers consider the following breeds to be the top 10 best guard dog breeds:
1. Bullmastiff – This breed is known for its physical strength, protection instincts, courageousness, and extreme family loyalty. If an intruder crosses its path, a Bullmastiff will typically use its strength to knock them over or block their path. The breed is very docile in a family environment, however, and makes a great household pet.
2. Doberman pinscher – If you have a large piece of property that you are trying to protect, a Doberman pinscher is a great guard dog for you. This breed is incredibly fast and is able to reach an intruder in a short amount of time. Known as the fifth-smartest dog breed in the world, Dobermans are fearless, alert, and loyal dogs.
3. Rottweiler – Originally bred as cattle-protecting dogs, Rottweilers are known to be relentless protectors of their pack. They are an intelligent breed and extremely loyal to their owners. Rottweilers are known to be aloof with strangers until properly introduced to them and are very quick learners.
4. Komondor – Traditionally used to protect herds of sheep, the Komondor possesses a natural guard dog ability. This breed is active, courageous, loyal and known for its dignity and strength. If properly socialized and trained in obedience, this breed makes a devoted family pet.
5. Puli – Pulis are known for their suspicious nature. They are always alert and will bark to alert their owners of anything out of the ordinary. Pulis are very smart and require constant companionship. They make great additions to families with active lifestyles, as they love hiking, running, and outdoor activities.
6. Giant schnauzer – Giant schnauzers are strong, powerful, and dominant dogs that require strict training. This breed requires a lot of mental and physical stimulation and requires constant attention. Giant schnauzers are powerful, compact, and intimidating. Their extreme family loyalty makes them excellent guard dogs.
7. German shepherd – German shepherds are bold, confident, and fearless. They are extremely intelligent and quick to learn commands, thus making them a favorite police dog breed. German Shepherds have a calm demeanor when in a household but can quickly react when their family or home is threatened.
8. Rhodesian ridgeback – Originally bred to hunt lions, this dog has a strong prey drive and tends to be independent in nature. Ridgebacks are loyal and make natural watchdogs. They are said to be selective in their barking so when a ridgeback barks, it needs to be taken seriously. Rhodesian ridgebacks must be properly trained and managed, as they are not naturally obedient. The breed loves to cuddle and often thinks it’s a lapdog.
9. Kuvasz – This breed is very territorial and has a strong instinct to guard its family and home. The Kuvasz tends to be aloof with strangers but craves affection from its family.
10. Staffordshire terrier – Often confused with the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire terrier was bred for bear and bull fighting. Their aggressive and protective natures make them excellent guard dogs but require them to be properly socialized and trained from an early age. Staffordshire Terriers make great household pets, known to only be aggressive when protecting a family member.
Other breeds known to be natural family protectors:
- Chow Chow
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Belgian Malinois
- Belgian Sheepdog
- Belgian Tervuren
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog
- Black Russian Terrier
- Great Pyrenees
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
- Akita Inu
- Dogo Argentino
- Cane Corso
- Tosa Inu
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Ca de Bou
Owning a guard dog comes with added responsibility. While all of the above breeds are known to make good family pets, owners must take into consideration the fact that these are powerful dogs! In order to ensure the safety of family members, guests, and neighbors, guard dogs must be properly socialized and trained, and need to view their owners as their pack leaders.
Those who don’t want to deal with the added responsibility of owning a guard dog but are looking for a dog to alert them of intruders should consider a watchdog. Several breeds are known for their persistent barking and ability to alert their owners and scare away trespassers.
The following dog breeds are known to make excellent watchdogs:
- Poodle (standard/miniature)
- Shih Tzu
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Miniature pinscher
Do you own a watchdog? Tell us all about her in the comments.