Protecting your home and your family is always a good idea, especially if this protection comes in the form of a fluffy, adorable pet. Guard dogs are loyal, fearless, highly intuitive, and are the perfect way to deter intruders and protect your family. The best guard dogs are usually very responsive to training and love to put their fearless protective instincts to good use.
While guard dogs aren’t afraid of barking, defending their humans and property, and even biting if need be, they can make wonderful, loving family members that help to keep you safe. So, what are the top 10 guard dogs and what do you need to know about each breed?
As well as being one of the most iconic protective dog breeds out there, the German Shepherd is also a great pet and one of the most common choices for American families. Their famously fierce bark, big pointy ears, and well-known military association mean intruders will take one look at a German Shepherd and think twice before targeting your home.
They’re highly intelligent dogs that need a lot of training and exercise (around 2 hours a day) but if they get that they’ll be extremely loyal and loving family members. Although most German Shepherds are friendly (despite what we’re taught to believe), guarding and protecting are in their blood, so they need a lot of obedience training so these traits don’t turn into aggression.
Dobermans are one of the most misunderstood dog breeds, probably because in films they’re always portrayed as the vicious pets of the bad guy. Whilst they can be aggressive when they need to be, they also make really loveable, quite often silly, family pets. Protecting is in their nature and they’re acutely aware of any sense of danger around them or their owners. Guarding is instinctual to them, so they’re pretty easy to train and are especially eager to fulfill their role. When they’re not on guard duty they love to play with their humans and mess around. They’re one of the best guard dogs as well as being an amazing pet.
Translated from Latin, this name means ‘bodyguard dog’ and they were the much-loved war dogs used by the Romans. You only have to look at their strong, enormous bodies and short, sleek fur to know that they were bred to be imposing. Also known as the Italian Mastiff, these large dogs are excellent guard dogs but can also be affectionate pets. Guarding is instinctual to a Cane Corso but they will require training to hone their skills as they can sometimes be aggressive towards strangers. They’re one of the best guard dogs but not a breed for a novice owner as a Cane Corso needs strict obedience training to stop them from getting overly confident.
One of the most elegant and beautifully colored dogs, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is easily recognizable because of the ridge of fur that grows in the opposite direction running down its spine. They were originally bred to hunt large game and lions so intruders are pretty easy prey for a Rhodesian Ridgeback. They are generally affectionate with their owners and friendly with others but they can be stubborn and slightly domineering, so good training is required. They don’t need guard dog-specific training as protecting their family is instinctual to them.
When it comes to the best guard dogs available, you can’t get much better than the Tibetan Mastiff. They’re large, strong, incredibly alert, and pretty intimidating looking. They were originally bred to protect their owners against wolves and snow leopards in the Himalayas and are naturally very watchful. They’re not the most affectionate pup (in fact they’re fairly aloof) but they do love their family and will be happy to spend time with them. They may be a little distrusting of strangers and be particularly territorial of their home, so good training and an experienced owner are needed.
Rottweilers have a bit of a reputation for being aggressive and while they are a particularly protective dog breed, they’re also affectionate and playful with their family. Their strong bodies, natural loyalty, and protective instincts make them one of the best guard dogs you could choose. They can be hesitant around strangers and new places until they’re sure there’s no threat but with good training and socialization, they can make amazing pets that will keep your family safe.
Great Danes have one of the deepest, most intimidating barks of any dog – which is hardly surprising considering their size. They’re strong, imposing, and are likely to scare off any imposter. Underneath all that weight and muscle though, Great Danes have gentle personalities, are very smart, caring, and love their owners. Even though their size may be intimidating, they’re unlikely to actually bite. They make great pets but do tend to have shorter lifespans compared to other breeds and can suffer from many different illnesses.
American Staffordshire Terrier
Unlike Great Danes, American Staffordshire Terriers are a little more bite than bark. Because of their long history as fighting dogs, they can be a little aggressive if untrained. Their strong, energetic, and powerful bodies make them look imposing but they’re actually playful, loyal, and affectionate pups at heart. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation but are really one of the best guard dog breeds out there.
These big, fluffy dogs are excellent guard dogs – so good in fact, that they were originally bred to guard royalty in Japan. They’re very alert and eager to fulfill their role in the family. They’re naturally quite suspicious of strangers and may be a little aggressive towards other dogs if they haven’t been socialized from an early age. In general, however, they love spending time playing with their owners and interacting with people. They’ll only bark or show real aggression if there’s a need to do so.
These iconic, bearded pups are one of the best guard dog breeds you could have. They’re alert, courageous, loyal, and very strong. Their size makes them pretty intimidating too! Their pain threshold is incredibly high and they’re extremely protective of their family and home. Because of their size and temperament, they’re not an ideal pup for first-time owners, and because of their high prey drive, it’s best if a Giant Schnauzer is the only animal in the house. They need a lot of training and early socialization to make them a good family pet as well as a good guard dog!
These are just ten of the best guard dog breeds you could have. Which others would you add to the list?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!