What Are the Best Guard Dogs?

Guard dogs are loyal, brave, and are chosen mainly because they protect their territory.


There are 'watch dogs' that will bark at the sight of a stranger or a scampering squirrel and other dogs but 'Guard Dogs' are bred to react to certain outside stimuli and spring into action in various situations. Research is important when choosing the breed best suited for your particular needs.

Most of the dogs listed are found on other lists also, so here they are in no particular order.

The German Shepherd
A favorite among guard dogs, the German Shepherd is very smart, fearless, courageous and confident. A popular choice among police, these dogs are often taught commands in German because they learn fast. They're very calm in the household but when their family is threatened, they react quickly! Interestingly enough, German Shepherds also make good service dogs.

The Doberman Pinscher
This highly trainable breed is alert, fearless and loyal. This is a fast dog able to cover a lot of territory in a short amount of time. If you have a lot of land to protect or an intruder to take down, the Doberman is for you! The Doberman is known as the fifth smartest dog breed in the world.

These dogs are quick learners and an intelligent breed. Originally bred to protect cattle, the Rottweiler will protect their pack relentlessly. Their owners can expect extreme loyalty while with strangers they're rather aloof until properly introduced. The Rottweiler is also an affectionate dog.

This breed is courageous, protective and physically strong - a Herculean kinda dog! Known as the 'silent watchdog' the bullmastiff is a cross between an English Mastiff and an English Bulldog. The Bullmastiff's family loyalty is unsurpassed. If an intruder closes in, the Bullmastiff will spring into action, using its strength to knock down or block the intruder. In the household it's a great pet who's docile and affectionate with the family. This brave and affectionate dog will always have your back!

Giant Schnauzer
These are strong and powerful dogs requiring very strict training. This dominant breed must be worked physically every day with not only physical exercise but also mental exercise. Requiring constant attention, the Giant Schnauzer is an intimidating but loyal breed, and needless to say, make excellent guard dogs. They're very trainable with a stable temperament.

The Akita is bold and fearless, originally bred for Japan's upper class. It's a breed that commands much respect! Their great loyalty to their families (as demonstrated in the movie Hatchi: A Dog's Tale) as well as their intense suspicions toward strangers make them a great guard dog. Akitas are large, robust dogs that are accustomed to braving harsh environments. They do not share space well with other breeds, so the Akita is the only dog you should have in the household. Also, the Akita requires an experienced owner, so if you've never owned a dog before, you probably should avoid this breed.

Rhodesian Ridgeback
Although the Rhodesian Ridgeback sounds like a type of dragon from 'Harry Potter', I assure you this breed is an even tempered dog which is reserved with strangers and affectionate toward loved ones (proven by its love for cuddling and its want to be a lapdog.) This breed is very independent and loyal, which is why they make great watchdogs. Look at their history! They were originally bred to hunt lions! They're selective in their barking and needs to be taken seriously. When this breed barks, you better listen because something has gone terribly astray! Ridgebacks must be trained and managed as they're not naturally obedient - ok, so maybe they are part dragon!

Staffordshire Bull Terrier
This breed may be a bit stubborn and tenacious but it's also brave, gentle, clever and playful! Often confused with the Pit Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Terrier was bred for bull and bear fighting - quite a task for a dog! They are protective and aggressive, making them the perfect guard dog. They should be trained and socialized when young because of their nature. This breed makes a great pet for the family as they are only aggressive while protecting family members!

This dog is suspicious in nature as well as alert and will always bark to inform its owner of anything not quite right! The Puli is extremely smart and loyal and love running, hiking, and outdoor activities, making them good additions to the active family! Pulis require constant companionship and are home-loving and strong-willed but trainable.

This is a very active and demanding breed requiring your devout attention. It's very active, very loyal and very bulky and heavy coat! Traditionally used for protecting sheep, horses, llamas, goats, and chickens, though quiet and calm indoors (but not suited for an apartment) their deep impressive bark alone marks them as a great guard dog, especially for farms where your closest neighbor is miles away! The Komondor is a self-reliant dog never completely at ease with strangers but selflessly devoted to their family. This breed has strong instincts he relies upon and unless you establish yourself as the number one Alpha, control over this dog will never be yours! Truthfully, the Komondor is too much of a dog for the average household but it does possess natural guard dog abilities.

An ancient breed of Hungarian origin is very territorial and harbors a strong instinct to guard the family and home. The Kuvasz is quite rugged and requires a roomy home with a fenced in yard. His deep bark will alert you when strangers are near and he'll want to announce every stranger and sound alien to him! Requires early socialization if you want to keep his territorial instincts under control. Guarding livestock is where this breed shines, as it is part of this dog's genetic makeup to lead, as long as you do not allow him to lead you!

Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois which looks like a leaner and more agile German Shepherd are used as search and rescue dogs, working dogs for the police and military, and guard dogs for The White House (although they weren't used for bringing down the fence jumper who actually made it into the White House before being taken down by an officer).

This breed can run 30 miles per hour and can withstand desert temperatures as well as the dog days of summer in Washington. As a herding dog this is the most energetic dog you can get, so owning this dog require you to ensure they stay active or they will become destructive. This is an extremely loyal and vigorous dog who is protective of their family.

Great Pyrenees
This breed loves to constantly control and patrol the outside perimeters, so yes, this makes a great guard dog and not a dog that lazily sleeps by the fireplace. Although calm and gentle with children, this breed is very protective and defensive with its heavy and distinctive bark. When commanded to protect, that is what they do no matter if it's protecting or guarding a herd of animals, your family or your home! This breed is very slow to learn new commands, so patience is of utmost importance when training the Great Pyrenees!

Be Responsible

Even-though all of the above mentioned breeds make good pets for the family, you must keep in mind that owning a guard dog comes with many added responsibilities. These are strong and powerful dogs with overpowering personalities that must be properly trained and socialized to look toward their owner as being their 'pack leader.' If these responsibilities are not for you, perhaps you should consider a 'watch dog' in lieu of a 'guard dog.' Persistent barkers will scare away intruders and trespassers while alerting their owners of possible threats as well as intimidating guard dogs.

By Tom Matteo