Looking for a great guard dog? Someone to protect your home, family or property and watch for unfamiliar people or animals? Please do not confuse a guard dog with an attack dog, because a guard dog knows not to attack familiar people. He/she is not vicious.
Certain breeds are prone to be better guard dogs than others as a result of their genetics, training and socialization. The purpose of a guard dog is to bark loudly to get their pet parents’ attention and scare away the intruder or predator. According to the American Kennel Club, guard dogs tend to be “loyal, fearless strong and watchful.”
What breeds are the best guard dogs? Help ‘Em Up® Harness has done its research and here is our list of the top 10:
- Akita. The burly Akita has an intimidating stature. They are affectionate and friendly with family and friends, but intolerant of strangers and other animals. They are hardwired to protect those they love.
- German Shepherds. German Shepherds are born to work and make great police dogs. You may see them at the airport in a bomb sniffing capacity, on search and rescue teams or as therapy dogs. They not only protect their pet parents from danger but form strong bonds with their owners. These large dogs are intelligent, muscular, courageous and loyal. They can be gentle family pets but their aloofness can make them standoffish.
- Bull Mastiff. Their sheer size is scary! These huge dogs are powerful and fearless at work while being docile at home. A world class protector, their dark eyes, wrinkles, deep muzzle, and keen alertness set them apart from other guard dogs. Ancestor to the ancient Molossus that took out tigers and lions, they are also related to the Roman war dogs.
- Doberman Pinscher. These dogs are sleek, strong, fast and brave. They served as sentries in WWII for the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific and were developed in Germany during the 19th century as guard dogs. Their athletic build and docked tail make them look aristocratic.
- Catahoula Leopard Dogs. This multi-purpose working dog is best known for his agility and endurance. The official state dog of Louisiana, he was developed to catch and drive wild hogs and cattle to market. Aloof towards people he doesn’t know, he is gentle at home and excellent in competitive events such as obedience, rally and agility.
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog. This breed is not as well-known as others, but is bold, fearless and strong with strangers and devoted, kind and loving with family members. This fierce family protector was originally bred to care for flocks and defend the home against wild predators in the rough Caucasus Mountain region. This breed is highly territorial and won’t back down from a fight even with bears and wolves!
- Appenzeller Sennenhund. Although smaller than other guard dogs, this medium-sized dog is known for its agility and energy. Originating in the Swiss Alps, Appenzellers are more suspicious of strangers than the usual herding dog and will not warm up to visitors right away.They are protective of family.
- Estrela Mountain Dog. Famous for herding livestock and originating in Portugal, this dog loves children and livestock while bravely protecting its companions against predators and thieves.
- Giant Schnauzer. This working dog is smart, stubborn and intelligent and makes a great large guard dog but is not for the novice owner. They are demanding and imposing, and do better in homes with older children.
- If you have never heard of this breed, you are in the majority. The Puli looks exactly like a giant mop but can easily outsmart predators. Known as the “acrobat of the dog world”, its thick dreadlocks may look silly, but this breed should be taken seriously as a watch dog.
Many of the dogs listed above are great guard dogs but might not be the best choice for a first-time-dog owner. Each of these breeds needs early socialization and training so their dominance doesn’t turn into aggression. You want their protectiveness and territorial attitudes aimed at strangers versus family members! These dogs are all working dogs who need a job to do.