Many people like the idea of having a guard dog to protect them and their family in their home. The right kind of dog can be a valuable member of your family, being both a playmate for your children and they can alert you to suspicious or dangerous situations.
Not just any dog can be a guard dog though. When you are considering a guard dog for your home, there are many things you must think about. The size, breed and demeanor of the animal are all important things that play a role in whether they are the best guard dogs or not.
Many people incorrectly think that a guard dog must be a large breed dog, but that isn't necessarily true. The same goes for the breed. The best guard dog breeds aren't always what people assume they are. Sometimes your daughter's little yappy dog can be a better detector of an intruder than a big burly dog.
Guard dogs must also be thoroughly trained in order to do the job right. You do want your guard dog to be wary of strangers, but you need to train them so that they don't think that every new person is a threat.
There are many different types of guard dogs as well. Some are the best outside guard dogs while others are the best indoor guard dogs. Some dogs are well suited to guarding livestock while others are the best guard dogs for a large year or the best guard dogs for apartments.
Let's look now at some of the things you ought to look for in a guard dog for your home and your family.
What to look for in a guard dog
In a minute we will go over the breeds that are best suited to being guard dogs, but first we want to go over the traits you should expect in a good guard dog. The breeds we suggest below exhibit these traits, and that's why they are on our list.
Smart – A good guard dog needs to be obedient and needs to follow the simplest of commands from you. A dog with a higher level of intelligence will be able to tell the difference between something that is slightly unusual and something that is a genuine threat.
Bravery – A good guard dog must be courageous, brave enough to tackle whatever comes his way. Only a brave dog will be ready to tackle a criminal that is likely twice his size.
Loyal – Your guard dog must be loyal to your family first and foremost. It is not bad for him to be friendly once you have given the okay, but a good guard dog will not be a member of the welcoming wagon.
Territorial – Good guard dogs are fiercely protective of their homes and closely surrounding areas. A good guard dog will not less a trespasser go by unnoticed, they will alert everyone that someone unusual is on the property.
Loving – Obviously you don't want a guard dog that licks every single person to death, but you also don't want a dog that is fierce around family and trusted friends. You need a dog that has both sides and that knows the difference between who to be friendly with and who to be on alert with.
Best guard dogs for families
Many people worry that having children in the home means they shouldn't have a guard dog. We would say that the opposite is actually true. Having children in the home means you need a good guard dog for protection.
There are some breeds that are better suited to this task than others are, so be mindful of that when choosing your protector.
Most guard dogs are bigger breeds, and if that is the case with your pup, you will want to keep a watchful eye. Your large, playful dog could accidentally hurt your kids during playtime.
Most of the best guard dogs for home are from breeds that are loyal and loving to their pack: your family. They will make sure the kids are safe and are more than happy to protect them.
For the safety of both the dog and your children though, you must teach both of them how to interact with each other. Your dog needs to be taught how to handle your children, and your children need to learn what is and isn't okay with the dog. Make rules and ensure they are followed.
Best guard dog breeds
Now that we've learned more about what to expect from them, let's move on to learning more about the best guard dog breeds.
1. German Shepherd
Near the top of almost any list for a guard dog you will find this one, the German Shepherd. They are well known as police dogs and military dogs and they are very easy to train as guard dogs. Of the traits needed in a good guard dog, German Shepherds exhibit nearly all of them in spades. They are smart, brave and loving. Though not the largest of the best guard dog breeds, German Shepherds are imposing thanks to their appearance. This breed of dog loves to get love and attention from their family, and they need to be groomed quite often.
2. Bull mastiff
Having been around a long time, and used to the role of protector, Bull Mastiffs are a great choice for a large guard dog. They have most of the traits you'll want in a good guard dog as they are protective and loving and they are large and intimidating often clocking the scale at well over 110 pounds. Many guard dogs require a lot of affection due to their sensitive nature, but most Bull Mastiff pups don't have this problem. You should know that they tend to pass a lot of smelly gas and they are known for their excessive drooling.
3. Great pyrenees
You might not think of this breed as being a typical guard dog breed, but they do have what it takes to rise to the task. Originally bred to guard livestock from predators, the Great Pyrenees is well-suited to being your family's guard dog. They are loyal and courageous, and they possess a size that is intimidating to intruders. When it comes to their family, they are gentle and loving. They don't have a lot of need for playtime or interaction with their humans, which makes them a good choice for people who will be away for extended periods of time. They are smart and easily trainable, but their penchant for independence can sometimes be off-putting.
If you've ever had the pleasure of owning a Boxer pup or playing with one that a friend or family member owns; you might be surprised to find out that they are actually very effective guard dogs. As a matter of fact, Boxers were originally bred to be guard dogs, but they wiggled their way into the hearts of their owners, too. Though not a small breed by any means, when it comes to this category, Boxers are one of the best small guard dogs out there. They are intelligent and easy to train, and they are excellent with children making them one of the best guard dogs for kids.
5. Belgian malinois
Similar to the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is an extremely popular breed among police and military dog handlers. They look very similar to the German Shepherd, but they have a lot more energy and endurance than their doppelganger. One of the breeds that's on the smaller side, the Belgian Malinois is one of the best medium sized guard dog options. This breed of dog is quite smart, but they are also mischievous and a lot of work to keep entertained. You will want to look for a different breed if you don't have the time to devote to the constant training and attention a Belgian Malinois needs.
6. Doberman pinscher
When it comes to protecting those they love, Doberman Pinschers are one of the best breeds out there. They possess nearly every trait of a good guard dog including exceptional bravery. They are nearly always on alert. They are very loyal, and their imposing size makes them a great choice for protecting your home and your family. When it comes to your family, Doberman Pinschers are sensitive and loving, and will love a good playtime session with the kids. Doberman Pinschers will attack, but only if provoked or instructed to do so by their owner.
Ticking every single box on the qualities and traits list, Rottweilers are extremely affectionate to their family, they are incredibly smart, and they are seemingly fearless and will protect at all costs. Bred originally to help with cattle herding and a friend of soldiers during war, this pup has adapted well to being a guard dog. That being said, if you are new to training a dog, you will want help when training a Rottweiler. They are smart, but they are also sensitive. They pick up on emotions, so they need a mild mannered trainer to guide them along. They cannot be left alone for long and the need lots of love and attention as well as exercise.
This breed of dog is indigenous to the mountains of Japan, though there are now two distinct breed types. The Akita Inu is that Japanese breed type, while the Akita is the American breed type. Both of these breed types are a good choice when it comes to choosing the best guard dogs for families. They are a smart breed and easy to train. They are loyal and protective of those they love. They are dominant and independent, but more so that almost anything, they love their families. They will love to play with the kids and curl up for a nap, but they will be on high alert if a stranger appears.
9. Giant schnauzer
Though this breed is more bark than bite, they are still highly effective guard dogs. They are sensitive and require a lot of love and interaction from their families to be content, but they return the affection in spades. They have an imposing size which might deter any criminals, and they are powerful and eager to defend those they love. They are also territorial and don't like having unknown people around. Giant Schnauzers are very smart, but this leads to them getting themselves into trouble at times. With proper training and lots of love, this could be the perfect breed to be the best guard dog for you and your family.
10. Tibetan mastiff
If you are hoping for one of the best large guard dogs, they really don't come much bigger than this. The Tibetan Mastiff is an incredibly large dog that will intimidate anyone that steps onto your property. Known through history as Tibet's guardian dog, this powerful and watchful pup can be quite territorial – especially when it feels like something is threatening in its family. When it comes to family, this breed is laid back and loves to just hand around. The Tibetan Mastiff isn't exceptionally affectionate to its humans, but it is certainly loyal and will protect your family.
11. Cane corso
The Cane Corso is a descendent of one of the original tough guard dogs that were used in warfare by the Romans centuries ago. This pup will grow to be quite large in size, typically tipping the scales at well over 100 pounds. This breed is large and imposing, and they possess a calm confidence that adds to the intimidation factor. They are exceptionally loving with heir families, but they are not fond of strangers. Cane Corsos need lots of room, too. Look elsewhere if you need a guard dog for your apartment because Can Corsos need lots of room to run.
12. Rhodesian ridgeback
This breed is fierce and was bred originally with he intention of hunting lions. This pup loves to be in charge. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are also intensely loyal to their families and they are a natural when it comes to being a guard dog. This breed does not bark often, but when they do you can be sure that something unusual or out of place is happening. Their independent nature makes Rhodesian Ridgebacks a challenge to train well, but they do need training to be effective guard dogs. They also don't realize how big they are and tend to think they can curl up in your lap to snuggle.
13. Great dane
With the ability to reach nearly 200 pounds, Great Danes are absolutely enormous and one of the best large guard dogs. They don't check all of the boxes on the qualification list as they aren't particularly protective or territorial, they are definitely willing to protect those they love – and their intimidating size certainly helps scare off those who are ill-intentioned. Great Danes are a lot of work due to their size and their smarts. It takes a special person to properly train a Great Dane, but if you have what it takes then this gentle giant is a great choice for a guard dog.
14. Saint bernard
Generally known as a very friendly breed, Saint Bernards are quite big, often nearing 200 pounds in weight. This pup won't do you any good as an attack dog and their friendly nature isn't of much use once a burglar makes it in the house. Their bark is frightening though, as is their size and this is usually enough to deter criminals. Saint Bernards area great around older kids, but you need to keep an eye out if you've got smaller ones. The pup loves kids but is quite clumsy and might unintentionally hurt your little ones.
15. Bernese mountain dog
Dating back to Roman times, the Bernese Mountain Dog has been known as a dog capable or guarding and protecting livestock and property. This breed of dog is constantly on alert and they are not fond of unfamiliar people being around. If anything suspicious is happening, the Bernese Mountain Dog will let you know with a bark or a growl. This pup is not known for being overly aggressive, instead relying on its intimidating size to keep predators and criminals at bay. They do absolutely adore children, and children love them just as much. They are a great choice for the best guard dog for kids.
Getting a guard dog to protect your home and family isn't a bad idea, but you do need to remember a few things. Research the breed and make sure that it will be a good fit with your family. If your pup will be left alone for long hours, make sure they are from a breed that doesn't need a lot of attention. Also make sure that the dog you choose is good around kids if you've got some.
Remember too that just because a certain breed is good at being guard dogs doesn't mean your specific pup will be. Different dogs have different temperaments and you can't expect the to all be the same. There are plenty of the best mixed-breed guard dogs available, too.
You must work with your guard dog and train them so that they know what is expected of them.
Whatever you decide, your home will be happier and safer when there is a guard dog inside it!