Pop Quiz: What makes the best guard dog breed?
Is it the size? Nope.
Level of attachment to the house and owners? Still nope.
The key to a great guard dog is a combination of protective nature and intelligence. Knowing when to bark, when to attack and most importantly – when to stop.
Below is a handpicked list of guard dog breeds with natural defensive reflexes and enough intelligence to apply those skills in a real world situation. Or scroll down for the top 5 in each size category!
TOP 5 FAMILY GUARD DOGS:
Known for its powerful physique, bravery and exceptional loyalty, this breed is favoured by homes or businesses that want a guard dog that is very docile. Faced with an unwanted intruder, a Bullmastiff will stubbornly block its path or use its strength to knock them over. Rambunctious as puppies, a Bullmastiff will mellow with age and make a great family pet-come-guardian.
4. Giant Schnauzer
Powerful, energetic and dominant Giant Schnauzers need strict training from day one. Developed as a working dog, the Giant Schnauzer is smart and needs plenty of exercise and stimulation. Courageous, loyal and intimidating, this handsome dog is full of protective instinct.
3. Doberman Pinscher
Sleek, athletic and noble, the Doberman Pinscher is the Usain Bolt of guard dogs. Famed for their lightening speeds, alertness and remarkable intelligence, Doberman Pinschers are popular among those who have a larger property to protect. If an intruder sets foot on your property, the chances are this dog will have chased them off before you even know about it.
2. German Shepherd
There’s a good reason that this breed is favoured by Police forces around the world. Quick to learn, fearless and fast, this breed makes for excellent protection. They also have a softer side, calm and loving but quick to react if their area is under threat.
1. Rhodesian Ridgeback
When you learn that this dog was bred to hunt lions it can be a little intimidating. They are not naturally obedient and need a solid and consistent training regime due to their independent nature. They are big, strong and an efficient alarm system as they only bark when there really is something to bark about.
TOP 5 LARGE GUARD DOGS:
Weighing in at 44 – 88 pounds, these dogs are great for large houses with plenty of open space, farms or estates.
Large, powerful and heavy boned – these working dogs were first bred in Japan in the 1600s to accompany hunters in taking down large game. As such, this breed is known for being bold, independent, stubborn and tenacious.
The Akita is reserved with strangers and aggressive to other dogs but utterly devoted in a family setting. In the right hands and with adequate training, this working dog is highly qualified to protect your home.
Bred as an independent protector of livestock, this dreadlock wonder is a natural guardian. Don’t let its friendly mop like appearance fool you, this dog is extremely intelligent, independent and at times stubborn and domineering.
Great with family and other animals, yet reserved and cautious with strangers. The Komondor is utterly fearless and ready to attack if needed.
3. Belgian Malinois
This elegant, highly energetic herder has all the power of large dog without any of the bulk. Bred in the 1800s in Belgium, this breed is alert, smart, serious and questioning.
Like most protective breeds, the Malionis needs regular mental and physical stimulation as well as a strong minded owner to avoid behavioural problems. With the right training, this dog will easily protect your home and family from any outside threats.
Courageous, calm and well balanced, the Beauceron is truly a multipurpose dog. First bred in France in 1500s as herding dogs, they were quickly adapted into other roles including guarding and police work.
With it’s powerful agile body, strong jaws and extreme loyalty coupled with intelligence – beaucerons make reliable and thoughtful guardians.
1. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Taking the first place on our list is a dog that can take on a lion! Yes you read correctly, a lion. The Rhodesian Ridgeback combines power, speed, endurance, intelligence and loyalty into one fearless hunter.
Bred in South Africa in the 1800s and adapted for working in hot climates this dog has been referred to as “The navy seal of dog breeds”. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a keen and versatile hunter, loyal guardian and the perfect guard dog to protect your home. After all, if it can take on a lion, imagine what it would do to a burglar…
TOP 5 MEDIUM GUARD DOGS:
Weighing in at 23 – 44 pounds, these dogs are great for small and medium houses as well as large apartments with a small open space.
5. German Pinscher
The Pinscher is a viscous, tenacious and courageous breed which is small enough to be agile and solid enough to be strong. Bred in Germany in the 1600s for catching rats, modern day, it has found its place as a guard dog and championship competitor.
With its tireless nature, extreme senses and and loyal temperament, this dog will sound an alert to possible intruders and attack if required.
4. Finnish Spitz
This inquisitive, alert and playful hunter comes to us from ancient Finland. Quick and light on its feet, the breed was designed to hunt small animals and birds. Independent and somewhat stubborn in nature, the Spitz tends to devote itself to one person in the household.
Known for its barking ability, natural suspicion of strangers and kind approach to children, the Spitz makes for a great family guard dog.
3. Border Collie
The Border Collie is a bundle of energy and strength waiting to be released on the world. Bred in Great Britain in the 1600s, it’s one of the smartest dogs walking the earth. This breed is stealthy, strong, graceful, agile and tireless.
It’s reserved, kind and protective nature makes it the perfect house guard dog IF all of its daily exercise needs are met.
Canaans are known for their docile, dependant and devoted nature. Coming to us from ancient Israel, this breed has excelled as a herder, century, messenger and assistance dog.
Its aloof approach toward strangers, protective nature, natural obedience and loud bark make it an easy to train family protector.
1. Australian Cattle Dog
Extremely responsible, obedient, determined and loyal, the Australian Cattle Dog wins first place in the medium size category. Bred in the 1800s to assist with farm work, this dog quickly went from herder to house pet thanks to it’s kind nature and strong companionship bond with it’s owners.
Like most guard dogs, it has traits of stubbornness, independence and tenaciousness which makes early training essential for good behaviour. However, if all its needs are met this dog will not only guard your home but become your best friend and lifelong companion.
TOP 5 SMALL GUARD DOGS:
Weighing in at 12 – 22 pounds, these dogs are great for apartments and areas with little room to move.
5. Scottish Terrier
This feisty and fearless character holds great power in a small package. Bred in Scotland in the 1800s as a vermin hunter, the Scottish Terrier is great at taking on adversaries in tight spaces.
Don’t be fooled by it’s compact size, this dog is heavy boned, tough, determined and has a loud bark which it likes to use…often. Although it can be independent and stubborn, it has a kind heart and sensitive nature making it a great companion dog.
4. Miniature Schnauzer
One of the most popular terriers, this robust rat catcher was developed in Germany in the 1800s. Its quick, tough, curious and ready for action. This dog’s feisty nature means it won’t hesitate to bark or bite when the situation calls for it. Playful, alert and inquisitive this dog is great with children and adults alike.
This comical miniature is a large dog in a small dog’s body. Although originally bred as a lapdog in China, it has proven extremely adaptable. Depending on the dog’s lifestyle and training, it can be a great outdoors companion or a chip eating couch potato.
Although not specifically a guard dog, this breed’s sturdy build, natural confidence and easy training make it a great choice to protect your family.
2. Parson Russell Terrier
Thriving on action and adventure, the Parson is a true hunter at heart. Developed for fox bolting in 1800s England, this breed knows how to get itself into all sorts of mischief.
Playful, extremely intelligent, great with kids and protective in nature. What else could you want from a small guard dog?
First on our list in the small dog category is the Belgian watchdog and rat catcher, Schipperke. This fox lookalike is active, agile and graceful, making it perfect in confrontations with rats and humans alike.
Reserved and suspicious of strangers, yet pleasant and amiable with family members. If you’re looking for a small dog to guard your apartment, don’t look past the Schipperke!
To sum up, the best guard dog breeds are those that combine strength and intelligence regardless of size and natural aggression. Please bear in mind, even the best guard dogs don’t perform well if not adequately trained and exercised regularly. Dogs are a huge responsibility, if you’re only getting one for safety, you may be better off purchasing an alarm system. However, if you’re willing to invest the time and want a lifelong companion, you can’t do better than these breeds!