These Breeds Make The Best Guard Dogs

For the most part, we love dogs because they make loyal, loving companions. We don’t need them to do anything except cuddle up with us on the couch while we binge Netflix shows or cry over a breakup. Even though dogs make perfect companions now, they have been used as fierce guide dogs in the past. If you are looking to feel a little bit more protected at home, you might want to look into the breeds on this list.

Read on for a variety of breeds that live to keep their people safe.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are the ultimate working dogs. These dogs are known to work with the armed forces, police officers, and various detection units. they are extremely smart and also quite emotionally intelligent.

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Photo by Vitaly NevarTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Vitaly NevarTASS via Getty Images

Their muscular but acrobatic physique puts them at an advantage over intruders, but they are gentle with family and would do anything to save the ones they love. These dogs often have a bark that’s worse than their bite, but when they do bite, you better watch out.

Akitas

Weighing in around 100 pounds, Akita dogs have a strong build beneath their thick and fluffy coat that makes them great guard dogs. In their ancient home of Japan, they are highly regarded as family protectors and were bred to be both guardians and hunters.

An orange and white Akita looks up longingly.
Mikhail Vasilyev/Unsplash
Mikhail Vasilyev/Unsplash

As such, they are often wary of other dogs and of strangers, so they won’t think twice about defending you. At the same time, they have a silly side that they’re happy to share with family and friends.

Rottweilers

The Rottweiler is another breed that often comes to mind when we think of guard dogs. These pups are actually quite gentle, but they look very intimidating when they growl or raise their upper lip.

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Photo by Henrique Casinhas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Henrique Casinhas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rottweilers love being around people and are eager to please their owners. They have an aggressive side that shouldn’t be encouraged during playtime. These dogs have great instincts, but you don’t want them snapping at kids who are just learning how to play gently with dogs.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Staffordshire Bull Terriers get a bad rap. People think that these dogs (also referred to as Pit Bulls) are naturally vicious or aggressive. This could not be further from the truth. Staffies can fight if they’re trained to fight, but generally, they are very gentle and loving dogs.

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Photo by Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images
Photo by Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images

These clever dogs are well-equipped to tackle any threat that comes their way, but are sensitive to their owners’ wants. Well trained Staffies will play gently with kids and protect their owners when needed.

Chow Chows

Chow Chows are an ancient breed that were actually bred to be guard dogs for Chinese royalty. These dogs kind of look like little lions. If lions are the king of the jungle, Chow Chows are the king of the house. They won’t let in any uninvited guests.

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Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

They are easily housebroken and have little odor, which makes sense with their aristocratic looks! Chows are stubborn, so early socialization is key to a well-rounded pooch.

Bernese Mountain Dogs

Big, beautiful Bernese Mountain Dogs aren’t the kind of dogs you want to mess with. Mostly, these dogs love to play and they love to please, but they’re also very big dogs and can easily knock over a regular-sized human.

Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Imposing But Not Threatening
Cuveland/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Cuveland/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Although the Bernese is fairly imposing in size, they aren’t threatening in the general sense. They just tend to be aloof with strangers but will switch gears really fast if they think one of their own is in danger.

Bullmastiffs

Bullmastiffs are rather lazy dogs, but they can spring into action if they think their owner is being threatened. This breed has a history of pursuing poachers in England, so you can rest assured that these dogs are well equipped with the skills needed to deter an intruder.

Bullmastiffs Are Brave
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Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bullmastiffs can be a bit stubborn, so they’re best suited to experienced dog owners or owners who can dedicate a lot of time to training their furry friend.

The Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are certainly giant. These dogs might not be as big as a Bullmastiff, but they can easily weigh in at over 95 pounds. That’s 95 pounds of pure muscle. This stocky breed can really pack a punch.

Giant Schnauzer Is Valiant And Bold
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Unlike a lot of bigger dog breeds, the Giant Schnauzer has a lot of energy and needs to be exercised multiple times a day. Thankfully, this high-energy pooch is very intelligent and trainable. They are very loyal dogs who will protect their owners at all costs.

Boxers

Boxers are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. These dogs are hardworking, funloving, and full of energy. They are full of curiosity and can be silly at times, which is why we often see them in so many funny internet videos.

A Boxer dog where a big smiles in a grass field.
Anita Peeples/Unsplash
Anita Peeples/Unsplash

These goofballs of the canine world are also really great watchdogs. They take their job as watchdogs and guard dogs very seriously and will rush forward at the first sign of a threat.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

If you haven’t heard of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, that’s because this breed isn’t as popular as its Labrador and Golden Retriever relatives. Even so, these dogs are just as affectionate and loyal as their cousins. They can be quite wary of strangers, though.

A Chesapeake Bay Retriever looks bright eyed while lying in the grass.
Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Brian Brainerd/The Denver Post via Getty Images

They’ll be polite at first, but the minute they need to they’ll race to protect their humans. These emotionally complex dogs are both obedient and independent. They can fend for themselves if they need to but they much prefer to stay close to their human companions.

Australian Shepherds

Australian Shepherds are a wonderful mixture of sweet and sour, being both playful and work-oriented. They have a strong impulse to herd and are bursting with energy, so they love to have a job to do and require strong training.

An Australian Shepherd lays in the grass.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Aussies form a deep bond with their family and will turn all of that energy toward protecting those they love. The breed’s intelligence and loyalty make them easy to train, so long as the owner is willing to provide them with the attention and activity they need.

The Appenzeller Sennenhund

The Appenzeller Sennenhund, also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle Dog, is both fearless and agile. Their muscular build and lively personality make them ready for action at all times.

An Appenzeller Sennenhung stands on all fours and looks into the camera.
Tillmann Hubner/Unsplash
Tillmann Hubner/Unsplash

They are highly intelligent and top the charts in terms of energy, so they require open land that they can freely play on. Appenzeller Sennenhunds make for not only great guard dogs, but also search and rescue animals. Suspicious of strangers, they won’t be easily distracted with bribes.

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs

The Anatolian Shepherd dog stands at just under 2.5 feet tall to the shoulder and weighs up to 150 pounds due to its muscular physique. Bred to protect their flocks, these dogs are skillfully agile and quick thinkers.

A puppy Anatolian Shepherd Dog stares at the camera while eating a bone.
JENNIFER BRUCE/AFP via Getty Images
JENNIFER BRUCE/AFP via Getty Images

Anatolians’ ancestors are some of the oldest-known domestic canines, dating back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age. They have a longstanding reputation for being outstanding guardians. The loyal dogs are wary of strangers, so they need to be socialized at a young age.

Beaucerons

Beaucerons look a bit like thicker and fluffier Dobermans with their pointy ears and black and auburn fur, but they can also have a black-gray-tan coat. Regardless of their fur, their tall and muscular build combined with their confident expression are sure to ward off any threats.

A Beauceron stares into the distance.
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

These dominant dogs will own their owner, so they need firm but fair training and plenty of mental and physical exercise. By the same token, they are wonderful protectors of the young and defenseless as they are sensitive and smart creatures.

The Belgian Laekenois

The Belgian Laekenois (pronounced Lak-in-wah) is both sturdy and agile, making it no match for intruders. Its dark snout emphasizes its watchful eyes, which are both observant and full of life.

A Belgian Laekenois stands on all fours in a grass field.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

These dogs are very affectionate when it comes to their family, and want nothing more than to please their owner. As such, they take well to training and are sure to protect their master and their property. They are often reserved around strangers but love being around humans they can trust.

Black Russian Terriers

Black Russian Terriers are brawny, shaggy animals full of power. Though they are energetic, they have a calm side that comes out when they get enough exercise. These dominating animals need firm training, but that’s also what makes them intimidating to strangers.

A Black Russian Terrier sits in the grass next to its owner.
Martin Rickett – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images
Martin Rickett – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Full of power and confidence, Black Russian Terriers were bred to protect. They are moderately wary of strangers, but won’t hesitate to make their dominance known since these courageous dogs are built to guard.

Tibetan Mastiffs

This is a Tibetan Mastiff, and they are known to be one of the best guardians out there. Although their size and demeanor are a bit imposing and intimidating, they are very mellow around their human companions.

Tibetan Mastiffs Are Known As Guardian Dogs
Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images
Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images

This breed is devoted to their family, being a built-in security system for their loved ones. While Mastiffs are loving towards their family, they can be very aloof and territorial if a stranger walks through the door.

Boerboels

Boerboels descend from the same ancestor as Mastiffs, which may explain their strong, bronzy build. One characteristic that some say makes them superior to their Mastiff relatives is their agility.

A Boerboel stands in a grass field.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Bred to act as a shield from the fierce predators of remote South Africa, Boerboels are committed to protecting. Their powerful jaws and thick muscles make them a force you don’t want to reckon with. At the same time, they adore their family and are very calm and smart.

Hovawarts

Hovawarts have an even-keeled demeanor that, combined with their loyalty, make them wonderful companions. These intelligent dogs are often on high alert and they have an extra sensitive nose, hence, they are a valuable resource in search and rescue organizations.

A hovawart lays in the grass and looks to their side.
Christine Klassen/Pixabay
Christine Klassen/Pixabay

These self-confident dogs need an owner that is more directive than they are. With the appropriate training, they can make for wonderful guard dogs as they have a strong instinct to protect their family.

Doberman Pinschers

Doberman Pinschers look very intimidating, even if they are softies at heart. They have excellent muscle definition, and they look like they know how to stand up for themselves and their families.

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Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Dobermans are fearless and will gladly stand up to anyone or anything they deem threatening. These loyal dogs are eager to please and love to spend time exercising with their owners, which also keeps them in shape for any task, no matter how dangerous.

Thai Ridgebacks

Between their active character and impressive jumping ability, Thai Ridgebacks are not easy to get past. Bred to hunt and guard, these dogs have exceptional survival instincts and don’t immediately take to strangers.

A Thai Ridgeback rests its head on its paw while lying on asphalt.
janamathes/Pixabay
janamathes/Pixabay

Thai Ridgebacks are loyal to their family and protective of their home, but need an owner who can assert their dominance. These tough dogs require their fair share of exercise, so play and dog sports can be a great way to bond with them.

The Bergamasco Sheepdog

The Bergamasco Sheepdog may look like something you would clean your floors with, but that’s part of what makes them such great guard dogs. Their hair strands morph together to form flat layers of felted hair that act as a shield of protection from predators.

A Bergamasco Sheepdog stands next to its owner at a dog show.
EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP via Getty Images
EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP via Getty Images

Vigilant workers, these dogs are always on the lookout and are wary of strangers at first. At the same time, they are sociable creatures who won’t resort to violence unless they decide it’s needed.

Tornjaks

Also known as the Bosnian or Herzegovina-Croatian Shepherd Dog, the Tornjak is thought to be descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. The sturdy breed is quick to threaten anyone they deem a risk towards their home or loved ones.

A Tornjak stands on all fours next to a street.
Ada K/Pixabay
Ada K/Pixabay

These dogs are happy to work for their owners and have a great memory. Though they are suspicious of strangers, they are affectionate toward those they know and trust and are calm in safe situations with their owners.

Briards

Briard dogs are full of love and have a high spirit that makes them irresistible to their owners. Though their shaggy fur often hangs over their eyes, they are watchful dogs that are especially protective of children.

A Briard lays in the grass with a large bone.
AnsPix/Pixabay
AnsPix/Pixabay

Though Briards have a somewhat moderate energy level, their work ethic is off the charts and they need an active job, even if it’s just chasing after a tennis ball. They adore human companionship and will pay it forward two-fold in terms of protection.

Cane Corsos

According to the American Kennel Club, the name Cane Corso comes from the Latin meaning for “bodyguard dog,” so it’s safe to say that guarding is a part of their nature. These affectionate dogs are deeply loyal to their owner.

A woman sits on the ground and puts her arms around her two cane corsos.
Guido Kirchner/picture alliance via Getty Images
Guido Kirchner/picture alliance via Getty Images

At the same time, their confidence can evolve into assertiveness towards their people if they aren’t trained properly, so it’s important to remain dominant. This characteristic can be read in the breed’s domineering stare, which seems to say “don’t mess with me.”

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois, sometimes referred to as Mals, are often confused with the German Shepherd breed. These dogs are best known for their police work, being able to pick up odors such as narcotics and even explosives. They tend to get into this line of work because they are highly intelligent and, therefore, easy to train on challenging assignments.

Belgian Malinois Gaurd The White House
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mals are even used by the U.S. Secret Service to protect the grounds surrounding the White House! These intelligent dogs are friendly and will protect their owners if they detect a threat of any kind.

Pulis

There is no other breed that resembles the dreadlocked Puli. They are extremely smart, but don’t let the easy training fool you; they are headstrong and aren’t afraid to walk to the beat of their own drum. That being said, Pulis are bred to work closely with humans.

Puli's Are Known As The Acrobats Of The Dog World
Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images
Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Puli breed is very faithful to their human companions, and do not take lightly to anyone or anything that they perceive as a threat. Honestly, anyone trying to break into a Puli’s home is in for a surprise. These dogs are called the “acrobat of the dog world,” after all.

The Bouvier Des Flandres

Bouvier des Flandres may be a mouthful to say, but that’s because the name translates to “cowherd of Flanders.” Indeed, these powerful dogs were known for their herding skills, but are also talented guard dogs.

The Bouvier Des Flandres Is Strong-Willed
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

These worker dogs embody the phrase “work hard, play hard,” as they love affection just as much as they love taking on a task. As such, they need an owner who can give them lots of attention and keep them busy. In return, Bouviers will do their best to keep their owners protected.

The Spanish Water

The Spanish water dog needs to be both mentally and physically active, making them excellent guard dogs. They are relatively easy to train but with their herding nature are prone to chasing after squirrels and rabbits. Don’t fault this precious dog; it’s just in their genes.

The Spanish Water Dog Is A Vigilant Watchdog
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Spanish water dogs are very loyal to their human companion, but if you ever want to get this breed, it is important to socialize him with strangers from an early age. This breed is known to be wary of people they don’t know, making them vigilant watchdogs.

Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dogs

The Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog is impressive in both its size and character. This breed is known as lively but very stubborn because it enjoys its independence. But don’t let that stubbornness fool you. These dogs are reliable and loyal, enjoying going anywhere with their human companions.

Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog's Are Mistrusting Of Strangers
cornel piter/Pinterest
cornel piter/Pinterest

That loyalty is what makes them fantastic guard dogs. While they love their family and are devoted to them, this breed is wary and mistrusting of any strangers that walk into their lives. They love their territory and are serious guardians when the occasion calls for it.

Perro de Presa Canarios

The Perro de Presa Canario is calm and well suited for guarding. They have an attentive expression, but that quickly goes away when they are in the presence of someone they love. Canarios like exercise, but they are also content to snuggle on the couch and be lazy.

Perro de Presa Canario Are Self-Confident
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Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

They are a confident breed and have no issue making it known. While this breed is loyal to their family, they’re cautious around strangers, especially on their home turf. It is obvious when this breed is on high alert because their stance becomes vigilant and solid.

Canaan Dogs

The national dog of Israel, Canaan Dogs are agile and energetic. This clever breed is loving to family and wary of strangers. Intelligent and confident, they require a strong owner who isn’t afraid to make their dominance known, or the Canaan Dog will take over the household.

Canaan Dogs Are Constantly On The Alert
Nicolas Brulliard for the Washington Post
Nicolas Brulliard for the Washington Post

With proper training, these ancient dogs will be your most vigilant sidekick and protector. Territorial by nature, they take time to warm up to new people and new environments. With positive reinforcement, they make for well-adjusted guardians.

Border Collies

At their heart, border collies are herding animals. They excel at running sheep and cattle back to their pens. While this might seem like they’re not great guard dogs, they are extremely loyal.

border Collie Adult Female Domestic Dog Behind A Wooden Fence Showing Her Teeth
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Collies often can be protective of their families and to show that will bark if they see or hear something they don’t recognize. Since they use their bark for herding purposes, it is loud and will ward off most strangers from your home.

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a floofy, sturdy guard dog with a heart of gold. You get the best of both worlds with this breed as they are both fierce and kind, and give back what is given to them.

Caucasian Shepherd Dogs Are Bold
PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images
PATRICK BAZ/AFP via Getty Images

Devoted to their family, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have a history of guarding flocks in mountainous territories. The gentle companions have a modest energy level making them lifesize teddy bears that are braced to protect at a moment’s notice.

Great Danes

Great Danes are known for their imposing size and weight. But while they are intimidating, this breed is a joy to live with. They’re patient with kids and are only looking to please their humans. But despite their sweet at-home nature, they are not to be trifled with.

Great Danes Are Alert At Home
Arthur Sidey/Syndication/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Arthur Sidey/Syndication/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

This breed is an alert guardian, and if an intruder is silly enough to enter a house with a Great Dane, they are going to be met with an animal full of spirit and courage. This breed will do everything in their power to keep their loved ones safe.

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs have a soft pride that makes them fit to be both a companion and a property guardian. The highly independent dogs are selective about who they bond with, so owners can rest assured that this breed will not be fooled easily.

Central Asian Shepherd Dogs Are Balanced And Self-Assured
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images
Yuri SmityukTASS via Getty Images

Once you have the loyalty of a Central Asian Shepherd Dog, you have a fierce protector who will be quiet and calm in the house but fearless in the face of danger.

The Komondor

With a similar coat to the Bergamasco Sheepdog, Komondorak (plural for Komondor) are buried in their thick layer of white cords. Beneath their natural coat of armor is a dignified guard dog with a respectable history of chasing ferocious beasts away from the sheep of Hungary.

The Komondor Is A Dignified Guardian
Harald Langeullstein bild via Getty Images
Harald Langeullstein bild via Getty Images

Both loyal and protective, the Komondor is a heavy-boned but light-footed breed that lives for the chase. Though their energy level is medium, they were built to protect and won’t hesitate to investigate anything they deem a threat.

American Leopard Hounds

Known as being one of the oldest dog breeds in the United States, American Leopard Hounds are intelligent and loving. The former is said to be the breed’s best attribute, making them easy to train.

Great Leopard Hound Are Protective Of Children
Ruth H/Pinterest
Ruth H/Pinterest

This breed is eager to please their family and is always up for some fun exercise. Leopard Hounds are loyal and love their family. They are also extremely protective of children, so if there is one in the family, this is a great breed choice for a guardian!

The Kuvasz

According to fans of the Kuvasz, the most beautiful part of the dog is its elegantly proportioned head. We’re not going to disagree! The Kuvasz is a gorgeous breed and looks quite majestic. Honestly, it makes sense why kings would choose this breed for a companion.

The Kuvasz Is A Protector
Cuveland/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Cuveland/ullstein bild via Getty Images

This breed is very smart, but they tend to enjoy a bit more independence than other breeds. And while they are great dogs, they might be a bit of a challenge for anyone new to owning a dog. But it doesn’t matter, the Kuvasz is loyal to their family and is a natural guardian who will protect their own at all costs.

The Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees, Pyrs for short, is a thickly coated and immensely powerful mountain dog full of energy. Despite topping the scale in terms of vitality, Pyrs are known for their tremendously calm nature and patient personalities.

The Great Pyrenees Is Packed With Power
Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Mellow one moment and springing into action the next, these dogs make for wonderful companions and protectors. The smart breed will conserve its energy for when it’s needed, and pack a punch towards any imposing threats. You’re not going to want to threaten this pooch’s family!

Chihuahuas

Although Chihuahuas are known as “purse dogs,” they are very feisty. This breed is the perfect example of a small dog with a big dog’s personality. They don’t realize how little they are, which makes their personality so funny. Even though they don’t realize their small stature, Chihuahuas are very intelligent and know how to get their way.

Chihuahuas Are Small But Feisty
FRANK RUMPENHORST/DPA/AFP via Getty Images
FRANK RUMPENHORST/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

But they are very eager to please their family and they excel at obedience training. This loyal pooch isn’t the best with strangers and might bark if someone unknown walks into their home.