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The Best Protective Dog Breeds That Make Great Guard Dogs

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Are you looking for a loyal and loving companion to keep your family safe? A protective dog breed can be a great source of comfort. We’ve uncovered some of the best guard dogs to help you pick the perfect breed.

guard dog illustration - protective dog breeds

Whether you want a guard dog that barks loudly to deter intruders or a loyal pup that is always by your side, there are some excellent guard dog options. In this article, you’ll learn about the top protective dog breeds and how to pick the right one for you and your family.

The Benefits of a Protective Dog

You may have a particular reason for looking for a protective dog breed, but there are a number of benefits that come with these dogs.

  • Awareness – Dogs are always alert and bark or growl if they sense danger. You’ll be aware of potential concerns before you might normally be able to detect them. This is great at home or out on a walk.
  • Companionship – All dogs make great companions. A properly socialized guard dog knows who to be friendly with and who to be wary of.
  • Security and Comfort – Having a loyal pup by your side can provide you with a sense of security and comfort, knowing that you have a dedicated protector keeping watch over you.

Different Types of Protective Dog Breeds

There are a variety of protective dog breeds, ranging in size and behavior. Large breeds tend to make better guard dogs as they not only protect their home but are also intimidating to strangers. If you’re less concerned with the intimidation factor, smaller dogs can make good watchdogs as they’re always alert. Finally, herding dogs provide protective companionship over family and animals.

A. Guard Dogs

Guard dogs are large breeds that are highly alert and ready to take action at the slightest sign of danger. They are naturally protective of their owners and will bark and growl if they sense an intruder. These breeds are well-suited for the task of guarding and protecting, as they are intelligent, obedient, and powerful. The most popular guard dog breeds include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers.

B. Watchdogs

Watchdogs are smaller breeds that are alert and vigilant. They will bark if they sense something is amiss, but they’re not going to scare off a determined intruder. Popular watchdog breeds include Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers, who are known for their loyalty and willingness to sound the alarm. These are good options if you’re not able to dedicate as much time to training and exercise that most large breeds need.

C. Herding Dogs

Finally, herding dogs have a natural instinct for working with their owners, making them naturally protective but less aggressive than a guard dog and typically better with children. They are intelligent, energetic, and obedient, and they make excellent protectors and guardians. Breeds such as the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, and Corgi are popular herding dogs and make great family pets.

The Best Protective Dog Breeds

German Shepherd standing in a field of grass

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is known for being intelligent, loyal, and protective. With its strong physique, sharp senses, and alertness, the German Shepherd is a great choice for a guard dog or family pet. They’re often used as police and military dogs.

The German Shepherd is naturally protective of its family and its territory and will alert its owner if it senses danger. They are incredibly smart and easy to train. With its even temper and devoted nature, the German Shepherd is an ideal choice for a protective companion.

a Bullmastiff dog on a white background


The Bullmastiff is a large and muscle-bound breed that originated in 19th-century England. The Bullmastiff is well-known for its loyalty and intelligence. They form strong bonds with their owners and are protective of them, with a natural instinct to guard and defend those they love. While they are brave and assertive dogs, their courage is matched by their calmness and gentleness. They are patient and gentle with children, making them an ideal family pet.

The Bullmastiff is an active dog that you’ll need to exercise regularly. You can burn off their energy through outdoor activities such as running, walking, and playing fetch. They do require some dedicated training to maintain good behavior and socialization. They are also relatively low maintenance and require minimal grooming.

purebred Rottweiler standing in a field


The Rottweiler is a famously intimidating breed of dog that originated in Germany. They are loyal and devoted dogs, often forming strong bonds with their humans. Rotties are wonderful guard dogs because they are naturally protective. They seem like intimidating dogs, but they are actually gentle and affectionate with their families.

Rottweilers are easily trainable, and you should make sure to socialize them early. With their strong physique and sharp senses, the Rottweiler is an ideal choice for a guard dog or family pet.

two doberman pinschers sitting in the grass

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is a large and energetic breed of dog that originated in Germany. Recognized for their pointy ears, they are an intelligent and loyal companion. Doberman Pinschers are athletic, agile, and courageous, making them excellent guard dogs.

They are also known for their alertness and, with dedicated training, are obedient and well-mannered. Doberman Pinschers have short and sleek coats, usually black with rust-red markings. They are easy to groom and require minimal maintenance.

giant schnauzer laying in the grass

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is a large, powerful breed of dog that originated in Germany. They are an intelligent and keenly aware breed known for their strength, agility, and protective nature. A loyal giant, the Schnauzer makes an excellent guard dog. They have a thick, wiry coat that is usually black and silver in color and requires minimal grooming. The Giant Schnauzer is an ideal breed for those looking for an active, devoted, and protective companion.

an akita dog breed


The Akita is a large and powerful breed of dog that is known for its loyalty and courage. They are intelligent and alert, and make excellent guard dogs. They are devoted to their owners but can be wary around other dogs and children. Akitas have a thick and dense double coat, usually white, red, sesame, or brindle in color. With minimal maintenance, they make a great addition to any family looking for a devoted and protective companion.

Great Pyrenees in the mountains

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a large and strong breed of dog that originated in the Pyrenees Mountains of France and Spain. They are loyal and devoted to their families, and make excellent guard dogs. They are naturally protective and alert, and have thick and lush double coats that come in white, gray, sandy, and reddish brown. The Great Pyrenees requires a little more grooming than short-haired breeds, but some brushing and an occasional bath will keep them in good shape.

Great Dane standing on a girls shoulders

Great Dane

The Great Dane is a large, powerful breed of dog that originated in Germany. They are known for their gentle and loving nature and do very well with all family members. They were bred to guard their estates and to hunt. Their short and sleek coat is usually fawn, brindle, blue, harlequin, or black in color. The Great Dane is a devoted and protective companion and requires minimal maintenance, making them an ideal breed for those looking for a loving and loyal companion.

brown cane corso laying down in the grass

Cane Corso

The Cane Corso is a large, strong breed of dog originating from Italy. The descended from Roman breeds used for protection and serving in battles. They have an ingrained protectiveness and have strong, muscular bodies covered in a short and sleek coat that is usually fawn or black in color. Make sure they get plenty of exercise and they’ll be a calm companion.

a belgian malinois laying in the grass

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized breed of dog from Belgium, where they were used for military and police dogs. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and courage. As excellent guard dogs they are highly devoted to their owners, though they may require monitoring around children. They have a short coat that is usually fawn in color and requires little maintenance.

a Rhodesian Ridgeback on white background

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large and muscular dog breed that originated in South Africa. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and courage, and make excellent guard dogs. Their coat is short and is usually red wheaten in color. They are protective of their families and great hunters, even hunting lions!

a tibetan mastiff at a dog show

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large, powerful breed of dog originating from Tibet. A beautiful, intelligent breed, they make excellent guard dogs for people and livestock. Their thick, double coat is usually black, gray, or tan in color. The Tibetan Mastiff can be a bit aloof and strong-willed, so you’ll want to make sure to train them well.

Choosing the Right Protective Dog Breed for Your Family

If you’re going to choose one of these protective dogs for your family, it’s important to take into account their size, energy level, and training requirements.

Bigger, high-energy breeds require lots of exercise to be well-behaved. Smaller or low-energy breeds may be less intimidating but are easier for first-time owners. It’s important to consider how much time you can dedicate to walking and playing with your pet.

Ultimately, the best protective dog for your family is one that fits your lifestyle and provides your family with the security and companionship you desire.

Tips for Raising a Protective Dog

1. Provide Proper Training

Dog training is an important part of owning a pet, especially if you own a protective breed. As they say, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Training allows you to establish boundaries and build a strong bond with your pup. You can do this yourself or find a trainer or classes to work with. When it comes to protective breeds, it is essential to provide proper training to ensure a well-behaved and obedient pet. Training can also help to reduce aggression and prevent any potential incidents.

2. Socialize Your Dog

Socializing your dog early is essential for its well-being and safety. It helps them become comfortable in new environments and allows them to interact with other pets and people. You don’t want your dog biting a stranger that it shouldn’t or, even worse, your company! It is important to introduce your pet to new stimuli, like different types of people and objects, gradually and in a controlled setting. Provide your pet with positive experiences and reward their good behavior to raise the perfect pup.

3. Establish Boundaries

If you’re going to have a protective breed, it’s a good idea to make sure they understand where their property begins and ends. You don’t want them chasing joggers down the street!

You can accomplish this by fencing your yard or adding an invisible fence accompanied by training. Dogs can learn boundaries quickly, and this training is essential.


Choosing the right protective dog breed for your family is a crucial decision. Consider your family’s lifestyle and needs, as well as the size and temperament of the breed, before making your selection. If you have children or plan on having them, choose your breed carefully as children tend to pull on tails, and these breeds tend not to tolerate as much as a Lab or a Golden Retriever. Make sure to do plenty of research, ask for advice from experts, and meet the pup before bringing them home to ensure that you have found the perfect match for your family.

Check out more articles about: Dog Breeds

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