The 15 Best Guard Dogs to Protect Your Family and Home
There are many reasons to want a guard dog: for personal protection, protection of property, or simply to know when a visitor is at the door. Unfortunately, guard dogs sometimes get a bad reputation, when in reality, the traits that make them fierce protectors are also the ones that make them incredible pets (and c'mon, most German shepherds are just giant goofballs).
According to the American Kennel Club, the best guard dogs are devoted, brave, and know when to fight off an intruder — but that doesn't mean they're vicious in their daily lives. Give them the training they need when they're young, and these pets will do everything they can to protect you. Just as important, they'll make you feel safe and offer you a lifetime of love and affection. And for more intimidating pups, check out the best large dog breeds that make amazing pets.
Akitas have a large build (just look at the size of their heads!) which makes them powerful. If you get them comfortable with family and friends early on in life, they'll know who to be goofy and playful around.
Though smaller than some of the other guard dogs, Appenzeller Sennenhunds still make a great guard dog pick due to their agility and energy. They were originally farm dogs, so their intelligence and obedience will impress your whole family.
The medium-sized Aussie is both beautiful and brave. Most at home on a ranch or in a rodeo, these dogs are natural herders and will take any opportunity to get other animals in line. What's more, they make energetic playmates for kids and are great family pets.
These large, muscular dogs are a cross between Bulldogs and Mastiffs. To avoid altercations with other animals or people, they're best suited for houses with fenced-in yards. Bullmastiffs are a great walking companion, but leave them at home when you go running.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
These dogs are known for the unique patterns and spots on their coats. If you aren't sure if you can handle raising a puppy, Catahoula Leopard dogs start acting like adults at 10 months old.
Caucasian Shepherd Dog
These massive dogs know exactly how to respond if they sense a threat to your house or family members, so don't underestimate their fluffiness. The Caucasian Shepherd dogs are a great option if you have kids and other animals, because they're loving and careful around their family.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
This powerful pup boasts a wavy, waterproof coat that sets it apart from other retrievers. However, you can still expect the loyal and energetic traits that make Goldens and labs such popular pets. Chessies are polite with strangers, but still cautious and not overly affectionate with those they don't know — all of which makes them excellent watch dogs.
Don't let a Doberman's sleek body fool you — they're strong, fast, and brave, making them the perfect dog to guard your house. They require a lot of exercise, so be prepared to go on long walks with your buddy.
Estrela Mountain Dogs
Estrelas are thought to be one of the oldest breeds in Portugal, where these dogs are named after a range of mountains. They're super gentle and protective, so they'll fit in with a tight-knit family.
German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds for police dogs, but they're just as common as pets. They'll protect your house from intruders, but they're so loyal that they will form a strong bond with you.
The Giant Schnauzer is basically a stronger, larger version of its standard counterpart. Be prepared to spend a decent amount of time grooming them, because that thick coat of hair requires regular brushing — they've got a beard, after all!
Honestly, what better breed for a guard dog than one that can so easily disguise as a mop? (TBD if it will clean your floors for you, though.) Puli dogs were originally meant for herding, so they learn fast and can easily outsmart any predators. Don't let their silly appearance fool you!
Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog
This type of guard dog requires someone to be close with, so you won't want to leave them alone for long periods of time. Romanian Mioritic Shepherd dogs are loving and kind enough to be your closest bud, but they will bark and get aggressive if they encounter strangers they don't trust.
If you know anyone with a Rottweiler, chances are that you've seen them be gentle around their owners but intimidating when it comes to strangers. To keep them on top of their game, be sure to socialize your Rottie with other people and dogs in addition to taking them to training classes.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Not everyone has the space for a large animal in their home, but that doesn't mean they don't need a powerful guard dog. Weighing in at less than 40 pounds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are muscular, brave, and natural fighters (when they need to be!).