Ultimate Guide to the Best Guard Dog Breeds
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Ultimate Guide to the Best Guard Dog Breeds [23 protector dogs with pictures]

If you’re moving to a new place, have a young family, or just live alone, you may want to consider getting a guard dog for your home. 

The best guard dog breeds are large, powerful dogs that make excellent companions and are very loyal. They must also be brave and confident animals that will never hesitate to defend you and your home! Certain breeds make better guard dogs than others.

Below, we’ll talk about the best guard dog breeds out there, as well as how to best train your guard dog or guard puppy to defend you and your home. 

best guard dogs for first time owners

Read on to learn more about bringing a guard dog into your family. 

What is a Guard Dog?

Guard dogs are dogs that are trained to defend a person or property against intruders, whether human or animal. 

The guard dog knows its family and is loyal to each of its family members, but is often trained to bark or attack any intruders. 

What is a Guard Dog

It may also be taught to stand down in the presence of family friends or guests that visit the home when the family is present. 

Having a guard dog significantly reduces the chances of a break-in or home invasion, as most criminals will not risk getting attacked by a giant dog and just their bark may scare them away.

Ultimately, guard dogs are a form of protection for you, your family, and your home. 

Characteristics of a Good Guard Dog

Excellent guard dogs have a protective territorial nature, are strong, confident, possess an intimidating appearance, have a loud bark, and are fiercely loyal to their family members. 

Characteristics of a Good Guard Dog

Reason Why You May Want a Guard Dog

There are many good reasons why someone would want to get a guard dog.

  • You want to live on your own or just moved to a new home or apartment. 
  • Personal protection (especially for women).
  • Protect your family.
  • You have children. Having a guard dog may help to prevent break-ins or home invasions, or at least alert you to a situation occurring at your home. 
  • Protective dogs are a great way to keep alert to possible threats.
  • Protect other animals or property. 

    If you have a farm, a guard dog may be trained to protect your farm animals by keeping predators off the property. 
  • Defend your property by barking at or attacking trespassers. 

Best Breeds of Guard Dogs

There are many dog breeds that make excellent guard dogs, but below are some of the best dog breeds for guarding! 

Best Breeds of Guard Dogs

Be sure to research the personalities and traits of each of these guardian breeds so you can find the best one for your needs.

Black Russian Terrier

The Black Russian Terrier is an outstanding choice for a family guard dog. They are smart, loyal, and feisty. No stranger will get near your home without a loud warning from this dog!

These animals were bred to be great watchdogs and protectors. Many people don’t think of a terrier as being a good guard dog but the Black Russian is perfectly suited for this role.

Black Russian Terrier

Don’t worry though as they will bond closely with your family members all the while being suspicious of strangers that approach their home territory.

Boerboel

The Boerboel dog breed is not very well known but they hold a reputation for being a great guard dog. These are large powerful dogs with an incredible 800-plus bite strength rating.

Also known as the South African Mastiff dog they were bred for farm work including guarding the homestead and its occupants.

Boerboel

The Boerboel dog is not a good fit for most families as they possess a dominant type personality and want to be in charge. So being an experienced dog handler is a must!

Having said that, if you know what you are doing with dogs, then the Boerboel can make a good family pet and give your a greater sense of security in your home.

Boxer

Though boxers are quite small compared to the larger dogs in this list, boxers still make great bodyguard dogs. 

Boxers are intelligent, high-energy, and extremely playful. They will need someone willing to play with them often either in a yard or on a leash at the park. 

Though this breed is friendly, they can sometimes become timid around others outside of their families. 

boxer

Boxers will protect their families above all else and will need extra socialization to train them to be friendly with other people and animals. 

They also are easy to care for.

Boxers have short, smooth coats and are not as large as other guardian breeds, so you don’t need to be an experienced dog owner to take good care. 

Bullmastiff

Bullmastiffs are another giant breed that makes excellent guard dogs. 

Though they are large in size, this popular breed is known for being quite calm, gentle, and affectionate compared to other large dog breeds

These strong dogs are often called “gentle giants” along with Great Danes. Because of their affectionate nature, Bullmastiffs do great with children. 

Bullmastiff

However, they can also quickly learn the difference between a family member and an intruder, which makes them one of the best guard dogs on this list. 

Just make sure you’re able to handle a 130-pound dog!

Cane Corso

Well, if you wanted a definition of a guard dog then look no further than the majestic Cane Corso breed. These dogs are somewhat rare so maybe you have never even heard of them.

The Cane Corso has its origins in the Roman Empire times and folklore says they were used as war dogs by their fighting legions as well as protectors. They are ferocious-looking dogs!

These dogs are big, strong, and have a bite force that could cause substantial damage to an intruder. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their family.

If you want a dog that will probably just scare off an intruder based on their looks this is the one.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinschers are one of the smallest breeds on this list, though they can still get to a considerable size. 

Though they are skinny, their strong muscles can bring them to weigh anywhere between 75 and 100 pounds! 

They are known for their intimidating appearance, with a sharp snout, pointed ears, and a black coat. Dobermans are known for their intelligence and easy ability to train. 

However, they are extremely high-energy and can become anxious if not given much exercise, which can lead to destructive habits. 

Dobermans need early training to learn obedience in and out of the home.

German Shepherd

German Shepherds are great guard dogs! Known as police dogs for their top-notch police work, German Shepherd dogs aren’t afraid to protect as needed. 

They’re incredibly intelligent and powerful dogs. 

are german shepherds good guard dogs

Because of their reputation in the police force, they’re often a popular choice when it comes to guard dogs. 

German Shepherds can be great with young children and often enjoy playing in addition to plenty of exercise. 

If you’re willing to take on a fluffy dog with impressive levels of intelligence and loyalty, a German Shepherd is it.

Giant Schnauzer

The Giant Schnauzer is one of the largest dogs and they are also one of the most protective dogs when it concerns their family.

Also, something you probably don’t know is that the Giant Schnauzer’s bite is one of the strongest bite forces of any dog coming in at 550 pounds per square inch. 

Giant Schnauzer

There are even stories of a Giant Schnauzer being able to break human bones with its bite. The Giant Schnauzer was bred to be a hunter and a protector of livestock.

Giant Schnauzers are seen frequently as guard dogs, military dogs, and police dogs due to their intimidating size and strength. They are also used on search and rescue teams.

These smart dogs are very loyal and can make a loving member of your family.

Great Dane

Though Great Danes are often known as great family dogs, they are also excellent as guard dogs! 

Because they are big dogs, they are known to scare away intruders with their tall stature and deep bark alone. 

Called “gentle giants,” Great Danes are often a preferred choice as a family guard dog for families with small children as they are less likely to show aggressive behavior. 

If you want your Great Dane to be less “gentle,” training can help them reach their full potential as guard dogs. At a minimum, they are great at keeping a watchful eye over your home. 

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are a great dog breed. This popular dog breed consists of herding dogs, which can make the right guard dog for your farm or home with enough training. 

Stubborn but smart, Great Pyrenees are loyal to their families and as a result, can be great protection dogs. 

Great Pyrenees

Compared to others on this list, Great Pyrenees get quite big. On average, males get anywhere between 100 – 160 pounds, and females get between 85 – 110 pounds. 

They also have thick, long, white fur, so be prepared to have a powerful vacuum around the house!

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Though they aren’t one of the most common breeds of dog on this list, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a great addition to any family looking for a guard dog. 

They may catch you off guard with their calm, gentle nature, but are extremely protective under that cute exterior. 

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are strong-willed, independent, and highly intelligent, which can make them easy to train. 

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Because they are known as secret cuddle bugs, they’re often a good starting guard dog for first-time dog owners. 

They do extremely well in families with young children and often just want to be right by your side!

The Thai Ridgeback is a very similar dog to the Rhodesian Ridgeback, possessing excellent guard dog traits although a little smaller in size.

Rottweiler

Rottweilers make some of the best guard dogs. They are one of the most common breeds people think of when they think of a guard dog. 

With their muscular bodies and tough outer appearance, it’s easy to understand why others would see them as such good guard dogs.

Rotties have a natural instinct that gives them a higher prey drive than other dogs. They have strong jaws and large paws but are also incredibly intelligent and loyal. 

While you may have to consider this prey drive if you have other pets, a lone rottweiler makes an ideal guard dog.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers can be quite intimidating guard dogs. Known for their muscular bodies and strong bite, these dogs can be affectionate, reliable, and bold all at once. 

A related breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier, is known for essentially being a larger version of this dog. 

Though these breeds appear threatening, they are actually known for their gentle and protective personalities. 

Staffordshire Bull Terriers love their families and yearn to please them. They are also great with children due to their affectionate, playful nature. 

It is important to note that the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is also more susceptible to health problems like hip dysplasia since they are a cross between two breeds. 

However, they can still live long and fulfilling lives. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier are often confused as being the same dog. Both of these dogs are often just referred to as Pit Bulls.


While they are different dogs (mostly in size) both make great guard dogs so feel confident choosing either breed.

Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiffs are powerful guard dogs. One of the largest dog breeds there is, Tibetan Mastiffs are powerful animals known for their physical strength. 

On average, males can weigh up to 150 pounds, while females can weigh up to 120!

Tibetan Mastiffs are highly intelligent but also quite stubborn, which can make training both easy and difficult at times. 

Tibetan Mastiff

They are known to be sensitive to the moods of their human owners, which contributes to their protective instinct. 

Though this large breed takes a lot of work with their large size and long fur, they are known as the supreme guard dog.

How to Train Your Guard Dog

It’s important to note that while these breeds are known to make great guard dogs, they don’t become guard dogs overnight! 

All of these guard dog breeds need proper training from an experienced dog trainer to learn the skills necessary for guarding. 

They also need basic obedience training, as having a giant dog with no obedience skills is bound to get you into trouble eventually!

It is essential that your guard dog gets training at an early age. The younger you start training your guard dog, the better, as it will retain these habits over the course of its long life. 

Look for reputable dog trainers in your area and take your dog to a combination of private and public classes.

Though private classes may seem like the best, public classes are needed as well to give them early socialization with other people and dogs.

While you want them to learn to guard, you don’t want them to be unsocialized, as this can lead to aggression with all strangers. 

Honorable Mention Guard Dog Breeds

The following dog breeds also can be good guard dogs and worthy of your consideration.

American Bulldog

Not often the first choice as a guard dog but the American Bulldog definitely has the look!

Appenzeller Sennenhund

Most people have never heard of this medium-sized, quick, smart herding dog but they possess all the traits of an excellent guard dog.

Australian Shepherd

Another dog breed that most don’t consider when choosing a guard dog but the Australian Shepherd actually makes a great choice for many reasons.

Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois is another herding dog that is quick and alert thus making a good watch dog.

Catahoula Leopard Dog

Have you heard of a Catahoula Leopard Dog? Most people have not but they can make a good guard dog so check them out!

Chow Chow

The Chow Chow is a big fluffy dog that is strong and intimidating to a strange so yes, they make great guard dogs! The Chow Chow was once the preferred choice to guard Asian royalty.

Dogo Argentino

The Dogo Argentino is another rare dog that tops the list for being a great guard dog. They are smart, strong, fierce-looking, and agile giving them all the prerequisites.

20 Best Names for a Guard Dog

If you have a guard dog as part of your family you have to give it a great name! Here is a list of some of the most popular guard dog names.

  1. Apollo
  2. Athena
  3. Axel
  4. Bear
  5. Bruno
  6. Diesel
  7. Duke
  8. Fang
  9. Goliath
  10. Hunter
  11. Max
  12. Nova
  13. Rex
  14. Rocky
  15. Shadow
  16. Spike
  17. Stella
  18. Tank
  19. Thor
  20. Zeus

Related Guard Dog Questions

Can I get a guard dog if I have small children?

Absolutely! There are many guard dog breeds that do well with small children. Some examples include Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Boxers, and Great Pyrenees. 

However, many more breeds in this list can do well with children, especially if you get them as puppies and raise them with your family. 

Which large dog breeds do not make a good choice as guard dogs?

While most large dogs can be trained to be good guard dogs, some breeds are just too sweet! 

The Newfoundland and Saint Bernard are two giant pups that may not do well as guard dogs because of their gentle personalities. 

However, enough training can certainly teach them a good number of commands!

In general, you’ll have a better time training any large dog breed to be a good guard dog because they tend to be intimidating to approach. 

You’ll have a much harder time convincing a burglar that your guard Chihuahua is scary. 

Can I get a guard dog if I have other pets?

Depending on where and how you get your guard dog, yes, you can certainly have a guard dog with other pets! 

If you get your guard dog as a puppy, you’ll have an easier time adjusting them to your household with other pets, whether they’re cats or dogs. 

Obtaining an adult guard dog you just have to make sure they aren’t aggressive with the pets you already have and that you warm them up to each other properly. 

Where can I find a guard dog?

If you’re in the United States, there are a few places where you can find a family guard dog. One place is to look for reputable breeders through the American Kennel Club. 

These breeders are committed to their specific breed and can sell you a young puppy so you can start training early.

Another place to look is your local shelter. They may have puppies of good guard dog breeds for early training or even adults that are well-behaved and ready for extensive training. 

Always be sure to ask many questions and meet with any large dog breeds you’re considering. 

Do guard dogs make good family pets?

Yes, guard dogs can make great family pets. Guard dogs are protective and loyal not only to the adults in a family but also to the children. 

Your children can develop a great relationship with your guard dog if they learn how to play with it nicely and safely with supervision. 

Guard Dogs Can Be Loving Pets

Now that you know which dog breeds make the best guard dogs, you’re ready to do more research and pick a breed for yourself. 

Remember to consider each of these dog breeds’ personalities and abilities to help you make an educated choice. 

Not to worry, regardless of which guard dog you pick, they’ll be sure to give you lots of love, loyalty, and companionship.

Ultimate Guide to the Best Guard Dog Breeds

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