The best guard dog breeds are fearless and responsive to training. Not only do they possess a natural ability to protect their territory and drive intruders away, but they also make for exceptional companion animals who will be unwaveringly loyal to their owner.
Positive dog training combined with socialization that start during puppyhood allows for a well-balanced companion and guard dog that is loving yet also protective over family and property.
Protect Your Home and Family with the Help of The Best Guard Dog Breeds
In the United States, a home burglary takes place every 12-15 seconds. While you could opt for a conventional alarm system, a well-trained guard dog may be a more worthwhile alternative. Many dog breeds are instinctually protective and are naturally wary of strangers. These guard dog breeds are also sensitive, loyal, energetic, intelligent, and fearless, and they also enjoy doing their job. Just as important, certain guard dog breeds are also great with children.
Guard dogs don’t just help protect home and property from intruders, though. They can also protect their family during natural disasters, state of emergencies, pandemics, and civil unrest. Breeds like the Mastiff and Boerboel, for instance, have been trained to guard family and farms against terrorism across Africa. The Belgian Malinois, bred as a herding dog, are popular as police and military dogs.
Before bringing home a guard dog, however, it’s important to research all you can about that particular breed’s needs where it concerns training, socialization, and health care. It’s also a good idea to determine whether your home or lifestyle is suitable for your breed of choice, as many guard dogs require extensive exercise in order to stay mentally sharp, engaged, and happy.
25. Fila Brasileiro
The Fila Brasileiro is a breed that is believed to be a cross of Mastiffs, Bloodhounds, and Spanish Bulldogs. They were originally bred to track down escaped slaves by the Spanish conquistadors. Wary of strangers, this large dog breed is a powerful dog with a massive head and a broad deep muzzle. The Fila Brasileiro is a courageous and stoic dog breed that is loyal to family, but exhibits distrust to strangers. Additionally, the Fila Brasileiro does best with experienced dog parents in a rural environment with plenty of space to exercise.
Positive dog training and regular socialization together with supervision at all times is necessary for this dog breed to avoid unnecessary aggression towards other pets and guests. This dog breed is also prone to hip dysplasia and bloat, and may have other special needs. With consistent positive dog training, the Fila Brasileiro makes for a wonderful family companion because they develop strong bonds with their owners.
24. Great Dane
This breed is a quirky and uniquely fun dog breed that thrives on affection and gentle, positive training. The Great Dane is a sensitive dog breed that does not do well with harsh training methods, but that responds well to plenty of play and exercise. This guard dog breed does best in either a suburban or rural environment with plenty of socialization and positive dog training geared towards this friendly dog breed’s temperament.
The Great Dane is wary of strangers, and makes for a good companion dog because they’re so gentle with family members. That said, with socialization, the Great Dane can adapt to other household pets and people. They’re generally not good with smaller pets and cats but are wonderful with family members.
The Akita is the tallest of Japan’s dog breeds and was originally bred as a fighting dog and wildlife hunting dog. With a large and heavy body, the Akita is loyal and brave. Although docile with family members, the Akita makes for an exceptional guard dog.
This dog breed can be very aggressive toward other household pets and people, however, and does well with regular positive dog training and socialization starting during puppyhood. The Akita needs an experienced dog owner and plenty of one-on-one time. This breed is affectionate and good-natured but may be stubborn.
22. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds. Originally from Germany, this breed was bred for herding as well as police and military purposes. Being one of the best companion dogs, the German Shepherd is outstanding in temperament and intelligence. This dog breed warms up quickly to guests and new pets, but positive dog training and early socialization needs to take place during puppyhood.
The German Shepherd is brave, intelligent, quirky, and is even-tempered. That said, an active and experienced pet parent is best for this breed since this breed is sensitive and does not do well with harsh or inconsistent training methods.
21. Caucasian Shepherd
Also known as the Caucasian Ovcharka, the Caucasian Shepherd comes from Russia, and was bred from the Tibetan dog breed and used as guard dogs during the 20th century. A large and powerful dog breed that is also intelligent and loyal, the Caucasian Shepherd is even-tempered and calm toward family members.
This dog breed needs regular socialization and positive dog training geared toward a specific job. The best environment for this dog breed is a rural home with plenty of space to exercise.
Originally bred for hunting, the Boxer was initially used for fighting and bull baiting. The Boxer dog breed is also used in the military and for police work. They make for great companion dogs because of their playful temperament and loyalty.
The Boxer is wary of strangers and new pets but makes friends quickly. They’re confident, yet aloof, and also have a sensitive streak that needs to be taken into account when training.
19. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback (so named because of the Rhodesia-shaped marking on their back) is a dignified and friendly dog breed that will go above and beyond in protecting all family members. Also known as the Lion Dog or African Lion Hound, the Rhodesian Ridgeback originated from South Africa. This is an all-purpose dog breed that was bred to hunt, protect against wildlife, and used to herd and guard.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback makes for one of the best guard dog breeds because of its incredibly friendly and even-keeled temperament. This dog breed is totally devoted to family and is wonderful with children. The Rhodesian Ridgeback is brave, intelligent, and independent. That said, this breed needs consistent positive dog training with socialization. The Ridgeback has a high prey drive, too, and does not do well with smaller pets.
18. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Also known as the Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog originated from Switzerland. This dog breed was used as an all-purpose guard and draft dog by farmers and merchants.
The large and muscular dog breed enjoys company and family, and will bond strongly with one family member. Additionally, while the Great Swiss Mountain Dog is alert, friendly, and intelligent, it can be aggressive with strangers. This is a breed that is watchful and protective, yet loving and loyal with those he trusts.
17. Komondor Dog
The Komondor originated from Hungary and was bred to guard and herd sheep. Today, this dog breed continues to work with cattle and is a wonderful companion dog. With a large and muscular body, the Komondor is a calm and protective dog breed with a moderate activity level.
That said, the Komondor does best with an experienced dog owner in an environment that has plenty of space. Socialization and positive dog training are necessary requirements, since this is an independent dog breed that is wary of strangers and may be difficult to train. The Komondor thrives with plenty of one-on-one-time and is affectionate and loyal with family and children.
16. Norwegian Elkhound
The Norsk Elghund Sort, also known as the Norwegian Elkhound, is an ancient dog breed that is loyal and friendly. The Elkhound was first used as a hunting dog to hunt large game. Bold and courageous, the Norwegian Elkhound is a good watchdog. This breed adores being around family and is good with older children as well as a result of their friendly demeanor.
This breed can be stubborn and independent, however, and does best with regular positive dog training and socialization. As they’re sensitive in nature, handling needs to be tailored with that in mind. Elkhounds are also good athletes and do best in environments where they can get plenty of exercise.
15. Bulgarian Shepherd Dog
This breed has several names and as also known as the Thracian Mollos and Karakachan. They hail from Bulgaria, and were originally used to guard livestock from thieves and wild animals. They’re a very popular dog breed and are still used to this day in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian Shepherd dog is an independent guard dog that is alert and adapts fast to new environments. This dog breed is devoted and loyal to all family members, but is a serious guard dog that can work independently. The Bulgarian does well in a farm environment and needs plenty of socialization and positive dog training starting from puppyhood.
14. Giant Schnauzer
The Giant Schnauzer, also known as the Reisenschnauzer, is a large and powerful dog breed that makes for a wonderful family companion. With a brave, even-tempered, and intelligent temperament, this dog breed can make for a great guard dog.
That said, positive dog training and early socialization are important for this dog breed. The Schnauzer is fun and playful with family members but should be supervised around small children and small pets. This breed is super active and does well with plenty of exercise.
13. Great Pyrenees
Also known as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, the Great Pyrenees dog breed originated from France and was bred as a flock guardian, meaning it tended to sheep. It is a large and powerful dog breed that is confident, friendly, and loyal. Although this breed can be aggressive and territorial, the Great Pyrenees has a wonderful temperament that is even-tempered and stable.
The Great Pyrenees does well in either a rural or suburban setting, and has a moderate activity level. This breed tends to guard at night and rests during the day.
12. Central Asian Shepherd Dog
This dog breed originated from Siberia and was used to guard against bears and wolves. Today, it still is used as a guard dog for cattle.
The Central Asian Shepherd Dog breed has catlike tendencies. It is also aggressive and wary of all strangers. That said, this breed is intelligent, kind, loyal, and enjoys hanging out with family.
11. Belgian Tervuren
The Belgian Tervuren is an absolute favorite among dog lovers that need a guard and family dog. Also known as the Belgian Malinois, this breed originated from Belgium and were used as livestock guardians. They were also employed as guard and military dogs.
The Malinois is large and powerful with a muscular elegance. They are very intelligent with a high prey drive. Although reserved with strangers, they’re good family members, and do well with plenty of affection and positive dog training. Puppyhood with this breed may be difficult, but with regular socialization and dog training, the Belgian Tervuren is very responsive to what is needed in the home, whether it be as a guard dog or companion. These dogs do best as one-person dogs but are still generous with their affection towards all family members.
10. Cane Corso Italiano
The Cane Corso originated from Italy and is a large and powerful dog breed that is easily trainable. This dog breed may be aloof, even-tempered, or affectionate with family members (including children) depending on his mood.
Though wary of strangers, the Cane Corso does well with other pets and can live in either rural or suburban homes. This breed needs plenty of exercise and does best with puppy training and socialization early on.
9. Bucovina Shepherd
As one of the largest and most powerful livestock guarding breeds, the Bucovina originated from Romania and was bred to protect sheep and cattle from wild animals. This dog breed is active at night protecting cattle and tends to sleep during the day. Today, this dog breed makes for a wonderful companion and home protector.
The Bucovina is difficult to train and needs plenty of space. This dog breed is also a superb problem-solver that does well with vigorous physical activity every day. Although stubborn, the breed can be trained, but it does take more time than with most other dog breeds. This is a highly intelligent dog breed that must maintain its dominance within its territory. As a result, the Bucovina may develop behavioral issues if not exercised, socialized, and trained properly.
This dog breed comes from France and is a multi-talented breed, taking on roles such as herding cattle, hunting wild boar, and guarding homes. Law enforcement worldwide have even adopted this breed for professional use, and the Beauceron was also used to detect mines in World War II by the French Army.
The Beauceron is intelligent and brave and is easily trainable. They work hard, and need a job in order to stay mentally stimulated, engaged, and happy. The Beauceron does well with an active dog owner that is experienced with dogs. They can live in either suburban or rural homes. They are an eager-to-please dog breed that need regular affection and socialization.
The Boerboel is another popular dog breed that provides plenty of protection and is fearless while doing so. Originally bred to work in farms in Africa and guard against wildlife and terrorism, this breed is also affectionate, easy-to-train, and is good with all family members.
That said, socialization and positive dog training during puppyhood are a must. This breed enjoys making new friends but is territorial.
Originally from Hungary, the Kuvasz was bred to hunt, look after livestock, and guard nobility. They have wonderfully soft coats with a large muscular body. The Kuvasz is a spirited yet sensitive dog breed that is also gentle and devoted to family. The Kuvasz is also curious but wary of strangers.
The Kuvasz is highly energetic and needs lots of exercise. This breed does best in either a rural or suburban home and is good with children, yet needs to be supervised when there is rough play.
Like all of the best guard dog breeds, the Rottweiler needs positive dog training and socialization beginning during puppyhood. This dog breed originated from Germany and was bred to guard. The Rottweiler has also been used in military and police work. Additionally, they make for effective search-and-rescue dogs.
With a moderate activity level, they can be both calm and courageous. If well-trained, they make for superb companion dogs that are affectionate and kind.
4. Doberman Pinscher
Originally from Germany, the Doberman Pinscher has been used extensively in military and police work. This dog breed is also good as a guard dog since it is highly trainable and intelligent.
Additionally, the Doberman makes for an exceptional companion dog because it is loyal and devoted to family. The Doberman enjoys being around people and gets along with other pets.
3. American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit Bulls have a reputation throughout the United States for being quite aggressive when not properly trained, and some apartment complexes have even banned them from being on the premises. This bad reputation mostly stems from the underground world of dog fighting, where this breed is sadly commonly pitted against other dogs in combat.
Despite this reputation, though, they are actually good-natured, loving, and spirited dogs. Today, there are lots of Pit Bulls that are both companion and guard dog in the U.S. The breed is also commonly used as a therapy dog. If early socialization and proper training is provided, this breed can be exceptional in character. Devoted and protective, they enjoy being around family and children but may have issues with some dog breeds.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
Also known as the Am Staff, this dog breed comes from the U.S. and is actually a mix between the Bulldog and a Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier is an extremely stoic dog breed with a muscular build and very territorial, protective nature, making them a nearly perfect guard dog.
This dog breed enjoys being around children and family but may be aggressive towards other dogs and pets. The best owner for this dog breed is an active and experienced one that has time to enjoy one-on-one exercising in the countryside or at training classes. This dog breed mostly gets along with dogs of the opposite sex. Socialization and training during puppyhood is important for this breed.
1. Moscow Watchdog
The Moscow Watchdog breed is a mix between the Caucasian Shepherd and Saint Bernard, usually keeping most of the appearance of the latter. It is a popular dog breed in Eastern Europe, and has also become popular in the U.S. This is a big-boned and powerful dog breed that is strong and intelligent and that can be trained easily. It was bred to be a watchdog but also has a great temperament, making it an ideal choice as a companion dog as well.
Despite their size, these dogs are very agile, giving them the ability to chase intruders off the property with ease. This breed does not do well in an apartment and needs plenty of space and off-leash exercise.