Best Guard Dogs: Breed Characteristics, Traits and Temperament

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Best Guard Dogs
Help choosing among Guard Dog Breeds

“Most dogs have an instinct to guard and protect their owners but, when confronted
with someone who means harm, they may back down.”

The best guard dogs are often found in the AKC’s Working dog group, such as the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler. But they also include some members of other groups such as the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois, from the Herding group.

The Belgian Malinois is often considered the preferred choice today for many police departments when it comes to police dog work or Schutzhund.

Many people use the terms “guard dog” and “watch dog” interchangeably, but these two kinds of dogs are not the same. However, in some cases a dog may do both things.

The best watch dogs, or any watch dog for that matter, are dogs that alert their owners by barking and giving an alarm when there is something happening, such as someone coming to the door, or an intruder at the house. A guard dog, on the other hand, is a dog that actively guards the home, the family, or the property of the owner. The dog does physical guard work instead of just barking.

The Best Guard Dog – Characteristics and Traits

Best Guard Dogs

Most dogs have an instinct to guard and protect their owners but, when confronted with someone who means harm, they may back down. Thousands of years of human-animal bond tells the dog that they should not bite or attack a human.

The best guard dogs, on the other hand, will follow through and defend the home, the owner, and the property. Their instinct to guard and protect is strong enough to overcome the inhibition not to attack a human.

Most guard dog breeds are also quite imposing and they have an intimidating appearance. Just the presence of one of these dogs is often enough to frighten off an intruder. Guard dogs are usually reserved with strangers, though they may be quite friendly with their owners’ friends, as long as they know they are people who are welcome.

Guard dogs do not attack willy-nilly. They are not violent animals that are out of control. It is recommended that dogs of these breeds receive obedience training and good socialization from a young age. They should be under the command of their owners. Dogs that are used for guard dog work or protection work should receive more training and the owner should also be trained so they know how to handle the dog.

You are probably already familiar with many of the best guard dog breeds but here is a list of some of the very best guard dogs as considered by top trainers and other experts:

Some of the Best Guard Dogs

Rottweiler: The Rottweiler is a powerful, intelligent dog and they make an excellent guard dog. They are wonderful family dogs, devoted to their owners and their family.

Rotties are loving and loyal, but they are also very territorial and protective. They do not like strangers unless they have been introduced by the owner. Rottweilers need to be trained and well-socialized.

Fila Brasileiro: The Fila Brasileiro, also known as a Brazilian Mastiff, is a large working dog from the Mastiff family developed in Brazil. They are very large dogs, weighing around 110 pounds, and are often used as estate guardian dogs. They are very devoted to their families but they can be wary or even hostile to strangers and they may not be suited to a home where people come and go a lot.

Filas are considered dangerous dogs in some places, such as the UK and New Zealand, and they are restricted in Australia. But they do defend their homes and families.

While the Fila Brasileiro is recognized by a number of registry organizations, it is not recognized among AKC dog breeds or those registered by the United Kennel Club.

Doberman Pinscher: The Doberman Pinscher is one of the best guard dogs. They are sleek, fast, strong, and powerful. They take well to training and they are territorial and protective.

Dobermans will accept strangers when the owner introduces them. They can make a good family dog and as they are affectionate and loyal.

Dogo Argentino: The Dogo Argentino was originally developed in Argentina to hunt big game such as the puma and the wild boar. They are courageous and they are willing to protect their owner with their lives.

Dogos are muscular and powerful dogs, weighing up to about 100 pounds. They are territorial dogs and they do not always get along with other dogs. They make a wonderful family dog and are very gentle in the home.

The Dogo Argentino is illegal to own in some places, such as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Dogos are not among the list of AKC dog breeds, but they are recognized by the AKC as a Foundation Stock Service breeds. FSS breeds are purebred dogs not currently registrable with the American Kennel Club.

Belgian Shepherd dogs: Belgian Shepherd dogs, including the Belgian Malinois and the Belgian Tervuren, are extremely intelligent and they can excel at police dog work. They do not rely on brute strength but they have amazing reflexes and intelligence. They are like fine-tuned instruments for guard dog work, responding to the slightest commands or cues. But they are still able to take down an intruder in one leap.

The Belgian dogs can be tense and high strung so they are not for first-time dog owners. They do not always fit into a family situation because of their nervousness.

South African Boerboel: The Boerboel is a large member of the Mastiff family from South Africa. They were originally bred to guard homesteads. They often had to guard their owners and their homes against animals and against human attack.

Boerboels are highly protective but they are also calm and stable at home. They are intelligent, obedient dogs who are, nevertheless, very territorial when it comes to defending the home.

These dogs are quite large, weighing up to 175 pounds. Training and good socialization are important for this breed. The Boerboel is banned in Denmark.

Boerboels are not among the list of AKC dog breeds, but they are recognized by the AKC as a Foundation Stock Service breeds. FSS breeds are purebred dogs not currently registrable with the American Kennel Club.

Final Thoughts on Guard Dog Breeds

The best guard dogs are usually dogs that are naturally territorial and protective. They do more than watch dog breeds.

Guard dog breeds are willing and able to physically defend their owners, their homes, and their property. It is important that dogs with these instincts receive good training and socialization so that they are always under the control of their owners.