When it comes to guarding your home or loved ones, you won’t get a dog on a whim, right? You’ll be looking at whether the dog suits your lifestyle, your family, or whether it’s hypoallergenic. With this list of the 40+ best guard dog breeds, we’re here to give you a head start on your research!

We need to understand what exactly is a dog’s purpose? The most popular answers suggest companionship and protection. Since dogs share ancestral history of herding cattle and flock, this protective behavior comes naturally to them. Hence, before you find the right dog, you need to explore how the relationship is mutually beneficial. 

Understanding how tricky the process can be, we have listed down a few dog breeds that have been recognized for their loyal and protective nature, while also being family friendly. 

Guard Dog Myths vs. Reality

While guard dogs are chosen for their potential to protect homes and families, there are often some myths floating about which simply aren’t true. Some of the most popular myths include:

1. Myth: Guard dogs are inherently aggressive

Reality: No dog is inherently aggressive (article). It often depends on the owner and the training they provide. Dogs can be trained to be protective, but they all have a gentler side to them. Even big and muscular dogs are just cuddle bugs at the end of the day.

2. Myth: Guard dogs can’t be family pets

Reality: While some dogs are trained to be police or military dogs, guard dogs often make great family pets. Not only are they protective, they are also loyal and devoted to their owners. This means that they will protect their loved ones and enjoy spending time with them. 

3. Myth: Guard dogs don’t need socialization

Reality: Simply training dogs to be guard dogs is not enough. They also need periods to unwind and relax. And like all animals, they also enjoy being in packs. Hence, it is crucial that you teach them to socialize with people and other pets, to avoid any unwanted behaviors. 

4. Myth: Guard dogs don’t need training

Reality: All dogs require training and socialization to ensure that they fulfill their roles effectively and responsibly. Training helps reinforce desired behaviors, and strengthens the bond between owners and their pets. Hence, training should be carried out diligently.

5. Myth: Guard dogs can be left alone to protect the property

Reality: While guard dogs are used to protecting and safeguarding families and homes, they do need interaction with other people and animals. Not only is it a great mood booster, but is great for socializing and mental stimulation. All dogs need to feel loved and appreciated.

How to Choose The Right Dog?

Choosing the right dog may not be as easy as you may think. Besides a dog’s build and personality, you need to look at other factors that can help you find the right dog that suits your lifestyle and your home. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do your research: The first thing before you start is to do extensive research about dog breeds. Consider factors such as size, temperament, and living conditions before adopting. 
  2. Evaluate temperament: Remember that not all dogs are for novice pet parents. It may be difficult to train dogs that have a more volatile temperament and require more stimulation. Choose a dog that will be suitable with your life and home settings. 
  3. Health and Genetics: Before you get a dog, you need to explore the different health conditions that the breed may face. Be prepared for health check ups and ensure that your dogs get frequent vet visits to prevent any underlying health conditions. 
  4. Training: Opt for dogs based on trainability and your level of expertise. If you’re a new pet parent, then breeds that require a lot of training may not be easy for you. In fact, your level of expertise should match or be on par with the breed you are looking to train. 
  5. Socialization: In case you have a family or kids at home, choose dogs that can socialize with other people and pets. However, this also depends on the trainer as all dogs need to receive obedience and socialization training for their overall health and well being. 

Guard Dog Breeds to Look Out For

A dog’s size, temperament, friendliness, and ability to protect are often some of the factors that are often looked at before finding your perfect friend. Some of the best watchdogs and guard dogs are mentioned here to give you a headstart:

Small Guard Dog Breeds

1. Australian Terrier

Although one of the smallest Terriers around, the Australian Terrier is not someone to be taken lightly. Loyal, energetic, and social, they get along well with children and families, making them a great addition to any family. They’re also a great choice for watchdogs and remain devoted to the protection of their loved ones. 

an Australian terrier dog outdoors

2. Border Terrier

The teeny-tiny Border Terrier is a scruffy looking dog that can definitely be a great watchdog. Known for their protective and affectionate nature, they stay alert and will bark up a storm if danger approaches. However, their friendly nature prevents them from being effective guard dogs. 

a Border Terrier dog outdoors

3. Cairn Terrier

If you’re looking for a dog that’s all bark and no bite, then the Cairn Terrier might just be the one for you. Similar to the Border Terrier, they have a friendly attitude towards people and are not great watch dogs. Although, they remain alert to any disturbance and can bark to alert you. 

a Cairn Terrier in the city

4. Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The gentle and affectionate Dandie Dinmont Terrier can often have a scary side in the face of danger. Originally bred to hunt small game and attack otters, the Terrier can be a fearless opponent, often getting aggressive if provoked. Known to be great with children, these dogs are counted as an excellent watchdog.

a happy Dandie Dinmont Terrier

5. Miniature Pinscher

Although small in size, this “Min Pin” can be an excellent guard dog. With an alert and protective personality, they will alert the family if there’s a stranger danger in the vicinity. Clubbed with their high-pitched and noisy bark, you won’t need any other alarm system.

a Miniature Pinscher in the garden

6. Miniature Schnauzer

Bred to be dominating dogs, the Miniature Schnauzer is another breed that’s all bark and no bite. Highly alert, protective, and aggressively territorial, they make great watchdogs and companions. However, their super vigilant personality can often lead to relentless barking that keeps you up at night!

a Miniature Schnauzer dog in the garden

7. Schipperke

Schipperkes have been known to be the protector of shops, dockyards and homes for many years. Due to their gentle and protective nature, they make great watchdogs for families. Should any stranger, critter, or being set foot on your property, rest assured that the Schipperke will alert you to it. 

a happy Schipperke dog in the city

8. Scottish Terrier

Known to be an excellent watchdog, the Scottish Terrier is loyal, intelligent, and protective. And what’s more? Families and children love their company. Not only do these dogs look elegant, they also remain aloof to strangers and are not among those who can be over by strangers so easily. 

a Scottish Terrier looks on

9. Sealyham Terrier

A small dog with a big bark? Yep. That’s the Sealyham Terrier for you. This cute working dog is funny, affectionate, and out-going, making them great companions. Besides that, their desire to protect their loved ones and loud barks make them one of the best guard dogs, according to expert dog trainers.

a Sealyham Terrier on a stroll outdoors

10. West Highland White Terrier

Most small dogs were originally bred to hunt small rodents or prey, and to be a loud alarm for families. The West Highland White Terrier is no different. Known for their playful and protective personalities, they love kids and make great watchdogs for homes. 

a West Highland White Terrier Dog in the city

Medium Guard Dog Breeds

1. Airedale Terrier

If you’re wondering if the King of Terriers makes a good watchdog, just know that they are known to be quite exceptional in this field. Originally bred to hunt bears, Airedale Terriers can definitely hold their own in a fight. If socialized well, they also make great companions for families.

an Airedale Terrier in the city

2. Akita

No guard dog list is complete without the Akita. With their powerful build, these dogs can fend off any attacker that harms their families. This clever and attentive breed makes great watchdogs, but can be quite aggressive if not trained properly. 

an Akita dog on an autumn stroll

3. American Bulldog

Loyal, fearless, and protective in the face of danger, the American Bulldog is definitely one breed you’d want as a watchdog. With a robust and powerful build, these strong dogs are known to herd cattle twice their size, and are used to fending off large predators. In the right family, they make amazing caretakers. 

an American Bulldog in the city

4. Appenzeller Sennenhund

High-spirited, reliable, and independent, the Appenzeller Sennenhund is definitely not a people pleaser. This Swiss breed is also energetic and obedient, traits which make them excellent guard dogs. Known to be suspicious of strangers, no amount of treats can bribe them from their duty. 

an Appenzeller Sennenhund dog outdoors

5. Belgian Laekenois

As a territorial dog, the Belgian Laekenois is highly protective of its master and their property. This breed is highly instinctual and like the Malinois, Shepherd, and Tervuren, make excellent watchdogs and police dogs. If trained and socialized properly, they can make a great addition to families. 

a Belgian Laekenois dog in the city

6. Belgian Malinois

Protective and strong, the Belgian Malinois is a breed whose bite is definitely worse than its bark. Placed among the top guard dog breeds in the world, they’re often recruited as police dogs and have an innate desire to protect their loved ones. They are also very loyal and share special bonds with their owners.

a Belgian Malinois dog looks on curiously

7. Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren or Chien de Berger Belge is a powerful dog, bred to herd and protect cattle on farms. Their obedient and loyal nature makes them one of the most preferred dogs in both the police and military. Additionally, their strong devotion towards their family make them excellent guard dogs. 

a Belgian Tervuren dog outdoors

8. Boxer

Often known to be a goofy and lovable breed, the Boxer belongs to a working class breed of dogs with a strong protective personality. Their robust build helps them defend their territory and loved ones from danger, while their social and caring nature makes them great companions and watchdogs. 

a Boxer dog lying on the grass

9. Briard

While the Briard is a fluffy looking dog, you shouldn’t be fooled by their appearance. These medium to large sized dogs are definitely one of the best guard dogs. Active and intelligent, they’re quite protective of family, especially kids, who they regard as flock. This is when their herding instincts normally kick in. 

a Briard dog lying on the grass outdoors

10. Doberman Pinscher

One look at the Doberman Pinscher and you know they mean business. Intelligent and loyal, these dogs are among the top guard dogs and the top 5 smartest dogs in the world. While they can act aggressive if attacked, they also have a gentle side and are great companions for playtime.

a Doberman Pinscher dog in the city

11. Dutch Shepherd

Trained to be police, search and rescue, and tracking dogs, there’s no escape from the Dutch Shepherd. Renowned for their efficiency, training, and intelligence, these are elite top-tier guard dogs. If you have a Dutch Shepherd dog, know that you can enjoy a sound sleep with no worries.

a Dutch Shepherd in the city

12. German Shepherd

When we think of guard dogs, German Shepherds are one of the top choices. Strong, loyal, protective, and powerful, German Shepherds are highly trainable and recruited for police and military work. They are known to be wary of strangers, but can be socialized at an early age. 

a German Shepherd in the city

13. Groenendael

The Belgian Shepherd or Groenendael is another top guard dog. With a smart and obedient temperament, these are one of the best breeds to guard your home and property. However, as they remain wary of strangers and can be aggressive, Groenendaels are not recommended for houses with children.

a Groenendael dog outdoors

14. Parson Russell Terrier

A peppy and loyal companion, the Parson Russell Terrier makes an excellent addition to families and can be good watch dogs. These dogs are highly energetic, intelligent, and can alert their owners to the slightest noise. However, they are also known to be super friendly, so that means they might treat both family and strangers alike.

a Parson Russell Terrier in the city

15. Rottweiler

With a bite force of 328 PSI, or pounds per square inch, you definitely wouldn’t want to be messing with a Rottweiler. These dogs were originally bred to be guard dogs so you know they’re what you’re looking for. Despite their scary demeanor, with early socialization and some gentle care, they also make loving pets.

a Rottweiler in the city

16. Shiba Inu

Active and attentive, Shiba Inus are known to be great watchdogs. While they may not be regarded as the traditional guard dog breed, their territorial instincts and vocal communication help them to protect your home and family from strangers. Plus, they worry a lot about their owners so would want to keep you safe.

a Shiba Inu in the city

17. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Despite their appearance, Staffordshire Bull Terriers are quite friendly, even with strangers. With a robust and strong build, these are powerful working dogs and are able to warn their owners of any threat—squirrel, person, cat, dog, bird, just about anything! However, while they’re not great as guard dogs, they excel as watch dogs.

a Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the city

18. Welsh Terrier

Bred to hunt and chase prey, the Welsh Terrier is energetic and has a high prey drive, making sure to chase prey on any terrain. They make excellent watchdogs as their loud barks can alert you to any danger near you. While they do have the potential to be amazing guard dogs, their nature to be bribed by treats and pets can be a hindrance. 

a Welsh Terrier in the city

Large Guard Dog Breeds

1. Alaskan Malamute

Big, fluffy, goofy, and great to cuddle with are usually some of the terms associated with the Alaskan Malamute. These giant dogs appear intimidating due to their size but can be quite loving with family and friends. With proper training, and socialization, these dogs can become great guard dogs for your home.

an Alaskan Malamute on a snowy mountain ledge

2. Anatolian Shepherd

Bred as herding dogs, the Anatolian Shepherd is protective and territorial. Besides this, they are also known to be intelligent, patient, and loving, ensuring that this muscular dog has no parallels when it comes to work ethics and being a guard dog. If you have a large home and would love a dog, there’s no one better than the Anatolian Shepherd dog. 

an Anatolian Shepherd dog in the city

3. Beauceron

Dangerously fierce and fearless, the Beauceron is an excellent watchdog and guard dog. Unlike most dogs, this one bites and barks! With a large build, they look ferocious, especially in the face of danger, and will jump in a fight to protect its owner without any hesitation. Loyal, loving, and protective, nothing gets better than a Beauceron in your home.

a Beauceron dog outdoors

4. Bernese Mountain Dog

Large and with a protective disposition, the Bernese Mountain dog was bred to guard flock in pastures from dangerous predators. However, with proper training and socialization, they make great watchdogs and guard dogs. Besides a loud bark, they are wary of strangers, unless their owner reassures them that they pose no threat. 

a Bernese Mountain Dog in the city

5. Boerboel

Boerboels are big-boned muscular superdogs, guarding you with their life. Unlike most working or herding dogs, Boerboels were bred to be guard dogs. So of course, they are excellent guard dogs. Despite their intimidating appearance, they also have a soft side and are quite loving and gentle with family.

a Boerboel dog in the city

6. Bouvier des Flandres

If you haven’t heard of them, you’re missing out because the Bouvier des Flandres is a great watchdog. Bred to be herding dogs like the Shepherd breeds, this rugged dog is protective and a fierce guardian when it comes to their homes and family. When this dog is not busy guarding homes, they’re also ardent participants in dog sports events. 

a Bouvier des Flandres dog in the city

7. Bullmastiff

Similar to Boerboels, this Mastiff was bred to be a guard dog. Strong, muscular, and athletic, the Bullmastiff is the jock of all dogs. Not only do they have the energy to chase off danger, but have the muscles to fight if need be. While they are wary of strangers, you’ll find that they’re equally gentle and loving with their owners. 

a Bullmastiff dog outdoors

8. Cane Corso

An elite guard dog, the Cane Corso is not just any breed that you can overlook. Combining the muscles and build of Mastiffs, this dog is strong, fierce, and loyal, making them ideal protectors. If anyone poses a threat to your family then they better run, because seeing a Cane Corso chasing them is a stuff of nightmares. *brrr*

a Cane Corso dog in the city

9. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

A fierce dog with the build of a lion, the Caucasian Shepherd dog is not one to be taken lightly. Bold, protective, loyal, and alert, they are aware of their surroundings and can sound the alarm if they sense a threat. Besides this, with a body like that, they definitely can take danger head on to protect their owners. If raised in a loving home, they can be great with family, kids, and other pets. 

a Caucasian Shepherd dog in the city

10. Central Asian Shepherd Dog

The Central Asian Shepherd dog naturally possesses a protective instinct towards their family and home. Territorial and protective, they make great guard dogs as they have high endurance and working capacity. Honestly, this wolf-hound is never off duty, and is an alert observer throughout its lifespan.

a Central Asian Shepherd dog in the city

11. Dogo Argentino

Bred to hunt and chase prey, the Dogo Argentino is a powerful dog, similar to a Mastiff. With a muscular body and an intimidating appearance, they make excellent guard dogs. Furthermore, if you spend a lot of time outdoors and would prefer an active dog that can keep up with your activities, then the Dogo Argentino is the one for you.

a Dogo Argentino in the city

12. Giant Schnauzer

Known to be the largest breed of Schnauzers, the Giant Schnauzer has more to offer than just its looks. Loyal and protective, they’re no strangers to being guard dogs. In fact, they excel at this and are deeply loyal to their families and instinctually territorial. 

a Giant Schnauzer in the city

13. Great Dane

You’ve probably heard about Scooby Doo, who’s a Great Dane himself. But unlike the cartoon’s portrayal, Great Dane are more than just lovable goofs. With a vigilant outlook and a loud bark, these dogs are quick to pick up any changes in their surroundings. If trained properly, these dogs can excel to become effective guard dogs.

a Great Dane outdoors

14. Kangal

While Kangals are not known to be personal protection dogs, they are quite effective as herding dogs for livestock and cattle. Being bred for this purpose, people often mistake them to be aggressive due to their size, and steer clear of them. However, with proper training, this gentle and protective breed can make an amazing guard dog. 

a Kangal dog outdoors

15. Leonberger

With a calm and steady temperament, Leonbergers are known to be great family pets. Despite their massive size, they are quite gentle and love spending time with children and are social with other pets. Hence, this loving instinct makes them protective of their families and their homes. 

a Leonberger dog in the city

16. Neapolitan Mastiff

As a breed, the Neapolitan Mastiff’s purpose is to protect and defend, hence it is known to be one of the best guard dogs. What’s more is that it has a bite that matches its bark, making it an aggressive foe should anyone mess with their family. However, due to their aggressive personalities, they need early socialization and training.

a Neapolitan Mastiff in the city

17. Newfoundland

Well, the Newfoundland dog is certainly a big dog, but they’re also quite friendly, which means that these gentle giants are not exactly cut out to be guard dogs. However, that doesn’t imply that they can’t make excellent watchdogs. While Newfoundlands are not naturally aggressive, with proper training, they become the protector of homes and families.

a Newfoundland dog in a barn

18. Rhodesian Ridgeback

As a guardian dog of the Khoikhoi, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an excellent hunter, protector, and devoted pet. These dogs have been bred to assist in the hunting of lions, so of course they make great guard dogs. While the Rhodesian Ridgeback loves being outdoors, they also prefer loving moments cuddled up with their family.

a Rhodesian Ridgeback on a dusty trail

19. Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is a protective breed and assists in finding lost people in colder climates. With a massive build and a loud bark, they make excellent guard dogs. And similar to their caring depictions in cartoons, the Saint Bernard also makes great nanny dogs for families with children. 

a Saint Bernard in the city

20. Tibetan Mastiff

One look at the Tibetan Mastiff can tell you that they’re the supreme guardian dog. Their massive size makes them imposing while they maintain an aloof and watchful eye over their family, ensuring that their protective instincts are put to the task. Tibetan Mastiffs are also mellow breeds and quite loving with their loved ones when not on duty. 

a Tibetan Mastiff in the city

21. Weimaraner

Energetic and fearless, the Weimaraner is an excellent guard dog. These dogs are super vigilant, so that means that they’re aware of any dangers. However, Weimaraners also need a lot of stimulation, which means that novice pet parents cannot handle them. Plus if you don’t train and exercise them everyday, they’ll be bored out of their minds. 

a Weimaraner dog outdoors


Getting a new dog can be a daunting task, especially if you’re looking for a guard dog. Dogs are not only meant for guarding your home, but will also be spending time with your family and kids. Or maybe you spend most of your time outdoors and need a companion. These factors are crucial aspects you need to consider when finding the perfect best friend. 

Besides this, training and socialization levels of different breeds can also affect your decisions. But don’t worry, with some good research and knowledge, you’ll be able to find a guard dog that’s just right for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best guard dogs?

While quite a few breeds make excellent guard dogs, the Rottweiler is often seen to be the best guard dog. This is due to their muscular build, ferocity and fearless nature in the face of danger. With proper training and socialization, they also make great guard dogs for families.

What is the #1 protective dog?

The Belgian Malinois is often known to be the #1 protective dog. Due to their energetic and protective nature, they make great police and military dogs, and are frequently opted for search and rescue operations as well. Additionally, they do have an impressive bite force, and are instinctually territorial of home and family. 

Which dog is best for home security?

German Shepherds are the most preferred dogs for home security. Besides their roles as police and military dogs, they also make wonderful family pets. With a territorial and protective nature, they are on the lookout for danger and love to safeguard their families and homes against danger. 

Are guard dogs friendly?

Yes and no. Since most guard dogs are often wary of strangers, they may not be quite friendly or easy to bribe. However, that doesn’t mean that guard dogs cannot be friendly. Dogs like the Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Newfoundland, among other dogs can be successful watchdogs and friendly.

Are guard dogs loyal?

Yes. Guard dogs are very loyal and devoted to their owners. Some dogs would even jump between their owners and the danger without any hesitation. Their protectiveness and love for their owners make them great pets.

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