Dogs are very loyal companions that bring daily joy and happiness to so many people’s lives. With their unconditional love and affection, it’s no wonder why they are referred to as “man’s best friend”. They are our comfort in times in need, the best cuddlers, and our favorite adventure buddies. Ask any dog owner, and they will say that some of life’s greatest memories are made with their dogs. Whether just hanging out together at home, or adventuring in the beautiful outdoors, our furry friends provide us with an endless supply of love and affection.
The presence of guard dogs in homes has steadily risen over the years, with many people seeking the advanced protection that guard dogs can provide. It is a widely known fact that dogs have enhanced senses, especially their sense of smell and hearing, in comparison to their human counterparts. That means while the average person may not be able to detect possible danger, their dog likely can, alerting their owner to- and protecting them- from any threats.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may be interested in getting a guard dog, and to save you from spending hours browsing the internet to find out which dog is right for you, we’re breaking down the best breeds of guard dogs.
Why Should You Get a Guard Dog?
Keeping their home and family safe is often the main priority for most people, and that is where guard dogs come in. With strong protective and territorial instincts, guard dogs are conditioned to look out for, and fend off, any threats to their owners. Guard dogs form very strong bonds with their owners, which is why they are committed to protecting their owners from harm and ensuring their safety.
More often than not, just a glimpse of a guard dog is enough to deter an unwanted visitor. Some people have fears of dogs and others may just know it is not wise to break into a home with a dog on watch. This means that sometimes, all it takes is a couple of loud barks or growls, and any would-be intruder will leave the home immediately, not wanting to encounter an angered guard dog.
Guard Dogs for Families
Dogs are very family-friendly pets, as they are generally very gentle and playful in nature, something that makes them great companions for kids. For many, welcoming a dog into their family provides them with more than just affection, as many dogs are natural protectors, watching and preparing for any potential threats to their owners. There is a misconception that guard dogs cannot be family-friendly pets, which is not the case. In fact, most dog breeds used as guard dogs are very even-tempered, only displaying any hostile behavior when facing threats.
Who Should Get a Guard Dog?
Different circumstances may prompt people to seek out protection for themselves and their homes, often investing in security systems, reinforced locks, or guard dogs.
For women, living by themselves can be a major concern from a safety standpoint. This is why, in recent years, common security methods such as doorbell cameras, have become increasingly popular among single women. For women looking for an arguably more pleasant form of protection, getting a dog may be a smart idea. Not only do dogs provide wonderful companionship- which can be a very important factor for single residents, they also serve as great guardians.
Living in a city can also be a very overwhelming experience for some people, and due to the higher crime rates in cities, many people seek forms of protection to better protect themselves and their families. Residents of inner-city apartment buildings, particularly those on the first floor, may be concerned with their buildings' security, which can be lacking in older structures. First-floor units have the easiest access points for unwanted visitors, and with the amount of foot traffic outside of most city apartment buildings, someone may be able to sneak inside a building undetected. This is why having some security in place is a good idea for residents of apartments, with many people turning to home security products or even personal safety products, such as pepper spray. When on the go, especially at a late hour, people are vulnerable to unwanted advances, pickpockets, and so forth. Unfortunately, if someone relies on solely home protection, this will not ensure your safety while out and about. This is why many people prefer the form of protection that can keep you safe in your home and around the city; a guard dog.
Guard Dogs for Rural Areas
In more rural areas, owning a guard dog can provide the owner with peace of mind for a number of reasons. There is a lot of wildlife in mountain regions, which can cause concern for residents of these areas. Understandably, it can be difficult not to be on edge if there are dangerous animals in close proximity to your home.
For families with children, it can be especially alarming when animals begin venturing closer to your home, as this increases the risk for any unwanted encounters. Wild animals can sometimes be naturally curious creatures, just like children, who may not understand the serious risk that wild animals may pose.
A dog can provide a lot of value in these circumstances, alerting its owner to any threats such as moose, bears, and other potentially dangerous animals. Some animals do not even need to be angered, just simply surprised, to attack humans. Moreover, dangerous animals, such as Mountain Lions, are very skilled at being undetectable, often silently stalking its prey without them knowing. However, beings that are often undetected by humans are easily detected by dogs, who are very effective at scaring off predators.
When guard dogs are not familiar with someone or something, they proceed with caution and are ready to chase off or defend their home against the intruder. This is why guard dogs are common in desolate areas, ensuring their owners are protected despite being isolated.
Training Guard Dogs
While most dog breeds have natural protective instincts, there is still a bit of training required for guard dogs. For guard dogs that instinctually display aggression to any perceived threats, it is important that they are properly trained by their owners, as this is what builds trust and loyalty. When they perceive someone or something as a danger to them or their owner, a guard dog’s first instinct may be to attack. When facing off against a burglar, or any type of unwanted guest, a dog owner will likely feel more comfortable when their dog is trained to neutralize or alert their owner to the threat.
This is why training your guard dog is very important, as you want to make sure that they know the difference between friend and foe. A lack of proper training for guard dogs can result in unfortunate accidents, such as invited guests being harmed or intimidated by your dog.
Patience is key when starting the training process with your dogs. Start with teaching them simple commands, such as “sit” or “stay”. Every dog is different, so no two training experiences will be the same. Some dogs will respond better to positive reinforcement, obeying their owners when they are praised and rewarded for doing so, however, more stubborn dog breeds may require more discipline when being trained.
Guard dogs are naturally quite protective, and if they are alert constantly, this can lead to them being overly wound up or agitated. The best way to soothe overactive guard dogs is to provide them with a comfortable and safe space. When owners do not need their dogs to be “on duty” guarding their home, housing them in a crate is the most effective way to ensure they are relaxed in a calm, stable environment.
Best Qualities in Guard Dogs
When deciding on what dog breed is right for you, it’s important to decide what your needs are. Some breeds are more aggressive than other more docile ones, and some may be better watchdogs than guard dogs. Consider what particular qualities you are looking for in a guard dog, as well as what care you are able to provide. Different breeds of dogs may be more difficult to train than others, so it is a good idea to understand what is to be expected when caring for certain dog breeds.
Loyalty is one of the most paramount qualities to look for when searching for the right guard dog. To make certain your home will be guarded against any intruders, your dog must display unwavering loyalty to you, prompting your dog to take any measures necessary to safeguard you and your home. Additionally, the best guard dogs are naturally wary of strangers, often continually watching for any perceived threats. This is why certain breeds, such as the over-friendly Golden Retrievers, are not a good choice for guard dogs or watch dogs, given their tendency to be very welcoming to strangers.
Another quality that should be taken into account is size. Different care is required for dogs of different sizes, which is why deciding on the right guard dog for you can be a big decision. For people with smaller homes, larger dogs may not be the right fit, as they typically require more space. This may seem like an obstacle for some people, such as those who reside in apartments, but that does not need to be the case.
Can Small Dogs be Good Guard Dogs?
Contrary to what may be popular belief, there are smaller dog breeds that make for great guard dogs. For people with small living quarters, smaller guard dogs can provide great companionship and protection for their owners.
Boston and Bull Terriers are friendly small-to-medium size dogs that have great protective instincts, despite their smaller stature in comparison to larger guard dogs. Nonetheless, both dog breeds are naturally muscular, which makes them formidable opponents to any potential intruders. Boston and Bull Terriers are affectionate and eager to please their owners, making them easy to train as well.
These dogs are very playful and loving family pets, and you can rest assured that they, even without your knowledge, are constantly scanning their surroundings for potential threats to their owners and their homes.
The Best Large Guard Dogs
German Shepherds are a large breed of dog with a reputation for their strength, loyalty, and protective nature. They form powerful bonds with their owners, and stay vigilant at all times, defending their owners and homes from danger. Their obedience means they respond very well to training, being quick to learn and follow commands. With a German Shepherd as a pet, dog owners know their home is being kept safe by the same canines trusted by law enforcement K-9 units across the country.
For most people, simply looking at a Cane Corso is enough to tell them that it is not wise to provoke them. Cane Corsos are a part of the mastiff family and have the same brawn and muscle associated with mastiff breeds. Cane Corsos have large, muscular builds, weighing up to 120 pounds. With their large size, they possess a lot of strength, presenting a massive threat to- and warding off- any potential home invaders. For families interested in getting a Cane Corso, they must be prepared to properly train their dog, as untrained Cane Corsos, due to their sheer power, can pose a risk to others.
Boxers are a medium-to-large breed of dog loved by families for both their friendly temperament and protective instincts. This breed is naturally cautious around strangers, showing great loyalty to its owners. Their skepticism of new people is why they are one of the most recommended breeds for guard dogs, as they are likely to always be on alert for any threats.
Unlike with many more obedient dog breeds, dog owners find that Boxers can be more difficult to train. Boxer owners are encouraged to train their dog using positive reinforcement, ensuring your guard dog learns good behavior and how to obey commands.
It is widely known that Rottweilers are one of the more aggressive dog breeds, but with proper training, this dog breed can be very friendly and loyal to its owners, only showing aggression when warranted. With their reputation preceding them, Rottweilers can often easily scare off potential intruders with their presence alone, not even needing to physically attack. Still, families with Rottweilers enjoy the companionship of these calm, muscled dogs, with the peace of mind knowing their home is well protected.
Bullmastiffs are working dogs first bred in England to guard estates, establishing them early on as being great guard dogs. To this day, Bullmastiffs are sought after for their guardian instincts, power, and agility. Their physicality separates them from other dog breeds, with the strength of their bite being able to injure dangerous intruders. Just as with Cane Corsos, another mastiff descendant, Bullmastiffs are not recommended for first-time dog owners, and Bullmastiff dog owners must be very diligent with training their dog so that it does not pose a risk to others.
Bred to be watchdogs, Dobermans are highly intelligent and fearless dogs. Generally very devoted to their owners, Dobermans are considered to be great watch dogs due to their keen intuition and obedient nature. They are very receptive to commands, learning very quickly to trust and listen to their owners. One of the reasons they are highly regarded as the perfect family dogs is their naturally friendly personalities. To ensure your Doberman will be a great family pet and guard dog it is important that they are socialized from a young age, or else they may be cautious towards their owners, not just strangers.
Great Danes are commonly known for being gentle giants, but despite their mellow nature, they are always prepared to protect their owners. Descended from hunting dogs, this dog breed is most known for its towering height, surpassing even most humans in height when standing on their hind legs. Their large stature can be deceiving most of the time, as they are very affectionate, caring, and nonaggressive. Great Danes, with their unfailing loyalty to their owners, will usually only ever display aggression when they need to defend their owners from danger. Since they are naturally very compliant dogs, training a Great Dane is quite an easy process, making them a great choice of a guard dog for first-time dog owners.
There are so many dogs across the country who are eagerly waiting to be adopted into loving homes. Guard dogs make for wonderful pets, protecting yourself and your home, so start finding your perfect loyal companion at local shelters and breeders!