While having a trusted companion may top your list of why you want to get a dog, an extra line of defense can be helpful, too. Some dog breeds are better known for their protectiveness than others due to certain characteristics like confidence, build, alertness, intelligence, and more. While television often portrays Dobermans and Rottweilers as the ultimate guard dogs, there are plenty of other breeds that are equally fearless but which you may have never heard of, such as the Thai Ridgeback or the Belgian Laekenois. Read on for a variety of breeds that live to keep their people safe.
Akitas Are Revered As Family Protectors
Weighing in around 100 pounds, Akita dogs have a strong build beneath their thick and fluffy coat that makes them great guard dogs. In their ancient home of Japan, they are highly regarded as family protectors and were bred to be both guardians and hunters.
As such, they are often wary of other dogs and of strangers, so they won’t think twice about defending you. At the same time, they have a silly side that they’re happy to share with family and friends.
Australian Shepherds Are Tough Ranch Dogs
Australian Shepherds are a wonderful mixture of sweet and sour, being both playful and work-oriented. They have a strong impulse to herd and are bursting with energy, so they love to have a job to do and require strong training.
Aussies form a deep bond with their family and will turn all of that energy toward protecting those they love. The breed’s intelligence and loyalty make them easy to train, so long as the owner is willing to provide them with the attention and activity they need.
The Appenzeller Sennenhund Cannot Be Bribed
The Appenzeller Sennenhund, also known as the Appenzeller Mountain Dog or Appenzell Cattle Dog, is both fearless and agile. Their muscular build and lively personality make them ready for action at all times.
They are highly intelligent and top the charts in terms of energy, so they require open land that they can freely play on. Appenzeller Sennenhunds make for not only great guard dogs, but also search and rescue animals. Suspicious of strangers, they won’t be easily distracted with bribes.
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs Protect With Intensity
The Anatolian Shepherd dog stands at just under 2.5 feet tall to the shoulder and weighs up to 150 pounds due to its muscular physique. Bred to protect their flocks, these dogs are skillfully agile and quick thinkers.
Anatolians’ ancestors are some of the oldest-known domestic canines, dating back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age. They have a longstanding reputation for being outstanding guardians. The loyal dogs are wary of strangers, so they need to be socialized at a young age.
Beaucerons Are Imposing But Obedient
Beaucerons look a bit like thicker and fluffier Dobermans with their pointy ears and black and auburn fur, but they can also have a black-gray-tan coat. Regardless of their fur, their tall and muscular build combined with their confident expression are sure to ward off any threats.
These dominant dogs will own their owner, so they need firm but fair training and plenty of mental and physical exercise. By the same token, they are wonderful protectors of the young and defenseless as they are sensitive and smart creatures.
The Belgian Laekenois Is Keenly Alert
The Belgian Laekenois (pronounced Lak-in-wah) is both sturdy and agile, making it no match for intruders. Its dark snout emphasizes its watchful eyes, which are both observant and full of life.
These dogs are very affectionate when it comes to their family, and want nothing more than to please their owner. As such, they take well to training and are sure to protect their master and their property. They are often reserved around strangers but love being around humans they can trust.
Black Russian Terriers Are Powerful
Black Russian Terriers are brawny, shaggy animals full of power. Though they are energetic, they have a calm side that comes out when they get enough exercise. These dominating animals need firm training, but that’s also what makes them intimidating to strangers.
Full of power and confidence, Black Russian Terriers were bred to protect. They are moderately wary of strangers, but won’t hesitate to make their dominance known since these courageous dogs are built to guard.
Boxers Are Fearless
One of the most popular dog breeds for quite some time, according to the American Kennel Club, the Boxer is the perfect mix of fun-loving and hard-working. They are full of curiosity and can be silly at times, making them all the more endearing to their owners.
Though playful, they have a protective nature and courage to match. Goofballs as they may be, they take their job as watchdogs very seriously and will rush forward at the first sign of a threat.
Boerboels Are No-Nonsense Dogs
Boerboels descend from the same ancestor as Mastiffs, which may explain their strong, bronzy build. One characteristic that some say makes them superior to their Mastiff relatives is their agility.
Bred to act as a shield from the fierce predators of remote South Africa, Boerboels are committed to protecting. Their powerful jaws and thick muscles make them a force you don’t want to reckon with. At the same time, they adore their family and are very calm and smart.
Hovawarts Can Handle Stress
Hovawarts have an even-keeled demeanor that, combined with their loyalty, make them wonderful companions. These intelligent dogs are often on high alert and they have an extra sensitive nose, hence, they are a valuable resource in search and rescue organizations.
These self-confident dogs need an owner that is more directive than they are. With the appropriate training, they can make for wonderful guard dogs as they have a strong instinct to protect their family.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Are Protective
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever isn’t as popular as its Labrador and Golden Retriever relatives, but they are just as affectionate and loyal. The Chesapeake Retriever has an edge in that it’s both upbeat and reserved when it comes to strangers.
They’ll be polite at first, but the minute they need to they’ll race to protect their humans. The emotionally complex dogs are both obedient and independent, so they won’t hesitate to call themselves to action if things seem threatening.
German Shepherds Will Risk Their Life For Loved Ones
Regarded as working dogs with many exceptional traits, German Shepherds can learn various tasks. Their courage combined with their intelligence make them a wonderful police dog, whether it’s for law enforcement or a single-family home.
Their muscular but acrobatic physique puts them at an advantage over intruders, but they are gentle with family and would do anything to save the ones they love. They are wary of those they don’t know they can trust, but extremely loyal to their owners.
Thai Ridgebacks Are Great Jumpers
Between their active character and impressive jumping ability, Thai Ridgebacks are not easy to get past. Bred to hunt and guard, these dogs have exceptional survival instincts and don’t immediately take to strangers.
Thai Ridgebacks are loyal to their family and protective of their home, but need an owner who can assert their dominance. These tough dogs require their fair share of exercise, so play and dog sports can be a great way to bond with them.
Chihuahuas Are Small But Feisty
Although Chihuahuas are known as “purse dogs,” they are very feisty. This breed is the perfect example of a small dog with a big dog’s personality. They don’t realize how little they are, which makes their personality so funny. Even though they don’t realize their small stature, Chihuahuas are very intelligent and know how to get their way.
But they are very eager to please their family and they excel at obedience training. This loyal pooch isn’t the best with strangers and might bark if someone unknown walks into their home.
The Bergamasco Sheepdog Has A Natural Shield
The Bergamasco Sheepdog may look like something you would clean your floors with, but that’s part of what makes them such great guard dogs. Their hair strands morph together to form flat layers of felted hair that act as a shield of protection from predators.
Vigilant workers, these dogs are always on the lookout and are wary of strangers at first. At the same time, they are sociable creatures who won’t resort to violence unless they decide it’s needed.
Tornjaks Are Fierce Guardians
Also known as the Bosnian or Herzegovina-Croatian Shepherd Dog, the Tornjak is thought to be descended from the Tibetan Mastiff. The sturdy breed is quick to threaten anyone they deem a risk towards their home or loved ones.
These dogs are happy to work for their owners and have a great memory. Though they are suspicious of strangers, they are affectionate toward those they know and trust and are calm in safe situations with their owners.
Briards Have A Powerful Work Drive
Briard dogs are full of love and have a high spirit that makes them irresistible to their owners. Though their shaggy fur often hangs over their eyes, they are watchful dogs that are especially protective of children.
Though Briards have a somewhat moderate energy level, their work ethic is off the charts and they need an active job, even if it’s just chasing after a tennis ball. They adore human companionship and will pay it forward two-fold in terms of protection.
Doberman Pinschers Are Highly Regarded
The sleek but muscular Doberman Pinscher is packed with strength and built for speed. Even the most foolish of intruders would know better than to try and face this guard dog head-on.
Known as one of the world’s finest protection dogs, Dobermans are fearless and will stop at nothing to ensure that their owner is safe. These loyal dogs are eager to please and love to spend time exercising with their people, which also keeps them in shape for any task, no matter how dangerous.
Rottweilers Are Robust Workers
Gentle one moment and protective the next, the Rottweiler has a balance of both playfulness and seriousness. When safe with those they love, they’ll show they’re silly and affectionate side. When around strangers, their guardian hats come on and they become courageous workers.
Rottweilers love being around people and are eager to please their owners. They have an aggressive side that shouldn’t be encouraged during playtime so that they don’t confuse their contrasting characteristics.
Cane Corsos Are The “Bodyguard Dogs”
According to the American Kennel Club, the name Cane Corso comes from the Latin meaning for “bodyguard dog,” so it’s safe to say that guarding is a part of their nature. These affectionate dogs are deeply loyal to their owner.
At the same time, their confidence can evolve into assertiveness towards their people if they aren’t trained properly, so it’s important to remain dominant. This characteristic can be read in the breed’s domineering stare, which seems to say “don’t mess with me.”
Staffordshire Bull Terriers Are Tenacious
Staffordshire Bull Terriers, commonly referred to as Staffies, have fighting instincts that linger from the days of being bred to participate in underground dogfighting competitions. In the two centuries since, the breed has evolved into a loving, charismatic companion for the whole family.
These clever dogs are well-equipped to tackle any threat that comes their way, but are sensitive to their owners’ wants. Quick to respond and highly intelligent, well trained Staffies will be patient with even small children and only let their fighting spirits out when it’s called for.
Belgian Malinois Guard The White House
Belgian Malinois, sometimes referred to as Mals, are often confused with the German Shepherd breed. These dogs are best known for their police work, being able to pick up odors such as narcotics and even explosives. They tend to get into this line of work because they are highly intelligent and, therefore, easy to train on challenging assignments.
Mals are even used by the U.S. Secret Service to protect the grounds surrounding the White House! These intelligent dogs are friendly and will protect their owners if they detect a threat of any kind.
Pulis Are Known As The Acrobats Of The Dog World
There is no other breed that resembles the dreadlocked Puli. They are extremely smart, but don’t let the easy training fool you; they are headstrong and aren’t afraid to walk to the beat of their own drum. That being said, Pulis are bred to work closely with humans.
The Puli breed is very faithful to their human companions, and do not take lightly to anyone or anything that they perceive as a threat. Honestly, anyone trying to break into a Puli’s home is in for a surprise. These dogs are called the “acrobat of the dog world,” after all.
Tibetan Mastiffs Are Known As Guardian Dogs
This is a Tibetan Mastiff, and they are known to be one of the best guardians out there. Although their size and demeanor are a bit imposing and intimidating, they are very mellow around their human companions.
This breed is devoted to their family, being a built-in security system for their loved ones. While Mastiffs are loving towards their family, they can be very aloof and territorial if a stranger walks through the door.
The Bouvier Des Flandres Is Strong-Willed
Bouvier des Flandres may be a mouthful to say, but that’s because the name translates to “cowherd of Flanders.” Indeed, these powerful dogs were known for their herding skills, but are also talented guard dogs.
These worker dogs embody the phrase “work hard, play hard,” as they love affection just as much as they love taking on a task. As such, they need an owner who can give them lots of attention and keep them busy. In return, Bouviers will do their best to keep their owners protected.
The Spanish Water Dog Is Ever Vigilant
The Spanish water dog needs to be both mentally and physically active, making them excellent guard dogs. They are relatively easy to train but with their herding nature are prone to chasing after squirrels and rabbits. Don’t fault this precious dog; it’s just in their genes.
Spanish water dogs are very loyal to their human companion, but if you ever want to get this breed, it is important to socialize him with strangers from an early age. This breed is known to be wary of people they don’t know, making them vigilant watchdogs.
Bullmastiffs Are Brave
Bullmastiffs have a history of pursuing poachers in England, so you can rest assured that these dogs are well equipped with the skills needed to deter an intruder. These brawny dogs require training while they’re small because once grown they can easily overpower the novice owner.
At the same time, these affectionate dogs will bond with their people during training and remain loyal. The result of a Bulldog and a Mastiff crossbreed, Bullmastiffs are both alert and confident.
Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dogs Are Mistrusting Of Strangers
The Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog is impressive in both its size and character. This breed is known as lively but very stubborn because it enjoys its independence. But don’t let that stubbornness fool you. These dogs are reliable and loyal, enjoying going anywhere with their human companions.
That loyalty is what makes them fantastic guard dogs. While they love their family and are devoted to them, this breed is wary and mistrusting of any strangers that walk into their lives. They love their territory and are serious guardians when the occasion calls for it.
Perro de Presa Canarios Are Self-Confident
The Perro de Presa Canario is calm and well suited for guarding. They have an attentive expression, but that quickly goes away when they are in the presence of someone they love. Canarios like exercise, but they are also content to snuggle on the couch and be lazy.
They are a confident breed and have no issue making it known. While this breed is loyal to their family, they’re cautious around strangers, especially on their home turf. It is obvious when this breed is on high alert because their stance becomes vigilant and solid.
Canaan Dogs Are Constantly On The Alert
The national dog of Israel, Canaan Dogs are agile and energetic. This clever breed is loving to family and wary of strangers. Intelligent and confident, they require a strong owner who isn’t afraid to make their dominance known, or the Canaan Dog will take over the household.
With proper training, these ancient dogs will be your most vigilant sidekick and protector. Territorial by nature, they take time to warm up to new people and new environments. With positive reinforcement, they make for well-adjusted guardians.
The Giant Schnauzer Is Valiant
Coming in at 95 pounds is the Giant Schnauzer. This breed is known for its muscular build and, of course, its silly eyebrows and beard that give its face so much expression. Unlike a lot of bigger dog breeds, the Giant Schnauzer has a lot of energy and needs to be exercised multiple times a day.
Thankfully, this high-energy pooch is very intelligent and trainable. That being said, this breed is not for the casual owner! Giant Schnauzers are very territorial of their humans but can detect if someone is, in fact, a foe.
Caucasian Shepherd Dogs Are Bold
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a floofy, sturdy guard dog with a heart of gold. You get the best of both worlds with this breed as they are both fierce and kind, and give back what is given to them.
Devoted to their family, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs have a history of guarding flocks in mountainous territories. The gentle companions have a modest energy level making them lifesize teddy bears that are braced to protect at a moment’s notice.
Great Danes Are Alert At Home
Great Danes are known for their imposing size and weight. But while they are intimidating, this breed is a joy to live with. They’re patient with kids and are only looking to please their humans. But despite their sweet at-home nature, they are not to be trifled with.
This breed is an alert guardian, and if an intruder is silly enough to enter a house with a Great Dane, they are going to be met with an animal full of spirit and courage. This breed will do everything in their power to keep their loved ones safe.
Chow Chows Are Aloof Yet Loyal
Chow chow owners will let anyone known that this is one of the cleanest dog breeds out there. They are easily housebroken and have little odor, which makes sense with their aristocratic looks! Chows are stubborn, so early socialization is key to a well-rounded pooch.
If you are looking for a highly intelligent breed with a smidgen of stubbornness, then look no further than this fluffball. This breed is known to be eternally loyal to their family, but will guard them with the fierceness of a lion if need be.
Central Asian Shepherd Dogs Are Balanced And Self-Assured
Central Asian Shepherd Dogs have a soft pride that makes them fit to be both a companion and a property guardian. The highly independent dogs are selective about who they bond with, so owners can rest assured that this breed will not be fooled easily.
Once you have the loyalty of a Central Asian Shepherd Dog, you have a fierce protector who will be quiet and calm in the house but fearless in the face of danger.
Bernese Mountain Dogs Are Imposing But Not Threatening
The floofy Bernese Mountain dog is one of the more well-mannered large breeds. This breed is blessed with an affectionate nature and gets along with the entire family. They are very patient with kids, but they tend to latch on to one lucky human companion. This breed is definitely one that aims to please!
Although the Bernese is fairly imposing in size, they aren’t threatening in the general sense. They just tend to be aloof with strangers but will switch gears really fast if they think one of their own is in danger.
The Komondor Is A Dignified Guardian
With a similar coat to the Bergamasco Sheepdog, Komondorak (plural for Komondor) are buried in their thick layer of white cords. Beneath their natural coat of armor is a dignified guard dog with a respectable history of chasing ferocious beasts away from the sheep of Hungary.
Both loyal and protective, the Komondor is a heavy-boned but light-footed breed that lives for the chase. Though their energy level is medium, they were built to protect and won’t hesitate to investigate anything they deem a threat.
American Leopard Hounds Are Protective Of Children
Known as being one of the oldest dog breeds in the United States, American Leopard Hounds are intelligent and loving. The former is said to be the breed’s best attribute, making them easy to train.
This breed is eager to please their family and is always up for some fun exercise. Leopard Hounds are loyal and love their family. They are also extremely protective of children, so if there is one in the family, this is a great breed choice for a guardian!
The Kuvasz Is A Protector
According to fans of the Kuvasz, the most beautiful part of the dog is its elegantly proportioned head. We’re not going to disagree! The Kuvasz is a gorgeous breed and looks quite majestic. Honestly, it makes sense why kings would choose this breed for a companion.
This breed is very smart, but they tend to enjoy a bit more independence than other breeds. And while they are great dogs, they might be a bit of a challenge for anyone new to owning a dog. But it doesn’t matter, the Kuvasz is loyal to their family and is a natural guardian who will protect their own at all costs.
The Great Pyrenees Is Packed With Power
The Great Pyrenees, Pyrs for short, is a thickly coated and immensely powerful mountain dog full of energy. Despite topping the scale in terms of vitality, Pyrs are known for their tremendously calm nature and patient personalities.
Mellow one moment and springing into action the next, these dogs make for wonderful companions and protectors. The smart breed will conserve its energy for when it’s needed, and pack a punch towards any imposing threats. You’re not going to want to threaten this pooch’s family!
Estrela Mountain Dog
Don’t be fooled by the fluffy fur on this six-month old male Estrela mountain dog, it’s a top guard dog for any family. The males can weight up to 130 pounds and they have an innate ability for guarding livestock as well.
If you’re interested in an Estele make sure to socialize it well when it is young. Their guarding and dominant personality can turn aggressive if they don’t have strict training and positive socialization.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula leopard dog is short-coated but has a short temper when it comes to intruders. These dogs may seem small but they’re muscular and very powerful. Despite their great guard dog abilities, the Catahoula leopard dog is known for also being quite playful and fun-loving! Just make sure you’re not on the path when the switch flips.
If that isn’t enough of a reason to love the Catahoula leopard dog, they’re also the state dog of Louisiana!
The adorable amount of rolls combined with their kind eyes may have you thinking the shar-pei isn’t a good guard dog but you’d be wrong. This dog from China was actually bred for dog fighting. At one point though, it almost became extinct and in 1978 was declared the world’s rarest dog breed.
In fact, historians believe that the current rolled form of the shar-pei is descended from the non-rolled guard dogs of ancient China. It’s truly in their blood!