Best Guard Dogs and Why You Need One, Like, Yesterday

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Guard dogs are nothing new. They have been humans' friends, loyal companions, and protectors for thousands of years (yes, thousands! Roman Cane Corso's date back to 1137 A.D.) Whether you live in a seedy neighborhood, have young children that need protection, or simply want to increase the security of your home, choosing the right guard dog for you is key. In this blog, we will go over our list of the top 12 best guard dogs, with a separate, smaller list for the best family guard dogs.

Why Choose a Guard Dog?

Unmatched Loyalty and Protection

Guard dogs are not only incredibly loyal, but they also have a combination of characteristics that make them, well, good at guarding. They form strong bonds with their family, are alert and agile, and have high protective instincts that make them naturals at keeping you and your loved ones safe, all while warding off potential intruders. A lot of times just their presence and/or bark can keep anyone thinking about breaking in from actually doing it.

Versatility in Roles

People think of aggressive, protective dogs when they think of guard dogs, but this is not the case. A good guard dog can also be an amazing companion, a fun playmate for your kids, and can even be gentle therapy dogs. This versatility is what is needed to protect your family, and is what makes them an ideal choice for someone looking for a dog that does it all.

A Natural Deterrent 

Just the presence of a powerful dog can be all the deterrent an intruder needs to re-think their decision to break into your home. Most criminals will avoid homes with guard dogs, knowing they will be putting themselves at a high risk of injury should they choose to proceed. This makes guard dogs a great, non-lethal option for boosting the security of you and your home.

What Makes a Good Guard Dog?

Temperament and Trainability

The best of the best guard dogs need to be both trainable and balanced in temperament. If they have just one of these qualities and not the other, they can fall short of what is needed. A good guard dog also needs to identify the difference between a friend and a threat, so they are not crying wolf with every person that gets close to you or your house.

Physical Strength and Agility

Strength, agility, and speed are all physical qualities needed for guard dogs to chase down, and take down intruders (if necessary). Many of the dogs on our list were bred to be muscular, strong, and high energy.

Alertness and Intelligence

You can have a dog that is strong and agile, but if they are not vigilant, responsive, and intelligent, they won't fit the bill to be an excellent guard dog. A guard dog needs to be able to respond quickly to threats, which requires them to be smart enough to execute a variety of commands, quickly and accurately.

The Top 12 Best Guard Dogs

1. German Shepherd

German Shepherds are no doubt #1 on our list. They have the smarts, the loyalty, and the instincts to protect, which is why they are a top choice for police and military. If you are looking for a guard dog for your home or your business, look no further than a German Shepherd.

2. Rottweiler

If you've seen a Rottweiler in person, you know they have a strong, intimidating look. Their look alone can be enough to deter a troublemaker. At the same time, they can be big softies, gentle with children and the elderly (when properly trained). 

3. Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans are fast (I mean they even look fast), and wickedly smart. They pick up new skills, commands, and tasks quickly, making them top-notch guard dogs. Their loyalty, and watchful instincts make them great guard dogs.

4. Bullmastiff

If you want a dog that is large and in charge (also strong, and absolutely fearless), you may want to look into the Bullmastiff. Bullmastiffs were bread to guard large estates, so they have the genetics to be good protectors. Despite their intimidating physical stature, they can be quite loving and gentle with family and people they know well.

5. Boxer

Boxers, known to stand on their hind legs and "box" with their front paws (which is how they got their name), have limitless energy, a playful attitude, and a protective nature. This combo makes them good guard dogs to have around young children - though they can accidentally knock kids over over when being playful, so be mindful of that!

6. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are often used in police and military roles due to their intelligence and trainability. They are agile, energetic, and protective, making them ideal guard dogs for active families.

7. Akita

Akitas are large, powerful dogs with a strong protective instinct. They are known for their loyalty and can be very affectionate with their families. Their alertness makes them excellent watchdogs.

8. Great Dane

Great Danes are one of our personal favorite breeds. Known as gentle giants, especially with children, they are arguably the most loyal, loving guard dogs on this list. Despite having a gentle side, they are intensely protective, and their size alone can be a deterrent for any potential intruders.

9. Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzers are intelligent and trainable dogs known for their protective nature. They are energetic and require regular exercise, making them ideal for active families.

10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are strong, courageous, and loyal. They are great with children and can be trained to protect your home. Their muscular build and alertness make them excellent guard dogs.

11. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are known for their strength and endurance. They were originally bred to hunt lions, making them fearless protectors. Their loyalty and protective instincts make them excellent guard dogs.

12. Cane Corso

Cane Corsos are famously known for being Roman war dogs (they are, indeed, descendants of Roman war dogs). They're large, powerful, and intimidating dogs known for their protective instincts. They are loyal and affectionate with their families and can be excellent guard dogs with proper training.

Best Family Guard Dogs

There will obviously be some overlap here with our general list for "best guard dogs", but this shortlist of breeds have the skills needed to not only protect your home (or apartment, or business), but also get along well with your fam. 

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a superstar in the realm of guard dogs. Their intelligence and loyalty make them not only excellent protectors but also loving family members. They are great with kids and can adapt to various family activities.


Jolly and energetic are two adjectives that describe Boxers. Because of their friendly demeanor, they are ideal for families with children (while still being incredibly protective of them).


Despite their intimidating size, Bullmastiffs are gentle giants when it comes to their families. They are incredibly loyal and protective, yet affectionate and patient with children. Their calm disposition makes them excellent family guard dogs.

Doberman Pinscher

Dobermans are sharp, and highly trainable. Their loyalty to their family is unmatched, and they are known for being affectionate around those they trust. With proper training and socialization, they make splendid family guardians.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Don't let their muscular build fool you; Staffordshire Bull Terriers are sweethearts when it comes to their families. They are incredibly courageous and protective but also very loving and tolerant with children, making them fantastic family pets.

Belgian Malinois

If you are active (like, really active) a Belgian Malinois could be a good fit for you and your family. Their high energy and sharp wit make them an unmatched protector. If you also need a dog with a family-friendly temperament, a Belgian Malinois could be the ideal dog.


Picking the right guard dog is an important decision, and one you should not take lightly. If you feel that one of the breeds on our lists may be a good fit for your home, do more research on that breed, and talk to other people who own that dog. Every breed we mentioned is unique and has their own unique set of abilities that makes them awesome. 

This should go without saying, but solid, consistent training and socialization of these dogs is paramount . Without a well trained, socialized dog you will not have a good guard dog to both protect your place and be a loving (and loved) family member.


What is the #1 Most Protective Dog?

So of the dogs we mentioned, who is at the tippy top in terms of protectiveness? Well, this dog is also in our #1 overall guard dog spot - the German Shepherd. They are fiercely loyal, they can beat you at a game of chess (just kidding, but they are as intelligent as a dog can come), and have unparalleled protective instincts. So if you want a dog that's got your back and can melt your heart, the German Shepherd is where it's at.

Which Dog is Best for Home Security?

We are splitting hairs here, as all of the dogs listed are good guard dogs for your home, but our favorite specifically for home security is the Doberman Pincher. They can legitimately act as your home security system because of how vigilant they are, constantly scanning their environment for any signs of trouble. Plus, they are faster than most dogs (and humans), so they can chase down an intruder in no time.

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