Top 10 Protective Dog Breeds


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10. The Bullmastiff

Search far and wide for all manner of dog breeds, but you will never find one with the size and power of the bullmastiff. That’s because these dogs have been specifically bred for nearly two centuries to ensure one thing: whatever they watch over remains undisturbed. Hailing from Britain, these dogs have a fierce loyalty to their masters without being so over-protective that they are a threat to children.

They’re never a case of a bark being worse than a bite, furthermore, since their jaws can easily crush bone and they rarely bark unless directly approached by intruders. A male bullmastiff can weigh as much as 150 pounds, making them capable of tackling a human their size or larger without a second thought. They’re not as intelligent as other dog breeds that have been trained for work, so they need frequent guidance to learn commands and need to be trained in different ways, since these giants dislike doing the same tasks over and over.

It’s not necessary to train these dogs to protect their family, however, since their prey drive kicks in whenever a stranger approaches. Their prey drive isn’t triggered by other environmental objects, meaning that they won’t bark at other dogs or at squirrels, but are always certain to intimidate anyone who happens to come by. Due to the difficulty in training, it’s common for owners to keep them as outdoors dogs rather than housetraining these massive canines.

As these dogs grow large, however, they often do not live very long, with a median age of only seven or eight years. During that time, however, they’re sure to be a protective force that can intimidate anyone thinking of breaking into a property where they are stationed, no matter what they happen to guard within its four walls.

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9. The Rottweiler

A much maligned species of dog, similar to Dobermans, Rottweilers are unfortunately more stereotyped for attacking strangers than for keeping their family safe and free of harm. Although some members of the public believe these breeds to be harmful, the reality is that any dog (Rottweiler or otherwise) who acts aggressively towards humans and other dogs simply reflects an owner’s lack of training and respect for their pet.

In reality, Rottweilers are counted upon as working dogs and are believed to be genetically descended from dogs used by the Roman Empire to expand borders and protect goods. In fact, they take their name from the German word for “butcher”, since these dogs would guard the money made by butchers after selling their meat, since no would-be thief was willing to take it from the dog.

Their utter devotion to their masters makes them the perfect watch dog, since they have some of the highest obedience rates of all dogs in the entire world. Rottweilers feel the need to protect their masters against all manner of harm, although they do have an aggressive tendency that makes them more risky around children if they have not been properly socialized to younger children.

It’s recommended that families choose a Rottweiler if their kids are old and experienced enough to treat the dog with respect and ensure that it obeys their commands in order to follow the “chain of command” of the pack. If they do, the Rottweiler will protect the family until its last breath.

They do prefer a rustic environment with lots of space to move about, and have an intelligence that demands daily tasks like herding in order to make them feel productive and positive. Unlike some other dogs on the list, however, they don’t need as much attention from their owners, so they won’t feel stressed if left alone for a short period of time.

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8. The Doberman Pinscher

All that you need to know about a Doberman’s instincts to protect its master is that they were originally bred to be dogs that accompanied a tax collector around as he made his rounds. Today, Dobermans are considered some of the very best guard dogs in all the world, with an aggressive nature that often makes them stereotyped as dogs that are harmful to strangers and children.

In reality, Dobermans only ever attack on the command of their owner, having been bred to have great restraint and personal discipline, even in the face of a new threat. Over the years their ability to obey a command in a high-stress situation made them invaluable as military or police dogs, although they’ve become less used in recent years since they do not have the size or raw strength of some other large dog breeds.

What’s more, many breeders in recent years have attempted to tone down the Doberman’s aggressive behavior, which previously had been an asset for guard dog duties or even dog fighting, but today is less valuable in a family pet. As such, it’s unusual to find a Doberman that doesn’t have equal parts protective and passive behavior, or any Doberman that cannot be trained to avoid barking around friends but maintain watchfulness over the family as a whole.

In terms of loyalty, it’s almost impossible to beat a Doberman, who almost never are reported to bite their owners, instead willing to obey commands even if it leads to great personal harm (hence their historical use in dog fighting). These are some of the smartest dogs out there, however, and an owner needs to carefully exercise their Doberman’s mind as well as its body to keep it fit, happy, and obedient to their commands, or else the dog will grow restless and end up chewing whatever’s in the vicinity.

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7. Kuvasz

The Kuvasz is a fearless guardian dog and one of the most protective dog breeds in the world.  This is yet another ancient dog breed on our list and according to the American Kennel Club, the Kuvasz also has an interesting history:

‘’The Kuvasz’s name comes from the Turkish word “kawasz,” meaning “armed guard of the nobility.” He originated in Tibet, but developed into the breed he is today in Hungary. The breed served as a companion to the rulers of Hungarian and other European empires and was owned only by royalty. Hundreds of years later, the breed fell into the hands of “commoners,” and shepherds found they worked well with sheep and cattle.’’

Since they are not easily obedience trained, the Kuvasz is not recommended for inexperienced dog owners.  This dog was bred to act independently and if you want to have a well-mannered dog, you need to exhibit dominance and strong leadership.

The owner has to be firm, confident and calm.  All family members need to learn how to handle the dog from puppyhood.  It is also important to stress that the Kuvasz does not respond well to harsh discipline – it must not be humiliated or confused with contradictory commands and rules.

This overly protective dog breed will not let any harm happen to you or your property.  They are extremely loyal and devoted and would give their life for you.

They will get along well with your children, but should not be left unsupervised with kids.  Additionally, no harm will happen to your kids, but the dog might interpret kids’ play as an attack and could harm other children.

If you want your Kuvasz to work as a flock guard, remember that special training is needed and you might want to hire an expert to help you with the training.

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6. Giant Schnauzer

A giant schnauzer can weigh as much as 100 pounds and the breed has been put to practical use for centuries as work dogs capable of helping farmers take their livestock to the market, helping to guard homes or buildings, and working with police to smell out narcotics or explosives. Their thick, shaggy coat has been grown out over the years in order to make them more difficult to grab onto, whether by an intruder or by another dog or by a bigger animal.

These are particularly quiet dogs that rarely bark unless they feel threatened, making them an excellent choice for families that want a source of protection without needing to tell their dog to stay silent. These dogs maintain a suspicion of strangers, however, so they must be acclimated to new faces and have the behavior reinforced or else they may act aggressively to whoever comes in your door.

With an intelligent disposition, furthermore, they grow bored easily and may be less interested in learning new tricks if the tricks do not change up. Any person interested in attaining a giant schnauzer for watching over their home needs to ensure that they are not left alone often, since their energy can lead to destructive behavior like chewing objects within the home. If properly trained and well-mannered, however, they have a calm demeanor even in the presence of new people, and that makes them very friendly and dependable.

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5. Tibetan Mastiff

There’s so many big breeds to choose from that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one on this list and give it the highest ranking. Yet no matter what angle you take, in terms of raw sheer protective power, no breed eclipses the Tibetan mastiff, capable of running up and down the side of a mountain and launching itself on a snow leopard whenever one of the big cats threatens its family.

Despite the name, they aren’t actually mastiffs, having been mistaken for the massive dogs by the first westerners to lay eyes on them and assume they belonged to the same species, with the name having been adopted over time. Even so, they share many of the traits of European mastiffs, such as the aforementioned bull mastiff, especially their size.

Tibetan mastiffs are among the very largest dogs ever bred, weighing up to two hundred and twenty pounds in males. Their prowess as guard dogs and protectors of the family is well established, with records dating back hundreds of years of their ferocity and loyalty protecting families living from Nepal to central Asia.

Traditionally, these dogs protected the Buddhist monasteries that dot the Tibetan mountains, staying close to the monks by day and patrolling the nearby territory at night in search of external threats like prowlers, leopards, and wolves. Today there’s less need to guard holy men, but they earn their keep as police dogs and sentries, their ferocious presence often enough to drive away outside interest.

In fact, a famous case reported by CNN noted that a Chinese zoo attempted to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as a lion due to the shaggy coat and huge size, but was foiled when zoo attendees realized that the “lion” tended to bark whenever someone got too close to its enclosure.

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4. Komondor

All that you need to know about a Doberman’s instincts to protect its master is that they were originally bred to be dogs that accompanied a tax collector around as he made his rounds. Today, Dobermans are considered some of the very best guard dogs in all the world, with an aggressive nature that often makes them stereotyped as dogs that are harmful to strangers and children.

In reality, Dobermans only ever attack on the command of their owner, having been bred to have great restraint and personal discipline, even in the face of a new threat. Over the years their ability to obey a command in a high-stress situation made them invaluable as military or police dogs, although they’ve become less used in recent years since they do not have the size or raw strength of some other large dog breeds.

What’s more, many breeders in recent years have attempted to tone down the Doberman’s aggressive behavior, which previously had been an asset for guard dog duties or even dog fighting, but today is less valuable in a family pet. As such, it’s unusual to find a Doberman that doesn’t have equal parts protective and passive behavior, or any Doberman that cannot be trained to avoid barking around friends but maintain watchfulness over the family as a whole.

In terms of loyalty, it’s almost impossible to beat a Doberman, who almost never are reported to bite their owners, instead willing to obey commands even if it leads to great personal harm (hence their historical use in dog fighting). These are some of the smartest dogs out there, however, and an owner needs to carefully exercise their Doberman’s mind as well as its body to keep it fit, happy, and obedient to their commands, or else the dog will grow restless and end up chewing whatever’s in the vicinity

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3. Boerboel

Some people need their homes guarded against intruders and burglars. Other people need their homes guarded against lions and rhinos. Those who found themselves in the latter company turned to the Boerboel in order to safeguard their homestead against some of the biggest, meanest, and most deadly animals on the entire planet.

This South African dog is descended from mastiff and bulldog strains to be bigger, better, and badder than any of its ancestors. Thought to have been introduced to the savannahs of the African continent almost four hundred years ago, the Boerboel (which is Dutch for “farmer’s dog” — a somewhat lukewarm description for a ferocious breed) is one of the few breeds of dogs specifically meant to defend an area from harm.

As a result, they have unmatched watchdog instincts, capable of taking on enemies much larger than themselves without a second’s hesitation. A Boerboel is one of the most fearless dogs in the world today, with records of thinking independently in order to guard the flocks or the family from a large animal like a hyena whenever one happens to cross the African plain.

You can take the dog out of Africa, but you can’t take the instinct to defend against African animals out of this dog: anyone who chooses to bring a Boerboel into their home needs to understand the huge time commitment that these canines require in order to make them sociable with new people and other dogs, both of which may be attacked on instinct.

Professional breeders suggest that children should never be left alone with Boerboels, no matter what the situation, since these dogs will not cease an attack if they feel threatened, despite the fact that they will protect the family against any outside threat until their death, even if that threat is a lion tribe.

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2. Caucasian Shepherd

In a country where miles and miles of open plains separate neighbors, there’s only one response to a stranger who comes around uninvited. City living’s not the thing for a Caucasian shepherd, who has been bred for hundreds of years to be the first and last line of defense for a Russian farmer living on a remote plot of land in the Eurasian steppes.

They take this killer instinct wherever they go, making them some of the most fiercely loyal dogs you will ever find in this lifetime. Whenever you need a home or building protected against intruders, there’s few better displays of sheer power and tenacity than the Caucasian shepherd. These huge dogs are used to guard Russian prisons and prevent potential jailbirds from even a second thought about escaping.

On Iranian farms, these dogs get frequent workouts by protecting any livestock from threats. They can grow to truly huge proportions, with males weighing over two hundred pounds and resembling small bears. With a bite force that’s stronger than any other dog, furthermore, they have the firepower to back up their barking — and as any owner will tell you, these dogs bark at absolutely anything and everything to enforce their territorial prowess.

These dogs will be life partners for any owner, but will also be hugely hostile to any strangers who happen to come by, making it necessary for an owner to socialize or restrain (or both) their dog to keep it from aggressive behavior. Despite the huge size and hostile climate of their native lands, these dogs can outlive many of their compact cousins, with a median life span of ten to twelve years. Pure breed shepherds usually have health complications that their mongrel brothers and sisters may not, so an owner may prefer a hybrid shepherd over one with a pure blood line.

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1. German Shepherd

A lot of different dogs could have qualified for the number one spot on this list, but no matter how you break it down, on a pound-for-pound level there’s no better guard dog or watch dog than a German shepherd. While they give up a few inches and a hundred pounds to some of their bigger cousins like a St. Bernard, they’re considered one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds with the courage to follow orders even if it means their death.

Their smart temperament and supreme sense of self-sacrifice make them prime candidates for the hero role in films and TV shows, like Rin Tin Tin, who was rescued from a World War One battlefield and became a star by saving the day in nearly every film he starred in.

These dogs represent one of the first choices for the military and police forces for canine units, since their ability to sniff out threats is nearly unchallenged, boasting a sense of smell that can detect one particle in a quarter of a billion. They have the physical tools to challenge all comers, the stamina to work hard for long periods, and the willingness to put themselves in the line of fire, which has made them a popular dog for search-and-rescue as well as guard work.

While German shepherds can be a tad aggressive towards children, famously herding them if kids do not display dominance, they always serve as faithful pets and protectors no matter the cause. You can train a German shepherd to guard your home easily, since they enjoy learning and being put to different tasks, but also train them different obedience or agility commands as well.

Since they take to new tasks quickly, they’re capable of recognizing new lessons and thinking on their feet (or, rather, paws) when confronted with a novel situation. Best of all, they can easily differentiate friend from foe, so that they do not bite or act aggressively towards friends and family when they come over to visit.

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