The Four Best Guard Dog Breeds

Are you looking for a dog breed that’s capable of guarding your home and family?

If you’re looking for a dog to be both a member of your family and keep your family safe at the same time, you’ll want to choose an effective guard dog. Although most dogs are territorial and watchful over their family members, some dog breeds are just naturally more suited to this task due to their strength, build, and courage. What are the best guard dog breeds?

  1. German Shepherd

    The German Shepherd is legendary for being a good guard dog which is why you see them serving man in so many rules requiring intelligence and courage. They have a long history of performing heroically as police and military dogs and have served man in a variety of other capacities because due to their natural ability to learn a new task quickly and easily Their rather large build and suspiciousness of strangers makes them an excellent guard dog breed. Because of their tendency to be distrustful of strangers, early socialization and training are necessary to help them differentiate the good guys from the bad guys.

  2. Rottweiler

    The Rottweiler dog breed presents a powerful picture of a muscular physique combined with courage. They have natural protective instincts toward their family and home and the fortitude to act if they sense either being threatened. This isn’t surprised considering this dog breed was originally bred to fight lions in Roman amphitheaters. They do have a tendency to be stubborn and obstinate which can result in their taking on aggressive characteristics unless properly trained and socialized. With proper training and socialization, this breed can be both a loving family member as well as an excellent guard dog.

  3. Chow Chow

    The Chow Chow is a regal looking dog with an appearance somewhat similar to a small lion. This is one of the few breeds with the distinction of having a blue tongue. The Chow Chow personality tends to be one of aloofness and independence with a strong stubborn streak which can make training a challenge. They also tend to be territorial and suspicious of strangers which makes them a natural guard dog breed. Although they enjoy the company of their family, they’re not known for being as overtly affectionate as other dogs. Because of the strong willed nature of this dog, it needs an owner with an equally strong will and the willingness to spend the time needed for training and socialization.

  4. Doberman Pinscher

    This slim, but powerful breed of dog has a graceful, muscular appearance and a fearless, loyal temperament. In fact, many dog owners claim the Doberman Pinschers’ loyalty exceeds that of most other dog breeds. They tend to bond strongly with their family and can be trusted even around children once they’re socialized and trained. Possessing great courage and intelligence, the Doberman Pinscher is an excellent guard dog breed as well as a satisfying family pet.

Although there are many excellent dogs who can serve as protector, these four guard dog breeds have proven their ability to protect and defend their family and have strong reputations for being fearless and courageous. If you’re looking for a dog capable of meeting the challenges of guarding your home and family, you may want to consider one of these fine dogs.

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User Comments
  1. kazzath

    On November 19, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    just what im looking for a family pet that will protect the whole famil and the home great info

  2. saudhgva;n

    On August 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    fila brasileiro much better

  3. lUDU puDEs

    On August 14, 2008 at 4:58 am


  4. Daniel

    On August 24, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I’d agree that these four breeds—German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Chow, Doberman—are among the best qualified to guard life and property. Equally suited to the task would be the Kuvasz, Giant Schnauzer, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Fila Brasileiro, Argentine Dogo, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and several others. I’ve even known Golden Retrievers that were very effective territorial guardians not afraid to challenge intruders. With any breed, however, choosing a good dog from a good breeder is what counts the most.

  5. gman35

    On August 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    i had a staffordshire terrier who was an excellent guard dog but over all i would go with the german shepherd for an all around guard dog…the new breed called the king shepherd looks good too.

  6. MK

    On October 4, 2008 at 5:14 am

    well, i do agree with those 4 breeds being good guard dogs, but i would have to put 1 breed above all of them, that is caucasian shepherd. Massive dog, with inbred instincts to protect your home. They are so good that in fact you dont need to train them to protect your home, BUT you have to train them in order to accept some things (your friends,other dogs,ect..), otherwise they might be very dangerous to the surroundings

  7. DB

    On December 8, 2008 at 8:33 am

    The above four dogs are adequate guard dogs for a single person, but the introductory sentence asked if were looking for a dog to protect the “family”. Through extensive research it appears that the massive Tosa Inu is by far the best “family” protector. Not only having the size (200+ pds. for the western breeds) but a deep detering bark and the intellegence to determine quickly the differnce between danger and friends. Their docility with children is unmatched, as the have a very high pain tolerence and dont bite out of fear of pain. Making them great for homes with children.

  8. JCH

    On December 10, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Most of the dogs mentioned so far are good choices. I would disagree w/ the Tosa, staffy and pit though. these dogs were bred to be extremely good with people and very agressive w/other animals. unless your being robbed by a poodle dont get these as guard dogs. Th best dogs I have ever worked with is a Fila Brasileiro they are natural protectors and all you need to teach them is to let go of the bad guy as all they want to do is kill anyone that is not part of “its” family.

  9. saba

    On December 12, 2008 at 3:02 am

    boerboels are the best guard dogd in the world my boerboel attaked and killed 3 armed robbers

  10. kdog

    On January 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    what about the kangal, that’s a bad dog

  11. Daniel

    On March 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    People tend to have a bias for expounding the virtues of their favorite breed. In my case that would be the Doberman, a breed created specifically to function as a personal body guard. But there are many breeds that qualify as great guardians; however, common sense should prevail as well. Breeds such as the Fila Brasiliero, the Presa Canario, Boerboel, Bull Mastiff, American Mastiff, English Mastiff, etc. are awesome man-stoppers but many of them may reach 200 lbs in body weight. Do you have the ability to control an animal that size? Do you need something that big in your house for protection? Do you know that most of these breeds drool heavily in warm weather? Chows are credited as good guards, and they are, but they are very stubborn and hard to train. Ditto for Akitas and Rottweilers. My short list of reasonably sized, easily trained very effective canine guardians would be Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Giant Schnauzer. Dobies have the added advantage of easy coat care. Shepherds shed a lot. Giant Schnauzers don’t shed but do require grooming to look good. Secondary list includes Boxers, Bull Terriers, Airedale Terriers if you encourage their territorial protectiveness.

  12. Daniel

    On March 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I just re-read my posting of a short while ago and noticed one glaring omission in my breed recommendations: the Belgian Malinois. This breed has in recent years been replacing the German Shepherd in both police forces and the United States military. Although not particulary large—average weight 65–75 lbs—it is similar to the German Shepherd of fifty years ago, has tremendous athletic ability and a very high prey drive that gives it an explosive performance in attack work. To see this dog in action, I suggest pulling up a video on ‘French attack dog training.’ The Malinois should be near the top of anyone’s guard dog list.

  13. justice

    On March 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    cane corsos, presa canarios boerboels are the best gaurds dogs they should be onthis list

  14. PRESA

    On March 13, 2009 at 11:20 pm



  15. Amit

    On April 15, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Mastiffs — Get a good mastiff and see what he can do for you. A good Tibetan Mastiff is hard to find, but if you have one, and trained it properly, forget robbers or petty thieves, I have seen 3 Police trained GSheperds showing teeth and tails underneath facing a TM !!

  16. Portia

    On April 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Rhodesian Ridebacks and Rottweilers rule. But you have to be careful. If you want a ‘guard’ dog and you don’t train it properly, you can end up with a really over agressive dog, which means it could be put down, a total innocent could be killed and nyou could be on criminal charges. You need to be willing to work to get a good dog, you can’t just get a guard dog and hope for the best. And don’t chain…living outside is good, chaining often means agression.

    These breeds get banned because idiots get one.

  17. von

    On May 13, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Anatolian shepherds and Beauceron are great watch and guard dogs!!

  18. Kory

    On June 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

    You guys have forgotten the American Bulldog, look it up! I own one and can honestly say it would be at the top of this list.

  19. Jessica Rowe

    On June 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Great article, the chow chow surprised me, I know they are protective, but i did not think they were that protective. :) I think you have great top picks, I have found other articles were at least three of these breeds are in the top five for guard dogs, repeatedly.

  20. Patrik

    On June 28, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    This is more of a “american AKC” gaurd dog list. The truth is these dogs wont even be on a best 20 list. Since there are only 4, in best to least is.

    1. Caucasian Shepherd
    2. Central Asian Shepherd
    3. Boerboel
    4. Maremma

    Now these are you best protection dogs in the world. I could have put another 4 up there but your splitting hairs. If you own one of these breeds, male/female/runt it dont matter, no training to protect, no one, no dog, no beast, these breeds will not leave you hanging regaurdless of “bite work training” or not. These dogs have special needs tho, disiplin/boundries ect… A rottweiler can be trained toprotect, without this training most will not protect. A caucasian shepherd is drivin to protect with 4000 year old hearding instince without hesitation. Its the most impressive ancient couragous breed to befriend man.

  21. Patrik

    On June 28, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Just reading some of the other responces and fila, bist, neo, tib mastiffs i would kinda let Boerboel speak for this kinda breed class, Then kangal and south russian ovtcharks along with anatolian shepherd could get a good top 10 or 15 list going. I just wanted to point out that your GSD, rottweilers and dobermans bull mastiffs am buldogge pits ect…, dont realy rate high on a real top 5 or 10 gaurd dog list. There are many “harder breeds” throughout the world. even tho these dogs can be great gaurd dogs, but look at this

    A chow could literally be eaten by a caucasian, and they are dedicated to their keep.

  22. Sunil

    On July 20, 2009 at 3:21 am

    The breed of dog is only one variable in selecting the best guard dog. The other variable includes the breeder and the buyer/owner. While Doberman is a top guard dog, there are many within the breed that are shy & nervous due to imporper breeding. Another fator in selecting or rating a guard dog is that we are limited by our knowledge of the different breeds. There are native dog breeds in India that are excellent guard dogs, such as Rajapalayam, Combai, kanni and the Indian mastiff. They are considered as one of the best guard dogs and are now rare to find purebreds.Now that many would not be aware of them and that makes it hard to compare with well known breeds. So the author in this article talks of and rates well known or common breeds for family guard dogs.

  23. Kevin. macdonald. Birney

    On July 21, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Dogo Argentino, the smartest, most trainable, loyal dog, very dedicated to his family and a fearless protector.

  24. aryan

    On August 2, 2009 at 4:45 am

    gsd is best with itz all around abilities no other breed has so many abilities in them so gsd is ranked is a complete all rounder

  25. starz.a.s

    On October 17, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    u all shud shut up the best guard dogz are 1. cuacasian sheperd 2. boxers nose pits

  26. cheri

    On November 12, 2009 at 3:02 am

    German short hair pointer are very friendly loving family dogs, but very protective of their family, they will go right for the throats. the only problem we had was when she was a puppy, she chewed and it was a hard habit to break, till like 1 year old

  27. mike

    On November 13, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Been training dogs a long time and seen many “bad dogs”. All of us have seen one tough dog from many different breeds. What is really important is the percentage of that breed that will protect naturally. I have seen good Rotts and Rotts that will lick you while you are burgularizing the house. Same with Pits, GSD and many other “Guarding Breeds”. My dad has a boxer that would try to eat you alive but most of them are extreemly friendly with strangers breaking in your house.

    There are 3 breeds that 99% of that breed will light you up if you don’t belong in their area, and do it without any type of formal aggitation or training. I have owned all three and they would stop you no matter how tough you think you are. They are too big and powerful and get pissed of when you enter their territory.
    1. Fila Brasilero
    2. Anatolian Shepherd
    3. Caucasion Ovtcharka

    There is a great author on this type of stuff. Carl Semenicic. I’m sure there are many other rare breeds with the same traits the above dogs have. For the most part the old AKC breeds that everyone is familiar with have all been softened and the majority of these dogs suck as protection. I hope it doesn’t happen to the Anatolian and Caucasion now that they are AKC.

  28. mike

    On November 13, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I forgot to mention if you are looking for a dog to train and do formal agitation, I like the Giant Schnauzer. They Hit like a good Rottie and do a lot of teeth snappin when holding you at bay. Im not saying they are better than the other breeds that usually need formal training to work wel,l just an alternitive you might not think was so tough. They are in the GSD, malinois, rottie class. Remember most of those breeds can also be used for utiliarian purposes so they are pretty docile by nature. You have to bring agression out in most of them. My previous post is for dogs that do it all on their own.

  29. Kevin

    On January 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I think that the Central Asian Ovcharka is the ultimate guard dog it is naturally suspicious of strange people and dog’s .and is large enough to over power an intruder quickly and if need to could kill a man very easily, i also rate the working type G.S.D. as an effective natural guard that will stay by your side no matter what confronts him/her but quality G.S.D.’s are getting harder to come by these day’s thank’s to over breeding and the rising popularity of the useless show type roach back monstrosity that is masquarading as a G.S.D. , i also think any of the Flock Guarding breed’s would make excellent family Guardian’s for people who know how to handle them .

  30. NT

    On July 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    For some reason, all the chow breeders I talked to became offended when I mentioned the chow’s guarding abilities. They told me that the chow was not the right breed for me if I was looking for a dog that could protect.

  31. 8655mb

    On October 14, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Since i was a child my family had dogs guard our property for many reasons, work etc. My father learned the hard way, if he was incorrect in choosing the correct breeds. Eventually, to this day i have those same dogs. I remember the ones that didn’t work out. Important to say now that just because your not a great guard dog (ie property/territory/family) doesn’t mean you aren’t a great dog.
    By far the most impressive was always the Chow. We never had to say a word to them, they instinctively knew what to do and how to do it. They are hard headed but it was never an issue, they ar e extremely bright and WANT to guard. They don’t want to play, they don’t want to do anything but guard. My father had dobies, rotts, german shepherds, akitas, you name it. Chows are not necessarily my favorite dog, i’m just being honest here. They were made to guard and protect. Out of all the dogs we thought would be great that wasn’t a great dog dog? Pit bulls. They get along with everyone and can’t stay put for very long, they get bored easily and need human interaction alot. Chows are possibly the oldest dogs descended from the wolf, they have the same amount of teeth as bears in northern China. These dogs are not huge (like mastiffs) but strip down the fur and you have extremely muscular (like the spitz pit lol) dog. These dogs are extremely good at hunting man if need be. They are always the first to alert (along with the German Shep) and the first to sense danger. One time there was a man hunt (i was a little kid) for an ex con, who had wandered onto our land. I don’t remember much but i remember dad telling me not to worry, Nomed the leader of the chows (we had three, ten all together) found him and even though the man was armed and dangerous, was no match for Nomed. I loved that dog, he would not let anyone get near me and he wasn’t afraid of any human. Say what you want but people should be cautious of chows. Only some chows will hurt another dog, all chows can and will hurt a human if prevoked. I love animals and look out for them but do not walk up to a chow even if they look cute! These dogs are aloof and free thinkers because of their history. The inhabitants of their land long ago didn’t bond with them so they are wolf like in that way. They are the most wild dogs i’ve ever incountered. Extremely strong, powerful and energetic if prevoked. Getting into their territory is prevoking, they need no assistance from humans to do so. If you feed one, they will protect you for life. They will follow you but they will give you space while doing so. To this day Nomed 2 (my 2 year old) will not play with me, he hardly sleeps. He feels like its his job to protect me, poor thing!

  32. 8655mb

    On October 14, 2010 at 2:17 am

    oops i mean to say that wasn’t a great guard dog, pit bull. not dog dog

  33. 8655mb

    On October 14, 2010 at 2:33 am

    I know that most people see the cute old school Chinese Chows in pictures, the ones that look like they could be in a dog show. These are not the chows that are typical now, Americans always play with breeds. Americanized chows are taller, larger, more muscled. American breeders are trying to soften up the personality but they have been a certain way for thousands of years. They pulled sleds, hunted and guarded. They are sometimes thought of as stupid. The chows i’ve/we’ve had were almost if not the same intelligence wise as Rotties and German Sheps. They are hard headed because they think about what it is you want them to do. HOWEVER, guarding, aggression is natural for them and they don’t need to question this. Chows do one thing REALLY well and that is guard and protect. They should be higher on this list but people don’t know about them, they are furry so alot of climates don’t see them at all. They see that cute picture on the internet or on a postcard. They have huge necks/heads and alot of teeth. They like the wrestle and are very agile for their size. I’ve never seen one that was gunshy and they have zero fear. They wen’t up against incredible weather, have incredibly thick skin under a thick coat of fur. They are sometimes difficult around other dogs and will wind up dominating the pack. Chico my beloved rottie was 120 pounds, Nomed at 80 or so was the leader, its not the size of the dog as they say. Not that Nomed or any of the other chows were small, like i said they are your typical in shape pit bull size (maybe a little taller/thicker). 80 pounds, but i’ve noticed the ones that live in doors aren’t quite as thick and muscular. Just be careful and get one when its a puppy, they are so different then the average dog. I love rotties but i know that the most well rounded dog ever was/is the chow. Its like my little secret, nobody knows about them. I like that because people can’t f*ck them up if they aren’t on the radar ya know?

  34. 8655mb

    On October 14, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Oh yea i’m a female from Colorado and my favorite breeds are German Sheps, Rotties, Akita’s and the Fila. But i wish people would stop being ignorant and read up, there is not alot of literature on chows though. They have this enigma about them, if you know about them its your little secret. Chow breeders usually know damn well what protector you will have but they want to make money. They try to lie and hide it, or they will pretend its not there. They will turn the other cheek, look at the puppies! They are super territorial and will fight their siblings right off the bat. This continues throughout puppyhood, if you don’t want them for proetection/guarding you MUST take FULL control when they are weeks old. I am an athletic female, i was a volleyball/track athlete in highschool and college. I was dragged once by a dog, Meatso the white chow. He was running after a bobcat or something and hit the “red zone” ….i was being lazy and wasn’t paying attention. He had his choaker on so i didn’t think he would do that! Thank god i had pants on and good shoes, he stopped once we got far enough into the woods lol. I looked like i got into a brawl with nature! That was the worst thing that had happened to me by a chow though. I was attacked by only one dog, after owning (my family and later myself) one dog. My preso attacked me because i was wearing a halloween costume, complete with a sort of face mask. I needed stitches and when my boyfriend took off my mask he stopped. Nomed nearly killed him for it too, that was a horrible night! Nomed didn’t know what was going on, he probably thought Brind (the pres) lost his mind. Nomed had to be tranquilized, once again Brind was heavier but Nomed was on auto protect.

  35. medoro

    On February 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    well thats what the books say… would want a cane corso,canis panther,or doberman in that order.these dogs would die for the three only three!!!!!!!!

  36. kmurphy

    On February 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I heartily agree with Kevin…I believe a Kavkaskaya Ovcharka would munch most if not all the rest of these dogs…it rates as the best overall guard dog in the world…of course this is only my humble opinion…do not get me wrong all these dogs are great dogs but the choice for me would have to be the Kaykaskaya Ovcharka…

  37. Milos

    On July 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    The best gurad dogs are
    1.Fila brasileiro
    Fila and Boerboel guards bar none.many people have no clue about those 2 breeds which are really the best gurad dogs ever..

  38. Rollo Tomaso

    On August 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Chow Chow hands down – they live to guard and watch – and if you have ever seen them work as a pack, they hunt like wolves and are so stealthy and silent but they also have a blood curdling noise they make when they attack and if you have every heard it, it is effective in shocking and awing adversaries – while the other dogs mentioned are fierce beasts in their own right, the chow chow does not need to be trained to guard but will do so instinctively – when there was a serial muderer on the loose in Gainesville, FL, my wife had a chow chow name Thunder and when I met her that dog was far more effective thany any gun as he did not miss and he could was big enough to knock you down and could jump up and head butt you – a very initimidating dog that could live in an apartment in an urban environment, the larger dogs mentioned here probably need more space than a loft or small efficiency but not the chow chow,

  39. yuniortheking

    On October 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    my friend has a fila brasilieno and he is going to give me a puppy but i just whant to say that fila brasilieno are much better and stronger than the german sherpherd and the rottwieler and other dogs they are awesome family dogs and much better guard dogs they rule other dogs

  40. pj

    On October 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    fila brasilieno are the best guard dog and yunior all that he said its true

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