Guard Dogs: Top 7 Home Protection Breeds
Guard dogs make great pets. By nature, these dogs are loyal, protective animals who aren’t afraid to put their lives on the line to protect their families. Guard Dogs require little training to protect their pack. Protection is simply second nature to these dogs. However, Guard Dogs need to be trained from an early age to differentiate between actual and perceived threats. Most Guard Dogs tend to be stubborn by nature. If you are a first-time owner it is important to do your research before getting one of these dogs. You may think you can handle a 125-pound dog but actually owning one responsibly is a whole different situation.
Some dogs may seem threatening but shy away from danger. Other dogs will warn you but not take the initiative to neutralize the threat. These dogs are called Watchdogs and they have noticeably different personality traits than Guard Dogs. It is important to note the difference between guard dogs and watchdogs.
Watchdogs tend to warn their owners when they feel something isn’t right. A watchdog’s job is to notify their owner of possible threats such as trespassers or intruders. Do not expect these dogs to engage with threats. They are bred to sound the alarm to their owner, so they can provide backup.
Guard dogs, on the other hand, possess the same alert personality of watchdogs with a more tenacious proclivity toward engaging threats. A good guard dog will show no fear when placed in a dangerous situation and hold their ground until the threat is dealt with. This courage is what makes guard dogs so effective.
#1 – Rottweiler
I own a Rottweiler, and while he can be territorial, wary of strangers, and downright silly, he is a loving family dog who makes my home a better place to live. Rottweilers are typically very protective of their owners. They tend to be one-person dogs who grow attached to whoever trains them. Rottweilers are usually very suspicious of strangers, and anyone who enters the house without their owner’s permission should watch out. Despite their appearance, these dogs are usually very calm. Rottweilers typically only bark when they feel something is wrong which makes them useful watchdogs.
For home protection, you should look no further than this breed. Rottweiler’s fierce looks will deter all but the most determined criminal, and those who do decide to intrude will likely be welcomed with a bit more than a bark. These are large dogs, so early training is critical. If you wait too long to socialize and train your Rottie he will feel it is his role to take leadership. This must not be allowed. Untrained Rottweilers can be dangerous to both yourself and others. Plus they make the rest of us owners look bad. Rottweilers are a large breed, and they are prone to gaining weight. It is important to provide daily exercise, as well as plenty of mental stimulation.
#2 – German Shepherd
A beloved breed of choice for law enforcement, German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs who are able to learn anything you throw at them. Protectiveness is part of a German Shepherd’s nature. This loyal breed is often used to herd and protect sheep (Hence the name). The fact that German Shepherds are used as police dogs is probably deterrent enough for criminals. This is a working breed, meaning, German Shepherds need to have a job. These dogs can get bored easily, so teaching new tricks and exercise are mandatory. Remember, a bored dog is a destructive dog.
Due to their high level of intelligence, German Shepherds excel at learning new things. Give them any trick in the book and they will pick it up in no time. Want something from the fridge? Teach your dog to retrieve it for you. Want to enter obedience competitions? No problem! German Shepherds are some of the most versatile dogs who can handle anything that comes their way. These dogs need strong leaders, otherwise, you risk your dog becoming the alpha of the house. This is not good for you or your dog, as untrained dogs tend to be less happy and more destructive.
#3 – Akita
Never known to back down from a threat, the Japan-bred Akita is a formidable protection dog who takes his job very seriously. Akitas are large breed dogs who are known for their dominant personalities. This is not the dog for a first-timer or the faint of heart. Due to its natural predisposition, early training and socialization are a must. This is not optional, as Akitas are often aggressive toward other dogs, especially dogs of the same sex. These dogs are stubborn by nature. This seems like a downside, but when you consider the fact that they were bred to fight bears, it is entirely understandable.
Akitas are especially protective of children, but shouldn’t be left unattended with them. The strong protective instinct of the Akita can work against it when it cannot differentiate the sound of playing with the sound of fighting. This is another reason that early socialization and exposure to a variety of different situations is key to raising a proper well-adjusted dog. Akitas are often aloof when introduced to strangers, but will calm down when they realize they are no threat. The only people this breed cares about is its family.
#4 – Giant Schnauzer
Though he looks like a Miniature Schnauzer on steroids, the Giant Schnauzer is a loyal loving family dog. A popular police dog in Europe, the Giant Schnauzer displays an innate protective instinct that you just have to see in action. Giant Schnauzers are great family dogs due to their watchful eye that allows this breed to easily discern potential threats. This breed comes from a working background, therefore it is important to train these dogs often.
Schnauzers adjust well to home life and are not suitable outdoor dogs. This breed is protective of his family and wants to be around them at all times. Giant Schnauzers often display aggression toward other dogs and strangers if they are not properly socialized. If you have small children it is best to raise this dog from a puppy, as they are likely to knock young children over. This is a very active breed that requires a lot of exercise to keep calm.
#5 – Doberman Pinscher
One of the most loyal breeds, the Doberman Pinscher is a very smart, very protective pup. With a distinguished history as military and rescue dogs, it is no wonder why Dobermans are one of the most popular breeds in the world. Though they are often portrayed as scary killing machines, the Doberman Pinscher is a loving family dog. What makes this breed great is their loyal personality. Far from being one-person dogs, Dobermans tend to see its family as a pack who he will do anything for.
To some, the Doberman Pinscher is a national hero. Serving in World War II as messenger dogs, and as rescue dogs during the aftermath of September 11th, there is no doubt as to the reliability of these dogs. This is not to say that all Dobermans start this way. Proper socialization and training from an early age can help reduce any bad behavior in these dogs. Due to some less-than-qualified breeders, some Dobermans can display temperament problems. Make sure you find a reputable breeder who will be upfront about the issues facing this breed and you will save yourself a headache in the future.
#6 – Bullmastiff
Originally bred to guard against poachers in England, Bullmastiffs are an imposing, yet gentle breed. Due to their large size and fierce looks, Bullmastiffs will have any would-be criminal thinking twice before barging in on this protective dog’s home. Bullmastiffs are gentle at heart and are best suited for a home with a family. Bullmastiffs love children but should be properly vetted before allowing one in your home with your kids. Biting is a nonissue with this breed as they prefer to pin their prey to the ground. Bullmastiffs often have problems with other dogs, especially of the same sex.
If you are a first-time owner it is recommended you either raise your Bullmastiff from a puppy or choose a different breed. This is a very large breed, weighing in at over 100 pounds and if improperly handled, can wreak a lot of havoc. Bullmastiffs adjust well to apartment life, as they are typically a low energy breed. Be warned, due to their large size Bullmastiffs are prone to many health problems. Being bred as a cross between Bulldogs and Mastiffs, the Bullmastiff has a tendency to drool excessively. This isn’t much of a problem but it is good to know so you don’t slip in a puddle of drool on your way to the kitchen.
#7 – Puli
A mop. An adorable mop. This is how I would describe this strangely coated breed to the curious onlooker. The Puli is a herding breed and is one of the smallest breeds on this list. Pulis are independent thinkers, which comes from their herding background, and are great family dogs. Pulis make excellent watchdogs and have a tendency to bark at any perceived threat. This can be a double-edged sword, so it is important to train your dog what is, and what is not bark-worthy.
Looking at this breed, you may wonder why their owners like to put their hair in dreadlocks. This is actually not the case, however. Pulis have a soft undercoat with an abundant top layer. These two layers naturally get matted together to form the large “cords” that Pulis are famous for. This is a highly intelligent breed, making use of agility and barking to scare away would-be predators. Thanks to their large coat they can also seem bigger than they really are.
Owning a Guard Dog can be a great experience. However, it is not recommended that you own one of these dogs if you don’t know what you are doing. Any untrained dog can be dangerous but this is especially the case with Guard dogs. Many of these breeds have a bad reputation that stems from poor ownership. It is our responsibility as owners to make sure we do not add to the bad name these dogs get by training them early.
An unsocialized dog is far more likely to be aggressive than a dog that has been raised around other dogs and people. Make sure you have the time to invest in socializing your dog early so it doesn’t become a problem in the future.
Also, make sure the breed you are going to choose is not restricted in your area. Some dogs are placed in a “dangerous breed” category, meaning they are not allowed in certain states or cities. To see which dogs are allowed in your state go to http://www.dogsbite.org/legislating-dangerous-dogs-state-by-state.php. Some states have specific laws regarding “dangerous dogs” so make sure you look it up before deciding on a breed.
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