Almost all dogs will bark at something unfamiliar, but to guard your family and home, you need a protection dog.
Protection dogs typically have intimidating looks, but most importantly, they have the intelligence, loyalty, and instinct necessary to guard livestock, property, and family members. They also instinctively know when to act and are gifted with a strong intuition and heightened sensory awareness.
The best protection dogs are big dog breeds that can withstand a hit from an intruder without being severely injured or deterred. While some dogs are natural protectors, others benefit from guard dog training to fine-tune their skills.
We’ve compiled a list of the ten breeds that make the best protection dogs. They are known for being the most protective, loyal, and devoted guard dogs.
Table of Contents
- 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds
- FAQs – Protection Dogs
- Conclusion – Protection Dogs
1. German Shepherds
Height – 67-79 cm (26-31 inches)
Weight – 41 kg or 95 lb.
Lifespan – 9-13 years
German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs known for their easy trainability. They are versatile dogs that respond well to different types of training. This trainability combined with high intelligence makes them ideal for police and military work, rescue and search work, and also for guarding and protection.
German shepherds also have the natural instinct to protect their territory and families. Traits like loyalty, devotion, and protection are deeply ingrained in this majestic dog breed. This breed is courageous and fearless, and all these characteristics make them one of the best protection dogs in the world.
2. Cane Corso
Weight – 41- 50 kg (90-110 lb.)
Height – 58 – 71 cm (23-28 inches)
Life span – 10-12 years.
Also known as the Italian Mastiff, the Cane Corso has an intimidating, muscular appearance, which makes it one of the best protection dogs.
Cane Corsi (the plural of Cane Corso) may have descended from dogs used by the Romans as war dogs. In fact, the words Cane Corso are Italian for “dog protector.”
Cane Corsi are intelligent, vigilant, alert, and obedient. With proper training and socialisation, they can make excellent family dogs.
3. Doberman Pinscher
Height – 66-71 cm (26-28 inches)
Weight – 34-45.4 kg (75-100 lb)
Lifespan – 10-13 years
Dobermann Pinschers rank highly on our list of the best protection dogs because of their commanding, sleek appearance, and inherent guard dog tendencies.
They have a strong sense of family loyalty and are intelligent, obedient, and highly trainable. They rank fifth on the list of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.
Dobermans also make devoted, adoring pets for families with children, as long as they are socialised and trained from an early age. Dobermans are one of the fastest protection dogs, an intruder will not be able to outrun a Dobermann!
Height – 66 – 71 cm (26-28 inches)
Weight – 45.4 – 59 kg (100-130 lb)
Lifespan – 10-12 years.
Akitas are fiercely loyal and protective of their owners. You might already know the story of Hachiko, the Akita who waited patiently every day for 10 years outside a railway station in Japan for its owner, who had unfortunately died at work.
Akita Inus are usually wary of strangers, which makes them excellent protection dogs.
Known as the “national treasure of Japan”, the Akita was originally bred to fight bears, elk, and wild boars. They were also used in dogfighting.
These days, Akitas are mainly companion dogs and are also used in police and guard work.
5. Belgian Malinois
Height – 61 – 66 cm (24-26 inches)
Weight – 27 – 36 kg (60-80 lb.)
Lifespan – 10-14 years
The highly energetic and ever-alert Belgian Malinois is always on guard – you’ll never lack for attention with this dog around.
Belgian Malinois were originally bred to herd livestock. Due to their size and bravery, they are the breed of choice for military operations. They are even preferred over German Shepherds in operations that involve skydiving since they are lighter than GSDs.
Belgian Malinois make excellent family dogs but need a lot of formal training, mental stimulation and regular exercise. Their devotion and loyalty to their family members, make them one of the best protection dogs in the world.
Height – 53 – 61 cm (21-24 inches)
Weight – 25 – 29 kg (55-65 lb.)
Lifespan- 10-12 years.
Boxers were originally bred for the inhumane sport of bullbaiting, which was declared illegal in the 1800s. Later, the breed was used for hunting, as their strong jaws could easily hold down boars and small bears.
Today, the Boxer is a family favourite, thanks to their loyal and protective nature. They also make excellent companions for children. Boxers take their roles as family watchdogs and protective guard dogs very seriously.
Like all protection dogs, a Boxer will need plenty of obedience training and socialisation from its puppyhood.
7. Bernese Mountain Dog
Height – 58 – 70 cm (23-27.5 inches)
Weight – 40 kg or 88 lb.
Lifespan – 6-8 years
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a beautiful, teddy-bear-like dog that makes a wonderful companion for the whole family. Known as “Berner” for short, the breed ranked No. 39 in dog registrations by the AKC.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a livestock guardian breed. For centuries, this protective breed has worked on farms to protect vulnerable livestock from harm. Guarding has been bred into this breed’s genetics and they don’t require any guard dog training to amplify this. This dog’s deep, loud bark is usually enough to deter even the most determined of thieves.
Finding a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy for sale can be difficult as they are extremely rare in Australia.
Its popularity can be attributed to its sweet, affectionate, sensitive, loyal, and protective nature. Originally developed as a farm and draught dog, the Berner is mainly a companion guard dog these days.
It is known to remain calm and composed even in situations of great peril, which makes it one of the best protective dogs for livestock and humans.
Height – 64 – 69 cm (25-27 inches)
Weight – 49.9 – 59 kg or 110-130 lb
Lifespan – 8-10 years.
The large and powerful bullmastiff certainly looks intimidating. It is a fearless, confident, and brave dog breed that can easily deter criminals and intruders. Bullmastiffs also have a powerful jaw and bite force that easily lets them hold down animals larger than them.
Bullmastiffs are also known for being alert and attentive. They are gifted with excellent hearing, smell, and sight. These traits make them ideal watchdogs. At the same time, they have a balanced temperament and are known to be calm, affectionate, and playful with their family members, including young kids.
Bullmastiffs are one of the most popular protection dogs for family homes and conveniently don’t require a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and happy. These low-maintenance protection dogs are affordable but can be difficult to train due to their somewhat stubborn temperament.
9. Great Dane
Height – 71-81 cm (28-32 inches)
Weight – 62-72 kg (28-33 kg)
Lifespan – 8-10 years
Great Danes are one of the largest protection dogs in the world. Their sheer size can be quite intimidating to potential intruders. They are also highly observant, vigilant, and ever-alert – all of the qualities required in guard dogs.
To add to this, Great Danes are known to be extremely loyal and protective towards their family members. They also have a gentle and calm demeanour. Danes are usually friendly and approachable when properly socialised. Their eager-to-please nature and high intelligence also make them easy-to-train.
This breed is extremely large and requires space to live comfortably. While they usually get along with children, they can unintentionally knock over and injure small children.
Height – 62-66 cm (24-27 inches)
Weight – 42-55 kg (90-120 lb.)
Lifespan – 8-10 years
Rottweilers have natural protective instincts, which make them extremely loyal and devoted family dogs. They also possess an innate desire to protect their property and loved ones. Their jaws have one of the greatest bite forces of any dog breed, generating up to 328 psi (pound per square inch).
Rottweilers are courageous, intelligent, and trainable. Their alert watchfulness, combined with their sharp hearing and sense of smell, helps them alert their owners to potential threats in a timely manner.
Their strong desire to please their owners also makes them receptive to training and allows them to understand and execute commands effectively.
FAQs – Protection Dogs
Best low-maintenance guard dogs?
The most low-maintenance guard dogs are large, low-energy breeds like Bullmastiffs, Dogue De Bordeaux and Neapolitan Mastiffs. These breeds do not require much exercise or grooming.
Which is the most protective dog?
Breeds like Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Bullmastiffs, Rottweilers, and Cane Corsi are considered some of the best protection dogs.
Which dog is the best bodyguard?
Akita Inus, German Shepherds, Malinois, and several sheepdog breeds are considered some of the best “bodyguard” dogs.
Can a protection dog be a family pet?
Yes, with proper training and socialisation, a protection dog can make an excellent family pet. Large dog breeds like the Great Dane can be too big for families with small children. Consider the energy levels of the breed and meet the parents of your protection dog to ensure they have a calm and stable temperament.
Protection dogs are required to have many inherent traits. These mainly include: a large and intimidating size, an innate instinct to sense potential danger, as well as devotion and loyalty towards their family members.
The ten dog breeds listed above have these qualities and more. With proper dog training and socialisation, these dogs will make you feel safer and can also make ideal companions. As with adopting any breed of dog, it’s important to ensure you can meet their physical and mental stimulation needs.
For example Belgian Malinois are not a breed that can just slot into family life, they require a dedicated owner who can spend many hours each week, meeting their extreme need for mental and physical stimulation. Failure to meet a dog’s needs can result in behaviour problems including destructive chewing, barking, abnormal repetitive behaviours, feet chewing, spinning, digging, escaping etc.
If you’re wanting to find a quality puppy or dog for sale, to train for protection purposes, consult a professional Dog Behaviourist or dog trainer experienced in training using positive reinforcement-based methods to guide you further.