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Dogs truly are man’s best friend, but when you want to protect your home and family from people who are not your friends, they can also be incredibly useful as guard dogs. With some breeds dating back 4,000 years or more, man has been enlisting the help of dogs to guard property and livestock for centuries and has developed some breeds specifically for the job. Here are the top 10 breeds of guard dogs.
Rottweiler: Rottweilers are massive and intelligent dogs originally bred in Germany to guard livestock. The breed is ancient, stretching all the way back to the Roman Empire where they were first converted from shepherding to guarding prisoners of the Roman Legion. During World Wars I and II, the breed saw a resurgence on both sides as guard dogs and solidified their reputation as tough, loyal dogs that can intimidate unwanted guests.
German Shepherd: The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent breeds of canine on the planet. In fact, not training a German shepherd can lead to behavior problems because the breed is so intelligent that it needs tasks to occupy its curious mind. This intelligence, when coupled with the loyalty and physical strength the breed is famous for, could be a reason why German Shepherds are one of the most registered breeds.
Doberman Pinscher: These dogs are well known for their size and distinct appearance. Dobermans have received media scrutiny for their temperament, but there is a great deal of misinformation circulated regarding the breed. Dobermans are considered by experts to be aggressive towards strangers when compared to other breeds, but they are rarely aggressive towards family members. This makes the breed perfectly suited for guard dog duty.
Bullmastiff: Bullmastiffs are massive animals. They were bred in the 19th century to protect vast rural estates and guard against poaching. Their massive build and muscular stature make them an imposing threat to intruders, and although they are very strong and can certainly be dangerous, they are well renowned for their gentle demeanor and loving personality. With proper training, these dogs make wonderful guard dogs for families in any situation.
Rhodesian Ridgeback: This breed was developed in South Africa primarily for lion hunting. They are very easy dogs to recognize; just look for the streak of fur on their backs which runs with the opposite grain to the rest of the fur on their bodies, creating a “ridge” on the animal’s back. These dogs are very powerful, but they are naturally aloof to strangers and capable of mischief. Careful training is needed to turn these dogs into effective guard dogs, and only experienced dog owners should attempt to tame such a powerful and strong willed breed as the Rhodesian.
American Bulldog: American Bulldogs were derived from the English bulldog and are known for their stocky build and strong jaws. These dogs make wonderful pets and are great with children, but they are also excellent guard dogs when trained properly. Although their sheer mass may appear intimidating to some, these dogs are often incredibly loving and good natured. The breed has become very popular domestically and they are a great breed for protecting a family with small children.
Boxer: Boxers were named for their tendency to play on their hind legs while using their front paws to playfully “punch.” They were originally derived from English bulldogs, and they retain the same impressive bite as their relatives. They are larger, however, and are also very athletic dogs. The Boxer is legendary for its kind temperament at play, but bravery and devotion when aroused. They make excellent guard dogs because they are not trustful of strangers in general, and their behavior outside of the family must be monitored closely with training and socialization. With a strong upbringing, Boxers can be both an alert guard dog and a fun family friend.
Giant Schnauzer: True to their name, giant schnauzers are very big dogs. They have a naturally playful temperament, but they are known to be very protective of their masters. Giant Schnauzers are very athletic dogs that require a great deal of exercise. They are natural guard dogs and require little training when it comes to protection, but their high energy level makes them difficult for some owners to handle. Be sure you know what you’re getting into before taking on a Giant Schnauzer, but if you are looking for a competent guard dog there are few better breed choices.
Chow Chow: Chow Chows originated in Mongolia some 4,000 years ago and have been kept as pets in the far East for thousands of years. They are naturally protective of their territory and family, so they make excellent guard dogs with little training. Their distinct appearance and blue/black tongue make them easily recognizable, and their uniquely aloof temperament also sets them apart from other breeds. If you’re looking for a loyal, dedicated guard dog with a little flare, a Chow Chow is a great choice.
Kuvasz: The Kuvasz is a large, powerful dog with a thick white coat and black nose. The breed is Hungarian in origin and was bred to be independent and to think on its own to protect large herds of livestock spread over vast distances. As a result of their independence, their temperament can be somewhat aloof, especially around strangers. Their protective instincts, however, are second to none. When properly socialized, they also exhibit a clown like sense of humor that makes them very entertaining pets. But when it comes to protection, the Kuvasz is a highly specialized breed that will instinctively guard any home or property.