best guard dogs

The 10 Best Guard Dogs for Protection

When it comes to safeguarding your family, property, or personal security, not all dogs are created equal. Some canine breeds are inherently wired to serve as devoted guardians. The best guard dog breeds for protection share common characteristics, including unwavering loyalty to their owners, keen awareness, and obedience to commands. Typically, an ideal guard dog is large, fearless, and amenable to training.

If you are contemplating welcoming a guard dog into your life, here’s a comprehensive look at the best 10 remarkable guard dog breeds celebrated for their protective instincts and their ability to become cherished companions.

The 10 best guard dogs used for protection

  1. Akita:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 24 to 28 inches

Weight: 70 to 130 pounds

Coat and Color: Thick double coat; colors include black, fawn, red, and more

Life Expectancy: 10 to 13 years

dogs that can's tollerate hot weather

Akitas are one of the most loyal dog breeds with a natural inclination for protecting. Bred to protect royalty and nobility in feudal Japan, they are inherently suspicious of strangers and require obedience training and socialization.

  1. Belgian Malinois:

Group: Herding (AKC)

Height: 22 to 26 inches

Weight: 40 to 80 pounds

Coat and Color: Short double coat; colors include fawn, mahogany, and red with a black mask

Life Expectancy: 14 to 16 years

best guard dogs for protection - malinois

The Belgian Malinois is an intense and athletic breed often favored by police and military K-9 units as one of the best guard dogs. They are highly trainable but require specialized training and exercise.

  1. Bullmastiff:

Group: Working

Height: 24 to 27 inches

Weight: 100 to 130 pounds

Coat and Color: Short coat; colors include fawn, red, and brindle with a black mask

Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

Bullmastiffs were developed to protect game from poachers. Despite their imposing appearance, they are naturally affectionate towards their families, but they require structured training.

  1. Cane Corso:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 23.5 to 27.5 inches

Weight: 80 to 120 pounds

Coat and Color: Short, coarse coat; colors are black, gray, fawn, and red; brindle is possible in all colors; may have black or gray mask and small patches of white

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

dogs for protection - cane corso

The Cane Corso is an Italian breed historically used as a guard dog, requiring obedience training to harness its natural guarding instincts.

  1. German Shepherd:

Group: Herding (AKC)

Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 60 to 100 pounds

Coat and Color: Coarse, medium-length double coat that comes in a variety of colors; pointed ears that stick straight up

Life Expectancy: 7 to 10 years


Similar to the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds are intense and active, favored in police and military roles. They require socialization to avoid fearfulness and about two hours of daily exercise.

  1. Doberman Pinscher:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 24 to 28 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 65 to 100 pounds

Coat and Color: Short, smooth, sleek coat that comes in red, blue, black, and fawn

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years


Although historically perceived as aggressive, Doberman Pinschers are affectionate with their human families. They can often excel as protectors with structured training.

  1. Komondor:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 26 to 28 inches

Weight: 80 pounds and up

Coat and Color: White corded coat

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

Known for their signature “dreadlocks,” Komondors are large, strong, and courageous working dogs. They are reserved around strangers and require structured training and socialization.

  1. Rhodesian Ridgeback:

Group: Hounds (AKC)

Height: 24 to 27 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 70 to 85 pounds

Coat and Color: Coats are short and smooth, coming in light wheaten to red wheaten colors

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years


Historically used for hunting large game and lions, Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an intense loyalty to their families and do not require guard dog training. They benefit from basic obedience training.

  1. Rottweiler:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 80 to 130 pounds

Coat and Color: Short double coat that comes in black with tan, rust, or mahogany coloring

Life Expectancy: 8 to 10 years

Rottweiler in grass

Rottweilers are often considered aggressive but can be loyal and affectionate with their human families. Adequate training and socialization are key to honing their protective skills.

  1. Tibetan Mastiff:

Group: Working (AKC)

Height: 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 70 to 150 pounds

Coat and Color: Fine double outer coat with heavy, soft, and woolly undercoat; black, brown, blue/gray, or gold coloring

Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years

best guard dogs - bullmastif

The Tibetan Mastiff is an imposing, watchful, and powerful guard dog. They have an innate distrust of strangers and require structure through training and socialization.

When considering a guard dog, it’s essential to ensure they are not overly aggressive. Proper training is crucial to achieving a balance between protection and restraint. Guard dogs should be well-socialized to avoid unnecessary standoffishness or aggression. In exchange, you’ll not only secure your family but also gain a loyal and disciplined canine companion.

Dog Breeds to Avoid for Guarding Purposes

When it comes to selecting a guard dog, it’s imperative to understand that not all breeds are cut out for this role. Certain breeds are inherently calm, low-energy, and possess a disposition that may not align with guarding instincts.

These dogs are more likely to either ignore strangers or even extend a warm welcome to them. If you’re in search of a vigilant guard dog, it’s best to steer clear of breeds known for their super-friendly and easygoing nature, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Irish Setters.

These breeds tend to exude a happy-go-lucky attitude, making them naturally inclined to welcome anyone into their home with open paws.

Additionally, breeds like Basset Hounds are characterized by their more laid-back, even lazy, demeanor. These dogs may be so relaxed that they won’t bother to rouse themselves from their cozy dog bed when an unfamiliar visitor enters the house.

Therefore, if your goal is to find a dog with strong guarding instincts, these breeds should be omitted from your list of potential candidates. Guard dogs require a higher level of alertness, territorial instinct, and protective disposition, qualities that are not typically associated with these friendly, easygoing breeds.

You might be interested:

13 Most Intelligent Dog Breeds – Stanley Coren Ranking List
What Are the 10 Most Aggressive Dog Breeds
10 Best Dog Breeds For First Time Owners

Leave a Reply