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6 Best Guard Dogs To Protect You and Your Family

Getting a guard dog can improve your peace of mind.


Everyone loves dogs, but guard dogs are a special set. More than best friends, they’re also protectors. Whether you’re concerned about the safety of your home, your kids, or yourself (or all three), a guardian dog breed is a smart solution. 

Guardian dogs are bred for specific jobs, including personal protection, police work, and herding. They’re also bred as watchdogs; and because of the peace of mind they provide, they can make exceptional family dogs.  But with so many breeds to choose from, how are you to know which of the many great guard dogs is best for your family? Below is a comprehensive list of the six best guard dogs for family protection and safety.

German Shepherds

Loyal, family-friendly, and intensely protective, German Shepherds are among the best guard dogs a family can have. They have a natural protective and obedient streak that, when well-socialized from birth, makes them easy to train. German Shepherds consider the people they love members of their pack.

According to Southern Illinois University, an important factor in training German Shepherds to be excellent guard dogs is how they’re socialized as puppies. This breed is incredibly intelligent, so exposure to a variety of social situations, people, and dog breeds will teach them to distinguish between dangerous and safe situations. With  proper training, this breed of dog can identify and distinguish between a harmless stranger and a trespasser. That said, dog training a German Shepherd for protection takes more time and dedication than training a standard pup, which can be challenging for first-time dog owners.

German Shepherds are working dogs, and as such, can serve in roles beyond mere protection. Like many brainy breeds, these large dogs thrive when mentally stimulated, and they love having a job to do, whether as herders, hunters, or guards. As one of the world’s smartest dogs, their potential — given the right training — is tremendous.


Rottweilers, or Rotties for short, make for fearless and affectionate family dogs. Though the perception of Rotties is often negative, their tenacity and strength are the same qualities that make them exceptional protection dogs.

When socialized properly as puppies, Rotties will make excellent guardian dogs. While their powerful appearance can be intimidating, their instinct for danger is unmatched. In fact, the American Kennel Club describes this dog breed as a “loyal, loving, and confident guardian” within their working group category. 

Like German Shepherds, Rotties are smart and active. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. If you can devote time to training, exercising, and letting this working breed do what they love most — work — they’ll make wonderful family members.


Breeders created this pup by crossing a bulldog and a mastiff. Among the world’s many large dog breeds, these make especially loyal and protective family pets. Like Rottweilers, Bullmastiffs may look intimidating, which is one of the reasons they are such effective protectors — no one wants to mess with a dog that comes up to their hip in height. But Bullmastiffs also have incredible instincts for sniffing out danger. Originally trained to protect against poachers, they’re known for their fearless confidence in the streets and docile affection at home. They protect family members as they’d protect any member of their pack, making them invaluable guard dogs.

Like most intelligent working breeds, Bullmastiffs do best when trained and socialized well from a young age. According to the American Kennel Club, by the time they reach full maturity, they can be as tall as 27 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 100 and 130 pounds — in other words, not very easy to control. As such, these pooches are not for the faint of heart; training and socializing them requires extensive time and resources. When their energy levels are directed towards performing a job — like protecting family members — they make great canine companions. But when they aren’t given sufficient discipline from an early age, they’ll be too large and energetic for even an experienced dog owner to handle.

Doberman Pinscher

As far as sleek and muscular dog breeds go, it doesn’t get much better than a Doberman Pinscher. Often described as “nature’s noblemen,” Dobermans aren’t just strong — they’re incredibly smart, and can be trained as working dogs, whether you put them to work in service roles or as guard dogs. They’re fast and strong, and their keen observation skills make them excellent watchdogs. Dobermans are also known for being great with kids and affectionate towards family members — in fact, the American Kennel Club gives them the highest rating in both of these categories.

In addition to being a great family guardian dog,  Dobermans are physically unique — identifiable by their compact body, triangle-shaped head, and short-haired coat. The latter means there’s less shedding to deal with, which makes the Doberman Pinscher better for homeowners with pet allergies or sensitivity to dander than, say, a German Shepherd. 

Tibetan Mastiff

The larger, shaggier cousin of the Bullmastiff, the Tibetan Mastiff is a loyal companion and a great watchdog. This highly intelligent breed was developed to guard livestock in Tibet, which means that the instinct for protecting their flock and staying alert is literally hardwired into their DNA. Though they’re big and can appear intimidating, they are total softies for the family members that they consider part of their pack, and are great with kids and other dogs (unless they sense a threat). Tibetan Mastiffs are highly attuned to the emotions of their owners and are often described as sensitive and playful. These shaggy canines do best in moderate to colder climates and in environments where they have plenty of space. (They might start off small, but it won’t be long before your wee Tibetan Mastiff puppy is a behemoth.)

Like most working breeds, Mastiffs do best when instilled with discipline, proper training, and correct socialization from a young age. Their playful nature and substantial size can make them difficult to train, so they’re best suited for experienced dog owners who are willing to invest time and money into a training program while their Mastiff is still a puppy.

Belgian Malinois

Often confused with the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois are a strong and intelligent working breed in their own right, and often make great police dogs and watchdogs. Both German Shepherds and Malinois trace their roots to herding livestock, and as a result, have a strong work ethic and innate athleticism.

Malinois tend to be a bit smaller and leaner than Shepherds. They also typically have fewer health problems than Shepherds (who often suffer from hip problems and anxiety). However, both breeds are used for police and security work and make great guard dogs for families. Belgian Malinois are known for their spirit and curiosity — this is a high-energy breed that requires intellectual stimulation and long walks. They need a purpose and enjoy learning new tricks and commands. As with any working breed, they do best when socialized and trained as small dogs.

Get a Guard Dog and Gain Peace of Mind

Getting a guard dog breed can improve your peace of mind and the safety of your home and family. If you’re thinking about introducing a canine companion to your home, you won’t find any better breeds than these. 

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