15 Best Guard Dog Breeds

Having a well-trained dog to help watch over your home can bring you peace of mind and a loving, loyal companion to greet you when you walk through the door. Some dog breeds are natural guardians, born with the instinct to protect their humans. To help you decide which guard dog breed is right for you, we’ve put together a list of the best dogs for the job, based on recommendations from the American Kennel Club (AKC). From smaller breeds like the furry and adorable Puli to larger dog breeds like the bullmastiff, these dog breeds are smart, fearless, and loyal.

Keep in mind that before adopting a dog, you will need to be able to commit to extensive training and ongoing socialization, as these are especially important for guard dog breeds which tend to be more territorial. . You will also want to choose a breed that fits your lifestyle. Some breeds, like the Appenzeller Sennenhund or the Australian Shepherd, require lots of exercise, while puppies like the Briard need frequent grooming. Once you have decided on a type of guard dog, be sure to research reputable and responsible breeders through the AKC website to ensure you adopt a healthy and happy puppy.

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Akita represent happiness and long life in Japan where the breed was developed in the 17th century, and are known to be brave and loyal to their owners. They are independent thinkers and don’t always mix well with other dogs or strangers, so it’s especially important to provide consistent training and socialization from an early age.

Height: 24-28 inches
Mass: 70-130 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-14 years old

Appenzell Sennehund are fast and agile, bred to work on farms and drive cattle. They are intelligent and quick to learn, making them easy to train and also very active, so they are best suited to homes with plenty of room to run and play.

Height: 19-22 inches
Mass: 48-70 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years old

Popular with breeders thanks to excellent herding instincts, australian shepherds also make great watchdogs as they are intelligent, obedient and protective of their families. Aussies are best suited to homes with plenty of room to roam as they are very energetic and require plenty of daily activity and exercise.

Height: 18-23 inches
Mass: 40-65 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years old

Bergamasque Sheepdogs are social creatures, affectionate with their families as well as with other animals. Their signature coat is long and layered – and surprisingly low maintenance – requiring only a few baths a year and no brushing as they don’t shed.

Height: 22-23.5 inches
Mass: 57-84 pounds
Life expectancy: 13-15 years old

Lively, alert and fearless, boxers are natural watchdogs. Their patient, protective, and playful nature—and the fact that Boxers crave lots of time with their humans—make them a good choice for families with children.

Height: 21.5-25 inches
Mass: 65-80 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years old

Called a few times”a heart wrapped in furbriards are well suited to children thanks to a loyal and kind nature. They also like to be active, which makes them perfect for owners who like four-legged companions while running or hiking. They are also suitable for humans who don’t mind grooming, as their long coats require frequent brushing and bathing.

Height: 22-27 inches
Mass: 55-100 pounds
Life expectancy: 12 years

A mix of mastiff and bulldog, bullmastiffs were originally bred to ward off poachers on estates in England. They are devoted family dogs and natural protectors.

Height: 24-27 inches
Mass: 100-130 pounds
Life expectancy: 7-9 years old

With a history that dates back to the Roman Empire and a name that translates from Latin to “bodyguard dog”, the Cane Corso is a noble, intelligent and gentle breed with excellent guarding instincts. Along with early and consistent training and socialization, they also need plenty of exercise and excel at dog sports like dock diving or tracking.

Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
Mass: proportional to height
Life expectancy: 9-12 years old

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Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Bred to retrieve ducks from the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay, those athletic pooches make excellent companions for outdoor enthusiasts and are also loyal and intelligent.

Height: 21.5-26 inches
Mass: 55-80 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-13 years old

Smart, strong and fast, Doberman Pinscher make excellent watchdogs, and their gentle nature and ability to learn quickly also make them excellent companions. They need plenty of exercise, so owners should plan for long daily walks or hikes.

Height: 24-28 inches
Mass: 60-100 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years old

Named after the Estrela Mountains in Portugal where it originated, this breed was originally a herdsman and can be just as protective of his family. Estrela Mountain Dogs are particularly adorable and are a great choice for families with young children.

Height: 24.5-29 inches
Mass: 77-132 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-14 years old

Loyal, loving and intelligent, german shepherds make excellent pets and quickly protect their families. With adults measuring between 22 and 26 inches, German Shepherds are one of the most popular large dog breeds and are also one of the most common police dog breeds.

Height: 22-26 inches
Mass: 50-90 pounds
Life expectancy: 7-10 years old

Originally bred in the Bavarian Alps to guard homes, inns and farms, Giant Schnauzers remain excellent guard dogs, affectionate with their family, intelligent and easy to train. Giants need plenty of exercise, as well as weekly grooming.

Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
Mass: 55-85 pounds
Life expectancy: 12-15 years old

They may be smaller for guard dogs, but Pulik make a big impression with their distinctive corded hair and excellent herding instincts. They are quick, smart and loyal, and their energetic nature makes them excellent playmates for children.

Height: 16-17 inches
Mass: 25-35 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-15 years old

Weighing up to 135 pounds, Rottweiler certainly look imposing, but they are generally calm, confident and loyal family members. They can also be playful and cuddly, just be sure to provide plenty of socialization and training as Rotties can be territorial.

Height: 22-27 inches
Mass: 80-135 pounds
Life expectancy: 9-10 years old

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