German Shepherd
© Unsplash

The best guard dog breeds

By Ashley Murphy Content Writer

Updated on the

All dogs are loyal, but some dogs are more loyal than others. And these are the ones that make the best guard dogs

Natural Protectors

Certain dog breeds are also natural protectors; its written into their DNA. It stretches back thousands of years to when dogs protected the first agricultural settlers from predators. They also guarded livestock and crops and played a vital role in helping humans establish the first permanent villages and towns.

Guard dog breeds are big and powerful animals. They’ll warn you about any intruders and they have an instinctual sense of danger. But, as Uncle Ben once told Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. And this time it’s up to you! These dogs need proper training and socialisation. Without it, they’ll be a danger to you, to other people, and even to themselves.

Popular guard dog breeds

German Shepherd

Generally considered to be the best all-purpose working dog, the German shepherd is big, quick, and muscular. They’ve also got the brains to match the brawn, making them a fearsome opponent for any bad guys. They're also known for their character: a well trained German shepherd is loyal, confident, and courageous. It's no wonder they're the dog of choice for police services around the world. Again, getting them socialised early on is super important. A full-grown aggressive German shepherd could be too much, even for some of the most experienced dog handlers.

German shepherd ©Anna Dudkova.Unsplash


One of the most popular and recognisable guard dog breeds, Rottweilers are known for their intimidating appearance, huge bark, and fiercely protective natures. They also have a long and illustrious CV, working as cattle dogs, butchers assistants, and of course guard dogs. But underneath that gruff exterior, you'll find a loving and playful animal with loads of personality.

Rottweilers are popular guard dogs©Florian Von Duyen. Unsplash


Extremely large and intimidating, the Bullmastiff will rarely have to do anything but stare down to its opponent. They’re exceptionally strong and domineering, and anyone who isn't welcome in a bullmastiff's territory will soon know about it. On the contrary, bullmastiff puppies are extremely friendly, so, as long as they're properly socialised, they make great family pets. Despite their size, they don't need a huge amount of exercise. But they do eat a lot of food! And due to their size and strength, they can be difficult to handle. The Bullmastiff is a serious dog - think carefully before adopting one.

Bullmastiffs are very loyal and protective©Pixabay

Powerful guard dog breeds


If you need any proof of the Akita’s credentials, then remember they were bred during feudal Japan (a.k.a. - the time of the samurai warrior.) They protected members of the ruling families and were used to hunt wild boar, dear, and even bears! It goes without saying that they make excellent guard dogs, and only a fool will refuse to back down after an intense eye contact moment with an Akita. But all that brawn doesn't come without a price - Akita’s are tough, but they can also be very stubborn. Set your boundaries early on - and then keep to them. You don't want to find yourself in a battle of wills against a fully grown Akita.

Akita's are big, powerful dogs©Pixabay

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback was bred to hunt lions. I don't really need to say much more, and it's no surprise that these dogs are supremely athletic and highly intelligent. But they're not the easiest to train, and their headstrong natures mean they're likely to be too much of a challenge for the first time dog owner. Those who stick it out will be rewarded with a loyal pet who can protect you and your family from pretty much anything.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were first bred to hunt lions©Pixabay

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman pinscher was bred during the 19th century. They’re powerful, agile, and very intelligent. The Doberman is also renowned for being exceptionally alert and loyal, making them excellent guards dogs for any family. Like many intelligent breeds, the Doberman can be a bit headstrong and stubborn, and these athletic dogs need plenty of exercise and stimulation. Dobermans can make great pets, but owning one requires commitment and care from the owner.   

Dobermans are alert and loyal©Pixabay

Although a guard dog can give you peace of mind, it's really important to consider the risks and responsibilities. Firstly, you want your dog to be protective, but never train it to be aggressive towards strangers. This can backfire very badly and is often unnecessary - guard dogs have certain characteristics written into their genes and will respond appropriately when required. But if you are interested in training a guard dog, your best advice is to seek help from the experts. A1K9 is the UK’s longest and most established supplier of protection dogs.

More advice on...

What did you think of this advice article?

Thanks for your feedback !

Thanks for your feedback !

Leave a comment
Connect to comment
Want to share this article?