Personal protection dog breeds and guard dogs differ in two aspects. Guard dogs usually guard livestock or territories without human direction. Personal protection dogs, on the other hand, are also guard dogs but they mainly work intimately with people. So a guard dog is like an automated security system whereas a personal protection dog is like a canine bodyguard for human beings. Best guard dog breeds include Great Dane, Bull mastiff, Dalmatian, Great Pyrenees, Rottweiler, Komondor and Mastiff. If you are looking for dog breeds that make the best personal protection dogs, then the following choices are worth looking into:
1. German Shepherd
Inarguably, the German Shepherd is one of the best known dog breeds in the world. This is a strong, agile, alert dog that is full of life. German Shepherds come in various colors like black, brown, tan etc with light gray markings. The ideal height for males is 24-26 inches and for females between 22-24 inches. This is one of the most powerful fearless dog breeds known for their self confidence and certain aloofness. German Shepherds are eager, alert, fit and willing and they make great companion pets, watchdogs, herding dogs or guardian dogs – pretty much anything the circumstances may demand. They are also easy to train and can work the given exercises with good concentration and temperament. These qualities make Germans one of the best dog breeds for personal protection.
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire or Amstaff as they are fondly known have unfortunately developed the reputation of being vicious attack dogs. Many breeders and owners have even made them that way. In actuality, the American Staffordshire terrier breed is known for good temperament and that can actually make them bad guard dogs. These are high energy dogs and when you get one from a reliable reputed breeder, he is likely to be of very good temperament. Even tempered and loyal, Amstaffs make good family pets. This is a child friendly dog breed as long as you teach your kids not to tempt your pet to become aggressive. Amstaff can even be considered one of the best medium size family protection dog breeds.
Boxers were first developed with the idea of having a family dog that was beautiful, protective and showed correct behavior. It was due to these qualities that the Boxer’s popularity soared across Europe during the World War II. In Germany, people started training Boxers as Schutzhunds (protection dogs) so they would suit families with kids. Boxers are midsized alert dogs with steadfast temperament. Adult male Boxers measure between 22.5 and 25 inches at withers. Boxers are instinctively ‘hearing guard’ dogs- ever alert, cautious and self assured. Your dog will be stoic and playful with kids and will not hesitate to show courage if threatened. Their intelligence, loyal affection and tractability to discipline make them a wonderful, loyal companions.
4. Doberman Pinscher
This breed was first created by Friedrich Louis Doberman who wanted a strong dog with protection and guarding qualities. Louis was a tax collector and he needed a dog that would encourage slow tax payers. The Doberman is a great working dog often erroneously portrayed as a vicious and bloodthirsty animal. In reality, Doberman Pinscher is an energetic, elegant and powerful dog known for its speed, endurance and vitality. A well trained and socialized Doberman has medium temperament, medium threshold and a fearlessness and self confidence. He will watch his surroundings closely and if developments occur which are threatening, he won’t hesitate to become active. Dobermans make reliable family pets but they are not suited for every family. Naturally, their role as a protection dog will only be determined by their training and education. This lively, active and enthusiastic dog needs plenty of activity, challenge and variety.
5. Giant Schnauzer
Giant Schnauzers are big working dogs known for their watchfulness and devotion. They have sound reliable temperament that combines with spirit, alertness, intelligence and reliability. This is a composed, watchful and courageous dog that can be easily trained. Giant Schnauzers are deeply loyal pets and yet commanding figures when the need arises. They are some of the most fearless dog breeds. Their stubborn nature makes them slightly difficult to train.
6. Standard Schnauzer
Standard Schnauzers are medium sized dogs that are extremely territorial. They are working dogs and also make excellent watchdogs. Standard schnauzers have a deep bark that sounds as if it has come from a much larger dog. Their ability to learn quickly also makes them great therapy dogs. Schnauzers are excellent affectionate companion dogs for families with kids. Their intelligence, easy trainability, alertness, and ability to track things and people make them excellent for search and rescue work.
7. Rhodesian Ridgeback
Originally designed to hunt lions and keep them at bay, the Rhodesian Ridgeback started being used as a personal protection guard dog. Ideal Rhodesian will be dignified, non-aggressive and aloof with strangers. Rhodesian is still used on hunts in many parts of the world, but today it is prized as a family protection dog and a loyal household companion pet. Appearance wise, this is a large, powerfully built, agile and active dog. This handsome pet is known for its speed and strength.
The Akita or Akita Inu is the largest of the Japanese Spitz breed. It is even considered as the National Treasure of Japan. The modern day Akita has evolved from hunting dog to a great family pet. Looks wise, this dog resembles a massive bear. They are large dogs with males between 26-28 inches. Like many of their ancestors, Akita make great personal protection dogs. They are especially great with children. If you have raised your puppy Akita with your kids, he will always be protective of them but not of your neighbors’ kids.
When we think of personal protection dogs, we usually only think of large or massive dogs belonging to the herding or working class breeds. Poodles defy those regulations. Due to their high intelligence, they excel at performing in various levels of watch/guard dog abilities. These days, people are also fascinated by poodle mixes. Their high intelligence and easy trainability combined with agility and strength make poodles and poodle mixes excellent small to medium guard dog breeds.
The Briard is a loyal, protective breed. Once it has bonded with flock or family, it will protect them for life at any cost. Briards are aloof with strangers so let them take their time in making their acquaintance with someone-do not force them. Briards are also great around kids. Socialize your Briard from an early age-get him to meet as many people as possible. Your Briard will be great around sheep; take him to the countryside and introduce him to a flock. The next moment you will have a new dog as he instinctively starts doing what he was bred to do. As long as you have trained and socialized your dog from the start, you will have a loving companion that will protect your family for life. Even the Labrador retriever does not come as close to the Briard as far as devotion, love and commitment to family are concerned.
Rottweilers or Rotties as they are fondly called have received a lot of bad press as the ‘best attack dogs’. However, a well trained and socialized Rottweiler will provide you with the loving companionship and loyal devotion you are looking for, during his entire life span. Rotties love attention and they love to please their owners. He is not a barker; in fact, he will go very still not even a growl, before he attacks. This is a dog that observes everything and misses nothing. Their enormous strength, intelligence and guarding abilities have even made them excellent police dogs. Indiscriminate breeding on behalf of unscrupulous breeders and inadequate training have produced some vicious, unpredictable and aggressive Rottweilers in recent times.
12. Bouvier des Flanders
This working dog breed originated in Flanders and were bred to be police dogs, farm dogs, guard dogs, herding dogs and even as cart-pulling dogs. The word Bouvier means herdsman so their name literally translates to herdsman of the Flanders. This powerfully built dog weighs nearly 80-125 lbs. Lucky, the pet dog of President Ronal Regan was a Bouvier des Flanders. Today, the breed serves mainly as a family pet, professional guard dog, and as a guardian-duties for which their natural stable temperament and good sense make them well suited.
13. Airedale Terrier
Airedale terrier is a versatile dog breed that can be used as a working dog, hunter and retriever. It is a stubborn, independent breed known for its sense of humor. Airedales are reliable and protective family pets who love children. The medium sized, playful and witty dog is rowdy as a puppy but as an adult, they become courageous and dignified.