Best Guard Dogs

Top 10 – Best Guard Dogs


1. Bullmastiff – Muscular, intimidating personality, impressive bark

2. Tibetan Mastiff  – Super Intimidating, huge, impressive bark

3. Doberman | Cane Corso | Dogo Argentino – All 3 are excellent guard dogs, quick, fearless and fierce.

4. German Shepherd | Caucasian Ovcharka – Alsatians are smart guard dogs, Caucasian Ovcharkas are intimidating.

You may also want to consider the White German Shepherd it is beautiful.

5. Rottweiler – Smart guard dog with most powerful dog bite.

6. Pitbull – Intimidating due to reputation. Will keep intruders away.

7. Rhodesian Ridgeback – Quick, protective, guards well.

8. Chow Chow – Aloof. Protects.

9. Dogue de Bordeaux | Neapolitan Mastiff – Watchful, protective, look intimidating.

10. American Staffordshire Terrier – More of a watchdog, can guard too.

Sometimes, mere size of the dog may be enough to scare away potential intruders. Here are some giant dog breeds. Some small dog breeds are good watch dogs too (they are alert and protective): lhasa apso, yorkshire terrier, miniature schnauzer, dachshund.

Bullmastiff – The best guard dog


Bullmastiff as a dog breed was developed in England in the late 19th century to help gamekeepers catch poachers. There was a need for a powerful, fast, rather silent dog that could work as a team with the gamekeeper and take care of both the poacher and the poachers dogs. The foundation for the breed is a cross between the mastiff and the 19th century type of bulldog.

English PoacherPicture: ‘The Poacher’ by Richard Ansdell shows a poacher and his dog being attacked by a Mastiff

The behavioural heritage of the bullmastiff breed contains a strong affinity for family members and their friends, as well as a strong guard instinct. The breed was developed to work closely with a small group of people, so this is a people dog. A bullmastiff needs to belong to people and live with people, and the dog needs his family to take leadership over the family pack.

The Bullmastiff will automatically identify bad guys – Instinct!

The combination of affinity for people and a strong guard ability makes for a dog that is excellent in discriminating between friend and foe. The bullmastiff is a good judge of people and good at identifying people who are up to no good. This makes it important to expose a young bullmastiff puppy to lots of different people when the puppy is very young, so that the puppy learns all about good guys. Then, when maturity and guard instincts appear later, the dog will automatically identify bad guys.


Typically, a bullmastiff is friendly to family members, and tends to be a bit off standish and moderately friendly to strangers. When the dog gets suspicious, he typically takes the time to investigate before deciding what to do about it.

Bullmastiff vs Shepherd dog breeds as guard dogs


First and foremost the bullmastiff is a guard dog, and it is a type of guard dog that is more protective of territory than anything else. The typical sequence of bullmastiff guard behaviours include running up to a suspicious character, maybe slam the front feet into the ground, and take a stand, maybe growling and/or barking, thus threatening the perceived danger first. Typically, the dog then takes a moment or two to evaluate the problem before taking further action. A bullmastiff exhibiting a threatening posture is usually enough for any person with malicious intent to decide on a hasty departure rather than confrontation. When confronted and threatened back, the bullmastiff will use his weight to shove and/or bite to take care of the perceived problem. Thus biting is the last in a sequence of guard behaviours of the bullmastiff, and it happens rarely. This type of guard behaviour is quite different from that of herding breeds, like the Alsatian and the Belgian Malinois.

The typical herding breed guard dog’s sequence involves a chase and catch and bite part, with the shepherd jumping and biting and letting go and running around and biting some more. In order to better understand these behaviours it is useful to look at the evolution of dogs and the behaviours that underlie guard behaviours in todays dog breeds. Over the course of thousands of years since the domestication of the wolf to a dog, the dogs guard behaviours developed from the predatory behaviours of the ancestral wolf. Wolves exhibit a chain of
behaviours in hunting for food: eyeing the prey – alert – stalk – chase – bite – kill. This sequence was tapped in developing herding dogs, where the kill part was selected for extinction and the bite part was selected for softness and control. Herding thus involve selected predatory behaviours. These breeds are also good guard dogs, and their guard behaviours are like a predatory chain without the final kill: being aware and vigilant – alert by barking – stalk – chase – bite. They show a strong prey-drive and they tend to like retrieving objects.

The guard behavior of the bullmastiff is quite different from that of herding dogs. Their guarding is closer related to that of the large flock guarding breeds, like the Maremma, and the Kuvasz. These dogs tend to stay with the livestock, and they do not prey on livestock. They also protect their flock from predators. Their guard behaviours do not involve chasing and catching, as much as interrupting the predators behaviours by interrupting and deflecting. These dogs have a low prey-drive, and they are not interested in chasing and catching objects. They tend to stand their ground to protect their territory and to prevent a predator from getting close to the livestock – or the family.

Looking at guard behaviours this way gives us an understanding of aggressive behaviours in different dog breeds and why uncontrolled aggression is more serious in a flock guarding type of dog than in a herding type of dog. The herding dog tends to bite quicker and at a lower level of provocation. When they bite, the bite tends to be of the slash and run type. A flock guarding type of dog tolerates more provocation and makes more use of threats before he bites. When this type of dog does bite, there tends to be a lack of inherited and inbred inhibitions, making these bites more serious.

Guard Dog Videos

more videos on each guard dog breed’s page.

What is the difference between a watch dog and a guard dog ?


Watchdog: A Watchdog, also called an “Alarm Dog”, is a dog that is used to warn their owner that something is not right, typically by barking. A common example of the use of a watchdog is to warn their owner of an intruder or trespasser. Watchdogs tend to bark a lot. A watchdog should not be expected to engage (bite) a threat, or even to hold their ground, their job is simply to “sound the alarm”. A good watchdog can sound the alarm and stay out of danger until “backup” arrives to take action. Watchdogs come in many different sizes and shapes. A large size, courage, and amazing strength are not necessarily requirements for a watchdog.

Guard Dog: A Guard Dog is a dog that is used to guard property or livestock (which includes their family – human, canine, feline, fish, bird…). While guard dogs may “alert” like a watchdog, they are also expected to engage (bite) a threat if needed. Typically a guard dog uses a forceful “display” to drive (scare) a threat away while holding their ground and engaging the threat if the initial display is not enough of a deterrent. A good guard dog should always give a clear warning before moving in for a bite – the display is their first line of defense. Guard dogs typically come in 2 packages: large and thick-coated livestock guardians, and large short-coated bully/mastiff type dogs. With the exception being some of the pinscher (terrier) breeds and some shephard breeds (like the GSD). Size, strength, tenacity, courage, and a level-headed outlook are import traits of a guard dog.

Throughout history the watchdog has been deployed alongside the larger guard dog. The watchdog would act as the alarm while the guardian would come in to take action. Examples of this type of arrangement can be found from Italy, where the Volpino Italiano worked alongside the Cane Corso and Neapolitan Mastiff, from Tibet where the Lhasa Apso and Tibetan Spaniel worked alongside their large guardian counterparts, the Tibetan Mastiff.

Unlike some Personal Protection Dogs, who sometimes require 100s of hours of training (think “Police Dog”), watchdogs and guard dogs do not typically need any training for their job, they preform these roles instinctively and autonomously. Actually, it’s our experience that you spend more time training guardians when NOT to guard than when to guard. Like a guard dog, the best Personal Protection Dogs (PPDs) will have a natural protective instinct too, but with the drive to follow-through. Since PPDs are often deployed in public situation (not private property, like a guard dog) the PPD requires a lot of specialized training to ensure the public’s safety.


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