For Families With Children
Want personal protection? You likely think of guard dogs as vicious, aggressive fearless attack dogs running loose in a warehouse or junk yard. We are NOT talking about “junk yard” dogs.
How about some dogs that are good family companions, tolerate children, are playful to one degree or another and will fiercely guard you and your family too?
All selections are based on the assumption that you will provide adequate exercise and mental stimulation for the dog each day in the form of walks, jogging, fetch and other games as appropriate for the size and breed you have.
- There are dog breeds that are excellent at guarding but not so great with kids and family life such as the Doberman Pinscher and Cane Corso.
- It is to be expected that a good guard dog will be wary of strangers and even the neighbor’s children. You have to be very careful!!
A scenario that can occur with a guard dog type of pet:
Your dog is playing with your kids in your yard when a child from down the street comes to play. Your kids and the visitor start roughhousing. Your dog perceives this as a fight and goes after the visiting child. Thus, it’s back to the basic rule “never leave young children and dogs unsupervised.”
Here’s a list of the best guard dogs in alphabetical order...
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Airedale Terrier by the river
The Airedale has been around since the 1800’s. She is a good family dog when given enough daily exercise. She is playful and somewhat affectionate as well as a fine watch and guard dog. Owners tell me they would never have any other kind of dog and love the Airedale totally. She's a loyal companion, great family dog, and fine guardian. Easily trained. Does police work,
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
This is a quiet, easy-going member of the terrier breeds who needs an extra amount of exercise and attention from the whole family. Given plenty of daily exercise in the form of walks and chasing balls or a Frisbee, she is a wonderful family pet. The Staffy is exceptionally protective of property and people and does not get along with strangers or other dogs unless in the company or her owner. This is not a breed for the novice and must be trained from a young puppy and on throughout her life.
(red nose) resting by the house.
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Anatolian Shepherd’s come to us from Turkey and are among the serious working breeds that excel as watch and guard dogs. They are reported to be easy-going house pets when their work or exercise is done. The Anatolian is fairly easy to train, especially in personal guard work.
The Australian Shepherd is well known as the “Aussie” and this guy is full of untiring energy. Give him plenty of exercise and you have a loyal, affectionate family dog. He’s easy to train, gets along fairly well with other dogs and people, but does tend to nip the heels of small children when running, as do herding dogs in general. The Aussie is a great guard dog, caring for his family and property
Beauceron (French Shepherd) looking back
As the name suggest, this breed comes from France. The dog excels as a fierce watchdog and guardian of family and property. He also is unbelievably intelligent and can learn difficult jobs quickly. The Beauceron must be exercised daily in a sufficient amount or he can tear the place apart. They are an indoor/outdoor pet that needs to be with family. (A dog that also does police work.)
This is a natural born guardian of property and family. One of the best guard dogs, the Belgium Malinois is not very affectionate and can be aggressive toward other dogs and small animals as well as strangers. He is very easy to train. This is a no-nonsense fellow that needs a tremendous amount of exercise every day. (A dog also used for police work)
Much like the Malinois, the Belgian Sheepdog is an excellent watchdog and guardian of property and family. He’s easily trained and ready to please. The breed is playful and alert, always on the move and always needing exercise as are most of the herding dog breeds. He can be aggressive, typical of the guard dog. He may not like other dogs and animals of any kind and isn’t too friendly with strangers. This dog needs to live indoors with his family.
Belgian Tervuren is a ranking member if the guard dogs group.
The Tervuren is a relatively playful, affectionate and very loyal family dog that excels as a watchdog and guardian of property and his people. The dog needs a lot of exercise. He can be aggressive with other dogs and animals and doesn’t care for strangers, as the guard dog in him suggests. Guarding is in is blood)
Black Russian Terrier
This is another of the guard dogs that excels at personal security, yet is a devoted family pet at the same time. The Black Russian stays close to family members and is protective of them, even getting along with small pets in the family. They are reserved with outsiders; strangers and animals.
Bouvier des Flandres
The Bouvier comes from Belgium and is, aside from a herding dog, a natural watchdog and guard dog. He needs his exercise, but not as badly as the ones mentioned above. This is a relatively calm outdoor, indoor dog loyal to family but wary of strangers and sometimes aggressive toward other dogs. He is good with children and family overall as long as he gets in some jogging or vigorous play time.
A girl and her pet Boxer
Boxers come from Germany and are really people-friendly at heart. At one time they were used as police dogs. They can be clowns and quite silly at times. The Boxer is laid-back, loves to play and romp with family and kids and wants to be part of whatever the family is doing. They are an affectionate and fun-loving breed, protective of family.
Briard’s are French imports and like all herding dogs, need that all-important exercise each day. The are excellent guard and watchdogs. They tend to herd family members from one room to the next, especially small children, and nipping at heels is common. The Briard needs an indoor/outdoor life with a swinging door and fenced yard plus jogging or “fetch” time.
The primary job of the Bullmastiff is as a guard dog, and that he does well. He’s said to be a blend of the Mastiff and Bulldog to get size and speed combined. At the same time, this is a devoted, kind and laid-back companion dog for his family of humans. He’s good with children if raised with them and is very protective of his family and property.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cardigan Welsh Corgi ready to play ball
Little Cardigan’s are only about 12 inches tall at the shoulders yet they do a great job of herding large cattle! They bark and nip a lot and move fast with a ton of energy. A big job in a small package. The Cardigan amazes everyone with his short legs and big action. This is a fun-loving and easy-going family pup that enjoys life and even gets along with most strangers. One of the guard dogs and a good watchdog too.
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Bay Retrievers are water dogs first and most. They can work in the icy water of the Chesapeake Bay and bring in the game with no trouble. The Bay Retriever is a great family dog and quite affectionate. The Chessie is a fairly good guard and watch dog for families with children.
Collies are one of the most famous of all dogs due to the movies. They can be gentle and somewhat affectionate, they can be very protective, but they are best known as a family dog and everyone’s friend. Give a Collie some exercise with a Frisbee and a long walk and he’s good for the day. He still tends to herd by heel-nipping at times with young kids. Other pets, dogs and strangers can cause a problem if you don’t introduce them to your Collie properly.
The German Pinscher is not related to the Doberman and is one of the smallest of the working breeds and guard dogs. In fact, about all this guy does is chase rats and other small vermin. The is a good watch dog, patrolling the house for intruders and is a fine family dog, full of play and affection. She’s good with older, well-mannered children that don’t intimidate or irritate her too much, but rather just get out and run and play ball with her. She’s protective of family and property to a degree.
German Shepherd cooling his paws in the stream
German Shepherd Dog
Another famous breed is the highly versatile German Shepherd. This is one of the no-nonsense guard dogs with a watchful eye. He’s gentle, loyal and protective of his human family and relatively tolerant of children. (I’m mainly going by personal experiences.) The GSD does not usually care for other dogs or strangers unless introduced properly.
Giant Schnauzer’s are bold, intelligent and very territorial. They are very protective of their family and property. As part of the working dog breeds group, they are used mainly as guard dogs and in police work. The breed is quite playful but not very affectionate. They do well in a family but can be too rambunctious for small children.
The Great Dane originally came from Germany and was used for guarding. Today it is a family companion and best friend that gets along well with children, other dogs and strangers. He’s so friendly that he is not the greatest guard dog. A male Dane can stand 35 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh 180 pounds.
This one from the working dog breeds group comes from France in the 1600’s when it was named “The Royal Dog of France.” She was used to guard sheep and chateaus. The breed is a calm, well-mannered family dog that needs an alpha type master as the dog tends to dominate if given the chance. The Pyrenees is a bit playful, calm and well adjusted when not provoked.
This is not your everyday house pet. The breed has been called a “daredevil” by breeders. He is bold and quite courageous with a bit of a temper. He can be aggressive with other dogs and strangers and will go chasing after anything small so he must be kept on leash. The dog is trainable and controllable. He must be trained and socialized from an early age. He’s affectionate with his family and likes to romp with the kids. This is not a breed for the beginner, as he can be a bit much to handle and is considered among the personal guards dogs.
Japanese Akita and young boy - best friends.
The Japanese Akita is in the working breeds and guard dogs class due to his great success as a guardian. This is a bold, stubborn, independent and strong breed with moderate exercise needs. When once his exercise requirements are met, the Akita becomes a calm, well-mannered house pet, loyal and devoted to his family and VERY protective of them.
Kerry Blue Terrier
Among the terrier breeds, the Kerry’s are best at watch dogging and guarding property and family. They don’t care much for other dogs, pets or strangers unless introduced by their masters, such as occasions like relatives coming to visit. Digging, barking and chasing small animals is a pastime. The Kerry Blue, as with all terriers, need plenty of constructive exercise and games. With that taken care of, he becomes a polite, respectful house pet the whole family can enjoy. (Guard dogs, family protection only)
Komondor’s come from Hungary and look like the working end of an old fashioned floor mop. They are one of the most independent and strong-willed of the working breeds. The breed will dominate if given the chance so a dominating owner is needed. The Komondor is a family dog and gets along well with responsible children, protecting them to the end. The Komondor is first a livestock protector; all else is secondary.
This is another product from Hungary with a long history of guarding livestock. The Kuvasz is a great family pet who loves children and even other pets in the house, but only in HER house. Problems can arise if kids come over to play and she perceives the play to be “fighting” at which time the dog will attack the visiting child as an aggressor. As a member of the working dog breeds group, this dog most enjoys guarding sheep and family. As personal guard dogs go, this is a good one.
The (English) Mastiff can reach 190 pounds and his main job in life is to guard things, which he does well. His energy and exercise needs are low, but his bite is BIG. If the Mastiff is properly socialized and trained starting at about 4 weeks and continued on, he will be a calm, easy-going, well-mannered house pet and family dog that will do well with the kids and protect everyone. He’s actually quite affectionate!
Miniature Bull Terrier
Min Bull Terrier playing with a toy.
The Miniature Bull is like the larger version of Bull Terrier. It needs strict training from day one with a light hand (clicker training) and must never be allowed the alpha dog spot! This can be a kind, gentle clown, fun-loving and entertaining if obedience trained. The dog can be stubborn and independent, yet a great family pet and watchdog. One of the smaller guard dogs.
Of all the variety in the working dog breeds and guard dogs group, this Italian version of the Mastiff is unique. The breed goes back to ancient times, and is primarily a guard dog, not new, but it is a stay-at-home guard dog. That’s new! Yes, the breed was bred to be a family dog and stay home to protect the family and property. Here’s 150 pounds of ferocious guard dog just looking for anyone to come to the door to do harm, and he’s all over them!
This is one big dog. Standing around 28 inches at the shoulder and weighing 150 pounds for the male, they are first class water dogs who have aided in many water rescues as well as acted as pack dogs on land. The breed is pretty easy to train and they make a good family pet as long as they get plenty of play time and interaction with people. As guard dogs, they protect family and property quite well.
The Plott is a product of Joahnnes Georg Plott of Tennessee, USA. This dog originated in Germany and Mr. Plott brought a few back to his home in Tennessee. The Plott’s make fine family pets and are good with children. However, other pets, strange people and dogs lurking about can be a problem. The Plott is a pretty good watch and guard dog and may chase them all away or put up a fight at least. Otherwise, this is a playful and affectionate breed where family is concerned and he does warm up to strangers rather quickly.
Puli (Hungarian Water Dog)
The little Hungarian Puli is a mass of bouncy string at only about 17 inches tall at the shoulders, so he appeasers. Yes, this mop on four legs is a herding dog full of vigor and energy as well as being a family dog. The Puli is not friendly toward other dogs or strangers and is not overly affectionate but he is an excellent watchdog and as guard dogs go, pretty good for his size.
Rottweiler with a ball ready to play.
The Rottweiler dates back to ancient times possibly as Roman drover dogs for herding and guarding livestock. Today they are used in police, search and rescue, drug location and military work in addition to being family companion pets.. The Rottweiler is foremost a guard dog and fairly good with older children!
The Schipperke is an inquisitive little 12 pound wonder that likes to investigate everything in sight. He’s a bit stubborn at times, not easy to train, but otherwise is a fairly good house pet. He’s very affectionate and a very small for guard dogs.
This is one of the non sporting breeds that comes from Japan and is a self-confident companion, hunter, house dog, watchdog and guard dog for its’ family. Shiba’s need plenty of exercise and as a result are well-mannered in the house. They can be aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex. Good family guard dogs, does not back down from a fight.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffy is in the terrier breeds group but often confused with pit bulls, which it is not. This is a gentle, fun-loving family dog that gets along with children and even has the nickname of “Nanny Dog” in England because it relates well with children. True, this breed will not back down from a confrontation, and true, this dog will protect the family and property to the end, but she is is truly a docile, loving creature. The breed must be well socialized and trained at a very early age. Dogs are what humans make them to be. They make excellent guard dogs and will protect family to the end.
They are playful, affectionate and easy to train and need lots of exercise. The Poodle tends to bond strongly with one person but are still is considered a family pet. The Standard is an excellent watch and guard dogs.
Very young Schnauzer with very large, un-cropped ears.
The Standard Schnauzer is in between the Miniature and Giant versions. This working breed was used for guarding livestock and chasing down rats in the old days but is now used more as a companion and family pet with great protective qualities. The Standard Schnauzer is an excellent watch dog and guard dog and though only around 30 pounds, is able to inflict a decent wound when provoked by an intruder. She is great with children but wary of strangers and unknown dogs. She makes a terrific house pet for a dominating, self confident, alpha-type owner.
The Tibetan has been around since ancient times and is a member of the working breeds and guard dogs groups. due to it’s centuries of labor in guarding everything you can think of. Even today, the main use for the breed is guardian. However, this 150 pound protector from Tibet is a devoted family dog that loves to play, is affectionate and generally good with other pets and dogs. (Ferocious family protector)
DISCLAIMER: Breeds listed on this page are merely suggested for protection to family and property. No two dogs within the same breed will act exactly the same and thus we are not responsible for any mishaps resulting from choosing a dog based solely on this website. If you decide on a breed to get, check with other people and especially the people where you get your dog. Learn all you can about the breed and about the specific dog you choose. Any dog at any time can bite, chew or dig, even if that particular breed isn't known for such behavior and we are not responsible for dogs we have never met. All dogs listed here are based on reporting in books and by vets for their characteristics and are simply AVERAGES for each breed.
Some of the best guard dogs may nip at heels from their herding instincts and other guard dogs may be too big or too “laid back” to satisfy children. Read their profiles. Trained guard dogs are awesome to watch in action.
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