Whether for home or commercial property, security is an extremely important aspect to consider. There are a variety of different ways to protect property – from security systems to barriers, and human security guards. One thing that may not get much consideration is the use of guard dogs.
Far from the cartoonish, easily avoidable nuisance that we typically see in movies, a well-trained guard dog can be a preemptive deterrent against attack. Guard dogs can also be surprisingly effective at stopping an active intruder. A guard dog will be able to sense attack sooner than a human guard since it’s more aware of the surroundings than a security camera. Furthermore, a highly-trained guard dog will avoid the common bait that most people think would stop a dog (such as a bone or steak). Trained dogs will avoid such things and stay focused on their task.
Below we will outline some of the best guard dog breeds, and specifically what to look for when choosing guard dogs for maximum security. Let’s begin.
Best Guard Dogs for Security
It goes without saying that some breeds of dogs are better for security than others. There are actually several dog breeds that are known specifically for their protective prowess and instinct. Here are the top five best guard dogs:
This is the guard dog made popular in many movies and television shows. You may recognize the imposing black fur and muscularity. Its bark is also loud and intimidating, and can in itself deter a would-be attacker. In addition to its appearance, the Beauceron also has an equally dominant personality. In American Kennel Club, it’s also one of the more intelligent breeds of guard dogs available. When on guard duty, the Beauceron is able to maintain a stable and focused temperament while keeping watch.
- Portuguese Shepherd
Known for their alertness and bravery, the Portuguese shepherd (also called the Estrela) is a breed of mountain dog, ideal for security. Used for centuries as a guardian for livestock, the Portuguese shepherd also excels at guarding a family home. As the FCI noted, the Portuguese shepherd is extremely loyal and protective of its family.
Not to be confused with the regular Mastiff breed, the Bullmastiff is no slouch. With an average weight of 115 pounds and an average height of 25 inches to the shoulder, the Bullmastiff definitely makes a strong impression! With deep black eyes and an even deeper bark, the Bullmastiff is sure to make any would-be prowler think twice. The Bullmastiff also excels in its ability to track scents, and even have a high pain threshold.
- German Shepherd
Another one of the more famous breeds, the German shepherd has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best guard dogs around. A brave and trustworthy companion, the German shepherd has a striking look, as well as an imposing growl and bark. German shepherds actually have a distinguished history as police and military dogs, and they have been used as scouts to warn soldiers of enemy troops. Also in Australia , the German shepherd has a very high degree of courage, steady nerves, as well as superior tacking abilities. Such qualities make an ideal protector.
- Doberman pinscher
Easily the most recognizable breed on this list, both in appearance and by name alone, the Doberman pinscher needs no introduction. Excelling in muscle tone, speed, and compact power, when a Doberman pinscher picks up the trail of a target, the target rarely escapes. The Doberman pinscher is highly trainable and eager to please its master. This trainability, along with the Doberman’s excellent strength qualities, makes it an ideal guard dog for home or commercial property.
Traits to Look For in a Guard Dog
While the list above is a very good starting point, it’s wise to consider the different traits and behavioral ranges – even within the same breed. For example, while some breeds are more aggressive, such as the German shepherd, some German shepherds are more docile and passive. Therefore, when selecting the best guard dog, it’s important to look for specific traits in a dog beyond merely picking the breed. To this end, below are some additional guidelines to consider.
- Aggressive tendency
This is usually noticed when the dog is still a young pup. An aggressive tendency can be an indicator of future potential as a guard or security animal. One note of caution, however, a dog that is too aggressive may be challenging to control as it grows into adulthood. With its larger size may come a struggle for dominance if the owner is not confident. It can also be a potential danger if this is a home environment with young children.
Ultimately, you must strike a balance between a good level of aggressiveness and submissiveness. A weak-willed or timid guard dog is not desirable, but neither is a dog that is unwilling to be led and controlled.
- Focus and attentiveness
This is something that tends to be gained as the dog matures from a puppy. The ability to stay on task and not become distracted by loud noises or other moving objects is very valuable in a guard dog. While proper training can help with this somewhat, there is no substitute for innate ability.
During crucial moments, you want a guard dog that won’t take their eyes off of an attacker to fetch a ball or chase a vehicle down the street. That is where focus and attentiveness really matter.
- Care and Loyalty
Even if your guardian candidate has appropriate aggression and focus, it’s irrelevant if they aren’t loyal! Yes, certain dogs have been known to switch sides just like humans, which can be disastrous in a security situation.
Care and loyalty are learned with time. The more time the dog spends with its family, the more it will imprint the herd. In simple terms, the dog will feel “at home” in your home. It will recognize your family as its family, which creates a sense of care and loyalty to protect the herd in times of danger.
While good training also plays a role in loyalty, in this case, there is no substitute for real quality time with your dog. Sure, some parts of being a guard dog are learned behaviors, but some are still very much instinctual – and this is one of them.
While you may not have expected this, intelligence is also an essential trait for the best guard dogs. The reason for this is that the guard dog needs to distinguish between an actual threat and children playing, for example. The wrong choice could result in an unwarranted attack, or no attack when one is warranted. The dogs on our list are rated highly in intelligence, but again, there’s a lot of diversity even within the same breed. It’s always good to check each candidate.
We hope this information has been useful in deciding the best guard dog for the protection of your home and loved ones. Many people would say there are no bad dogs, only bad people. Remember, a dog is not a replacement for an alarm system. Without adequate training and regular exercise, a guard dog is nothing but a liability. Take care of your guard dog, and it will take care of you in return.