20 Best Guard Dog Breeds that Can Keep Your Family Safe

Written By Jill Taylor

The best guard dogs wouldn’t only alert you to strange visitors. They’ll also chase them off and even attack when needed. If you’re looking for a dog to keep you and your family safe from intruders, here are 20 breeds you should start with.

Cane Corso

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Cane Corsos are muscular watchdogs with an ancient heritage of protection. Their name is Latin for “guard dog,” and they accompanied Roman warriors as fire bearers to push enemies back in battle, per the World History Encyclopedia. With the right training, they can be the best protective friends to have around you.


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The Akita may not be as big or muscular as other guard dogs, but their naturally inquisitive nature will definitely come in handy for you. They are perfect as alert dogs, as they show immediate displeasure toward strangers, unfamiliar animals, and anyone they don’t feel comfortable around.

Australian Shepherd

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The Australian Shepherd is a natural protector with a heritage of keeping sheep safe and under control. Aussies are a non-aggressive breed with high intelligence, making them trainable for any role within your home. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need a lot of space to make them active and happy.

German Shepherds

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German Shepherds are highly intelligent, territorial dogs who’ll do anything to protect the things they’re put in charge of. They’re very trainable, loyal, and energetic, and it’s all these features that make them perfect fits for law enforcement, military, and rescue operations.

Bull Mastiff

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The Bull Mastiff is an English breed with a muscular build that originally protected livestock from poachers and wild animals. With high trainability and a bite force of 552 PSI (which is two times the average dog’s bite force), they can be taught to be as laid-back or aggressive as you want them to be.

Belgian Laekenois

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The Belgian Laekenois is one of four Belgian sheepdogs that instinctively protect herds, people, and property they form a territory over. Their mild temperament makes them good in-home family dogs, and their rough coat is a feature that makes them aesthetically unique.


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Boxers were one of the first breeds employed as police dogs due to their high work rate and great trainability. They’re so intelligent and mildly tempered that they can even be used as support dogs for visually impaired people. This makes them safe family dogs that you don’t have to worry about around children.

Doberman Pinscher

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Brittanica narrates that the Doberman Pinscher was specifically created in the 1800s by Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann. He was a tax collector, night watchman, and poundkeeper who needed the perfect protective friend to keep him company. Today, the Dobermann Pinscher has become a family guard dog, with smaller Miniature Pinschers bred as toy dogs from it.

American Staffordshire Terrier

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The American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the more stubborn and aggressive breeds on our list. It’s typically used in illegal dog fighting rings, which has given it a bad reputation. Nonetheless, they are extremely loyal dogs that are perfect to protect you in dangerous environments or terrain.

Bergamasco Sheepdog

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The Bergamasco Sheepdog comes with a lot of versatility. It’s great as a loyal, alert watchdog, thanks to its origins as a herder. But its mild temperament, high intelligence, and unique low-maintenance mop-like coat make it a great dog to keep in your home. It’s even used as a show dog by some.

Giant Schnauzer

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The Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the three breeds of Schnauzer around, and it has a reputation for being courageous against larger and more dangerous animals. Holding 556 PSI of force, it probably trusts its jaws and teeth to do the trick. It’s also a mildly-tempered, loyal breed that’s great around the family.

Appenzeller Sennenhund

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The Appenzeller Sennenhund is an agile, muscular breed that comes built and ready for diverse roles within the home and paramilitary environment. As the AKC describes it, “he is muscular and agile and makes a good driving, watch, guard, house, or farm dog. Due to their versatility and willingness, they excel in agility, obedience, herding, and search and rescue.”


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It isn’t hard to see how ridiculous the Komondor is as a guard dog. But you best believe it’s one you’ll love to have around at crucial, insecure moments. The Komondor started off protecting sheep from bears and wolves in Bulgaria, and today, it helps a lot of people keep an eye on their children. It also has an extremely loud bark to alert you to intruders.

Dogo Argentino

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This Mastiff popped out in Argentina in the early 20th century as a choice breed to hunt peccaries, wild boars, and even pumas. Today, with intense early training, they are creatures used to protect homes and families. They may not be too social around strangers, though. Per WebMD, “a Dogo will get along with you after he’s comfortable having you around. Some have, however, been known not to like other dogs.”


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Rottweilers are some of the most popular and powerful dogs in the U.S. They also have aggressive personalities that can be quelled and channeled appropriately by a trained dog handler. Thankfully, they learn easily, and they remain loyal and affectionate around family settings.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

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The Rhodesian Ridgeback is another adaptive dog on our list that can fit into many roles. Perhaps, tracing its history, it is best used as a hunter dog. Early Rhodesian Ridgebacks were used to chase lions in the Savanna, which earned them the name “African lion hound.” They’re also so strong that they can hold onto quarries and are trainable to be very disciplined house dogs.

Great Dane

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Great Danes come with excellent height and posture, perfect for their vigilante personalities. They are one of the best, mildly-tempered watch dogs you can have around you, so much so that the German nobility used them. They also come with enough aggressive versatility that they were used to hunt bears and deer in the Middle Ages.

Tibetan Mastiff

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The Tibetan Mastiff can be considered by some to be the most intimidating on our list due to their big size, thick fur coat, and highly territorial behavior. However, they are one of the calmest and most loyal breeds you can have around you and your family. The AKC regards   this fluffy friend as a “guardian dog supreme.”

Estrela Mountain Dog

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The Estrela Mountain Dog is another courageous dog that won’t shy away from a fight. It’s loyal and sociable around family, children, and other pets, and it comes with a very loud bark that is good for alerts against intruders. However, its incessant bark to mark territory can constitute a nuisance for some people.

Dogue de Bordeaux

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Like the Cane Corso, the Dogue de Bordeaux is another breed whose ancestors went to war. They helped save the injured during the First World War, dragging them out of war zones, as FCI shares. Today, with early training, they channel this energy into protecting their owners and territory.