15 Best Guard Dog Breeds In The World

Looking for the best guard dog breeds in the world? Whether you need a family pet that’s also a “kid protector,” a personal protection dog—or just a fierce guard dog to protect your property—you’ll find the right guard dog breed in this article.

Guard dog breeds differ in their appearance, instincts, heritage, temperament and size/power, among other criteria. But before we get into specific breeds, you need to know the various protection dogs based on the jobs they perform.

Did you know guard dogs, watchdogs, and personal protection dogs are all different? They are. So, please take a moment to get acquainted with these definitions first.

Here are the different types of guard dogs:

Watch Dogs: These dogs are trained to “alert” their pack to dangers by barking, pawing or whatever means necessary to make their owner aware of a threat. They are only trained to “alert” but not to be aggressive or bite.

Guard Dogs: A guard dog is trained to deter assailants, criminals or animals that threaten the owner, family or a selected area of property. These dogs are often employed to protect your home and property from criminals and trespassers. And they may back up their bark with a bite.

Personal Protection Dogs: These canines undergo rigorous training to protect a “moving target.” That target is usually a single person (owner) or family. These dogs are highly protective and respond instantly with obedience to a list of commands.

Family Protection Dogs: Typically more gentle, affectionate and “love-dovey,” these dogs get along great with families (especially those with children). They are protective of the whole family unit and won’t hesitate to guard any member of their pack.

Various dog breeds can be trained to fulfill these roles. But some breeds fit specific roles better than others. For example, dogs with an affectionate and gentle personality are better suited for work as a family guard dog.

In this article, you’ll find a list of the 15 best dog breeds for protection, no matter which job you need them for. Plus, you’ll learn about the heritage of these dogs and catch a glimpse into what it’s like to have one of your own. And don’t miss all the fun facts we’ve thrown in here!

Oh! And by the way…

If you need a fully-trained protection dog quickly delivered to you, we provide trained protection dogs anywhere in the U.S. We have over 10+ years of experience in training and international competition and always provide a few days of our time, in-person, to make the transition smooth and delightful.

For peace of mind, safety, and a life-long companion delivered right to your door, just reach out to us by clicking below:

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Now, without further ado…

Here are the 15 best guard dog breeds in the world:

1. German Shepherd

Utility and intelligence…” That was the motto spoken by breeder Max von Stephanitz when he purchased, renamed, and began to standardize the very first German Shepherds. Over years of careful selection the breed developed an even stronger work ethic and an uncanny amount of “smarts.”

The result? A dog that is both fierce and focused, which makes German Shepherd protection dogs one of the best guard dog breeds.

Interesting Fact: German Shepherds have been used in the military and police work dating back to World War 1. They would stand by and comfort wounded soldiers until they received medical aid.

After their role as “mercy dogs” during the war some Americans brought these dogs back home. Since then, they’ve become one of the most popular police dogs (right along with the Belgian Malinois).

One German Shepherd, a K-9 unit named Koton (seen below), even hit the big screen in the movie K-9—a 1989 film starring James Bellushi:

German Shepherd Guard Dog Traits

Height: 22–26 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 60–100 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 7–10 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent (one of the smartest in the world).

Temperament: Bold & strong with “alpha” tendencies. Should have aggression training.

Energy Level: High (needs lots of exercise to be happy).

Trainability: Extremely trainable.

2. Belgian Malinois

young belgian shepherd training in the nature

The Belgian Malinois is one of the most versatile and intelligent protective dog breeds in the world. They are known for being quick witted and highly trainable. And they’re famous throughout the military and police force, having been employed in history making operations like the take down of Osama Bin Laden.

However, these powerful protection pups are often mistaken for their sheep herding cousin, the German Shepherd, because of their similar appearance. If you want to know which is which, look for the prominent “black mask” on the face of most Belgian Malinois guard dogs.

Interesting Fact: You can usually tell the difference between a German Shepherd and a Belgian Malinois by the natural "recon black mask” covering the Malinois’ face.

The Malinois has a compassionate spirit and can be very playful and aloof, making them one of the best family protection dogs to have. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your Malinois will need proper training and consistent exercise—as they’re also one of the more rambunctious of breeds.

Belgian Malinois Guard Dog Traits


Height: 22–26 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 40–80 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 14–16 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Gentle, playful and aloof.

Energy Level: Extremely high (don’t own a Malinois if you don’t have time for exercise!).

Trainability: Extremely trainable.

3. Rottweiler

There are few things more frightening than a snarling Rottweiler guard dog protecting its family and owners. Originally bred to herd (and protect) cattle during cattle runs, the Rottweiler is one of the best guard dogs in the world.

These dogs are well-known for their bold, fierce, stocky and muscular appearance. And they can be a powerful deterrent for anyone desiring to “put their nose where it doesn’t belong” or cause you or your family harm.

And with a (debated) bite strength of nearly 400 psi, they can back up their fierce appearance as well, if need be. However, their savage looks (and Hollywood’s representation of them) has given this dog breed a bad reputation in some circles. But are they really aggressive and dangerous to own?

The truth is, Rottweilers have average aggression levels when compared to all other dog breeds. According to one study, chihuahuas are actually far more aggressive than Rottweilers! So, if you’re considering a Rottweiler, don’t be deterred by false rumors.

Every breed of guard dog, protection dog, or even a watchdog needs proper training. No matter what type of protection dog you obtain, make sure it gets the training and socialization necessary to ensure safety with family, friends and other dogs.

Rottweiler Guard Dog Traits


Height: 22–27 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 80–130 pounds (lots of muscle mass).

Life Expectancy: 8–10 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Obedient, loyal, good-natured, steady and confident.

Energy Level: Medium (some dogs are more energetic).

Trainability: Extremely trainable.

4. Doberman

doberman protection dog 3 2
doberman protection dog 3 2

The Doberman guard dog is one of the few dogs that was bred and trained specifically as a personal protection dog. In the 1880s, a German tax collector named Karl Friedrich Louis Dobermann, began to breed and train these dogs to protect himself while he was on the job.

But don’t be fooled. The Doberman is also extremely gifted as a guard dog or watchdog. You may have even seen one guarding its owner’s property, as they’re often used for home and family protection as well.

The Doberman is one of the larger and more powerful guard dog breeds, making them ideal for anyone who wants a dog that can back up their bark. With a powerful, tall and sleek body, the Doberman embodies a sort of “fierce elegance” that many other breeds cannot pull off.

However, even though they look fierce, they’re known to be one of the sweetest dog breeds when properly trained and socialized. But keep in mind, some Doberman protection dogs have a tendency to only bond with one person instead of an entire family unit.

This isn’t to say that Dobermans can’t be great family dogs—but that will likely depend on the training and individual traits of the dog, as well as potentially your Doberman’s gender.

Doberman Guard Dog Traits


Height: 24–28 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 71–99 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 10–13 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Affectionate, sweet and people-oriented.

Energy Level: Very high (can become irritable or aggressive without proper exercise).

Trainability: Extremely trainable.

5. Giant Schnauzer

Black Giant Schnauzer Or Riesenschnauzer Dog Runs Outdoor
Black Giant Schnauzer Or Riesenschnauzer Dog Runs Outdoor Near Woman

The Giant Schnauzer protection dogs are large, powerful and protective working class dogs. Unlike miniature Schnauzers, these dogs are highly territorial and can be fierce and formidable when they feel someone is threatening their “pack.”

This versatile guard dog breed earns its spot in this article, having been employed in a variety of roles. The Giant Schnauzer has excelled in positions such as police dog, military dog, guide dog and search & rescue dog.

With proper training and socialization, their loyal and “happy-go-lucky” temperament is perfect for any type of protection work, including employment as a family protection dog. However, keep in mind that frequent grooming will be necessary to keep up with this dog’s beautiful coat of curls.

Also, like all working dogs, the Giant Schnauzer is high-energy and will need frequent exercise if you want your pup to maintain a good attitude and morale. So, make sure you have time to go on walks daily. Failure to do so can result in an unhappy (and potentially snappy) dog that gets irritated.

Giant Schnauzer Guard Dog Traits

Height: 24–28 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 55–110 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 12–15 years.

Intelligence: Above average.

Temperament: Strong-willed, dominant, loyal and kind.

Energy Level: Medium-High (active).

Trainability: Above average trainability.

6. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch Shepherd protection dogs are the rarest of our top-protection dog breeds, having faced extinction during the 1940–50s. Today, it remains a rare breed, although it has grown in population since those days of scarce survival.

But just as this dog nimbly escaped extinction, it’s also one of our more agile protection dog breeds. The Dutch Shepherd is fast, powerful, smart and reliable—making it an ideal dog for guard work.

They’re extremely trainable and have often had their skills showcased in training competitions. However, you’ll need to keep a strict grooming regimen with these Shepherds because they have a long, thick coat that needs frequent upkeep.

Also, the Dutch Shepherd’s gentle temperament and somewhat smaller stature make it an ideal pick for a family protection dog.

Dutch Shepherd Guard Dog Traits


Height: 22–24 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 65–67 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 11–14 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Alert, obedient and affectionate.

Energy Level: High.

Trainability: Extremely trainable.

7. American Bulldog

Similar to the Rottweiler, the American Bulldog was originally bred as a cattle herder. The breed was so fierce, people in Europe began using them for a cruel blood sport called “bull baiting” in which the Bulldog would fight against an actual bull. Can you imagine?

Don’t worry, you can stop cringing at human cruelty now, as the sport was outlawed long ago. However, the American Bulldog’s grim history is a stark reminder of the dog’s power, courage and ferocity.

Interesting Fact: The American Bulldog got its name from the blood sport of bullfighting.

But don’t be fooled. These ferocious pups can be equally as kind and gentle as they are fierce and bold. With proper training, maturation and socialization these dogs can become great guard dogs, personal protection dogs and family protection dogs.

Be warned, however, that they are extremely high-energy when they are puppies and their immense size and muscle mass can make them unsuitable around small children (or even adults who can’t handle their size).

An American Bulldog needs a strong “alpha” figure to establish dominance and reign during their energetic outbursts, particularly at a young age. They’ll need lots of exercise and can be physically demanding of their owners. So, make sure you have the time to spend with them.

American Bulldog Guard Dog Traits


Height: 20–28 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 60–130 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 10–15 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Dominant, assertive, confident and energetic.

Energy Level: Very high.

Trainability: Very trainable.

8. Cane Corso

With a name that means “bodyguard dog,” this protective Roman breed is one of the best guard dogs in the world. Similar to the American Bulldog, Cane Corso protection dogs have a wildly intimidating, rippled and muscular body.

The Cane Corso easily makes room for itself among the best dogs for protection, often weighing in at over 100 fierce pounds. And these dogs’ ancestors are renowned in history as a “warrior class” dog.

Interesting Fact: The Cane Corso is a descendent of the ancient Roman war dogs.

After the Roman Empire fell, these dogs began to excel as personal protection dogs, guard dogs, property protection dogs, hunting dogs, and family protection dogs. Their versatility hasn’t been lost through the years, and they remain one of the best guard dogs in the world today.

The staunch-looking Corso is one of the more steady, focused and confident dogs on our list. It has a calm, quiet, and markedly even-tempered demeanor—making it one of the best family protection dogs.

Cane Corso Guard Dog Traits


Height: 23–28 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 99–110 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 10–12 years.

Intelligence: Very intelligent.

Temperament: Cool, quiet, eager-to-please, and stable.

Energy Level: Medium to Active (but does need consistent exercise).

Trainability: Highly trainable.

9. Bullmastiff

If you want an enormous guard dog that doesn't require as much work in the exercise department, doesn’t bark as often as many other breeds, and doesn’t maul intruders too badly—the Bullmastiff might be for you.

The Bullmastiff was originally bred for the specific purpose of guarding wealthy people’s properties. But even though these dogs are great at guard work, the breeders never intended them to bite.

Instead, their main employment was in tracking down intruders and cornering them, without actually tearing them apart. Fortunately, the intimidating, muscular look of the Bullmastiff is usually enough to keep most intruders from retaliating.

Hollywood has even recognized their stocky appearance, featuring the breed in the original Rocky Balboa movies (with Sylvester Stalone). Just check out Sylvester’s dog, Butkus, in the photo below:

Interesting Fact: The Bullmastiff (named Butkus) was featured in the original Rocky I & II movies with Sylvester Stalone.

It’s not difficult to tell, just by looking at the lips and cheeks of this behemoth of a guard dog, that they do a bit of drooling. But if you can get over the slobber, these dogs can make some of the best guard dogs for families because of their calm and affectionate temperament.

Bullmastiff Guard Dog Traits


Height: 24–27 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 99–130 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 8–10 years.

Intelligence: Intelligent.

Temperament: Gentle, affectionate and laid-back.

Energy Level: Low (these dogs require some of the least exercise).

Trainability: Easily trainable (but best to start at a young age).

10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is hands-down, one of the very best family guard dogs in the world. In fact, it’s actually nicknamed “nanny dog” in its home country, England, because of its reputation as a children’s playmate and guardian.

This is one of the protective dog breeds that will protect your kids and family at any cost. They aren’t very large (only 24–37 lbs.). So, they’re less likely to hurt small children accidentally while playing. But don’t be fooled by their small stature! They’re bold, fast and fierce when they need to be.

Also, keep in mind that this highly affectionate dog will need lots of attention and human interaction. They’re high-energy and need lots of exercise. So, make sure you and your family members have time to spend working with your Terrier.

Once again, this extremely reliable breed of guard dog can be a delight. But it’s a team effort to keep the family and your guard dog happily coexisting together. If you want to make the most out of your relationship, make sure your Staffordshire Bull Terrier has proper socialization and protection training.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Guard Dog Traits


Height: 13–16 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 24–37 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 12–14 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent (with a side of stubbornness).

Temperament: Courageous, bold and affectionate.

Energy Level: Active (needs exercise, but may lounge around).

Trainability: Fairly easy to train at an early age (freethinkers, can be stubborn).

11. Great Dane

great dane img v1

No need to stoop down to say “hello” to the tallest dog in the world. These mammoth sized dogs are enormous and powerful, standing 32 inches at the shoulder (approximately 2.5+ feet) and weighing in at up to 200 pounds.

Interesting Fact: The Great Dane is the tallest dog breed in the world.

Few intruders would choose to “tango” with one of these beasts. However, it’s absolutely imperative to have proper socialization and training if you want to own a dog this fierce and powerful.

Despite their size and intimidating appearance, Great Danes are highly affectionate, playful and gentle with their “pack.” They’re also very good with children, passing the bar as one of the best family protection dogs on our list.

If you’re thinking of owning a Great Dane, keep in mind that you’ll need to spend a lot of time giving your Dane exercise. These dogs have a high physical requirement for activity and must be allowed walking/jogging time on a daily basis.

Failure to do this could result in an unhealthy, irritable or snappy dog—and nobody wants a snappy Great Dane. However, if you have the time to invest, this breed can be a great pick to guard your property or protect your family.

Great Dane Guard Dog Traits


Height: 28–34 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 99–200 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 8–10 years.

Intelligence: Average intelligence.

Temperament: Confident, devoted and loving.

Energy Level: Very active (needs frequent exercise).

Trainability: Trainable (can be stubborn without proper training).

12. Beauceron

beauceron 2 645mk070411

The Beauceron has been used as a protection dog since the earliest recorded days of its existence. It was used to protect various types of livestock (including cattle and sheep) in France dating all the way back to the 16th century.

In appearance, the Beauceron looks similar to Pinscher breeds, with their slim, muscular physique and black and tan coat. They’re also a large breed and can grow to nearly 100 pounds.

This makes the Beauceron a formidable foe to intruders (or other animals) who would cause you or your family harm. But even though these protection pups have a fair quantity of braun, they’re full of brains as well.

Beaucerons can hold their own in the intelligent department. In fact, their mental prowess is comparable to that of a German Shepherd or the Belgian Malinois. They’re high-spirited in temperament, energetic and affectionate.

The Beauceron’s balance of ferocity, trainability and moderately lovey-dovey personality make it great as a guard dog, personal protection dog or a family protection dog.

Beauceron Guard Dog Traits


Height: 27.5 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 66–99 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 10–12 years.

Intelligence: Superior intelligence.

Temperament: High-spirited, friendly and fearless.

Energy Level: Very high (make sure you have lots of time for exercise!).

Trainability: Extremely trainable (incredibly smart and trainable pooch!).

13. Bouviers des Flandres

bouvier des flandres standing atop a hill

This behemoth of curly fur looks soft and sweet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do epic protection work. They have naturally protective instincts and have been used for protection work since the 19th century.

These curly-coated dogs can quickly flip the script on an intruder or assailant who mistakes them for a non-threat. They can quickly go from what looks like a monster poodle—to just a monster. With a height of up to 27 inches (at the shoulders) and a weight of up to 88 pounds, the Bouvier des Flandres (pronounced: “boo-vyeyz duh -flan-derz”) ranks with some of the largest guard dog breeds.

Bouviers are naturally strong-willed (and a bit stubborn), which comes from their ancestry as herding dogs. This can result in some difficulty during training. So, training should be done at an early age, and training for protection or guard work should be done by a professional.

However, this breed is highly intelligent and family oriented, despite their stubbornness, which gives them the potential to be one of the best guard dogs for families. It’s important to note, however, that these dogs will need a ton of grooming (no surprise there).

Bouviers des Flandres Guard Dog Traits


Height: 23–27 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 60–88 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 10–12 years.

Intelligence: Very intelligent.

Temperament: Familial, gentle and rational.

Energy Level: High energy (needs significant exercise).

Trainability: Medium trainability (train early, can be stubborn).

14. Boxer

boxer 3644625 960 720 960x

Forget about criminals getting away. The Boxer was bred for hunting bears and wild boar. Interestingly, the Boxer’s snout was intentionally altered (genetically) to be half the length of its skull. Why?

Breeders did this so that the Boxer could bite and hold onto prey until hunters could reach the scene. The shortened snout allowed them to bury their teeth deep into large game without obstructing their ability to breathe.

Interesting Fact: Boxers were purposely bred with short snouts so they never have to let go of their enemies to breathe.

Just take a moment, and imagine the damage a guard dog like that could do if you needed help. What if someone broke into your house? Entered your yard? Assaulted you on the street? Threatened your children?

A Boxer trained for protection and guard work will put a stop to that—and they won’t let go until help arrives (or until you give the command).

Boxer Guard Dog Traits


Height: 21–25 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 50–80 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 9–12 years.

Intelligence: Average.

Temperament: Energetic, playful and happy-go-lucky.

Energy Level: High energy (needs significant exercise).

Trainability: Medium to High trainability (training must be a balance of firm and fun).

15. Standard Poodle

standard poodle

These dogs may be famous for their snazzy looks and dog show prowess, but did you know they were actually bred for the hunt? In fact, contrary to popular belief, the dogs were actually bred in Germany (not France, as some believe) primarily for duck hunting.

But the Poodle’s role in the workforce doesn’t end there. They’ve been successful in a variety of roles, including: service dogs, therapy dogs and guard dogs.

Interesting Fact: A man named John Suter trained a team of Poodles and competed in the Iditarod in 1988.

It’s important to note that Poodles are less aggressive than some protection dogs, making them thrive more as guard dogs than in roles that require them to bite. However, if you have a family or are nervous about more aggressive dog breeds, the Standard Poodle may be the perfect guard dog for you.

Oh, and let’s not forget. Poodle’s don’t have fur. They have hair. Literally, they have hair. Just like a human’s hair, a Poodle’s hair will never stop growing. So, it will need to be frequently groomed.

This combination of high-grooming frequency and high-energy makes the Standard Poodle one of the most difficult dogs to maintain. But if you want a classy dog that’s trustworthy and pairs as a great guard dog—get a Poodle.

Standard Poodle Guard Dog Traits


Height: 18–24 inches (at shoulder).

Weight: 45–70 pounds.

Life Expectancy: 12–15 years.

Intelligence: Highly intelligent.

Temperament: Alert, playful and attentive.

Energy Level: Moderate to High (more relaxed than some).

Trainability: Very high (well-known for their prowess in training shows).


No matter what your protection needs are, you should have found the perfect fit in this article. If you read to the end, you’ve been inundated with plenty of cool facts and peered into what it’s like to have one of these dogs yourself.

With all that information, you’re armed to make a great decision when you choose your guard dog. Please keep in mind, if you want a protection dog that is already trained by professionals who have competed on the international stage, feel free to reach out to us.

We’ll deliver one of our available protection dogs, pre-trained, to your doorstep—and we’ll provide a few days of our time, in-person, to help with the transition. You’ll be empowered with all the commands and information about your new protection dog during the process.

Also note, if we don’t have the dog breed you want currently available, reach out to us so we can obtain and train up the exact dog you need. Just click below to contact Prestige Protection Dogs and start living a safer life, right now!

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Protect your Property with a Dog

Whenever you need to protect yourself, your family, or your property—you can rely on a guard dog. Guard dogs are extremely protective and are frequently used as army protection, police and sentry duty.

When trained properly, these dogs can become your confidence—as an added layer of security that gives you peace of mind—both while you're at home and away. Plus, there are even more benefits to owning a protection dog.

According to CNN, for people living alone, owning a dog can decrease their risk of death by 33% and their risk of cardiovascular-related death by 36%, when compared to single individuals without a pet, according to the study. Chances of a heart attack were also found to be 11% lower. A personal protection dog will be able to help you feel more secure in your home.

And don't forget, personal protection dogs usually become life-long companions.

Spencer Bowman

Owner / Trainer

With 10+ years in the dog industry and international success competing with dogs, you can be sure you're working with the best!

About Prestige Protection Dogs

We strive to deliver the highest quality personal protection dogs for sale in the industry. With our protection dog trainers' knowledge of breeds, obedience training, and protection training, we can provide you with a dog that will make you feel safe and secure in any circumstance.

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