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Best Family Guard Dogs: Top Family Protection Dogs

Updated on May 5, 2011

What are the top breeds to act as family protection dogs?


Family Guard Dogs: Top 5

What are the top breeds to act as family protection dogs?

I can tell you right away, its not the Chihuahua!, although they fit ALMOST all the requirements, they are loyal, watchful, mouthy and very brave!

But they obviously lack the size to act as much more than an alert system and they can have issues with children so they don't fit the family criteria. Pretty menacing photo though, don't you think?

So what are the Top family Protection dogs?

  1. Doberman Pinscher
  2. Bullmastiff
  3. Rottweiler
  4. Giant Schnauzer
  5. German Shepherd

The criteria for selection will be explained at each breeds introduction below. But include size, trainability, intelligence, loyalty and interaction with children.

Family Protection Dog: Chihuahua ?

Top Guard Dogs
Top Guard Dogs
Protection Dogs for families
Protection Dogs for families

Family Protection Dog: Doberman Pinscher

How formidable:

The Doberman Pinscher has the look that can strike the fear in any sane individual, having a Dobie run around in your backyard is a sure to keep away all but the most tenacious of intruders. They naturally patrol their surroundings and they simply appear alert and ready at all times

Average Weight: 65-85lbs.

Obedience/Training: Dobermans have been used as Military and Police dogs and excel in obedience training. They are easily trainable but require a strong master.

Intelligence: 5th Smartest Dog in the world

Loyalty: A Doberman will put its life on the line for its master, they are great family dogs and can be attention hogs and jealous to a fault.

Average Lifespan: 9-15 years.

Protection Dogs for families
Protection Dogs for families

Family Guard Dog: BullMastiff

How formidable:

This is a BIG dog, a BullMastiff charging you is not something any intruder would risk. They tend to use their big mass to block the way of strangers and will simply knock an intruder down and hold them still with their mass. This dog is rated the best overall Guard Dog by many sources. The Bullmastiff has a high tolerance for pain and naturally distrusts strangers. The Bullmastiff is not known to bark frequently.

They were originally breed to catch poachers, they would find and overpower humans! without mauling or biting.

Average Weight: 90-130lbs.

Obedience/Training: The Bullmastiff is not the easiest dog to train, in fact many sources rate it very low on ease of training, but once the Bullmastiff learns it does not forget. It does need to feel as if you are the leader of the pack and can be stubborn if this type of relationship is not created.

Intelligence: A very intelligent breed

Loyalty: The Bullmastiff is a one family dog, it bonds with its "pack" and can be distrustful of strangers. It is known to be very intuitive about intentions. They are protective of children and there easy going gentle nature meshes well with children, they are also protective of other pets in the household.

Average Lifespan: 12 years.

Top Dogs for families
Top Dogs for families

Family Protection Dog: Rottweiler

How formidable:

Another BIG dog, that can give off quite an ominous presence, just see the picture below (Rotty and Boxer playing.) The Rottweiler used to be common as a police and guard dog, unfortunately overbreeding has led to a hit or miss attitude with Rottweilers and their popularity has waned in this regard. As far as formidable goes, Rottweilers scare people! a Rotty can rip you apart and is the second most common breed involved in human attacks.

There is no such thing as a bad or dangerous breed, the Rottweiler is a popular dog that is treated and trained a certain way that creates human attacks. But due to the popular conception, this is a formidable dog to have in your corner.

Average Weight: 110lbs.

Obedience/Training: Rottweilers have been used as Military and Police dogs and excel in obedience training. They were originally descendants of herding dogs and respond well to commands.

Intelligence: 8th Smartest Dog in the world

Loyalty: This dog is strong and loving, it is naturally guarding and watchful. Although it can be aloof and dependent they are great watchdogs and are gentle with children when properly socialized

Average Lifespan: 8-11 years.

Protection Dogs for families
Protection Dogs for families
Family Guard Dogs
Family Guard Dogs

Family Guard Dog: Giant Schnauzer

How formidable:

The Giant Schnauzer looks like its more common miniature variation, so in pictures one may think..'oh, how cute" but it weighs as much as your average Doberman has the scary upraised alert ears and looks bit bigger due to its wiry coat. Does it ooze threat, no, but its form charging at you will give you second thoughts.

Average Weight: 70-100lbs.

Obedience/Training: Is very smart and very energetic, requires a firm pack leader as its owner and thrives when given jobs to do.

Intelligence: Highly Intelligent

Loyalty: Going hand in hand with its intelligence, the Giant Schnauzer gets so attached it will follow you around the house!

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years.

The Intelligence of Dogs

Intelligence is hard to measure in our canines companions. Some breeds may be quick to learn but their attitudes don't mesh with performing on command etc.

The Intelligence of Dogs: A Guide to the Thoughts, Emotions, and Inner Lives of Our Canine Companions by Dr Stanley Coren, explains the process used to measure canine intelligence and provides amazing insights into canine psychology. Dr. Coren claims that most dogs have an intelligence level equaling a 2 year old human and the smartest are equal to 2 1/2 year olds.

He has many books and his research is both fun to read and well respected.

If you liked this article and are considering a new pet:

You may be interested in Pet Insurance

Read about the Authors pets and their struggle with addiction

Whats your favorite family guard dog breed?

See results

© 2009 Joshua Sunforged

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The boerboel was specifically bred ad a gaurdian. It looks extremely like a bullmastiff except it is even larger. I like to think of them as the bullmastiff 2.0

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I own a black lab and he is very protective of our home and surroundings, it came as a surprise to me. One night he woke my wife up because he could hear some teens trying to get the gate open into our back yard, maybe my wife should have let him out lol I wonder who would have gotten the surprise then lol, he would surely have sent them running.

    • Chasing Riley profile image

      Chasing Riley 

      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great hub! When we were little, my uncle had a man climb into his chimney (on drugs, thinking he was Santa) and die. There was a horrible smell from the chimney, the chimney sweep found a dead body and the police were called. My mother was a single mom at the time and asked the police what the best way was to protect herself and small children. His answer - get a doberman. So I'm voting for the #1 - dobies.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mastiff, is a great dog for both family and protection. They tolerate kids trying to "ride" them without even a flinch. And don't even think about a stranger walking in the yard, but they will not bite, more bark and nudging than anything. Their shear size is scary as heck to anyone that has not neen around one before. Ive had many breeds of dogs over the years, and the Mastiff is the only breed I will ever have again.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I've had Rotties and the GSD - Both wonderful protectors. I'm now looking for a companion and protector. I just moved to a nicer section of town and began working for a storage facility and have come to see that the scumbags from "the hood" are infiltrating our neighborhood and are the cause of tons of robberies, breakins, assaults, beatings, etc... We've also been sealing with a slew of nasty, mean, aggressive, threatening and abusive customer. I'm now in the frame of mind that I have only one life and Im going to protect it....that's why I want a protector for me while Im at work and at home.

    • Ashley Gray profile image

      Ashley Gray 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Great hub! I grew up with rotties so had to vote for them! While they seem scary to most, they can be some of the most loveable and loyal dogs you'll ever have. Great breeds if treated/trained correctly. Thanks for sharing!

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Great hub! I had to laugh because we had a meagle (mini pinscher/beagle), and though she was small, she was tough and had such a loud, menacing bark! We had to give her to a loving home though because she was not good with the kids. We now have a Weimaraner. He's huge, but he's great with the kids and is great for protecting our family/house.

      Voted up!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      We had a lot of burglars in our area, so we debated and got a giant schnauzer. What a guard dog. Always on alert. He's nine months old and 70 lbs. Very smart and very stubborn. Absolutely true, need a string pack leader. He's not the dog that will sit on your lap, always "busy". Good dog overall though.

    • fresh2def05 profile image


      8 years ago from Louisville, Ky

      Great Hub. Dobes are the best overall in my opinion. The rest are good too although I think boxers should have made the list. Great job either way.

    • jillsama profile image


      8 years ago from Gwinnett County Georgia

      This article was a very interesting to read but I disagree about the chihuahua lol! My chihuahuas are friendly but very protective. Nobody suspects them to do much so when you get a huge chihuahua bite unexpectedly on your leg, your in for a whole mess a pain so watch out. Chihuahuas are secret ninja warriors that use their small size for a false sense of security lol

    • Skydweller profile image


      8 years ago from Kathmandu

      my ultimate favorite is Labrador

    • Doggie Devotee profile image

      Doggie Devotee 

      8 years ago from Danville KY

      Nice hub with some usueful info

    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 

      8 years ago from The Lone Star State

      This is a great hub. I have a 5 year old Rottweiler-Lab mix. He is a fearless protector of my family, yet he is gentle with my children. He tolerates my 1 year very well.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      8 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      So this is how it's done. Very nice. Thanks.

    • profile image

      ihatestandard love fight dog 

      8 years ago

      ok i am going train gsd to kill standadrd poodle maltsle and cocker spainerl

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      ok so chihuahuas are the best dogs for a family they r loyal and very sweet, i have 2 at home and my family loves them.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Have 2 shelties, very barky, but nor menacing in the least. Need a big dog in a few years since we will be moving to the country and I will be home alone with my young son many nights since hubby is a truck driver. Leaning towards a doberman or Swiss Mountain Dog.

    • sunforged profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from


      LOL, that's why this is "family protection dogs" the dogs that are on this list are intelligent and discerning enough to stop an actual threat...not just be aggressive towards just about everything (like a chihuahua is) The chihuahua could make a list of best organic alarm systems! Just like my rabbit deserves to be on best organic document shredder

    • Lady Libris profile image

      Lady Libris 

      8 years ago from Independence MO

      Great Hub! What great dogs! I love big dogs, and while they can do some serious damage, that little chihuahua will bite you a lot sooner than the Mastiff will and for a lot less provocation.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I voted for da Chihuahua...

    • alexhd57 profile image


      8 years ago

      Mate I have to tell you our Chihuahua / terrier cross can bark the ears off any would be intruder at a hundred paces, and she's great with the kids!

    • profile image

      Jennifer G Kales 

      9 years ago

      Chihuahua's have big barks but small bodies and if not seen can sometimes be a great guard dog and maybe even attack dog. Don't underestimate the size of a dog! My Jack Russell is a good guard dog too!

    • Jeffrey Neal profile image

      Jeffrey Neal 

      9 years ago from Tennessee

      Great Hub! Our family guard dogs are a package; both Lab mixes. One is large 100+ lbs (my current avatar), and has a ferocious sounding bark that has curdled my blood before. I doubt he would do anything more than that. The other we rescued a year ago is much smaller, but we can't figure out what else she is mixed with. She is the fuse, and the big boy is the payload for the guard dog duo.

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 

      9 years ago

      Hi SF. *Great Article* I'm a German Sheppard fan! Smart, but mischeivous if they get bored... You almost have to come up with a new game daily, or you're liable to come home to a shredded house! I know from experience. They are great friends, smart and loyal protectors. Thumbs up on this one!!

    • Info Help profile image

      Info Help 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Great hub on the top guard dogs! Very interesting, thank you :)

    • andrea520214 profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      love this hub i have 4 chihuahuas and man do they bite.they don't bite me because one is mine :loulou is my chihuahua she is just like that one up there, don't even get me started about the others.

    • GPAGE profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Great hub! I have a beautiful three year old Golden Retriever and she is fantastic with the kids, but does absolutely NOTHING when it comes to guarding the house! The hard part is finding a good watchdog that she will get along with.

      We thought about a black lab (the English kind). ANYWAY, interesting the dogs on the list. Best, GPAGE

    • rebekahELLE profile image


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      nice reading and great pics. our family dog was a schnauzer mix and what a great pet she was, but she did not mess around. strangers got barked at, a few got bit. she was so intelligent it was amazing. she died a couple years ago, and a couple weeks ago, we found a new pet, a lab/chow mix. he's so good, I think more lab than chow, but you can see the beautiful chow eyes, almost exotic.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Hey..Chihuahuas are the fiercest dogs ever. Just look at that photo you've posted and tell me that guy doesn't have a lethal bite. Remember, size doesn't matter!..especially if you feed them the organic stuff. BTW, great hub :) Kinda feel sorry for those overbred rotties.


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