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Guard Dogs for Families with Small Children

Updated on August 31, 2013

Finding a dog breed that’s gentle and patient with children is easy. Likewise, finding a dog breed that’s aggressive and protective isn’t difficult, either. But how do you combine these salient characteristics into a single breed – one that will be tolerant of your kids, but still provide protection should the need ever arise?

All the breeds discussed below will fit the bill IF they are properly trained and socialized. While these breeds are slow to bite, they are all large, powerful dogs. It’s never a good idea to leave any dog alone with a child. Even the sweetest dog is not 100% safe and can be provoked into aggression. Always provide adult supervision for any dog-and-child interaction.

Great Dane

This is my #1 choice for a breed that is an effective guard dog and that is also great with kids. These gentle giants just love children! They’re very patient and gentle, and if properly socialized, will follow the kids around to keep an eye on them. An adult Dane is calm and requires little to moderate amounts of exercise. These big guys are not normally aggressive, but they are protective of their homes and families. They can intimidate intruders by sheer size, and their barks are LOUD and menacing. Every Dane I’ve owned has been extremely alert to anything or anyone out of place. For example, they notice when there’s a strange car in the neighbor’s drive or when someone is in the yard who is not a regular visitor.

English Mastiff

Mastiffs are huge. In fact, they’re the heaviest breed, with many males reaching 250 pounds. They’re patient and kind with children and are very loyal to their human family. They also get along well with other dogs in the household. These dogs are quiet and are not overly aggressive, but they usually handle intruders by knocking them down and standing on their chest. If a member of its human family is approached by a stranger, the Mastiff generally stands between the stranger and its master until the other person backs down. Mastiffs are slow to anger, but when necessary, they will take appropriate action. They are routinely found on lists of the five best guard dog breeds.

Anatolian Shepherd

This is a large dog from Turkey. Males stand around 30 inches tall and weigh up to 150 pounds. Anatolians were bred to guard – but not herd – flocks of livestock. When an Anatolian becomes part of a human family, they fall under his watchful, protective eye. Dogs that are introduced at an early age to children and other household pets will guard and protect them. They are usually very patient with kids from their human family, but not always with other children. Sometimes this can be a problem because the dog might not understand the screams and yelps of playing children and could think that “his children” are in danger. The Anatolian will most likely make your yard his “pasture” and make regular patrols of the perimeter, or at least watch it from a vantage point. They will accept your friends after being formally introduced.

Argentine Dogo

Also referred to as the Argentinian Mastiff, this is a large powerful dog with a massive skull. The maximum height for a male is 27 inches. They have a short white coat that requires little grooming. The Dogo is extremely loyal to its family members and is playful with children. They were bred as hunters and have an unusually high pain threshold, making them very patient and forgiving with less-than-gentle kids. The Dogo is extremely affectionate with family members and craves attention. They are protective of anything they perceive as theirs, whether it be you, your kids, your home, or your yard. They can be aggressive toward other dogs if not introduced at an early age. Even so, they want to be the top dog.


These “big bears” love their families. A male Newfie can weigh up to 150 pounds and be 28 inches tall at the withers. These dogs are also powerful. Their webbed feet make them excellent swimmers, and they’ve been known to rescue drowning adults and children. While not normally aggressive, they are protective of their human pack, and they have a deep, loud bark. Instead of growling at or biting someone they perceive as a threat, they instead tend to stand between danger and their human in a protective stance. Newfies are kind and patient and seem to adore kids. One drawback to this breed is the grooming it requires. They have a thick undercoat that must be combed out periodically.


To read more about dogs, click on the article links below.


Tristan and Hamlet.
Tristan and Hamlet.
Lexi, Hamlet, and Audrie.
Lexi, Hamlet, and Audrie.
Tristan's favorite "chair."
Tristan's favorite "chair."
Lexi takes a ride as Hamlet enjoys his birthday cake.
Lexi takes a ride as Hamlet enjoys his birthday cake.
Audrie on her canine "pony."
Audrie on her canine "pony."


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    • profile image

      pungsandog 3 years ago

      The pungsan dog of Korea is known to be loyal and playful at times but when the time comes it could be a cry dangerous dog. Just search up pungsan dog vs German shepherd. Too bad nobody stopped the fight!!!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Torry sounds awesome! I love BIG dogs!

    • L A Dreamin profile image

      L A Dreamin 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great Hub and Great pictures :) My "baby" Torry, is a black lab mix that weighs 116 pounds. Awesome with my 5 year old granddaughter since she was a baby! The only thing I had to watch was when she was little she would try to get Torry to chase her and since she could not walk to steady it was easy for her to get accidentally knocked down by just Torrys nose. It is so sweet to watch them now. Taylor will chase Torry one way through the house, then they come back through the other way with Torry chasing her :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks! Hammie is my baby!

    • ryanobie profile image

      ryanobie 7 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hamlet is such a cute dog! Great article.