17 Best Guard Dogs: Breeds Known for Bravery

Updated January 26, 2021
Guard dog

The best guard dogs for your family depend on your lifestyle. It is best to match your needs against the natural tendencies and traits bred into a dog. Working dog breeds often help guard homes and livestock. This specific category is a highly diverse group of canines.

Best Guard Dogs

The important thing to consider if you are interested in a guard dog is how to match the breed's natural inclinations with your family's needs. Do your research and consider the variety of breeds known as guardians before coming to a final decision. Most of the dogs are common household names, but some are so rare pet lovers may learn about a few of the breeds for the first time.


In the 1860s in England, the bullmastiff guarded large estates. This breed is known for pinning and holding intruders. Powerful and fearless, these dogs claim the number one spot for guarding families and homes today.

Bullmastiff dog

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman pinscher originated in Germany around 1900 to protect tax collector Louis Dobermann. The breed is highly intelligent and never forgets a command. A Doberman's courage and obedience make them highly valued as police and war dogs, as well as guard dogs.

Doberman Pinscher Dogs


Rottweilers are high-energy, powerful dogs that assisted Roman masters during the European invasion. This breed is fiercely loyal and protective of family members and territories. Rotties are confident and assess new people carefully.



The komondor, a large, muscular breed, hails from Hungary. For more than 1,000 years, the breed watched over sheep. Today's komondors protect their humans with equal tenacity. This dog is cautious around strangers but playful with human family members. Some refer to komondors as "mop dogs" because of the dog's corded coat appearance.



Ancestors of the puli dog breed also protected sheep in ancient Hungary. The puli is extremely smart, fiercely loyal, and suspicious of new people and circumstances. Together, the unique qualities make this breed an excellent guard dog.

Puli Standing On Grassy Field

Giant Schnauzer

The giant schnauzer breed originated from Germany and is known for guarding butcher shops. The breed is smart and territorial. Due to their highly trainable nature, giant schnauzers fought with the army in World War I.

Giant Schnauzer

German Shepherd

The German shepherd is the quintessential guard dog. The breed is fiercely strong, agile, and ready to protect family members. German shepherds make good companions and form strong bonds with children. This breed is popular thanks to the Rin-Tin-Tin movies.

German Shepherd

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian ridgeback is trustworthy, fierce, and protective. This breed's instinct is to protect the family's children. The ridgeback originated in a region in Africa formerly known as Rhodesia to serve big game hunters. The dog flushed the lions into the open for easier hunting.

Rhodesian Ridgeback dog


The Kuvasz is large, muscular, and fiercely protective of his human family. This breed is polite but not friendly and possesses a keen instinct to act at just the right moment. Kuvasz translates to "armed guard of the nobility," and his ancestors lived exclusively with European and Hungarian royalty. The Kuvasz served as a bodyguard to the king or queen.

Kuvasz Dog Adult

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire terriers are known to fight to the death to protect his family. The breed is exceptionally muscular, courageous, and keenly aware of his surroundings. This terrier is a working breed and needs a job to occupy his focus. The staffie is a cross between a bulldog and a Staffordshire Terrier. People refer to the breed by multiple names, including Staffordshire bull terrier and pitbull.

American Staffordshire Terrier

Chow Chow

The chow protects his humans and is affectionate. He is muscular and keenly intelligent. The breed is also independent, aloof, and not particularly eager to please. People generally think of the chow as an arctic dog, but his ancestry goes back to the Chinese Han Dynasty. The breed is known as a hunter, herder, and protector.

Chow chow

American Mastiff

The mastiff guarded English homes for more than 2,000 years and is known for his power, courage, and loyalty. Don't mistake this breed's tender side for lack of tenacity. This mastiff is the same dog that Caesar forced to fight lions, bait bulls, and fight human gladiators.

American Mastiff Dog

American Bulldog

Early English settlers brought the bulldog to the U.S. The English variety is used to develop the American bulldog. The name is from the dog's original use in bullbaiting and an excellent guard dog.

American Bulldog

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

This breed is a livestock guard dog and protects farms all over the world. The breed is hardy, powerful, and still used in Turkey as a working dog. The Anatolian shepherd is known for its courage.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Cane Corso

The cane corso is a descendant from Rome fighting dogs. This breed is mainly used for guarding and tracking. This extremely strong and robust dog needs a savvy owner with guard dog experience.

Cane Corso

Great Dane

The Great Dane is known as the "Apollo of dogs" in Egyptian art. The breed is a useful guard dog but also needs a lot of human company. This dog is one of the tallest canines and first appeared in the 18th century in Germany.

Great Dane


This breed is known as clever, fun-loving, and powerful. The boxer originated in the 19th century, and its ancestry includes mastiff-type dogs. The dog breed is bred for fighting and bullbaiting but also farm work. Boxers are police and military dogs.

Boxer dog

Small Guard Dog Breeds

Small dogs may also be perfect watchdogs. There are many pint-size guardians known as excellent guard dogs.

  • Cardigan Welsh corgi
  • Chinese shar-pei
  • Pembroke Welsh corgi

Further Research

A dog is a big commitment. Research your choices thoroughly to ensure your newest family member is a good fit for your lifestyle.

Many Breeds Perform Guard Duties for Families

Dogs of the mastiff-type often carry out guard duties. Many of the typical breeds are descendants of enormous dogs seen in ancient artifacts. The mastiff, boxer, and German shepherd are used in security forces and for guarding property.

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17 Best Guard Dogs: Breeds Known for Bravery