How to Find the Best Guard Dog

Dogs, by nature, are very helpful and it is common that people look to dogs for aid in their daily lives. Many dogs have complex jobs that make them very valuable to their owners. One of these jobs is guarding.

Best guard dog - Shepherd dog guarding and leading the sheep flock

Guard dogs are sometimes used to protect other animals, such as a flock of sheep.

Guard Dogs versus Watch Dogs

There is a difference between a guard dog and a watch dog. Watch dogs, signal to others when there is a problem (think about how Lassie always found an adult when Timmy was in trouble) and typically do not intervene without their alpha present with them. Usually this is a person, but it can be another dog in some cases. Guard dogs, in contrast, are usually responsible for removing the problem themselves. For example, chasing away a predator from a flock of sheep.

When looking for a dog to protect something or someone, it is necessary to do a lot of research on different breeds and what they are good at. This way, you can hone in on what qualities you are looking for in a guard dog and which breeds fulfill those qualifications.

What's the Best Guard Dog for You?

Most commonly, people use dogs to guard other animals such as cows, sheep, goats or chickens. These types of dogs are typically Shepherd type dogs, Herding breeds, or Mastiff breeds. Their size makes them quite an opponent if a coyote or fox is trying to attack the herd.

Often times, more than one guard dog can be used if there is a lot of land where the herd can spread out. These breeds have a lot of stamina, are very intelligent, and thrive with a job. They are exposed to harsh conditions at times. Guard dogs are to do their job to the best of their ability, which can leave them exposed to potentially dangerous situations. Good medical care and husbandry for these dogs is essential as the relationship is mutually beneficial and a healthy guard dog means a healthy and intact herd.

Best guard dog - Doberman Pinscher wearing studded collar looks toward foreground

Some breeds used for personal protection can also have a close bond with family.

Other types of guard dogs are used for personal protection, such as Shepherd breeds like the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois. Well-known breeds are the Doberman Pinscher or American Pitt Bull Terrier are also commonly used. These dogs have a tendency to attach to a specific person and guard them or their homes. They tend to be very protective, but also can enjoy a close bond with the entire family. These types of guard dogs can live outside or inside and generally have less risk than a dog guarding a herd. But they may be aggressive towards other dogs, which would put them at a higher risk for injury.

If you have a guard dog or are looking for one, very good obedience training is paramount. A good guard dog looks to their owner for the signal to protect; if no threat is perceived then they should be relaxed around people and other pets alike.