10 Biggest Guard Dogs That Also Make Great Companions
Throughout history, domesticated dogs have had the very important job of protecting their home and property from threats and predators. In fact, many dogs thrive on constant companionship and have a natural protective instinct that makes them ideal family guard dogs.
This is especially evident in homes where the bond between the dog and its family is very strong. Many experts even believe that puppies who grow up with young children develop a bond that’s similar to a sibling relationship.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the traits that make certain breeds more effective as guard dogs. Not only are these some of the largest guard dog breeds around, but they’re also breeds that make loving and loyal family pets.
Key Characteristics of a Good Guard Dog
Although some dogs can be both a watchdog and a guard dog, watchdogs are generally chosen for their tendency to alert their owners to intruders. Because of this, a dog of any size with an alert personality and a tendency for barking can make a good watchdog.
On the other hand, a great guard dog is large, powerful, and has natural protective instincts. A guard dog will actively protect people and property from humans and animals. The best guard dogs are also intelligent and obedient, as well as trainable and loyal.
Large guard dog breeds are often both intimidating to outsiders and loyal to their owners. For families looking for protection, a big dog’s size alone can be enough to make would-be intruders think twice.
Guard dogs should also be well-muscled and fast, making them a great choice for protection against humans and predators alike. Of course, your guard dog should also be reliable, steady, and patient, especially if you have small children in your home.
10 Biggest Guard Dog Breeds
Let’s dive into our list of the 10 biggest guard dog breeds that also make great family companions!
1. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is one of the best guard dog breeds, well known for its intelligence and trainability. This breed is very popular as a military and police companion due to its powerful nose and physical strength, which also makes it a great choice as a family protector.
With proper training and socialization during the first six months of puppyhood, German Shepherds are typically good with children of all ages. They’re also extremely loyal to their humans and make great family pets. Regular brushing will help to keep shedding under control, making this breed fairly low maintenance.
2. Great Dane
If you want the largest guard dog breed, the Great Dane should definitely be at the top of your list. This easily recognizable giant dog is very tall, fast, and has an imposing presence that can be very intimidating to strangers.
The Great Dane is also smart and obedient, which makes them easy to train. They’re easy-going, love to be around people, and are typically non-aggressive. These traits make them an excellent choice as a protector and a family companion.
Great Danes require very minimal grooming. However, they are energetic and bright, so daily physical and mental stimulation is a must.
3. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is loyal, strong, alert and can be extremely intimidating to outsiders. The breed dates back to Ancient Greece, but at one point was nearly extinct. Cane Corsos were first brought to America in 1988, where they’ve steadily gained popularity due to their impressive appearance and muscular build.
This breed is wary and protective, making it an ideal guard dog. However, they also have a loyal personality and a calm and reserved temperament. The Cane Corso can be a wonderful family pet with proper socialization and obedience training starting in early puppyhood.
4. Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher is a large guard dog breed with an athletic build and plenty of physical strength to take on an intruder. This breed is very sensitive and responsive, as well as athletic and intelligent.
The temperament of these dogs makes them ideal for families with older children and individuals who lead an active lifestyle. Dobermans are very low maintenance when it comes to grooming, but they do require daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
5. Great Pyrenees
The Great Pyrenees is a majestic and impressive livestock guardian dog with a beautiful fluffy white coat. This gentle giant was originally bred to fearlessly fight off large predators. They have a very intimidating bark and tend to be on high alert at night, which makes them ideal as both a guard dog and a watchdog.
Great Pyrenees are known for their protective natures, independence, and steady dispositions. They are very patient with small children and other pets. However, it’s important to note that this breed requires regular grooming to keep its coat in good condition and shedding under control.
6. Saint Bernard
Saint Bernards are one of the most famous giant breeds. They were developed in the Swiss Alps for search and rescue in the snow, and due to their massive and powerful statures and loyal personalities, Saint Bernards can be excellent guard dogs.
Their love for their human family members also makes them a great choice as a family companion. Daily walks are important for keeping this breed healthy and fit, but at the end of the day, St. Bernards are quite happy to live a couch potato lifestyle. Regular brushing is all that’s required to control shedding and keep the coat in good condition.
The Bullmastiff is a large, powerful dog breed that can weigh as much as 150 pounds. This loyal dog is more than capable of tackling an intruder should the need arise, but it’s also very intelligent and trainable.
The Bullmastiff was originally bred to guard country estates and game preserves in the English countryside. This breed responds well to positive reinforcement, but as with most dogs, socialization and setting boundaries beginning in early puppyhood will be essential.
Bullmastiffs have gentle temperaments and they’re lovable and loyal companions. They generally make wonderful family pets who enjoy an active lifestyle as much as a lazy day on the couch. Mastiffs shed very little, so they can be a good choice for those with allergies.
The Rottweiler was originally bred to be a protector and that tradition has continued throughout the breed’s history. Rottweilers are self-confident dogs by nature. They’re also fast learners who are very loyal to their owners.
In spite of the Rottweiler’s large size, this breed is capable of moving fast when the need arises. They also have an intimidating look and fierce reputation that will make most intruders think twice before entering a home uninvited.
Boxers are one of the smaller breeds on our list, so they’re a great size for families who live in urban areas or in smaller homes. They have very strong jaws and can be quite intimidating to intruders and predators alike.
Boxers are loyal and intelligent protectors who make wonderful companions for families with young children. This breed requires little grooming, but it is high-energy and enjoys an active lifestyle with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
10. Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian Ridgeback was originally bred to hunt lions, so taking down an intruder or predator isn’t an issue for these incredibly intelligent dogs. These protective dogs are extremely loyal and devoted family pets with boisterous personalities that make them ideal for homes with older children.
If you’re looking for a running buddy who can keep up with you over long distances while also keeping strangers at bay, you can’t go wrong with a Rhodesian Ridgeback. This breed can also be a great choice for those with allergies since it sheds very little and has a smooth coat.
There’s no reason you can’t have a guard dog that is also a loyal and loving family pet. For further guidance on which breeds make wonderful protectors and companions, take our Puppy Match Quiz. It just takes a minute and will help you narrow down your choices based on your needs, personality, and lifestyle!
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