6 Guardian Dog Breeds and What to Know

There are many excellent guard dog breeds to consider before adopting. They include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Akitas.

Apr 14, 2024By Sara Payne
guardian dog breeds and what to know

If you are looking for a dog breed that makes a good guard dog, there are several excellent breeds. But, how do you know which is right for you and your family?

Some of the most popular guardian dog breeds include the Akita, Bullmastiff, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, and Giant Schnauzer.

Read on to learn more about these protective and loyal guardian dog breeds.


Image credit: Pixabay

The Akita is a Japanese natural monument breed. This breed has a long history going back to the Stone Age. These spitz-type dogs are muscular and heavy-boned. They stand 24-28 inches at the shoulder, and from a distance, look imposing. They have broad heads and erect ears. They are very alert and are wary of strangers.

The Akita is a large-sized dog that weighs between 70-130 pounds. They have dense, double coats that need frequent grooming. They are also hardy to cold and rough outdoor conditions, so they may not be as comfortable in hotter regions.

These independent and courageous dogs thrive on human companionship and make excellent guard dogs. They can be very loving toward people and other animals with proper socialization and training.


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This working-class favorite is a loyal, brave, and affectionate dog. They have smooth, short coats that are usually fawn, red, or brindle. They have a characteristic black mask. These large and in charge-looking dogs originated from England where they were used to pursue poachers.

These dogs stand about 27 inches tall at the shoulder and are around 100-130 pounds. Their large size makes them impose on strangers. They also have a large head and a broad muzzle. Their large muzzle does mean that they drool some. They may also need special training to be able to live with other pets or children.

Bullmastiffs need large areas to play in and do their best in semi-rural or rural areas. They are incredibly intelligent and alert dogs that make great guard dogs.

German Shepherd

german shepherd
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One of the most popular dog breeds for many years in a row, the German Shepherd is the perfect guard dog. This working breed stands at about 22-26 inches tall and weighs around 50-90 pounds. They are courageous, smart, and confident. In fact, they are such alert and keen dogs that police units often use them as guard dogs for their officers.

German Shepherds have a double coat that needs frequent grooming. They are great runners and are very loyal companions. German Shepherds have a long history of working side-by-side with humans from their efforts in WWII to their work searching for survivors during 9/11.

These working dogs are smart and love to work. They need constant mental stimulation and exercise. They are very playful and energetic. These guard dogs are a great breed for someone with a very active lifestyle or have plenty of work for their dog.

Belgian Malinois

belgian malinois
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In 2022, the Belgian Malinois was the 32nd most popular dog breed of the year, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). This breed is classified in the herding group. They are smart, confident, and hardworking dogs that are easy to train, have a lot of energy, and have a strong protective nature.

These medium-sized dogs are 22-26 inches in height and weigh around 40-80 pounds. They have short, waterproof coats that come in a variety of colors. Belgian Malinois have a black mask and ears. They need plenty of exercise to be happy.

Since this is a herding dog, they form strong bonds with their humans and remain incredibly alert, making them excellent guard dogs.


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Part of the working group, Rottweilers are very strong and diligent. They descended from Roman mastiffs who fought alongside soldiers. They are faithful protectors of their families. They have short, black coats with rust markings. They have thick muscled hindquarters and shoulders that can appear intimidating to strangers.

They are a courageous breed, but with proper breeding and care, they are incredibly calm and playful. They are around 22-27 inches in height and weigh around 80-135 pounds. These dogs are incredibly protective, but they are also incredibly receptive to training, and in their right hands, they are great guard dogs.

They do need lots of mental stimulation, so it is important to give Rottweilers plenty of tasks and attention to keep them happy and healthy.

Doberman Pinscher

doberman pinscher
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This sleek dog is fast and powerful. They are very athletic, alert, fearless, and loyal dogs. Doberman Pinschers stand at around 24-28 inches tall and weigh around 60-100 pounds. They are great with young children and very affectionate with their families.

They have tons of energy to burn and love running and playing. They are easy to train and need plenty of mental stimulation. They can be wary of strangers and have a strong prey drive, so they may never warm up to small animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, or cats, however.

Doberman Pinchers are very energetic, and sometimes that energy can be a little too much for people with very young children. However, if they have plenty of exercise and playtime, they can be excellent family pets.

Which Guardian Breed Is Right for You?

guard dogs
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There are many great guardian dog breeds to choose from. When you go to adopt a guard dog, consider how much time you have to spend with them, their energy level, and how they interact with children and strangers. You may also want to consider how much time you can devote to training and caring for this pet. Many guard dogs need extensive training and mental stimulation to be successful. The best guard dog for your family will fit the needs of your unique situation.

Sara Payne
By Sara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.