When it comes to working dogs, there are some breeds that are used more often for personal or property protection than others. This is generally because they have generations of working dogs in their family history, so they have the genetics to be successful as protection dogs. Physical health is important, but the temperament plays just as strong a role in determining which breeds are best suited for protection work. Although many breeds now have had their temperaments softened to create better family companions, they still often have the protective instincts of their ancestors. So if you’re interested in a protective dog, consider the breeds on this list, but also consider that training and management are very important.
#1 – German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd Dog was originally a herding breed that was later developed into an effective police and military worker. Intelligent, loyal and courageous, these dogs make excellent companions for someone looking for a breed with a desire to keep its family safe. German Shepherds are used across the globe for protection work in law enforcement and military branches as well as competing in various protection sports such as IPO (formerly Schutzhund). They are excellent around children, affectionate with their families, and make great active companions.
#2 – Belgian Malinois
The Belgian Malinois is arguably one of the most versatile dog breeds in existence. Their history also started in herding but quickly developed into protection work. These dogs are almost exclusively bred for law enforcement, military, and performance venues. They are active, intelligent dogs that need a job to do and therefore do not always make the best choice for a family pet. Malinois are aptly nicknamed “Maligators,” because of their use in protection venues.
#3 – Dutch Shepherd
The Dutch Shepherd is another herding breed that has been used for protection work. Dutch Shepherds can be found working in military and law enforcement as a protection dog, and are also popular choices for various performance dog sports. They are extremely active dogs that are generally not recommended for families as pets unless they will be given a job to do.
#4 – Rottweiler
The Rottweiler has worked as an all-purpose farm dog, both with livestock and by protecting the property. They are deeply loyal dogs, and affectionate towards their families but wary of strangers. Rottweilers have been used in police and military work because of their powerful builds and protective nature. The breed is generally good around children, can be trusted to guard its family and property, and makes a great active companion for someone looking for a working dog.
#5 – Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman was created with the idea of protection in mind and therefore maintains a fearlessly loyal disposition. They are courageous, intelligent dogs that have been used in military and law enforcement. During World War II, the United States Marine Corps adopted the Doberman Pinscher as its official War Dog. Today, they make great active companions but need a job to do and can be found in working and performance venues across the world.
#6 – Giant Schnauzer
As its name suggests, the Giant Schnauzer is the largest of the Schnauzer breeds. It was developed in Germany as a livestock-driving dog, as well as a guardian. They are reserved but loyal dogs, making them a good choice for protection work. You can find this breed doing well in various protection sports and even serving in law enforcement. They are intelligent, active dogs that can make good family companions.
#7 – Cane Corso
The Cane Corso, also known as the Italian Mastiff, is known for its fearless disposition and natural guarding instincts. Originally bred for hunting large, powerful game, they were then used as protection dogs to guard people and properties. They are confident, powerful dogs that are often not recommended for novice owners or those with young children. However, they can make great active companions for those looking for a strong working breed.