Guard duty may have been the first and most important job dogs did for humans.   Pre-historic men may have noticed that many other animals feared the wolf, so they domesticated wolves for guard duty against predators who threatened humans. Many of today’s guard dogs are related to the mastiff.

If you need protection, powerful guard dogs are available to do the job.   You don’t need to train a guard dog yourself.  You can hire a guard dog to protect your business or home overnight, and then the company picks up the dog in the morning.  You benefit from the dog’s protection without the long term care and training of an aggressive dog.

Guard Dogs Vs. Watch Dogs

Watchdog and guard dogs are not the same.  A watch dog’s job is to alert its owner by barking. The barking might scare away the intruder, but the watchdog will not necessarily do anything but bark if the bad guy doesn’t run away.

Watchdogs do not have to be large or aggressive.  Many smaller breeds such as the Poodle make great watchdogs.  Attack dogs are trained to aggressively defend persons or property and inflict severe pain on bad guys.  Many of the larger guard dogs are also trained to be attack dogs.

On the other hand, the guard dog takes the watch dog’s duty’s to another level. Guard dogs alert their owners, but if barking doesn’t get the job done, they will attack or chase the bad guys.  The intruders do not have to be human.  Herding dogs that guard sheep, cattle, and other livestock will attack animal predators such as wildcats, bears, and wolves.

Most dogs come by their watchdog status with little or no training.  Sometimes, it is necessary to curb the enthusiasm of smaller dogs who consider themselves bigger than they really are.

Dog Breeds Used as Guard Dogs

Farmers and herdsmen have long used dogs for their guarding abilities. Many of today’s guard breeds have a history of herding and guarding livestock.

Some dog breeds commonly used as guard dogs:

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Attack Training

(German: Deutscher Schäferhund) –  The German Shepherd was bred to work (and still does) as a shepherd dog.  German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs and will fearlessly defend their owners and their property.  This dog will sacrifice its life for you.

They are easy to train and are especially well known for their police work.  They are widely used by the military and even trained to parachute from aircraft.  Some German Shepherds are trained to be guide dogs for the blind.

This is a popular dog breed.  It ranked #2 in popularity by the AKC  for 2019.  German Shepherds are a versatile breed and are great family pets.  They also star in movies and on television because of their intelligence and trainability. Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd and one of the first dogs to become a famous movie star.

The German Shepherd may be the best all-around dog breed for working dogs and loyal family pets.  My first childhood dog was a German Shepherd and that great dog, Lucky, is the reason I have such great love for dogs today.


Training Of Rottweiler Metzgerhund Adult Dog. Attack And Defence

The Rottweiler (Rottweiler Metzgerhund) is also a German dog bred for farm and herding duties.  They have great strength and were used to pull carts filled with butchered meat.  They now find jobs in search and rescue, guard duty, and police work.

As guard dogs, they have a significant intimidation factor. An angry Rottweiler can easily strike terror in anyone who is up to no good.

As a family pet, the Rottweiler is a loyal, calm, confident, and part-time lap-dog despite weighing around a hundred pounds.  They are territorial and protective, so they will need early socialization and continued training to prevent them from being dangerous to strangers.  They are in the top ten most popular AKC dogs.

Doberman Pinscher

Black Doberman Pinscher

Unlike some other breeds, Dobermans were bred to be guard dogs.  Being a tax-collector in Germany during the late 19th century was sometimes a dangerous job.  Louis Dobermann was a dog breeder and tax collector who wanted a dog to protect him when collecting taxes.

Louis was very successful at breeding such a dog.  Not sure if he had as much success in collecting taxes.  The breed is named after him, but the second “n” was dropped for some reason.

The Doberman Pinscher has a great reputation for its police and military work.  It is a brave dog who has frequently lost its life in the line of duty.  Only the most foolish intruder will try to test the Doberman Pinscher’s guarding capabilities.

They can also be used as search and rescue, therapy, and service dogs for the disabled.  They are affectionate family dogs and are good with children, and can be trained to be nice to other pets.  Like any big, powerful dog, they need proper training, socialization, and supervision.

Belgian Malinois

Man Working With A Malinois Dog In A Defense Training In Sunny S

The Belgian Malinois is another shepherd dog breed that is now widely used for guard, protection, police, and military duties.  The U. S. Secret Service uses this dog breed to guard the White House.

The Malinois has served with such distinction in the military that the breed’s bronze statue stands at the Special Forces K9 Memorial in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Belgian Malinois dogs are an intelligent and very active dog breed that needs plenty of exercise and socialization.  They are good family dogs for the right family.


The Bullmastiff was bred to guard estates in England to keep poachers away.  The Bullmastiff comes by its guarding instincts naturally.  This dog will react if it believes its family is in danger.

Bullmastiffs are huge dogs weighing around 120 pounds.  They must be socialized very early before they get too big to handle.  Otherwise, they may tackle any stranger who enters their territory.

Bullmastiffs are not generally used as military or police dogs.

Guards Dogs For Sale

You don’t have to train your own guard.  If you need protection for your home or business but don’t how to properly train one, some companies will do the training for you.  Some will train the dog you already own or sell you a fully trained dog.

If you want to buy a fully trained dog but already have other family dogs or pets, you will need to make sure your current pets also get the proper training.  The protection company will work with you and your pets before the guard dog is delivered.

You can find guard dogs for sale by doing an online search.

Guard Dogs For Rent

If you don’t want a dog in your home or need protection for a short time, some security companies will rent dogs.  You will need to inquire about rates, but on average, expect to pay about $50 per hour for the dog alone and up to $150 per hour if a handler is also needed.  Renting is probably a short term solution.

Rental dogs are usually delivered after your business closes and picked before your business reopens.  Security companies that rent guard dogs may also offer other services such as bodyguards.

Want A Different Guard Dog Breed?

The dogs we covered here are among the most widely used breeds for guard, military, and police duty.  However, several other breeds are big and powerful enough to be effective guards dogs.  The list includes such breeds as the Akita, Boxer, Giant Schnauzer, and several others.  For a longer list, visit the AKC website.

Guard Dogs Compared

BreedHeight (inches)Weight (Pounds)Life Expectancy (Years)Popularity (AKC)Country
German Shepherd22-2650-907-102Germany
Doberman Pinscher24-2860-10010-1217Germany
Belgian Malinois22-2640-8014-1643Belgium
Bullmastiff24-27100-1307-951United Kingdom