Twelve Great Dog Breeds to Protect You


Adopting a dog is a wonderful experience on many levels. In addition to a cuddly companion, you get unconditional love and unwavering devotion. In most cases, you also get your own personal security detail. Canines are naturally protective of their families, happily putting themselves in harm’s way if it means saving the life of a loved one. That is, assuming your pet is able to identify a potential threat and respond appropriately. It’s a skill that some dogs are better at than others.  In the pages to follow we present 12 dog breeds that are particularly good at protection…..

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  • Mark G

    Clearly you aren’t familiar with the history of the Great Dane. This dog was originally bred to be a hunter and guardian. While it seems like an oversized lap dog, don’t be fooled. This dog is 150lbs or more of guard dog if required and it will guard members of it’s family or core family with it’s life. They are amazing dogs that may hide behind you during a thunderstorm but they will leap to action of one of the members of their family is in danger.

    • Noni Kateus

      I’m with you on this one, Mark G; these big dogs are sweet-tempered but will do whatever it takes to keep their family safe from any sort of threat. The same dog who is ok with little ones tripping over their paws and sitting on top of them will climb or jump an enclosure to protect a kid under threat.

  • Ed Mulrenan

    Irish wolfhounds are a good breed as well Gentle around active-curious children. Will protect a family if need be..

  • TJDestry

    Ridiculous list. I’ve owned two of the breeds here and neither one is described accurately. Several of the dogs listed here are very protective but far too touchy and would be a disaster in a house where kids from outside the family might come over and rough house or just run around yelling. Look, posting click bait is a good way to make some money, but giving people genuinely harmful advice is uncool.

  • azbob49

    Catahoulas are very territorial and great protectors.

  • Pixel

    KomoNdor, not Komodor.

  • Suki49

    ALL dogs (and there is no such thing as “pure” bred – they’re just inbred mixed breeds) are loyal and protective.

    • Amy

      here here!

  • Dave

    The American Bulldog should be at the top of this list and its not even on it at all??? huh??

  • Amy

    I think your claim that the bull terrier being confused with the pit bull is really inaccurate. As far as I understand it, experts have never agreed on the difference between bull terriers and pit bulls. Pit bulls (despite their name) were bread from the Bull Terrier to be working dogs. Many are dual registered as Amstaffs with the AKC and Pits with the UKC. I have a ten year old pit bull and two young children. He is protective of our yard and of my children but is in no way aggressive. He loves children, other dogs, even cats. And you know what? His behavior is typical of his breed. I have no doubt that there are countless families like mine who have a loving, affectionate and trust-worthy pit bull and only a select few that own aggressive pits. I’m really disappointed that an article about the best breeds to protect families–featured on a website that is supposed to be an advocate for dogs–would basically add to the misconception of pit bulls by making such a careless, inaccurate statement. I am by no means one of those crazy bully breed advocates (despite how I may sound here) but the little quip about confusing the breeds really struck a nerve. The statement inferred that Pit Bulls are NOT family-friendly dogs and therefore added more fuel to the anti-pitbull fire. A better article would have been “10 characteristics to look for when selecting a family-friendly dog” as opposed to taking something so subjective and treating it like a fact. Clearly, the comments below indicate that there were several noteworthy breeds that were not mentioned. What makes a giant schnauzer more family friendly than an Irish Wolfhound? Or a golden retriever? Let’s be honest: the only thing that really makes a good family dog is a good family.

    • Lt_Scrounge

      I got a picture today of my calico cat (who’s in heat) climbing onto the back of my 9 yr old 85 lb pit bull. He just laid there and let her walk all over him.

      • A rottie’s human

        That’s so sweet. You should put pics like that out for everyone to see just how good these and most dogs really are! Most people with negative comments just don’t know any better and go by what they have been taught by an uneducated media….We have to show them the truth!

    • cal3301

      The article was 12 breeds that will PROTECT you, not family friendly. Any breed of dog, when treated correctly, is family friendly. Not all will go that extra yard to protect.

    • Michael P Reed Sr.

      I so agree with you Amy. I have three Pit Bulls, and they are as family friendly as any of the dogs mentioned. I treat mine like they are part of the family and have done so since I got Breanna the first Pit. I have never chained my Pits up outside. They live in the house with us.They grew up with my boys who were 16, 14, 12, and 10 when Breanna came to live with us. She is now 14. I have a granddaughter that all three Pits dote on. Gotti is 13 and Chocolate is 12. They go nuts when my granddaughter comes over. I think they love her more then me now.

  • Pamela Lamb

    My fullblooded. American Bulldog gets a bad rap since everyone thinks she is a pit bull she has gotten shot at dog catcher has tried to pick her up, Both of my dogs are always on a tie out that is only on my property, mind ya, my last Am.Bulldog was 12 or 13 yes. But someone gave here something not sure what but she had a heart attack an died… Now my dogs are only out when I’m out or it’s morning afternoon evveing & just before we go to bed just because I don’t want anything else to happen.. my other is whip pit/lab (30lbs 8yrs) she has also gotten bad rap sweet dog was a service dog to my mother with Alzheimer’s, she has been shot in the hind quarter & her chest she is terrified of anyone… she was a dump dog, that just showed up when she was a puppy… It is people who make animals bad…

  • D. R. Cultivator

    I like our 4 P W Corgi’s. Don’t laugh…These little big guys keep tabs on our farm better than any other breed, many on this list, has in 35 years.

  • Lt_Scrounge

    I had a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix when I was living in Colorado. My wife called the police about getting obscene phone calls. When the police arrived, the dog went crazy when anyone came to the door. She opened the door to the police officer and the dog sat down right at the edge of the carpet. The cop took one look at him and told her to call them if there was anything left when the dog got done with them.

  • Rick

    ADOPT!!!! It’s simple. You provide your new shelter friend with their basic necessities, and they in return give you unconditional love. Sounds like a pretty good deal!

  • clownkiller

    Dutch Shepherd, will protect, herd and amaze you with it’s intelligence.
    Great family dog, but needs a yard to burn off’s eating birds
    right out of air also, so watch it’s diet.

  • pd32235

    Very true!

  • Andrew Hagues

    In all these articles … the ones about the most protective dogs, the best for families, kids, apartments, active families, etc. I have yet to see mentioned the best dog (In My Humble but also really Partisan Opinion) in the world, the Bouvier des Flandres.
    When fishing, my Bouv would follow me out to the middle of any river, then fret because my wife was on the shore and I was far out. He wanted us together so he could both protect and herd. I have never met a more loyal, smarter dog.

    • A rottie’s human

      LOL. My rottie does this too. I love all the comments from people who love their dogs as much as you obviously do yours. Of course, like our children we all think ours is the best ( mine really is-hehe). The bond you can have with that special dog makes me wonder how anyone can hurt them.

  • John

    I don’t know how the Boxer didn’t make the list. Incredibly entertaining,loyal,great with kids and babies.

    • Billca

      Aside from being a bit slobbery and snotty nosed, Boxers are great dogs.

      • Pablo makes fun of mental midg

        I have had seven boxers in my lifetime and not one was slobbery or snotty.

    • therock101

      had six of them over the years——each was a constant source of entertainment—-maybe one more.

  • rubagreta

    Staffordshire terriers/pit bulls, when raised by a nice family, are one of the LEAST AGRESSIVE breeds out there. And of course, like any dog, they will protect their family. But if a burglar climbs in the window and nobody is home, the only thing the burglar has to worry about is being licked to death. A German Shepherd would kill him.

  • A rottie’s human

    It’s the owners that make a dog vicious. Take the time and responsibility to train your dog of any breed. If by chance you have a dog that is stubborn or aggressive to certain people then take responsibility as the pack leader to protect your dog and others. I have owned rotties and pitbulls for 40 yrs. I have 6 children and have never had an incident. Children should never be allowed to hurt an animal. Humans are usually the problem. Don’t get any dog if you aren’t going to do what you need to do. Small dogs bite too. They can kill a baby or bite an artery. You have just shown how an ignorant statement has turned a whole breed of dog into being labeled “bully breeds”. There is only irresponsible owners and stupid people who don’t think before they act. All of our family and friends know that we have dogs, so they give us a heads up before just walking in. Our pets do protect us as they have been trained to do so. Nobody will get near the kids unless invited in. Trust your dogs judgement about people. They sense when a person is not good or trustworthy. A fact mine have proven many times.

  • elizabethrc

    Your description of the Great Dane is spot on. I’ve owned, bred and shown them for almost 58 years and I’ve been burgled once. (Turns out that particular Dane was afraid to go down stairs in the dark!!!). They are a loving breed which bonds very deeply to it’s family. Unfortunately, their life span averages about 8 years. The longest I’ve had one is 10 1/2 years.

    • Meowhiss

      I have had 2 and both were very protective of the family… very protective.

      • elizabethrc

        I still have a picture of my first dane protecting my baby brothers. He allowed the mailman to come into our fenced front yard, but always stood between him and the boys. He was deathly afraid of kittens, though.
        Go figure!

  • Gina007

    My two Chihuahua mixes are loyal and highly protective. Adopt and save a life!

  • ThomasVanHoesen

    Malinois , GSD, BRT, American Bulldog , Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, Doberman Pinchers, Bouviers , Boerboel ,Cane Corso , Am Staffs……in any order you prefer. But these dogs are agile, mobile and are loyal. I’m sure I missed a few other but most of these I’ve worked with at one time or another. Mastiffs are very slow usually. I like dogs that can move , jump and have stamina.

  • IHateLibs

    Just a Mastiff is a SUPER Dog . They don’t have to be Bull mix

  • bob snow

    My Fila Brasileiro (Brazillian Mastiff) puppy weighs 115 lbs. and is showing signs of knowing when to become defensive. She has been extensivly socialised with friends and neighbors especially children. My old and declining English Mastiff was slow to do this in his younger days but “Katie bar the door” when he did.

    • GregoryH

      We’re on our second Fila Bob. It should probably be at the top of this list. Then again, a Fila is probably NOT for 99.99% of owners due to all the dangers to friends and foes alike, damage to your home, medical expenses from ailments, etc. Our dearly departed male was lean but monstrous. Though not overweight at all he weighed 173 on a vet’s scale. He was intact and had an extreme defense drive. He could outrun our GSD and was extremely clever.

      When we threw a ball he would start out running with the GSD, but would then stop and hide behind something and when the GSD would come back with the ball he would ambush her, take the ball, and present it to us proudly.

      I could go on and on with the special stories about this breed, but I’m leery of giving people ideas about getting one. If it still has the Brazilian traits then chances are it’s just too much dog for most people. And they’re not easy to adopt out and will likely be destroyed even by a non-kill shelter (for being too aggressive) when people give up on them.
      Finally, we also have a pit bull we adopted. What a sweet dog — including with our baby. The bad ones, IMO, are bad because the individuals at issue were bred to be bad and/or treated miserably.

      Take care and enjoy your dog — if like us, you’ll probably not get a different breed after your Fila.

  • Monty Saylor

    I have a 10 month old Giant Schnauzer he’s the most calm dog I have ever seen:he can be inside the house looking out the storm door and stay quite while a dog is walking down the street 30 feet from him.On the other hand if he hears something out of the norm he’s on the top of the coach growling and barking.Besides being a good watch dog I would recommend this breed for inside living because you rarely see loose hair.

  • Arthur Shatus

    Great Danes are house dogs. They do not like to be left outdoors. They are real goof-balls. If they roam free, they cover a radius of 4-5 miles. They have a metabolism different from other dogs and do not “eat you out of house and home”.

  • wiseoldindian

    My last dog was a large rott. He was a very dangerous animal, with his tongue. He could give you a slobber bath in 3.2 seconds.
    But he did know when to get defensive so he made me feel better leaving my wife and daughter at home when I worked at night.

  • Meowhiss

    The great Dane is an excellent watch dog and so is the boxer and so many more not to mention some great mixes out there. So many good dogs out there but my preference is of the mastiff line …

  • Raphael_USA

    I’m not certain how the Newfoundland didn’t make the list. They look a bit like a bear and are certainly big enough to scare someone. I have a sign posted on my fence gate that says “This Home Protected by a Newfoundland, Please Be Careful Not to Trip”. Did I say big and imposing???

  • Debra Hamer

    Boxers should have been on the list. I grew up with them. They are very protective, very tolerant and patient with small children, and extremely intelligent.

  • Justanother Serf

    I had a Belgian Shepherd (Tervuren) that was awesome. Incredibly smart, loved affection and attention, and intimidating when she needed to be.

  • Pearl A

    I was raised with Great Danes. They are very gentle and loving. The are VERY protective of children.

    • bythe way

      First dog was a fox terrier, got a ridgeback around 12. Could not care for her properly so gave her away. When I became an adult, got a rottweiler of german descent, best dog I have had so far. Hired a certified trainer to help with her training (he worked with dogs in the Isreali army). She would stay at the command until signaled/told otherwise Great with the kids, my daughter would ride on her back till she was close to 6. Did not take kindly to strangers and if she did not like you, you would know. Very protective of the family, guarded the front gate like a champ-would just sit or stand there and people would just shy away without her ever barking. Next one is a boxer, love the regal stance and nature.

  • Nancy A Bilzing

    I just rescued 2 female Boxers two weeks ago.
    I’ve always had Greyhounds (in some ways they aren’t dogs LOL) And I had a 3/4 Newf 1/4 Lab (140 lbs) for my last service dog.
    The Boxers are a riot!! I absolutely adore my girls already! I think the feeling is mutual.
    I don’t think they’ve ever been on a leash though… Oh Boy… Not going to be able to walk them together for a while! One by one leash training starting today!