Twelve Great Dog Breeds to Protect You

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1. Bullmastiff

This breed is known for its physical strength, protection instincts, courageousness, and extreme family loyalty.   If you happen to have an intruder around you’ll want this dog around.  Often time they’ll knock the intruder right over.   They happen to make great household pets and are known for their loyalty.  They’re also quite docile!

Nat is the CEO and Editor in Chief of BC Media Group and all its properties. You can find him on Twitter@Nathanielberman
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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.

  • http://stoplynching.com 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…

    • Ben

      Not always Pamela. I respect your opinion but there have been a multitude of attacks by pits that were unprovoked. They have a bad rap because they can kill an adult man. They have a very strong prey drive and are typically not all that good with other animals. Fact is, some owners think their dog is the greatest and force them on others. I have an idiot at they gym who let’s his unleashed pit walk around while he’s lifting. So you’re right in some respects but the pit has killed more than any other dog.

    • TennesseeRedDog

      Just saw your comment. I rescued an American Bulldog dropped on the road in Calhoun Georgia last year. Great dog, the vet even wanted to take him but I eventually gave him to a neighbor with a 13 year old girl who loves him. In the summers he escorts kids walking the street, even a neighbor who rides a sulky drawn by a pony. It’s hilarious. He walks them all like he’s a parade band leader.

  • 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 energy.like’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.

    • Warren

      I also wondered why they didn’t mention the Bov. I owned two over about 18 years and trained both in Schutzhund. Their characteristic jump straight up into the face of an intruder can stop ones heart. Once had two guys climb over our privacy fence which was to isolate our back yard along on a lake. I saw them at the fence and start to climb. Then saw my Bov tense his feet (he was lying on the patio) but to the casual observer he gave no indication of attention. He waited until they reached the point of no return across our yard and then he looked like he was shot out of a cannon. It was “loose the Kraken”! They wanted no part of him and decided the lake was a better choice and dove in. They swam to a safer location. It was hilarious!

  • 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.

    • Laurie Knotts

      The list is about dogs that are best at protecting humans. I’ve never had a boxer so I don’t know how protective they are. I do have rotties and they are extremely protective which is why I have them :)

      • Ronald R. Johnson

        Have had both both great dogs bith woukd protect ne and family to the death!

  • 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!

    • Norman Purcell

      I had a brindle great Dane several years ago. Your description could have been describing my Dane (Zeus). He thought he was the town greater– had to be careful when the school bus came around as he would try to go with them.
      He was impressive if you didn’t know him, but if you knew where the chocolate cookies were hid, he was your best friend.
      One thing that is not mentioned, he would like to lean on anyone standing still, and his drool is probably still on the ceiling.
      My best friend!!!

      • elizabethrc

        I hope you had a lot of great years with him. The leaning thing is peculiar to brindles and it just makes them more loveable.

      • B.P.

        We have a Blue GD named Sir Elliott — very protective of the entire family and the house. He loves Loves LOVES chocolate– so much so that he ate 2 boxes of 60 chocolate candy bars each and lived to hear the stories we tell about it..LOL His favorite snacks are raw carrots and green beans. He is so loyal and has such a neat personality. He loves going for rides in the cars and hanging his giant head out– it looks too funny. We always get comments about our “horse”– we hope he sticks around for awhile. He is already 4 years old.

  • 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.

    • Julie Deschenes

      My Fila is 11 years old and 125 lbs. I socialized him outside of home and he is safe to take out in public, but a terror at home. As we rarely have company over, it works well for us. He is also protective of our cats. Great Pyrenees are good protectors as well.

  • 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???

    • BaffoonPolice2

      Raphael – Newfys are great dogs and I love them to death but Labradors are much more docile. Labradors were bred from Newfoundlands in the 1800s as breeders were looking to develop a dog that had many of the same characteristics of the Newfoundland but more laid back and would also make a good upland bird dog. They were breeding the Newfoundland with Setters/Retrievers and end up with the modern day Labrador originally known as a St.John’s retriever. There are many books on the development of these 2 breeds that explains what the breeders where looking to develop and what we ll ended up with. Essentially the Lab is a mini Newfy with many of the same characteristics of a Setter. Problem is the Lab wants to play all the time like a Setter

    • Yo Man

      My Newfie, Bear was protecting me one day from a neighbor’s big Chocolate Lab that they trained to be mean, and bite folks. He stood up on his hind legs and started snarling and walking and waving his paws at the Lab. The Lab backed down and ran off. Bear was a loyal companion for an unheard of 14 years. He loved to swim and we would swim across the Smith River CA. to the sand dunes near the mouth at the ocean. I have a video of him playing with a young Poodle. They were both on leashes about 10′ apart, and were playing catch with a ball. One guy walked by and he couldn’t believe it. Of course they were tossing the ball at each other and not catching it in the air. My BEar loved the ball so much he would approach strangers with a ball in his mouth while barking at the same time. Then he would drop the ball at their feet and want to play.

  • 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.

  • Pearl A

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

  • 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!

  • David Durden

    When I read the article today, there wasn’t a bull terrier but, instead, a Staffordshire Terrier . . . and there was discussion on it being confused with the American Pit Bull Terrier.

    IF the article means the American Staffordshire Terrier (and not the Bull Terrier), then there is a good reason for the confusion. Mainly the confusion comes from the fact that the AST is a “manufactured” breed created for the AKC who didn’t want to recognize the APBT. From the records I’ve seen, ALL AST bloodlines originate from APBT with a gamedog named Primo being a foundational dog (and he was a fine APBT).

    Currently, people differentiate between the AST and the APBT due to purpose and trait more than looks. The AST, by reputation, is the “show” version of the APBT while the traditional APBT is a working dog. Both, when bred properly for accepted behavior and health are FINE dogs.

    Also, for the record, a dog can be both. There is nothing keeping a dog from being dual registered with the AKC as an AST and with either the UKC or ADBA as an APBT. Technically, the dog can be both.

    Note I’m not referring to some of the old Staffordshire Terrier lines from way back when nor am I referring to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (another FINE breed). I’m limiting this to the AST and APBT.

    Of course, it’s all pretty much fluff discussion since most people involved in either (or all) of those three breeds will note some differences in some individual dogs, but they all fall under the proud and proper pit bull banner.

  • CarlT

    what ? They missed Irish Wolfhound ?

  • kirk allen

    Rotties are the best !

    • Laurie Knotts

      My female and male rotties are the most loyal dogs I’ve ever owned. As the article mentions, mine like people more than other dogs and once they get to know you, they are very affectionate. Besides being my first line of protection.

  • jjhemi

    you forgot belgian malinois. should be #1. Law enforcement and navy seals think so too

    (and incredibly sweet family dog)

    • sueb30

      Ma;inois are great dogs, but too much for the average family. Thses dogs are highly driven and active needing a good trainer and a full time job or become nuerotic and destructive. Far too many people get them and give them up in less than a year. There are too many young ones with behavior problems in rescue and shelters.

  • curt

    Most wont agree. I have a 3 yr. Old weimeraner, who hunts and tracks deer. (Originally breed for big game like deer and bear, now mostly birds) anyone comes near house you will know it. No one can go near my wife this breed very loyal and very smart but thinks he is a 70 lbs. Lap dog he puts himself between you and the danger without hesitation.

    • kavemann

      Spot On ! 3 yr.s with my 2nd Weimaraner… 1st died of twisted gut – no symptoms until it was too late. This breed will willingly die for family against all odds. 1st trip to my brother’s ranch with 2 young kids, they went to corral to pet horses, when I went to retrieve them, my then 2 yr. old Weimaraner spotted the horses which to him could have been alien GIANTS. When the horses weren’t scared or intimidated by his barking and stance between kids and them, he went behind them in attempt to draw them away from kids. Despite being kicked (knocked yards away twice) and bitten when horses (who’d been raised around dogs) teamed up (3) to fend off my dog, he didn’t give up until I made kids run bk towards the house. My dog only then came out of the corral, looking ?ly at me like “What took you so long, they were kill’n me !” He was bruised and a little bloody, but all-good in couple days. Both have been BEST dogs of my 62 yr.s and many other breeds. Loving, and after 1yr and half to mature, CALM and focused. Very quick to LEARN ANYTHING, and problem solvers. Extremely CLEAN, very careful and attentive to babies and the frail elderly. Would recommend female over males for families w/ kids, and are not prone to roam beyond line of site.

  • forwardthinker2

    My chows are amazing watch dogs and extremely loyal and loving. They do not care about other dogs they walk right past them and enjoy their walk. The only problem we ever come across is other breeds who want to attack us totally unprovoked and that being a pit bulls, boxers and a shepherd. Pits are especially crazy when they see us walking–a few owners who could not control their dogs no longer can walk them in public.

  • ilr1950

    I have two pits, a pit St Bernard mix (yes a Pitnard) and a German Shepherd. And if need be they can keep an intruder busy until mama shows up with her dear friends, Smith and Wesson.

  • Cary Marshall Felton

    The Puli’s dreads are better than mine.

  • disqus_sHpdKf43Om

    Doberman Pinscher, there is no other for me.

    • Raz Moreno

      Just recently got my first dobbie and I am absolutely in love with him, super friendly with the family. Gets along with other dogs very very well, and he hates large men. Had never seen him get so vicious until he met my 6″5, 280lb. african american male friend and would not keep his eyes off of him for about 3-4 hours. He has not visited us since, I guess you could say it is a good and bad thing.

  • Madison Link

    What, no English Mastiff? Extremely loyal, protective, yet renowned for being gentle toward family even in the heat of the moment. Plus, 260 lbs. If you’re going for “scary looking,” the most massive dog in the world should get a nod.

  • teria1107

    I have 2 English Mastiffs and they are awesome, loving, think they are lap dogs but very protective. We do not have a fenced yard but they do not leave their grounds, they sit on the top of the hill watching everything that goes on. Great security for my beautiful girls !!

  • Andy Dodd

    Great Danes can be affectionate giants, but of you threaten their family … watch out, our great Dane almost killed a pit bull once.

  • samnjoeysgrama

    My mother always maintained that if you have the choice of a black dog and any other color of dog for a guard dog, pick the black dog. I have had black labs and yellow labs, none were aggressive, but would bark when people came. People would wait in the car when it was a black lab. They would get out and pet the yellow lab. I guess looking like a giant sugar cookie isn’t very intimidating.

  • Kioga

    Where dose the Ovicharka fit in to this mess, Ollie ? Read numerous articles that pretty much says they’re intensely loyal, sensitive, fight bears, and downright nasty to anyone who threatens their family ! Reckon feeding them expensive raw steaks might have thrown them out of the running ?

  • James Aud

    Hands down, for protection there is none other then the Japanese Akita

  • terry murphy

    A patient trainer can turn just about any intelligent dog into a security system. Some will just warn you, others can do a lot more. My wife does animal rescue and we work with lots of different breeds of dogs. We also deploy dogs for livestock protection against bears and coyotes. While the list is good and it is damn hard to beat a German Shepard there are a couple of other breeds worth noting. American Bull Dog, Airedale, Border Collies, Blue Heelers, Aussie Shepherds, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Catahoulas, Akbash, and Bluetick crosses. I am sure there are others but I just have not worked with.

  • Laura C

    My Chinese Shar Pei have been fantastic at protection, especially my first girl. Had three so far and will probably be what I have for the rest of my life.

  • focus503

    Protection dogs. Nope.

  • Christopher Harmon

    I’m shocked to not see a Lab on the list. I own one now and have owned several in my life. They literally wouldn’t hurt a fly. I have had litters of kittens use my Lab as a chew toy. There is only one exception to how docile they are, if my family or house is threatened they can be terrifying. With the size and strength to knock down a full grown man and jaws that can crush bone I don’t even lock my doors at night.

  • Bert Tainow

    I would have to say a 185 Lbs Male Saint Bernard is a very good protector.Only house in my area never robbed.Will not let anyone come near me except my wife.His bite pressure is over 500 lbs.The most of any dog breed.Not all Saints are like the ones you see in the movies.