Dogs are most often wonderful pets and best friends. They are clever, sociable, and funny when you want to play.
Throughout history, one of the main jobs of the domesticated dog has been to protect its owners and guard against unwanted people or animals. While many modern dogs will instinctually act as home guardians, there are specific breeds that are known for possessing the characteristics needed to best ward off unwanted intruders.
Due to their temperament, physical strength, courage, loyalty, and resistance to pain, following are considered to be the top 10 powerful breeds.
10. The German Shepherd
This noble beast has more to offer than meets the eye. Strong, smart and charismatic, the German Shepherd was built for excellence both inside and out. With rugged good looks and a loyal heart that won’t quit, this breed has been known to make a living on camera and on the field. A true working dog, German Shepherds thrive on showcasing their natural talents. With a solid reputation for intellect and loyalty, there’s nothing this breed can’t accomplish. The German Shepherd is highly intelligent and will not be content to live life as a couch potato. He’s a dog of action, and he needs to live with an active person who will give him a job worthy of his talents. German Shepherds love children and make great family dogs when they are given early socialization and training. Most of us think of the German Shepherd as a black and tan dog, but they can also be sable and solid black. Dogs with white, blue or liver-colored coats are frowned upon by breeders, so don’t fall for marketing claims that those colors are “rare” and command a higher price. A German Shepherd should never be shy, nervous or aggressive.
9. Doberman Pinscher
Bred for the sole purpose of protection, the Doberman Pinscher is the ultimate guard dog. Living up to its given career, this breed not only looks the part but can certainly do some damage when it needs to. While this breed is considered among the most dangerous dogs in the world, it’s also the fifth-smartest dog in the world, meaning the Doberman can be easily trained to be a loyal and sweet family dog. This tough dog proves its guarding abilities by working in search and rescue as well as performing a variety of police dog duties. The Doberman Pinscher is a dog who thrives on work. Give this workaholic a job and he’ll be the happiest pup on the block. Whether it’s standing guard for the household, getting involved with search and rescue or any other type of accelerated training, this no-nonsense breed is up for the challenge. The Doberman who is raised with children and other pets will love and protect them and be a good companion for kids. The Doberman’s qualities of intelligence, trainability and courage have made him capable of performing many different roles, from police or military dog to family protector and friend. The ideal Doberman is energetic, watchful, determined, alert and obedient, never shy or vicious.
Massive and muscled, the Rottweiler can be a gentle giant or a scary beast, depending on his personality and his owner. In general, he takes awhile to warm to strangers but is a loyal and loving family member. With the work ethic of a world leader, the Rottweiler needs a job to be truly happy. The Rottweiler is one of the more recognizable breeds with his large head, solidly muscled body, and distinctively handsome black-and-tan markings. He is intelligent, strong, and loyal. His fans seem to fall into two camps: Those who consider their dogs to be large but gentle love bugs, and those who wish their dogs to be anything but. News stories of killer Rotties in the hands of inexperienced or less-than-savory owners have turned many people off the bad-to-the-bone dogs, but reputable breeders are picking up the pieces and restoring the reputation of the breed. A word to the wise: Don’t underestimate this dog’s power and protectiveness. The Rottweiler is a big dog and can weigh up to a hefty 135 pounds, most of it muscle. Bred for generations to use his protective instincts and independent judgment when his family or territory is threatened, this is one tough customer. It’s no surprise that these dogs are used in police work.
7. Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Because of his background as a herding dog in the mountains, the Pyr Shep has excellent endurance. If he’s in good overall health, it’s unlikely that you will wear him out, so be prepared for long walks and strenuous hikes. Once you get the go-ahead for strenuous exercise from your vet, try pulling out your bicycle and attaching a device to it that will allow your dog to run alongside while you pedal. Take him to the dog park and allow plenty of time for off-leash running while you throw a flying disc or ball for him to chase (don’t forget that he may not be friendly toward other dogs, so be watchful at the dog park). Train him for agility, flyball, rally, and tracking. Pyrenean Shepherds excel at dog sports and are often seen in the agility ring. They are also great at learning tricks. The Pyr Shep’s coat comes in several colors and patterns. It can be any shade of fawn from tan to copper, sometimes with a black overlay; all shades of gray; merle; brindle; black; and black with white markings.
6. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
This easygoing, gentle giant was bred to guard and herd livestock. Although he won’t reach maturity until he’s four or five years old, the confident Swissy is a born watchdog. Switzerland has four varieties of farm dogs, and the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (often nicknamed the Swissy), is the largest. On the farm, his jobs included guarding and herding livestock and pulling carts loaded with milk and cheeses. This is a giant breed, with males weighing in at 105 to 140 pounds and females at 85 to 110 pounds. Puppies are highly active, mouthy, and rambunctious, so purchasing a Swissy puppy may not be the best decision for a family with young children. The long march to maturity also means that the Swissy does not housetrain as quickly as some breeds. Be patient, be consistent in scheduling potty times, and provide plenty of supervision until you’re sure he’s reliable in the house. Because of their heritage as a working breed, Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are confident, even in the face of unusual situations or the presence of people they don’t know. They should not be shy or aggressive toward strangers or other dogs. They may, however, chase cats or other animals, and their herding instinct can kick in around children as well. The Swissy is a large dog with a tricolor coat, a gentle expression, dark-brown eyes, triangular-shaped drop ears, and a long tail.
5. The Moscow Watchdog
The Moscow Watchdog is muscular, big-boned but not clumsy dog. It is a crossbreed of the Caucasian Ovtcharka with its watchful and assertive traits, and the Saint Bernard for its size. This dog is well developed, muscularly and mentally. Its temperament is fine if brought up properly. No dogs are known outside Russia.With family members, the Dogo has a strong desire to be close to or touching them. He graciously welcomes guests and enjoys taking part in family activities but will spring into action in the event of any threat. Though devoted to his human family, the Dogo has an extremely strong prey drive. He must be kept separate from cats and small dogs unless raised with them, and, even then, supervision is a good idea. The Dogo Argentino is a pack-hunting dog, bred for the pursuit of big-game such as wild boar and puma, and possesses the strength, intelligence and quick responsiveness of a serious athlete. His short, plain and smooth coat is completely white. The Dogo Argentino can weight upwards of 80 pounds. This breed was traditionally used to hunt big game in Argentina.
The Boerboel is a large dog that is strong, confident and muscular with a distinctive, blocky head. Despite its size, it is the most agile of the mastiff-type breeds. The word Boerboel means “Farm Dog” and it serves as a capable working dog as well as a loyal companion in its home country of South Africa. The skin of a Boerboel should be dark on his stomach and under his fur, as well as the roof of his mouth, which protects against heat and sun. The coat is short, dense coat can be brindle, brown, cream, reddish brown or tawny. The Boerboel is an intelligent dog with strong protective instincts and a willingness to please. When approached, the breed is calm and confident, and at times, aloof, but it loves its family. Early socialization and obedience training as well as daily exercise are important for this larger breed, but grooming needs are minimal.
3. Argentinian Mastiff
The Dogo Argentino is an amazingly powerful dog with an amazingly powerful dual personality. He is a loving guardian of his family, including children, and fierce hunter capable of taking on a wild boar. He is both gentle and fierce, but he should never be aggressive without good reason. With family members, the Dogo has a strong desire to be close to or touching them. He graciously welcomes guests and enjoys taking part in family activities but will spring into action in the event of any threat. Though devoted to his human family, the Dogo has an extremely strong prey drive. He must be kept separate from cats and small dogs unless raised with them, and, even then, supervision is a good idea. The Dogo can be strong-willed and independent, so he needs an owner who is confident and able to assert his or her authority as pack leader. He is also an athletic and vigorous dog and can be rowdy, especially when he is young. Daily exercise is important to keep him physically and mentally stimulated. The Dogo Argentino can weight upwards of 80 pounds
2. Cane Corso
This Italian mastiff was bred to hunt wild boar and today acts as a guard dog. Fiercely devoted to his family, he doesn’t care for strangers or small animals. He’ll sit at your feet with impressive weight. The Cane Corso is a naturally strong-willed dog with a dominating personality. Those characteristics are what make him an exceptional protector of his family and home. However, his natural tendency to take charge can be troublesome to an owner who is unable to establish his or her role as pack leader and control this behavior. While the Cane Corso is loving and affectionate with his family, including children, he will try to rule the roost. Anyone considering this breed must be prepared to set boundaries with confidence because this dog will surely test them. The Cane Corso is highly intelligent and athletic, and he needs plenty of activity to keep him fit physically and mentally. Take him jogging or on strenuous hikes to help him burn off his energy. The Cane Corso is a mastiff breed from Italy. He is a complex, powerful dog with special needs. For starters, he is a giant breed, weighing up to 120 pounds. He was created to hunt big game and guard property. The Cane Corso has a massive head, heavy rectangular body, and a short coat in black, gray, fawn, or red. The Cane Corso is also known as Dogo di Puglia, which means “dog of Puglia.”
1. Caucasian Shepherd
The Ovcharka is a guardian breed with a serious and protective temperament. Although he has an innate distrust of strangers, he’s gentle toward people he knows. The Ovcharka is incredibly loyal to his family — but fierce in their defense. However, when there’s nothing to guard against, he’s laidback and compliant, expressing a sweet attitude toward his loved ones. This intelligent dog has an independent nature, so you need to train him with patience, firmness, and consistency — never use harsh words or heavy-handed techniques. The Caucasian Ovcharka is best suited to a home where he can put his livestock-guarding skills to good use, although he can also be a great show dog or a domestic companion. The Ovcharka bonds strongly with his family—including children and other pets—and he takes his role as their guardian very seriously. With people he knows, the Ovcharka is steady, sweet, and kind. When it comes to strangers, he’s suspicious—and he may be aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs. Light sleepers beware: The Ovcharka has a tendency to bark at night, alerting you to possible dangers.