The Best Protective Dog Breeds

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While loyalty and companionship make dogs “man's best friend,” attributes such as responsiveness and intelligence make dogs effective protectors. And it’s not just the big, imposing breeds who will get the job done. Whether you're looking for a dog to guard your home, apartment or family with children, you'll find several protective breeds to choose from to suit your needs.

A saint bernard lies in the grass.
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While several dog breeds are instinctively protective and those who are large and imposing may seem like a natural first choice, the best protective dog breeds come in all sizes. What these breeds have in common are loyalty, maturity, intelligence and responsiveness to command. A loving, loyal dog without intelligence and responsiveness will be ineffective or possibly dangerous if he cannot learn when it’s appropriate to be protective. Proper training for you and your dog is your best bet to make sure these qualities can be turned into an effective protective dog.

A close-up of a rottweiler.
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If you live in an apartment or condominium, you’ll need a dog who does well in a smaller space but still provides big protection. The bulldog is a loyal dog who obeys well and offers an intimidating presence. Great Danes need little exercise but are quite imposing and protective when needed. Daschunds protective nature and loud bark can be intimidating despite their size.

A bulldog runs on grass.
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Look for dog breeds who can are cover ground quickly to protect your home with a yard. Rhodesian ridgebacks are athletic, naturally obedient and don't bark unless it's merited, while the fast and alert doberman pinscher can get to an intruder quickly. Well-trained rottweilers can be intimidating and relentlessly protective despite their naturally loving natures. Saint Bernards show strength and alertness making them ideal for homes with yards.

A doberman pinscher stands on a river bank.
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Several dog breeds who are naturally protective are gentle enough to be wonderful companion animals for families with children. Look for dog breeds who make strong bonds with people and have patience and warmth towards children. Boxers, one of the most popular dog breeds in America, can be protective but really enjoy the company of children. Bernese mountain dogs have a natural fondness for children, and a natural suspicion of those they don't know. German shepherds and giant schnauzers bond easily with humans of all sizes, and are naturally intelligent. protectve and obedient.

A close-up of a boxer.
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