The 10 Most Protective Dog Breeds

Neapolitan Mastiff Outside in the Yard Protective Dog Breed

If you are looking to add a canine companion to your family it’s important to know which breed is best for you.

The following 10 breeds are all known for their dedication to their owners and their willingness to protect them. Many of these breeds make great family pets, so keep in mind that a protective nature doesn’t equate aggression.

1. Akita

This dog breed originated in Japan where it was held in very high regard. The first Akita’s to come to the United States were a gift to Helen Keller from the Japanese government.

Akita’s are extremely loyal and bond closely to their owners. If you have seen the movie Hatchi: A Dog’s Tale you already have an idea of the dedication Akita’s show their owners. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is based on a true story and is about an Akita who walks with his owner to the train station everyday and waits there for him to come home.

One day Hatchi’s owner has a heart attack and dies at work. Even though the man’s family comes to get Hatchi and take him home he refuses to leave the train station and ends up living the rest of his life there waiting for his owner to come home.

While not all Akita’s can be expected to perform this feat, the breed is extremely intelligent and loyal.

They are also known for being protectors of both their owner and their home and are wary of strangers. If you have a lot of house guests coming and going, the Akita may not be the breed for you.

Akita in National Desert Forest

2. Neapolitan Mastiff:

If you have seen the movie,  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets you have seen a Neo. While Fang was portrayed as a fearful dog, the typical Neo knows no fear and will gladly lay his life on the line for his owner. These majestic dogs were bred as protection and fighting dogs.

Neos have very loose skin which helped them avoid injury when fighting bears, bulls, and jaguars, and their wrinkles are to encourage the blood of those they are fighting to flow off the face and away from the eyes and the nose.

Neapolitan Mastiffs bond closely to their owners and will do anything to protect them. It is very important to socialize your Neo at a young age with both children, adults, and other animals as they can become aggressive to strangers otherwise.

The Neo is known for his silent approach on trespassers, so if you are looking for a dog that will bark to scare away intruders this breed isn’t right for you. However, if you are wanting a breed that will keep you completely safe without waking the neighbors, the Neo is perfect.

It’s recommended that Neapolitan Mastiffs only go to homes with experienced dog owners as they can be dominant and are independent thinkers. These large dogs can get into a lot of trouble if they have an owner that doesn’t know how to handle them.

Neapolitan Mastiff Outside in the Yard

3. Chow Chow:

The Chow Chow originated from China where it was used for a variety of things from herding, hunting, guarding, and pulling. This breed is extremely fluffy and many believe it resembles a lion.

The Chow is a loyal breed that bonds closely to one or two members of the family. It is important to socialize them from a young age or they will likely be overly wary of strangers. The breed standard for Chow Chows mentions that they should be aloof with strangers, but neither fearful or aggressive.

Chows are relatively low energy dogs and can make great apartment dogs as long as they get one or two walks a day.

Fluffy Chow Chow Outside

4. Rottweiler:

This breed originated in the days of the Roman Empire and was used to herd and protect livestock. As the Romans moved across Europe they distributed the breed throughout the realm. Fast forward to when trains became the new way to transport cattle to slaughter, the Rottweiler declined almost to extinction.

However, when police dogs were needed during WWI and WWII the Rottweiler came back into popularity.

The Rottweiler’s personality is clownish among his family, but aloof and guarded among strangers. Early socialization and training are important to keep the Rottweiler from becoming overly aggressive.

This breed excels at Schutzhund and have become well known for their work as police dogs. Keep in mind before getting a Rottweiler that they are very intelligent working dogs and if not given enough exercise and mental stimulation they will get into trouble.

Rottweiler in the Forest Sitting on a Rock

5. Dogue de Bordeaux:

For those of you who have seen the movie Turner and Hooch you are already aware of the Dogue de Bordeaux, or the French Mastiff’’s protective nature.

In the movie, a French Mastiff named Hooch is unable to protect his owner from being murdered because he is trapped and unable to get there in time. Turner, the detective investigating the murder takes the dog home and they become quick friends. Later in the movie, Hooch sacrifices his life to save his new owner.

Like Hooch, the French Mastiff is extremely protective and more than willing to lay his life on the line for his owners. This is an intelligent breed and they greatly benefit from training and early socialization.

While this breed is wary of strangers, they are goofy and loving with their families and make great pets for those prepared to clean up their drool.

Dogue De Bordeaux Running Outside

6. Doberman:

Bred to assist Karl Dobermann as he collected taxes around Germany, this dog is both intimidating and protective. Those that have spent time with Doberman’s frequently describe them as velcro dogs. They want to be right next to and even touching their owners at all times. They are have clown like personalities and love to snuggle.

However, with strangers the Doberman can be more reserved and have an inherent sense of who is and who isn’t dangerous. If they sense danger they can go from clown to defender in a matter of seconds and they would not hesitate to lay their life on the line to protect their owners.

Doberman outside by Rock Waterfall

7. German Shepherd:

Well known as police and military dogs, this breed is inherently protective of his family. Proper training and socialization are very important for this breed as a lack thereof can result in a very aggressive dog.  

Though they are protective of their homes and their owners these dogs are highly intelligent and make great family pets.

German Shepherds are of medium to high energy and enjoy having a job to do. If left on their own for too long the German Shepherd can develop naughty pastimes like getting into the trash and chewing on furniture and other household goodies.

Black German Shepherd and Black Labrador in Green Grass on Hilltop

8. Great Pyrenees:

Bred to live with and protect flocks of sheep from predators, the Great Pyrenees is friendly and amicable with everyone until he senses danger. Once he senses danger he begins barking and is willing to be aggressive if he needs to be.

This breed is large and fluffy and requires regular brushing to keep his coat from becoming matted. While these dogs were originally bred to protect flocks of sheep, they also make great family pets.

It is imperative that you train and socialize your dog as they can be very vocal if left to their own devices.

Great Pyrenees Running in Backyard with Tongue Out

9. Belgian Malinois: 

When I think of a Belgian Malinois, I picture a German Shepherd that just drank a case of redbull.

These dogs are highly intelligent and driven, and are best suited to life as working dogs. If you don’t have several hours a day to dedicate to your dog’s training and exercise, a Malinois is not the right breed for you.

Like the German Shepherd, this breed is frequently used in police and military work and they excell in sports like Schutzhund and nose work where they are able to use their intelligence and energy to accomplish tasks.  

I can’t stress enough that this breed is not suitable for the average dog owner. They are very protective and without the proper guidance and training they can and will severely injure other pets and people. If you are set on getting a Malinois be prepared to do extensive training and make sure your dog gets all the exercise he needs.

Belgian Malinois Overlooking the Yard and Brick Pathway

10. Bullmastiff:

This breed was created to protect estates and he is still used for that today. This breed is affectionate and loving toward his family, but wary of strangers. It is important that you start training and socializing the Bullmastiff from a young age as his large size can make him a handful at maturity.

Bullmastiffs are inherently quiet dogs and rarely bark, so when they do it’s best to be on guard. This breed is loyal and will gladly lay his life on the line to protect his owner and his home. While they were bred mostly as guard dogs, this breed makes an incredibly loving member of the family and is a great cuddler.

Bullmastiff Wearing Protective Vest

Now that you know the most protective dogs, which will you choose? The high energy Beligan Malinois, or maybe the low energy Bullmastiff cuddler?

Whichever breed you decide on it’s important for all of these breeds to be socialized with other animals and a variety of people and situations. The last thing you want is a protective dog that is aggressive or fearful of the world around him.  

Bonus: The 10 Most Aggressive Breeds

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