The 10 Best Guard Dogs For First Time Owners

Bringing home the best guard dog for either yourself or for a family is a big decision!

There is a lot of time, energy, and money that will be devoted to raising your fur baby.

Further, if you are wanting a dog that not only has a great temperament but also is going to be your guard dog, there is potentially even more training that will go into your new pooch.

rottweiller growling close up mouth open

Related Reading: Best Breeds of Guard Dogs

1. The Rottweiler

Unfortunately, this dog breed has been given a bad name because of those who give bad training. But truth be told, this is one of the most loyal teddy-bear like dogs you can get.

These dogs require only a small amount of maintenance and are a shedder according to the seasons. Rottweilers like to cuddle, but they also need the opportunity to have some daily exercise.

Because Rottweilers are naturally territorial, they need to be trained and socialized as puppies.

These pups can grow to be great family dogs and will be protective of their owners. Plus, if you’re wanting a big pup to cuddle with, these guys tend to think they are lapdogs sometimes.

2. The Doberman Pinscher

Just like the Rottweiler, the Doberman Pinscher sometimes has a bad connotation attached to the name. However, this dog is very loyal, loving, and alert.

If you are wanting a dog that is highly intelligent and will catch on quickly to training, the Doberman Pinscher may be the right fit for you! These dogs require minimal grooming, however, they do shed often.

These high-energy dogs need lots of exercises and would be a good companion on a run or catching a ball out in the yard. Just like the Rottweiler, these dogs need to be socialized and trained as puppies so that they respond well to commands and don’t grow to have destructive behavior.

3. The Border Collie

This sweet-natured dog has the guard dog mentality naturally built-in. These dogs historically have been used as sheepdogs, to gather and guard the herd, and when trained properly will do the same with your family.

The Border Collie is an extremely high-energy dog and requires lots of playtimes and an active owner.

These dogs love to please their owners and can be wary of strangers. It is extremely important to introduce them to socialization and training early.

While these dogs have a fluffy coat, they do require you to brush them a few times a week. Surprisingly though, these dogs don’t shed any more than the Rottweiler.

4. The German Shepherd

It comes as no surprise that the German Shepherd is one of the best guard dogs for any family, as these dogs have been used on police forces for decades.

German Shepherds are extremely intelligent and are a great addition to those who are active and have active families. These dogs are some of the easiest to train because they want to please their humans.

The German Shepherd is a perfect mix of active personality and cuddle pup. These dogs have a longer life span than most and can live, on average, up to 14 years.

5. The Great Dane

Large and in charge, the Great Dane can get up to 175 lbs. but has the personality of a lapdog. 

Because of the size of these animals, they are subject to many different health problems that ultimately lead to a low life expectancy of only, at most, around ten years. When it comes to grooming, these pups simply require a bath occasionally and have normal shedding.

Because Great Danes get so large, you want to instill training early on or you will most certainly be overpowered at some point in time. These dogs in general are friendly in nature, but will also defend their human and can have a pretty scary dog bark.

6. The Belgian Malinois

Very similar to the German Shepherd, the Belgian Malinois is very protective, extremely intelligent, and has been used in special forces for many years. These dogs have a high than average life expectancy, and when well taken care of can live as long as 16 years. The Belgian Malinois is not an overly large dog and has minimal shedding.

This particular breed is more on the energetic time, so be prepared to give this pup daily walks and plenty of room to play. Being considered as part of the herding breed, training is vitally important as these dogs like to chase moving items. Make sure they are trained for the correct items.

7. The American Bulldog

This sad-faced pup became famous initially because of the pup “Petey” featured amongst the adorable Little Rascals back in the 1920s. The American Bulldog is one that is friendly and requires minimal grooming maintenance.

These pups are the perfect pets for those who want a dog to take on a run or into the great outdoors. American Bulldogs need to be able to have time and space to exert all of their energy.

American Bulldogs are loyal to their owners and are strong-willed. With that said, constant training is necessary for these animals.

8. The Bernese Mountain Dog

If you’re wanting a classically fluffy pup that is a big cuddler but is strong, this is the dog for you. Looking like a life-like teddy bear, the Bernese Mountain dog is genuinely sweet in nature and loves to please its owners.

When it comes to grooming, this pup sheds often and requires multiple brushings a week. So if you do not have the time or patience for all the extra hair, this dog may not be a great option for you.

Like the Great Dane, because of their size, many health implications can occur cause this breed to have a shorter life expectancy. On average, the Bernese Mountain dog will live anywhere between 7 and 10 years.

Things to Consider When Searching for a Guard Dog

  1. Consider the fur! If you are wanting a low-maintenance dog when it comes to their coat be sure to choose a dog that matches that qualification.
  2. Most people don’t say, “Hey, I want a guard dog that is small…” All of the guard dogs that are the best at just that on this list are bigger dogs.
  3. Consider the cost of the dog as well as lifespan. Many larger dogs come with specific health problems within their breed.
  4. Does your neighborhood or town have regulations on certain breeds of dogs? Many animals such as Dobermans or Pitbulls might have local regulations because of the said aggressive nature of the animal.
  5. Overall food cost. Big dogs eat more food. If you feel like the cost of the animal has the potential to be too much, don’t get it.
  6. Do you have kids? While some guard dogs have a great temperament when it comes to kids, others do not.
  7. Training your dog may require a professional or an immense amount of time and energy on your part. Choose a dog that is known to be easily trained rather than one that has more of a suborn personality.
  8. If you hire a trainer, know HOW you want your dog trained. Various methods can train your dog to be the following: guard dog, watchdog, attack dog, and personal protection dogs.


When shopping for your new guard pup, make sure you have the time and energy need to devote to the needs of your specific breed of choice.

For more information on specific breeds and breed history, be sure to visit the American Kennel Club website for a ton of useful information!