Guard dogs are typically physically large and intimidating dogs with a strong territorial instinct. Many breeds were developed for guarding property and livestock and have a genetic instinct to guard. Guard dogs require knowledgeable owners who can properly train them. Many breeds considered guard dogs also make gentle family pets.
The doberman was specifically developed as a watchdog and guard dog. The breed is intelligent, physically imposing, fast and loyal, all qualities needed in a guard dog. Dobermans are gentle with owners and aggressive only when they think the family or property is in danger. Dobermans are highly trainable and restrain an intruder without going for the kill. The doberman has the added advantage of being a familiar police and security dog so just its presence is a strong deterrent.
The same instinct that makes the German shepherd successful at herding sheep makes them the most popular breed for police work and excellent guard dogs. The German shepherd is an alert, agile dog considered one of the more intelligent breeds. They are easily trained and in addition to being a top choice for police dogs are frequently used as guide dogs, military dogs, drug sniffing dogs and search and rescue dogs. The Belgian shepherd, although less physically imposing, has similar traits to the German shepherd and is also a good guard dog.
The rottweiler was originally bred to herd and protect livestock. The dogs have a medium build but are extremely robust and muscular making them strong and powerful. Rottweilers have a strong protective instinct, are alert and very intelligent. The dog can be very dominant and destructively aggressive without the proper training and socialization. The breed's imposing presence and reputation as an aggressive guard dog make it a strong deterrent.
Mastiff breeds like the dogo Argentino, bullmastiff, dogue de Bordeaux, cane Corso, fila Brasiliero, ca de bou, boerboel, and Neapolitan mastiff all have similar qualities that are necessary in a guard dog. The many mastiff breeds from around the world are physically imposing breeds developed mainly for protection of property, family and livestock. Mastiffs have large heads with powerful and muscular bodies and are generally very territorial and loyal to their owners.
Both the American akita and Japanese akita inu are loyal and fearless dogs that are well suited to serve as guard dogs. The akita inu is a versatile dog that is used as a bear hunter, sled dog, police dog and guard dog. The dogs are intelligent and even-tempered but fiercely loyal and territorial.
The giant schnauzer has size on its side. The large and sturdy dog has an imposing square frame and is among one of the taller breeds. Giant schnauzers were developed as a herding, driving and protection dog. In the home, the giant schnauzer has a gentle disposition and is attached to the owner and family. Their loyalty combined with a powerful physique and territorial instinct make them a good guard dog.