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A Guide to Guard Dog Breeds

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A Guide to Guard Dog Breeds

Choosing a guard dog requires a little foresight, especially if you have young children. Many watch dog breeds have strong guardian instincts, but not all have the temperament for withstanding tail pulling and roughhousing.

Popular Guard Dog Breeds

Five popular watch dog breeds include:

  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
  • Doberman
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler

Choosing a Watch Dog

When looking for a dog with guardian instincts, stop and consider how much time you have to invest in training and care. A guard dog with long hair coats need daily grooming. Even short haired dogs need brushing, though not necessarily daily. If you work long hours, look for a laid-back guardian breed that doesn't tend to be quite as susceptible to separation anxiety.

Finally, consider your yard and residence. Most watch dogs need room to run. If you don't have the time for lengthy walks every day, you will need a guard dog that doesn't mind hanging out inside the majority of the time.


Boxer's reach a maximum height of 25 inches and weigh upwards of 70 pounds. They are very affectionate with their family, including young children, but they are extremely wary of strangers entering your home. You do need to spend time training your boxer to protect your home without attacking people on the street or who come to your door.


A fully grown bullmastiff weighs 100 to 130 pounds. The guard dog stands about 27 inches high and has short fur, but very wrinkly skin. If a bullmastiff gets wet, it is important that the dog is dried properly to prevent bacterial infections.

Bullmastiffs are relatively easy to train, but does require an owner who is willing to invest time going to obedience classes. With proper training, bullmastiffs are calm with visitors and don't object to laying around the house.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman are outstanding guard dogs. They are sleek, move quickly and are extremely intelligent making them fun to train. They also enjoy lots of activity.

Doberman Pinschers stand 27 inches high and weigh up to 90 pounds. With short coats of fur, Doberman groom easily. Brushing their coat every couple of days suffices.

German Shepherd Dog

German Shepherd dogs make excellent watch dogs, but they can be nippy with young children. Be willing to invest a bit of time training your dog. They have an incredible nose and are used in many areas as drug dogs and police dogs.

Be careful of hip problems in a German Shepherd as the guardian breeds are known for deteriorating hips. Their longer fur requires daily brushing. Expect a Shepherd to stand 25 inches high and weigh up to 100 pounds.


Rottweilers may seem scary to strangers, but most dogs are extremely gentle and obedient. They weigh up to 110 pounds and stand 27 inches high, so they can look intimidating.

Training a Rottweiler is key to ensuring the dog differentiates between a threatening situation and a stranger coming to your door. Otherwise, they tend to be fine with anyone you bring into your home.

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