6 of the best guard dogs

6 of the best guard dogs

One of the best things about our dogs is that they love us unconditionally. Protecting members of their pack – human or canine – comes as second nature to them. But some breeds are better at it than others.

Perhaps you live alone and want a dog for security reasons? Or you have a young family and you want a pup that could dissuade burglars or intruders coming into your home?

In either case, you need a canine who’s brave enough to alert you and possibly to protect you, too, should the need arise.

Please be aware – Purely Pets Policy on guard dogs is the following: Our policies exclude all pets used for commercial security work or those which have been trained to attack. All cover is excluded for any policyholders who also hold a Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence of any description whilst undertaking the designated activity that the SIA licence allows.


What’s the difference between a watchdog and a guard dog?

You may have heard people using the terms ‘watchdog’ and ‘guard dog’ interchangeably. While both types of dog can show similar traits, they’re not really the same thing.

Watchdogs can be trained to protect a particular area – perhaps a garden or a house – and will do everything they can to alert their owners when someone tries to enter that space.

Great Danes, for example, make excellent watchdogs but their friendly nature means that they’re more likely to greet someone than attack them.

A guard dog, on the other hand, will be willing to physically put themselves between you and whatever is coming the other way – postmen, visitors, burglars, you name it!  They are usually larger, muscular dogs whose very presence is enough to send an intruder packing!

Whatever type of pup you decide to go for, dog insurance is a must. Purely Pets offers 15 levels of cover, so you can find the right one for your pup and your pocket.

A Great Dane laying on a raised bed on a patio

Which breeds make the best guard dogs?


  1. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Originally bred to hunt lions, the Rhodesian Ridgeback makes an amazing watchdog and guard dog in one.

With a super-strong prey drive, they thrive with experienced handlers who can dedicate time to their daily exercise needs.

Boredom often leads to disobedience – not a good thing when your dog is as large as this – but they make a loving and loyal companion in the right hands.

A word of warning – when a Ridgeback barks, it’s for a reason so you better take note!

A rhodesian ridgeback sitting in a garden

  1. German Shepherd

Military and police favour this fearless breed because of its great intelligence, which also means they are easy to train as guard dogs.

They can switch from docile to danger mode in a matter of seconds so their owners need to be confident and in control at all times.

That means starting early – take your pup to socialisation and obedience classes from a young age so they can learn the commands that they’ll need throughout life.

This also helps to beat boredom and fulfills their natural instinct to work.

A German Shepherd sitting panting on a walk

  1. Boxer

Coming face to face with a Boxer for the first time can be quite intimidating, which is great news if you’re looking for an effective watchdog or guard dog.

Known for standing up on their hind legs and ‘boxing’ you with their front paws, this breed will demand your attention and affection.

They make loyal companions with minimal grooming needs but their energy levels are off the charts, so get ready for lots of long runs!

Just make sure you take them on softer ground, as they can be prone to sensitive bones.

 A Boxer dog in shallow depth

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffie has a natural instinct to protect their pack and are generally considered to be good with small children – that’s why they’re called the ‘Nanny Breed’ after all.

Their menacing look alone could put off any potential intruders but if you really want them to be an effective guard dog, professional training is key.

You need to know you can stop any aggressive behaviour on command, as these are strong and powerful pups.

 A Staffordshire Bull Terrier walking along a sandy beach

  1. Doberman Pinscher

From the military to industries like health and social care, Dobermans have been chosen as loyal and hard-working protectors.

This working breed, known as the ‘Tax Collector’s Dog’, is courageous and muscular with a menacing presence.

But their excellent temperaments means that can also be gentle and obedient companions with the right training.

If you have a large property to protect, the sheer speed of the Doberman means that every inch can be covered in a matter of seconds.

A Doberman Pinscher out for a walk with long grass behind

  1. Rottweiler

From protecting cattle to protecting their humans, Rottweilers have been a popular choice for guard dogs for many years.

They can be aloof and suspicious of strangers until they get to know you, which is why socialization and training with the immediate family is very important.

Don’t be fooled by their large size, they can move quickly and are very fast learners.

A Rottweiler sitting by a lake with its tongue out

Top tips for owning guard dogs

Purina shares these these top tips for getting the best out of your guarding companion:


  1. Training
    From working trials to obedience and teaching the basic commands of sit, stay and leave, consistent training is the key to an effective guard dog.

  2. Bonding
    It’s important that you spend time with your pup building up a special bond, so that if – or when – the time comes, they will be quick to jump to your aid. Be aware though that some guard dogs are dependent on their owners they can suffer with separation anxiety so watch their behaviour carefully.

  3. Nutrition

Take care not to over-feed your guard dog. Instead, place around 30 per cent of their dry food allowance in food-dispensing toys. This way, your pup gets a mental workout as well as a meal.

A close up on a dogs eyes

Guarding against the unknown with dog insurance

You never know when your faithful friend will fall ill or have an accident. Plus, larger dogs like the breeds we have discussed above can be prone to bloat.

This is when the stomach gets filled with gas and usually happens when the pup is only fed one meal a day.

If the stomach twists, this condition be fatal, so having the right insurance in place could help if your pooch needs emergency treatment.

Policies from Purely Pets can help cover the cost of expensive vet bills and get your four-legged friend back protecting you and your family in no time.

Dog insurance policies from Purely Pets are easy to manage online, plus our 24-hour vet helpline will be there with professional veterinary advice whenever you need us.

Get a quote today.