Five Best Personal Protection Dog Breeds
A personal protection dog is one that guards an individual at all times, at home or when out on the road. They are not just guard dogs, but they have to be intelligent enough to know when they need to protect their owner. They also need to know when to stop.
If you are interested in a breed for personal protection, consider purchasing one that has already been professionally trained. If you start out with a puppy or a young dog that has no training, you may end up being disappointed.
Even though the five best breeds on this list are usually suitable for personal protection, do not assume that every dog born among these breeds is going to be able to do the job. Dogs are individuals. Some of them will be great, others will not be suitable. It does not mean they are not good dogs; it does mean that they are all different.
So what are the five dog breeds suited to become personal protection companions?
There is some controversy about which breed is the “best,” but Dobies are one of the few breeds originally selected to serve as personal protection dogs. They have been around since around 1890. Since then, the tax collector who needed a personal protection dog bred them to be intimidating, to show no fear when it came time to defend their owner, and to only attack when told to do so.
Dobies are not giant. Most are large, and since they are muscular, they appear quite a bit larger than they are. They are usually about 40 kilos (about 90 pounds), black and tan, and have their ears cropped and their tails docked where it is still legal.
Health issues are a concern with most protection dogs, and Dobies are not exempt from this. A bleeding disorder called von Willebrands disease is common—but a test has been available for many years, so if the parents are checked out, this problem may eventually be eliminated. About half of the dogs also inherit a serious heart disease (dilated cardiomyopathy) and fewer have a neck disease called “wobblers,” or cervical vertebral instability (CVI). A few have hip dysplasia and prostatic disease, while the other diseases are much less common.
Dobies live about 11 years, a little longer that Rotties, a little less than a Giant Schnauzer. If you are looking for a protection dog that is strong, smart, and willing to protect, the Doberman Pinscher is a good choice.
Although this book has a lot of points that can be argued, it is well written, well researched, and the author rates the Doberman, German Shepherd Dog, and Rottweiler among the top ten most intelligent breeds. The breeds were ranked due to the ability to learn new commands and follow orders, and the Doberman was listed as number five because of his trainability.
This breed is still not as popular as many other breeds on this list, but it has the potential to be an excellent personal protection dog. This is a large Italian breed of about 45 to 50 kilos (about 100 to 110 pounds) with a muscular body, a short muzzle, and a strong bite.
They may actually be a “catch” breed, having been used to hunt game, but since the Roman times they have also been used as a guard and a personal protection dog.
Like the Doberman, the Cane Corso often becomes attached to one person in the household and so falls into the role of protection dog easily. Unlike the Doberman however, they are large and not easy to train. Not everyone can or should attempt to handle one of these.
They do have some health problems, like all big dogs. Hip dysplasia is the most common, they will become obese if you let them, and they can also suffer from bloat, eyelid problems, and demodectic mange.
The average life of a Cane Corso is 10 to 11 years. If a potential owner has experience handling dogs, is willing to socialize and train his Cane Corso, and is in need of a superb personal protection animal, this one can do the job.
Rottweilers were actually developed by the Romans for herding, but they were later developed to pull carts, drive livestock to market, and then to serve the military, to serve on search and rescue missions, work with the police, and act as guide dogs.
The most important role has been as a watchdog, a guard dog, and as a personal protection dog. They are big (up to about 60 kilos, 130 pounds), intelligent, and easy to train, so they usually dominate schutzhund (personal protection dog) competitions.
Rotties are usually healthy, but they can suffer from hip dysplasia, like almost all large breeds. They are also prone to developing eyelid problems and become obese if fed too much and not exercised.
They usually only live 9 or 10 years. Their fierce appearance, protective attitude, and aloofness with strangers makes this among the best personal protection dogs available. They are not as mobile or quick as the Doberman, however, so I would prefer one of these as a guard and a Doberman or Cane Corso as a personal companion instead.
This German dog breed is a frequent competitor in the Schutzhund competitions for several reasons. He is big (60 to 70 cm, or 25 to 27 inches at the shoulders), but not as heavy as the Rottweiler, so a little easier to handle for a smaller person.
They are also intelligent, like all the protection breeds, and pick up new commands easily. Many of these also have clipped ears and docked tails, making them look more alert, and successful ones are also solid black, a color that many assume is fiercer.
Giant Schnauzers have some of the same health problems common to big breeds, like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. They are also prone to some skin problems, and since they drool, and their beards get dirty, they have to be kept clean.
These dogs live about 12 years. During that life, they make an excellent personal protection dog in that they are strong, yet able to be controlled.
German Shepherd Dog
One of the most popular personal protection and guard dogs is the German Shepherd Dog (GSD). They are one of the most common breeds and are intelligent, easy to train, and large and powerful enough to do the job.
If a GSD is socialized and trained, excessive aggression is not a problem. When these were first developed, they were also healthy, but they have been bred carelessly and in large numbers and now have several health problems.
Besides the temperament problems, some have floppy ears and about a fifth of them develop hip dysplasia. They are also prone to bloat. Later on, a lot of these may develop arthritis because of their conformation.
GSDs live about 10 or 11 years. If you purchase one from a working line, he will be healthy and fit to be a guide dog, search and rescue animal, guard dog, or the personal protection dog you are looking for. Unfortunately, not all of the German Shepherds for sale out there will meet your needs.
A lot of other big dogs will serve as personal protection even without training.
- The Belgian Malinois is also frequently seen in Schutzhund competitions, as well as the Dutch Shepherd.
- Many of the dogs best suited to guard work (like the Neapolitan Mastiff) are not meant to walk around all day. So, although they may be great guards, they should not be used for personal protection work.
If you are not able to obtain a trained dog, read what you can about how to train one for personal protection and try to find a local Shutzhund club where you can work with experienced trainers and dogs. DVDs and videos available on the Internet can give you an idea of what is involved in the training before you start.
Buy the best dog you can—even if you select a puppy that is of the correct breed, not all dogs from even these breeds grow up to become a protection one All have the potential, but not all have the correct personality. (That does not mean that there is anything wrong with the dog. Sometimes he is just not the type to confront things head on.)
If you need to train a young dog or puppy, it is certainly possible. Read how to train a dog for personal protection and attend Schutzhund training in your area.
A personal protection dog is out there waiting to guard you. Go out and find him.
More by this Author
Are you looking for a cat-friendly dog or visa versa? Here are five great dog breeds that like cats, as well as three cat breeds that do great with dogs.
If you are thinking about getting a wolf hybrid, take a look at these dog breeds before making up your mind.
If you work all day but still want a dog, check out descriptions, videos, and pictures of these low energy breeds and find out which will suit your lifestyle.