Five Best Dog Breeds for Single Women Living Alone

Updated on April 9, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He also trains dogs, mostly large breeds, and those that suffer from aggression problems.

If you are a single woman and looking for the best breed to fit your lifestyle, you should consider this list. A large dog with a good bark will do a lot more for you than any shrill-voiced lap dog will—no matter how good his intentions.

When choosing, you need to find a pet that you enjoy in both looks and personality. Your should choose from among the following:

American Pit Bill Terrier

A Pitbull may not be the best guard dog, but he certainly looks the part.
A Pitbull may not be the best guard dog, but he certainly looks the part. | Source

With his muscular body, thick jaws, and a strong neck, the APBT really looks a lot tougher than it acts. However there have been several famous cases in which an APBT has defended his owner from attack. Any strong dog should have some basic techniques enforced so that his manners will be better. But they are often so friendly that it may not be the best choice for a woman living alone. They are a lot of fun to have around, though.

Pit Bulls are good with kids, but not always great with other dogs. They are not big, and although they are muscular they are a lot easier to handle than many big personal protection breeds. APBTs do need to be socialized if expected to be around smaller dogs or other pets around the house.

They are usually fairly healthy, but some lines may have hip dysplasia, thyroid diseases, problems with their knees, mange, and heart disease. They live to about 12 to 14 years.

This breed is often available in animal shelters. So if you are looking for a dog that is already an adult, do some searching.

Hold on, mom, I´m busy here.
Hold on, mom, I´m busy here. | Source

German Shepherd Dog

If you can find a line without health problems, the German Shepherd is a great dog.
If you can find a line without health problems, the German Shepherd is a great dog. | Source

The German Shepherd Dog is versatile and a great choice for a woman living alone. These dogs have a deep bark and although they are one of the most popular pets in the US still have a fierce reputation because of their experience with the army and police. Almost all home invaders would avoid a household with one of these serving guard duty.

This large dog (tall and weighing up to about 90 pounds) is often used as a guard or a service dog, as well as a drug and bomb sniffer. Most people are used to seeing the black and tan variety, but they are also available in solid black or white coat, and several other colors. They are intelligent, loyal, and if well socialized, are good with new house visitors.

They do have some serious health issues, and if you are looking for a dog to provide companionship as well as protection, you must be sure that the line you choose from has no problems.

About one fifth of this breed has hip dysplasia, and it is even worse among some lines that are selected to have a sloping back. They are prone to bloating, ear infections, hemophilia, and some other less common diseases.

German Shepherd Dogs live to be about 10 or 11 years old.

Doberman Pinscher

Yes, Dobies can be silly too.
Yes, Dobies can be silly too. | Source

Dobermans were actually developed for use as a personal protection dog, so they are a great choice for a single woman that needs a loyal “one person” pet. They are one of the most intelligent breeds, are easy to train, and will learn their guard role quite easily.

Like all of the others on this list, they have been accused of being too aggressive. The aggression shown by this breed is usually only for strangers, however, and if properly socialized then that is unlikely to become a problem.

Dobies are not as big as some of the other protection breeds (only about 26 inches at the withers, and about 70 pounds) but they are muscular and athletic, making every kilo count. They are usually black and tan but there are several colors available as well.

The intense selection process involved in developing the Doberman may be responsible for the breed´s health problems. They suffer from a type of heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy, a musculoskeletal disease called cervical vertebral instability, and hemophilia (otherwise known as Von Willebrands disease). Like most big dogs, they can also develop hip dysplasia, and they usually only live to 10 or 11 years old.


A Rottweiler smile may be deceiving.
A Rottweiler smile may be deceiving. | Source

Rotties are a great family watchdog and make great companions for any single woman as well. They do well in shutzhund (personal protection dog) competitions, and are loyal and eager to guard their owner.

They are big—up to about 130 pounds—so not everyone is able to handle that size. If you choose this breed as a companion, take the size into consideration. Because of their size, they'll need good socialization during the critical period.

Rottweiler health problems are typical for a big dog—in other words, hip dysplasia. They also are prone to obesity if not exercised enough (which is usually every day).


A Boxer, acting sweet but on the job.
A Boxer, acting sweet but on the job. | Source

Whether you choose to believe that this dog earned his name from using his front paws, or was just named after a similar breed, the Boxer is a great dog. They are playful, and the ultimate companion for a person living alone. They are also affectionate, good with other pets like cats, great barkers, and make good watchdogs.

According to Stanley Coren's ratings, they are not very intelligent. However, anyone who has ever worked with this breed using positive reinforcement methods will surely disagree. They are stocky, but usually only weigh about 60 pounds. Their short hair can be fawn or brindle, and they can usually be identified because of their famous blunt face and underbite.

Boxers do have some health problems. They are prone to cancer and die quite young, usually at only 9 or 10 years old. Their conformation (the brachycephalic head, wider than it is long) makes heat and humidity difficult for them. They also have heart problems, several types of eye diseases, and are prone to bloat and hip dysplasia, like most large dogs.

If you are a single woman living alone and are looking for a great companion with a fierce bark though, a Boxer is hard to beat.

The Boxer is one of the best dogs with cats.
The Boxer is one of the best dogs with cats. | Source

Crossbred dogs can also be a great source of protection. If you are looking for a loyal one, ask about a crossbred Rottie, Boxer, or German Shepherd Dog at your local shelter. There are usually plenty available since the small ones tend to go quickly and the large dogs are often euthanized for lack of a home.

None of these dogs are on my list of the best dog breeds for someone who works all day. If you are at work most of the day, and still want a dog for protection, you need to decide what is most important.

If you are living alone, make your choice soon and find a dog to share your life with! It is not always easy, but you will be glad you did.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      dixie dragon 6 months ago

      Lindsay - a boxer has few restrictions and they are the court jester of dogs - but another good choice is a giant schnauzer - fiercely loyal, quite until provoked, easy to train - I'd suggest a professional trainer for any dog you get to use for protection.

    • profile image

      JMillerWolfe 23 months ago

      I live alone with an Airedale Terrier. She is just the right size for me and she is very friendly to my friends. For the most part, the people who come into my home become her friends. But she has a way of seeing through people and I have found that she can actually "tell" me if I might be in any kind of danger. It is interesting that when she does this, those people have always quickly left the house.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 2 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Lindsey, find out if the place you are living in will allow a Boxer. If not, maybe a smaller dog like a Bull Terrier? I think a larger, fierce looking dog has more ability to turn away the "bad element", but I understand that some places will not allow them.

      Thanks for that comment; I will put together a list of smaller dogs that might work.

    • profile image

      Lindsey 2 years ago

      I love all of these dog breeds, but many apartment complexes have restrictions against pitbulls, rottweilers, german sheperds, and dobermans because of their bad rep. Do you have any recommendations for dogs that look less threatening but still have your back in a pinch?

    • profile image

      Namida the wolf 2 years ago

      + Jann Solo get a boxer-Pitt mix

    • profile image

      jp 3 years ago

      I have to pit bulls that are in side dogs my wife and to kids are at home at night by there self I work nights and I would not dear someone to come thro my door that they don't know they are very loving dogs and have never tried to hurt my kids or other dogs but let some one come up that they don't know and go after one of the kids the dogs would go after them I love my pit bulls and would not tread them for any thing

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks, vibesites. They both look really good, but then again, they all look really good!!! Nice extra benefit.

    • vibesites profile image

      vibesites 4 years ago from United States

      Thanks for your wonderful hub. I'm a single woman and wonder what kind of dog I should choose to protect me and my household whenever I'm out. Now your hub makes me to decide clearly -- I want a German Shepherd (it looks good, besides) or a Rottweiler. Thanks again. Up and useful.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks, ACS. They sound really great.

    • profile image

      ACS 5 years ago

      Dobermanns really rule if you´re looking for a Dog who will protect you at all costs and all times.. They WILL be a pain in the ass growing up and they need LOTS of exercise and training not to go restless. And a restless Dobermann is not a nice thing at all..

      It is, however VERY important to get one from a known Kennel with good breeding lines. You should also make sure you get a Dobermann from a German/European breed if you want a real watch/guard Dog. The American breed of Dobermann is too small and most of their natural instinct to guard and protect are lost in the breeding..

      I read your measurements on the Dobermann and for Europe they´re not quite right as our Dobermanns tend to be much larger!

      I have a 4yr old male from top German lines and he is almost 30" and 115lbs(or: 77cm and 53kg). This is about as large as they come..

      The European Dobermann surely is second to none when it comes to guarding your house/family or protecting their owner!

      The nicest, most loyal dog ever imho.

      (If you´re not breaking in or messing with their family that is..)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      LOL few actually take them seriously, though the little male dog would die for his family.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for coming by. Sorry I didn´t put Min Pins on this list!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      I learn the best stuff from you about dogs. Thanks

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Lots of great choices here!

    • Jann Solo profile image

      Jann Solo 5 years ago from HOUSTON, TEXAS

      I've been wondering what kind of dog I should have to protect me, this was a good read you put what I needed to know all in one article, thank you sir! I'm liking the boxer though I'm used to pit bulls.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Nettlemere-thanks for reading. Bob sounds like a real "guardian angel"!!!

      Did you check out my hub on dogs for writers? I put a link in there for your home page. Take a look when you have a moment.

    • carolynkaye profile image

      carolynkaye 5 years ago from USA

      @DrMark - Thanks for the suggestion. I like Boxers, though I've never had one. Whatever kind of dog I get, I'll probably get a young pup so he/she gets used to being around cats from the beginning. I agree dogs are all individuals. I used to have an Akita that was nothing like the typical Akita personality. She was a sweet teddy bear that even was gentle with my pet birds.

      @hisandhers - Thanks for your comments. I like Shepherd mixes as well. I think they're usually a little calmer and more laid back than purebreds, at least from what I've seen.

    • hisandhers profile image

      hisandhers 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      @ carolynkaye I have a mixed breed German Shepherd/Collie and not only was she amazing when I was living alone, she absolutely adores cats. Cats just do not always adore her! I can't say for sure whether this is standard across shepherd mixes but I have spoken to others who have adopted from her litter and we have all found our dogs to be gentle and kind with other animals and children, but their cautious nature makes them wary of strangers and situations they dislike and their bark can be quite intimidating. Good luck with your search!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Hi Carolynkaye I don't have a cat at the moment (I am allergic and there are no Siberians for sale where I live) but if I did one of the few guard dogs I would consider is the Boxer. They really are super-affectionate with other pets around your house.

      I have also seen Rotties do well. Some Pit Bulls will ignore cats but personally I have not seen one that is very affectionate with cats, just accepting. Not sure about GSDs as the ones I have been around were not cat friendly. Remember though that dogs are individuals, so if you start out with any breed as a puppy he will probably do okay with your cats.

      Still, a Boxer is really hard to beat! (I know, I am repeating myself!!!)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Theophanes, I read something about the development of the white Doberman that was pretty sad. There was only one born, of course, and they inbred for several generations to develop that color. Imagine all the problems with that strain? I would prefer a black and tan any day.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      A German shepherd cross is my choice (no surprise there!), although for terrifying callers to the door Bob the terrier gets top prize - no-one will get past him uninvited!

    • carolynkaye profile image

      carolynkaye 5 years ago from USA

      Great Hub! I'd love to get a Pit Bull, Rottweiler or Shepherd, but it's probably a bad idea since I have two cats. Any suggestions for a breed that's protective but cat-friendly? I was also thinking about a Black Lab.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 5 years ago from New England

      Dobermans used to have a lot of issues - because in the 70's (I think it was the 70's?) the top show stud was siring hundreds of litters but he himself had a hooorrible temperament and passed it on to a lot of the pups. I don't think such bad behavior would be accepted in the show ring today. I think the breed did recover really well. I've been around a lot of dobermans, only one of which was not trustworthy and she was an albino so who knows how inbred she was!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks for sharing, Midget. Always great to see you leaving a comment!

      Laura, I have met quite a few Dobermans that were real sweethearts. I think they had a bad reputation at one time, which the Pit Bull has now gained, and who knows what breed will be chosen next? One study I read on Dobies said that they were one of the breeds least likely to bite their owners, but very protective if not socialized extensively during the critical period.

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 5 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I really liked this article. My friend (single) has a Pit Bull who is as you describe a couch potato unless he feels she is in danger. Chance is very non-aggressive but a good-barker and I don't believe anyone would fare well if they tried to break into my friend's house. I was surprise about the Doberman being on the list as I have heard they can be temperamental and fear biters? When I attended Vet Tech school we were told that Chows and Doberman's were hard to handle and were unpredictable? Once in the field I never worked with one to form my own opinion.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      I'd suggest these any day for single ladies - appropriately aggressive when trained, and fiercely loyal. Thumbs up and sharing!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I love that comment Georgie! My Pit Bull cross is also as smart as a box of rocks, so it must be her mixed heritage (she is 1/4 Boxer), which is part of the sweet side of her horrible (just joking) personality.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 5 years ago from Texas

      The best dog I ever had was a boxer. She was sweet, loyal and a good guard dog - but she was also as smart as a box of rocks. I swear, I almost had a mental breakdown trying to potty train her. With that said, when I go looking for a pet again, it will probably be a boxer.

      Great Hub!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks Theophanes. It is funny how such a mild mannered dog will dislike a few individuals-and like you said, those type that would be dumb enough to threaten you. The PB certainly looks the part of a guard dog.

    • Theophanes profile image

      Theophanes 5 years ago from New England

      I have a pit bull for that very reason. Granted she was sort of dumped on me, I chose to keep her because she kept away a few unseemly individuals she didn't trust around me. Otherwise she's been a great people-friendly dog, just don't threaten me and you'll get along fine with her!