Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Best Dog Breeds That Look Like Guards
If you are looking for a dog that will keep the neighbors off of your doorstep, you need a large dog with a deep bark—a dog that looks like a guard. If you want a dog that will keep your mail from being delivered, one of these dogs should be perfect.
1. Presa Canario
Definitely number one, the Presa Canario looks even more like a guard than he really is. This breed of dog was actually developed to work livestock in the Canary Islands.
He has a large square head, strong jaws, and usually has cropped ears. Dogs are at least 45 kilos (about 100 pounds) but can be up to about 50 kilos (110 pounds) without being obese.
Presa Canario are also usually a dark brindle, making them look even more like a guard. They also look good in several other colors.
Presa Canario live about 10 years. They are tough dogs, often aggressive toward other dogs and, unless well socialized and trained, suspicious of strangers.
They have been implicated in some well-publicized mauling cases and are banned in New Zealand and Australia.
2. Japanese Tosa
This dog was actually developed for fighting but is so large and thick that he looks like the perfect guard.
Some of the dogs are as much as 90 kilos (200 pounds) with a massive head and fierce bark. A smaller native Japanese breed was crossed with the Mastiff, Great Dane, Bull Terrier, and some others to produce this dog.
They usually live about 10 years, and can be pretty expensive to purchase and take care of. Tosa Inu eat a lot and need a large and strong kennel. Any time you choose a giant breed, the health care expenses can be quite high.
Japanese Tosas are banned in the UK and a lot of other countries.
3. Dogo Argentino
The Argentine Mastiff is white, a color often chosen for small house dogs and livestock guard dogs. With his short coat and muscular body, he is powerful enough to look like a fierce guard.
Dogos were first bred in the 1920s by an Argentinean physician looking for a good hunting dog. They weigh about 45 kilos (100 pounds).
This breed is prone to hip dysplasia, a common problem in almost all large dogs. Just like the Dalmatian and white Boxer, they are also prone to deafness. The average life expectancy is about 10 years.
The Dogo Argentino has been bred to hunt, not fight with other dogs and not to defend his territory. Guarding comes naturally to most dogs, but this is not what the dog was meant to do. Despite that, the UK has determined that they are a dangerous dog and they are banned in many other countries.
4. Cane Corso
Just look at him! Although this dog was bred to be a companion and personal protection dog, he looks like a guard.
The Cane Corso is not as huge as a Neapolitan Mastiff (one of the best family guard dogs) but large dogs can still go up to 70 kilos (150 pounds). Their heads are large and blocky, their ears small or cropped, and their coats are often dark, fawn with black highlights, or brindle.
Cane Corso have the health problems usually found in big dogs—hip dysplasia and bloat. They can also become obese if not fed and exercised properly, and a big obese dog will usually have problems with arthritis.
They usually live about 10 or 11 years. Since they are often a companion dog, they need to be socialized and obedience trained, but when not doing their jobs, they make great looking guard dogs.
5. Caucasian Ovarchka
This dog would have ranked a lot higher but he is a native of the mountains and has a furry coat that makes him look a little cuddly. When he decides to bark, however, the Caucasian Ovcharka sounds like a guard.
They are strong, muscular, and, although there is no maximum size, most weigh over 50 kilos (110 pounds). There are a lot of types that may end up becoming separate breeds as this dog becomes better known.
Caucasian Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia and some heart problems. They will also become obese if given the chance.
Most of them last over 10 years. The breeders have selected a dog that is territorial and dog-aggressive, so if they are to be kept as companions they should have good socialization and obedience training.
Find the Best Family Guard Dog
If you are looking for a guard dog and you have a family, I would recommend you choose one of the breeds among the best family guard dogs. If you like the looks of the breeds here and wish to find one of these dogs you will need to do some searching.
Call your local animal shelter first and find out if a dog has been dropped off there. You can also check Petfinder.com and search for dogs available in other cities in your area. The web site dogbreedinfo has information on some rescues and may be able to help you find the adult dog you are looking for.
Still looking? Sometimes these dogs will be listed in the back of dog magazines available at your local bookstore. Some breeders will have sites on the internet to help you contact them.
Do not buy from a pet shop or an internet shipping service that will not allow you to visit the puppy´s parents. You will be supporting a puppy mill and may end up with a dog that you are not able to housetrain.
More About Dogs...
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- How to Prevent Aggression in your Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is not harder to handle than some other breeds; it is just that a dog that weighs over 100pounds must be especially easy to handle or things get out of control quickly. Learn what you need to do to prevent aggression with this great br
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 29, 2016:
Hi Ricardo that picture was just from Flickr.com. All I can suggest is to contact several Cane breeders in your area and tell them what color dog you are looking for, and go on a waiting list so that they can contact you later.
(Also look through the dogs in your area at Petfinder.com. You may get lucky.)
Ricardo Leandro on December 28, 2016:
Excuse Dr Mark where did you find that fawn brindle cane corso without the black mask ? The one of the first picture... I'm pretty interested and excited to find a cane corso of that specific color
Greetings Dr Mark on December 28, 2016:
Hello Dr Mark where did you find that fawn brindle cane corso in the first picture ?
Ps : I want one from that specific color
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on May 23, 2013:
"I would agree that the Ovcharka is more of a LGD, but I do not think the Boerboel fits here. He is a good family guard dog. I was thinking of putting the Fila on here, but a lot of them just look like Bloodhounds, not guards like Presas, Tosas, or Cane Corso."
Oh then please do consider Bully Kutta :-)
Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on May 16, 2013:
I would agree that the Ovcharka is more of a LGD, but I do not think the Boerboel fits here. He is a good family guard dog. I was thinking of putting the Fila on here, but a lot of them just look like Bloodhounds, not guards like Presas, Tosas, or Cane Corso. Thanks for that interesting comment, Suhail.
Thanks for reading, Eiddwen. The dogs listed in my hub "Family Guard Dogs" are even more mellow. Like you said, they do not deserve to be condemned, and certainly not banned!
Eiddwen from Wales on May 16, 2013:
So intersting and thank you for sharing. Some big dogs are given such bad press lately and not all deserved by a ling chalk.
Enjoy your day.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on May 15, 2013:
I liked this hub and read it with great interest. Of course, I know all these dogs, but my personal take is that Caucasian Ovcharka doesn't belong here. I would have covered it in top 10 mountain dogs. In lieu, I would have included South African Boerbol. These mastiff type dogs would fit better with the other 4.
Presa Canarios earned bad reputation in the USA due to attack and killing of Diane Whipple in 2002. That was a very tragic event.
Cane Corso have recently been approved for inclusion by AKC and I have seen one in a dog park near my home.
I have seen dogo Argentinos too. A family in the neighbourhood have two of them that they walk them on the same trails as I do mine.