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Best Medium Sized Guard Dog Breeds

Updated on May 19, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

The Shar Pei is one of the best medium sized guard dogs.
The Shar Pei is one of the best medium sized guard dogs. | Source
Adult Shar Peis do not have this many wrinkles.
Adult Shar Peis do not have this many wrinkles. | Source

Medium sized guard dogs

If you would like a guard dog, but cannot manage or do not want one of the larger breeds in your home, these medium sized dogs are some good choices. They do not have the strength of some of the larger breeds that compete in personal protection competitions (Schutzhund) and are unlikely to be strong enough to knock a full-grown man off of his feet.

That is not what guarding a house is all about. A watch dog needs to alert the family to suspicious activity, so any size will do. If he is large enough to be the owner of a fierce bark, he should also scare away any intruders.

A medium sized dog can do that. Here are several of the best:

Best Medium Guard Dogs

Australian Cattle Dog
Chow Chow
Kerry Blue Terrier
Standard Schnauzer
Shar Pei
Shar Peis must have their wrinkles cleaned to prevent infection.
Shar Peis must have their wrinkles cleaned to prevent infection. | Source

Shar Pei

If an intruder gets a look at his dog, he probably will not think he has come up against much of a guard. The Shar Pei has lots of wrinkles and some people consider him to cute to work.

He does guard, though, and does it quite well. In China the Shar Pei was the common man´s fighting dog but they were also kept by the royalty as palace guard dogs. Most are good watch dogs since they do not bark all of the time.

Very few dogs were imported into the U.S. so they do have some health problems due to inbreeding, and, since they became so popular so fast, over breeding. Some dogs are prone to allergies and skin infections, many have ear problems, and most suffer from entropion, an eyelid disease where the hairs roll in and can eventually make the dog blind without surgery.

The dog´s watch dog abilities were not affected by inbreeding and over breeding. They are quiet, good for someone who works all day, but ready to guard their family when called to serve.

If you like the way he looks, and are willing to deal with the bristly coat, the Shar Pei is one of the best dogs on this list.

Chows are an attractive guard dog but they do shed a lot.
Chows are an attractive guard dog but they do shed a lot. | Source

Chow Chow

This dog, despite his appearance, is actually closely related to the wolf, and some of his personality traits reflect that. They are usually calm, like the wolves at the zoo, but when something happens they can have ferocious bursts of energy.

Food coming out? Time to be aggressive and push to the front. Time for a walk? Get up and make sure it happens. Strangers at the door? Time to get to the front and guard the house.

Chows are not easy to train so they need to be socialized and trained when young and easier to work with. Most breeders recommend Chow Chows be purchased and trained only by experienced owners. So, although they are good medium sized guard dogs, they are not the easiest guard dog to work with.

If you fit the Chow Chow profile, and you can deal with the hair, they are an awesome dog to choose.

Kerry Blue Terrier owners report that their dogs have a sense of humor.
Kerry Blue Terrier owners report that their dogs have a sense of humor. | Source
Since the Kerry Blue Terrier does not shed, he does need to be groomed.
Since the Kerry Blue Terrier does not shed, he does need to be groomed. | Source

Kerry Blue Terrier

This Irish dog is not popular, nor is he easy to get a hold of in most of the world, but he is a good farming and a great medium sized guard dog. Kerry Blues are also one of the breeds that do not shed much, but since their coats grow continuously they do need regular grooming.

Dogs are usually less than 18 kilos (about 40 pounds) but they are solid enough to act as guards. Puppies are black but become more blue (grey, actually) as they age.

They are prone to a few genetic diseases but usually live to about 10.

Breeders like to point out that the dogs have a good sense of humor and are good with kids and a lot of fun for their family. They are not good with other dogs, and require obedience training, but are such good guards that they have even been used as police dogs.

That is impressive for a medium sized dog.

Standard Schnauzers are alert and easy to train.
Standard Schnauzers are alert and easy to train. | Source

Standard Schnauzer

One of the best medium sized dog breeds for an apartment, the Standard Schnauzer can also be trained as a personal protection dog or used as a guard. They are a lot more energetic than some of the good apartment dogs, but they do not shed much, and if groomed regularly are pretty easy to maintain.

They can be trained fairly easily and are good as guards since they have a fierce bark. Most of them are great with kids, and, although they have a lot of energy, as long as they are walked every day will not become bored and destructive.

Standard Schnauzers are also healthy and do not have as many problems as their miniature and giant varieties. Dogs live to about 13.

An Australian Cattle Dog puppy.
An Australian Cattle Dog puppy. | Source
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the healthiest dog breeds.
The Australian Cattle Dog is one of the healthiest dog breeds. | Source

Australian Cattle Dog

This dog is medium sized but longer than he is tall, muscular and compact. They usually only weigh about 15-20 kilos (around 30-45 pounds) and a lot of them seem smaller than that, not a dog that most people would think of as a ferocious guard.

The Australian Cattle Dog might surprise you. He is one of the most intelligent breeds, quick to learn his guard dog tasks and even quicker to guard his home. In Australia, where he is a common breed, the only dog breed that bites more often is the German Shepherd Dog. In the U.S. they are much less common but are over-represented in the dog bite statistics.

This dog is healthy, and many go their whole life with no problem more severe than an injury. They bond strongly with their owner but do not do as well with strangers and may herd small kids.

Even if you like his looks and think that this is the type of guard dog you are looking for, consider carefully. The Australian Cattle Dog is an active breed and does not do well if confined to an apartment or to a life locked up in the suburbs. If you are thinking about one of these dogs but do not have the activity level to keep him happy, keep looking elsewhere.

Some people looking for a good medium sized guard dog will also choose the Staffordshire Terrier, which is a little smaller than the American Pit Bull Terrier. He is a good dog, but if you rent some leases will not allow this dog, if you own some insurance companies will not cover this breed, and since most of his aggression is dog-to-dog and he is not really the best choice for guarding the home. Things change, however, and since some dogs are being selected to be more aggressive they might make better guard dogs in the near future.

Just a final word here about finding a new guard dog: since personalities differ from dog to dog, do not assume just because you have a member of one of these breeds that you will have a good guard dog. You might do your best and still end up with an aggressive Whippet or a shy Chow.

Do not buy your new puppy from a pet shop or internet puppy warehouse. The dog is from a puppy mill and is more likely to grow up with behavioral problems.

If you choose to adopt an adult dog, you can find the breed rescues in your area by entering what you want and where you are into your search engine. is another site that can help you find the dog you are looking for in shelters outside your immediate area.

Good luck on finding a medium sized guard dog that meets your needs.

© 2014 Dr Mark


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    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Bob! I was wondering where you have been lately. I am always entertained by your comments, despite the fact that some of them are too witty for my thick skull.

      As long as a dog does not bark too much, most of them make good watchdogs. I think the breeds that bark all the time are worthless, since the owners just learn to ignore them. A good guard dog, though, has to really do something to defend his territory, which I think the Shar Pei is so different than so many more mellow breeds. Mr. Wrinkles sounds like an exception.

      Thanks for reading--and it is good to see you back.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 3 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      This is an interesting and valuable hub. I especially like the fact that you encourage adoption from a shelter or rescue group. The Shar Pei pics bring back fond memories of Mr. Wrinkles, a dog that would accompany his owner to my store a few times a month. As soon as one of the staff acknowledged him, he'd sit, without a command. He knew a treat was coming.

      Is it safe to say that most any dog that barks when someone is outside can be a good guard dog because they serve as a deterrent? I think most burglars, upon hearing a dog, will seek happier hunting grounds. But, some dogs can be distracted by food, so a burglar may try that to gain entry safely. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Pamela thanks for reading.

      Chows are like Basset Hounds--many of them are large medium, and are too big to really be a medium sized dog. I have seen a lot of them about the size of a Siberian Husky, but they can get up there, 75 pounds or so---I really know what you mean. And, with all that hair, they look even bigger!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Chows are really big at least all of the ones I've seen.

      Great list.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Sometimes that size just not matter, does it? Thanks for taking the time to leave a message. It is always great to hear from you!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another great hub on Man's best friend Dr Mark. We had a min Schnauzer 'Pepper' along with our Doberman Major and she was the boss in all respects.

      Great hub.