Most Loyal Dog Breeds
Loyal dogs: The Doberman
This is really hard to write because almost all dog breeds are loyal. If almost all dogs are loyal, how do you pick out the best?
Most web sites choose to pick “the most loyal” based on “the most popular” list of dog breeds. Yes, Labradors, Goldens, and Beagles are all loyal dogs. Chihuahuas are one of the most loyal dog breeds, and will usually pick their “favorite” owner and do anything they can to take care of that person.
Loyalty means a lot of different things to different people. To me, loyalty is when a dog is willing to lay down his life to protect you. A few dogs are like the Whippet and will run off before facing an intruder. Some dogs are like my Pit Bull. She is faithful and not at all disloyal, but if there is anything unusual she will hide behind my legs.
The breeds listed here are not likely to hide between your legs. They are all loyal, maybe to a fault:
Personal protection dogs always have to be loyal. It´s in the job description. If these dogs were humans they would probably all be employed by the US Secret Service and would sit around telling each other how they were waiting for the chance to take a bullet meant for the President.
Dobies are dogs, however. They do not go home at the end of their shift, and, unlike Secret Service agents, anyone can have one.
They are known to bite strangers but rarely bite their owners. In fact a study in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science showed that Dobies are less aggressive to their owners than “mellow” breeds like the Cocker Spaniel, but rank higher in stranger-directed aggression.
Dobies are not as large as many other breeds, but they do use every kilo to protect their owner. Since their development by a tax collector in Germany, Dobies have been one of the most loyal breeds. They listen to their owner and protect him when told to do so.
Most of them live about 11 years. This breed of dog is not the first choice for a lot of people, but if you are looking for a loyal dog there really is no better choice.
This book on intelligence in dogs lists the Doberman and German Shepherd Dog in the top ten. (Breeds like the Neapolitan Mastiff and Boerboel were not even considered at that time.) I thought it was a great book to read but loyalty was not one of the factors considered in rating intelligence, and almost all of the loyal dogs have superior intelligence. Anyone interested in learning more about dogs and finding a loyal dog will enjoy this book.
This personal protection dog from Italy has been known for his loyalty since Roman times. Cane Corso were expected to walk next to their owner, watching him even when he was relaxing in the evening.
Their popularity is increasing but there still are not many of them around. If they were included in more studies they would be praised for their courage, but anyone studying the breed would also have to discuss how difficult they are to train.
They are not as easy to train as a Dobie, and since they are larger it is important that this be done when the dog is young.
Cane Corso live about 10 or 11 years, and can be one of the most loyal dogs during that whole time.
If this dog were more popular he would probably be on a lot of “ten top loyal dog” lists. He is not well known, and most of the lists are replicas of the top ten most popular.
Neapolitan Mastiffs are the best family guard dogs. They are one of the most loyal dogs because they are willing to lie quietly in the yard and then attack and take down a stranger. Since Neos are so large (60 to 70 kilos, or about 130 to 150 pounds) they can do their job effectively when needed.
There are not a lot of studies on intelligence or behavior that include Neos. Like Dobies, they are a dog that would rarely bite an owner, but would do so to a stranger.
Strangers might not even be out to hurt a family, but a dog is not able to tell this.
Neos are prone to skin and eyelid problems plus have a lot of giant dog problems, and thus they only live about 7 or 8 years. They never run away, do not bark much, and will be loyal to the family during their short lives.
This big dog comes from Africa where he was developed to protect the homestead of famers against lions and other predators. Loyalty was what was needed for a dog like that.
The Boerboel could not run off and hunt, even if interesting animals happened by. Unlike a coon dog, he could not be gone for days at a time, chasing a good scent and stopping whenever he felt so inclined. These dogs were not bred to be hunters, but were used as family guard dogs.
When they are still young they should be socialized and obedience trained. When they become adults, and weigh anywhere from 60 to 80 kilos (130 to 170 pounds) training is not going to be so easy.
The Boerboel was probably bred using Bullmastiffs, another loyal guard dog. The best dogs survive about 10 years and will be loyal and protective that whole time—against whatever they have to face.
German Shepherd Dog
Most of the incredible stories of loyalty involve dogs of this breed. I have books that tell stories about GSDs coming home from far away, about waking up the owners to escape from the house during a gas leak, and even one story of a dog that broke into a house, saved his owners from a burning house, and jumped back into the house to save the child still sleeping.
They are intelligent and loyal, but they are also one of the most common dog breeds. If there were more Dobies, Cane Corsos, and Neos, would there be more heroic stories about those dogs? No one can know for sure. It is my opinion that there would be, but that does not take away from the incredible things that this dog has done.
German Shepherd Dogs are the most popular animal in the personal protection competitions. Since they are intelligent and easy to train, they are also a popular choice in obedience trials, and have always been popular as guard dogs because of their size and strength.
Like all large and powerful dogs, they do need to be socialized and trained. GSDs live about 10 or 11 years if healthy and taken care of.
This giant is not a personal protection dog, and not a guard dog, but he is one of the most loyal and has become famous for his willingness to give up his life to save his human master. Other dogs may work in snow, and some breeds are better known for walking the streets of tough cities, but the Newfoundland is the dog most likely to jump in there and rescue a drowning child.
Newfies have a coat that is almost waterproof, webbed paws that allow them to swim fast, a powerful breaststroke, an excellent lung capacity, and a heart that makes them one of the most loyal dogs when it comes time to save someone caught in the waves.
This is the kind of dog I would want taking care of my kids.
Newfies have been used in several crossbreeding programs. The breeders hope that the amazing loyalty of this breed will be inherited. Some others do not want to use them because of their health issues. Only about 38% of them even make it to their tenth birthday.
If you do not agree with the dogs I have chosen for this list, all you have to do is look on a different site. There are a lot of people who will disagree and choose the most popular dogs. There are others who disagree and choose a dog breed they have seen in a movie—Hachiko the Akita, Lassie the Collie, and a few others. They are not wrong; it is just that this list is more accurate.
When you visit your local animal shelter, you are probably going to find a loyal dog, even if the dog is not on this list. She might be a mutt, she might be a purebred—as far as loyalty goes, it really does not matter. Take a minute to look around. If you are looking for a special breed you can enter Petfinder.com and see which dogs are available in your area. You can also look for breed rescues by using your search engine.
Remember, almost all dogs are loyal.
When out searching for a loyal dog, do not buy from a pet shop or an internet puppy wholesaler. The dog you buy will probably be the product of a puppy mill, and you may end up with a problematic puppy that is neither loyal nor able to be housetrained.
More About Dogs....
- Five Best Personal Protection Dog Breeds
If you need a protection dog find out which breed will do the job.Photos, videos, and descriptions of the five best will help you decide.
- Five Best Family Guard Dog Breeds
A guard dog can protect your family when no one else is around to do it.Photos, videos, and descriptions of the five best breeds available will help you choose the dog your family needs.
- Five Best Dog Breeds for Women Living Alone
Do you live alone and need a good companion to protect you? Here are five great choices.
Questions & Answers
© 2013 Dr Mark