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8 Awesome Guard Dog Breeds That Do Not Shed Much

In addition to his veterinary work, Dr. Mark also trains dogs—mostly large breeds and those that suffer from aggression problems.

Looking for a large guard-dog companion that won't shed all over the place? Consider these eight breeds as your potential guard dogs.

Looking for a large guard-dog companion that won't shed all over the place? Consider these eight breeds as your potential guard dogs.

What Makes a Good Guard Dog?

Although guard dogs offer a great defense system and can be a great part of the family, a lot of the complaints I hear have to do with breed traits that tend to clash with owners' lifestyle or preferences.

Some people would love a great guard dog but do not want an awesome dog like the Neapolitan Mastiff that will slobber all over the place. Some want a dog that will get along with their kids and neighbors. Others are concerned about excessive shedding, and great guard breeds like the German Shepherd are often kept out of the house because of that problem.

A guard dog does need to look like he or she will defend, and a white, fluffy dog bred to watch livestock is not really the best choice in all areas. If you are looking for a good dog that is not going to leave hair everywhere but still looks tough, here are a few great breeds you should consider.

Eight Great Guard Dog Breeds That Do Not Shed

  1. Giant Schnauzer
  2. Bouvier des Flandres
  3. Briard
  4. Airedale
  5. Kerry Blue Terrier
  6. Puli
  7. Spanish Water Dog
  8. Standard Schnauzer

1. The Giant Schnauzer

This breed has always been one of my favorites for several reasons. The Giant Schnauzer is tough, intelligent, built to handle all heavy guard-dog duties, and does not shed much. Their coat does need to be clipped every six weeks or so (depending on the dog), and like all dogs, the breed needs to be groomed every day just to check the skin for any mats, ticks, or other problems.

When it comes to caring for the Giant Schnauzer, do not try to get his or her coat plucked like some will recommend—it is not necessary. Exercise is also a requirement, even if your dog is content to sit around most of the day (not all of them are, of course).

What You Should Know

Although Giant Schnauzers do not drool a lot, they do have heavy beards that can get wet. Sometimes they drip and slobber all over the house, but this is not much of a problem when weighed against their other awesome traits.

2. The Bouvier des Flandres

The Bouvier des Flandres, a large herding breed known for farm work, also makes a great guard dog. These dogs are hardy, fierce-looking, and loud enough to scare off most people. They do not drool much, but like all dogs with beards, this breed does tend to make a mess around the house. I have heard people suggesting that a short clip on the face is the best thing for a dog that is going to be kept in the house.

What You Should Know

Keeping a Bouvier in the house may not be a good idea, however. Since the Bouvier des Flandres was bred to be a sheep or cattle-herding dog, the breed has a lot of energy and is sometimes hard to handle in confinement. They need plenty of exercise, so if you are not the type of person that likes to walk your dog a lot, a Bouvier may not be the best choice.

3. The Briard

Guard dogs can look handsome and still do their jobs, which is why I recommend the Briard. The Briard is tough, a good personal-protection dog, a fierce guard, and looks good when doing his or her job. They have been used by the French army as guard dogs in the past, too.

What You Should Know

Briards do not slobber much, but they can be messy inside the house because their faces tend to get wet when they drink. It's also worth mentioning that their beautiful coat does come with a cost. They mat easily and need to be brushed every day to prevent matting. They also have a high prey drive and are not recommended for inexperienced owners.

The other problems with the Briard are similar to those of the Bouvier. The dog was bred to be a herder and thus has an excess of energy. They need adequate exercise so that they do not get bored and destructive.

What About a Medium-Sized Guard Dog?

What About a Medium-Sized Guard Dog?

What About a Medium-Sized Guard Dog?

Although most people think only large dogs can serve as guards, medium-sized breeds should also be considered. They are a little easier to handle by younger members of your family, eat a lot less, sometimes have lower veterinary costs, and many of them are as fierce as the better-known large breeds but are not as much of a mess around the house.

4. The Airedale

Like a lot of terriers, Airedales have a high prey drive and can also be excessive barkers. (That is not such a bad quality in a guard dog as long as you do not become complacent and start ignoring your dog's warning.) Airedales do not drool much, barely shed, and are pretty easy to train. They can be good with the family as long as they are socialized early, but they are usually not a good choice for someone that has a lot of visitors.

What You Should Know

Although these dogs do make good guard dogs, they do tend to be dog-aggressive and are not a great choice for someone who does not know how to handle dogs.

Kerry Blue Terriers were bred to be alert.

Kerry Blue Terriers were bred to be alert.

5. The Kerry Blue Terrier

These medium-sized Irish dogs are tough, alert, and make good guard dogs. They do need good socialization training during the sensitive socialization period, however, in order to get along with other pets. (If you bring the dog home as an adult, make sure that the breeder knows what sort of family he or she will need to fit into.) If you can find one, they are a good medium-sized guard dog for a family.

What You Should Know

Since they have an awesome beard, they do tend to make a mess around the water dish. They have a lot of energy and need to be walked a lot and brushed every day to prevent matting.

Although small for a guard, the Puli is a dog that will defend his or her family and territory.

Although small for a guard, the Puli is a dog that will defend his or her family and territory.

6. The Puli

The Puli may not look like much of a guard, but the breed does make many “best guard dogs” lists. Pulis are on the smaller size of medium (about 25 pounds), so they are small for a guard and are definitely not going to knock down a home invader. Their attitude, however, makes up for a lot of their deficiencies. They are alert, have a high prey drive, and will wander around your house looking for intruders.

What You Should Know

Like all herding breeds, they need adequate exercise. Some breeders will warn new owners that these dogs may attack strangers even when not provoked.

7. The Spanish Water Dog

This cute dog looks kind of like his Portuguese cousin, but is sometimes heavier (only about 20 kg or 45 pounds) and has a more aggressive personality, making them a better choice for a guard dog. Unlike the other low-shedding guard dog breeds that need to be brushed to keep out mats, the Spanish Water Dog is easy to care for.

What You Should Know

These dogs need to be checked to make sure that they are not developing skin problems, but in general, it's rarely a problem. Their long coats do need to be clipped every year, which some people consider expensive.

Standard Schnauzers are alert guard dogs but do not have the strength of the Giant Schnauzer.

Standard Schnauzers are alert guard dogs but do not have the strength of the Giant Schnauzer.

8. The Standard Schnauzer

The Standard Schnauzer is a versatile dog, whether working around the small family farm, acting as a “kinder-watcher” and taking care of the family, or just guarding their little piece of the world. The Giant and Miniature Schnauzer were both developed from this medium-sized breed.

What You Should Know

They are not perfect guards, as no medium-sized dog can be. A Standard Schnauzer is a lot less likely to knock down a human intruder than a Giant Schnauzer. They also get bored and really need to be walked several times a day. Most Standard Schnauzers are going to get destructive if they do not have more to do then just guard.

Alternative Medium-Sized Guard Dogs

If the dogs on this list do not appeal to you, consider a Portuguese Water Dog or a Wheaten Terrier. Neither breed is recommended for guard duties, as they are not excessively aggressive, however, both are athletic and guard their own territory effectively, and neither breed sheds much.

Small dogs generally make good watchdogs.

Small dogs generally make good watchdogs.

Can Small Dog Breeds Also Be Good Guards?

Many small dog breeds are good watchdogs. This does not mean they are good guards, however. Oftentimes, a watchdog will alert you to a problem, but they are not physically capable of dealing with it. If you already have a Yorkie or Chihuahua, you know what I mean. They will let you know if their territory is being invaded, but even if they attack, they are likely to lose out.

If you just want a watchdog and do not need a guard, here is a list of some of the best small watchdogs that will monitor strange noises in your home and do well with your family, other pets, and with visitors.

I think the best situation is when you are able to have two dogs—an alert, small watchdog, and a large guard. The monks of Tibet used to keep Lhasa Apsos in the house (a small dog breed that is alert and does not shed) and the huge Mastiff outside to serve as a guard.

Socializing Your Guard Dog

If you get a puppy that you want to develop as a guard, he or she should be socialized with your family every day during the sensitive socialization period. This is the most important age for a puppy (up to about 16 weeks of age), and when he or she is introduced to new things, they will be much less likely to react negatively when mature.

Is good socialization enough? No, it is not, especially if you are talking about a potential guard dog. Guard dogs should learn at least the basic commands (sit, down, stay, come, and leave it), and if you are not willing or able to teach them, you need to find someone to help.

If the only thing you want your dog to do is guard your house, you can train him or her to do so easily after teaching basic obedience. If you expect them to do more advanced guarding, then I recommend you hire a professional trainer.

Where Can I Find a Guard Dog That Does Not Shed?

The first place to look for your new guard dog is at your local animal shelter. They may not have what you are looking for, so be sure to go online and look at This site has listings for dogs in animal shelters in your area, in nearby states, and, if you are looking for a specific breed, Petfinder will show you all of the dogs of that type that are available for adoption all over the country.

If you still have not found what you are looking for, contact a breeder. (You can find local breeders at a dog show in your city or search the internet and find someone that focuses on producing the breed of dog you are looking for.)

When searching for a guard dog, it is sometimes better to look for a well-socialized adult that you are sure will have the confidence to guard; if you have a family, it is better to bring home a puppy and let them become familiar with your kids during the sensitive socialization period.

What to Avoid

Do not accept a potential guard puppy from a puppy mill or ever try to meet someone in a parking lot out of convenience; do not buy a puppy from one of the internet sites that sell many different dog breeds of dubious origin. The dog you end up with will be poorly socialized and will most likely have housetraining and behavioral problems as he or she becomes older. They will most likely never develop into the type of dog you are looking for.


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 15, 2019:

Sadiki sounds great. Sorry to hear about your Conure, they sure are tough little birds. (My Golden Capped Conure is always up for a fight with my Amazon, even if he is less than half sized!)

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on October 14, 2019:

He was the biggest of the litter as I understand it, and he had impressive musculature for the breed! My conure passed away a few years ago. The toll of living with just one kidney eventually got to her, although she did make it to nearly ten years that way. I have since gotten a Meyers parrot named Sadiki who turned one-year-old just a little over a week ago. He is quite a character: sassy, silly, and stubborn- all at once!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 14, 2019:

Hi Penny! That sounds like a huge Mini. He would tower over the Puli!!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your Conure is doing well.

Penny Leigh Sebring from Fort Collins on October 14, 2019:

Even Miniature Schnauzers can make protective companions! I had one growing up and my 45-pound dog had no problem confronting a grown man when the dog felt I was in danger.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on October 14, 2019:

Hi Wesman, I have a Standard and live in the tropics so I do not imagine it is much worse there in Texas. I see Chows here from time to time and feel so sorry for those dogs on those hot, humid days.

Schnauzers do great in these conditions. They could probably eat off the floor of your trailer too! LOL

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on October 14, 2019:

I live here on the family property. My dad has mentioned how he's always wanted to have a Schnauzer. Maybe I can sell him on the giant one.

Our dogs are all outside dogs except I'll let them into my trailer. The parents keep a house to where you could eat off the floor. Me...not so much!

Used to always have chows. I really really love chows, but it's so hot in Texas.