Special Report

America's Best Guard Dogs

Some dogs have an instinct to protect their home and the people who take care of them — and these qualities make them excellent guard dogs. But that does not mean these dogs tend to be vicious or aggressive when unprovoked. With proper training, the best guard dogs are as affectionate and gentle as they are brave and strong-willed.

To compile a list of the best guard dogs, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on each of the 282 dog breeds currently listed by the American Kennel Club, the country’s purebred dog registry. We included the 34 breeds the AKC has classified as the best for protection and listed them in alphabetical order.

Most of the dogs on the list belong to the working or herding groups. They are loyal and confident dogs, as most people may expect. But unlike what some people may assume, these dogs are not necessarily big and heavy. The best guard dogs vary from medium size, which is defined as between 50 and 70 pounds, to really big — around 130 pounds or more. With few exceptions, working and herding dog breeds normally live between 12 and 14 years.

Guardian dogs are, in addition to protectors, wonderful companions, but some dogs require more physical and mental stimulation to reach their full potential. Some dog breeds are also considered more intelligent than others — here are the smartest dogs in America.

Click here for the best guard dogs

Methodology

To compile a list of the best guard dogs for protection, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on each of the 282 dog breeds currently listed by the American Kennel Club, the country’s purebred dog registry. We included the 34 breeds the AKC has classified as the best guard dogs. Dog breeds are listed in alphabetical order. Twelve breeds are still fairly new in the U.S. and did not have a popularity ranking as of March 2021.