Top 15 Guard Dog Breeds for Families with Children – Protective & Reliable Canines


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Many homeowners want to own a guard dog. However, they worry about the safety of their little ones. Since watchdog breeds need to be tough and protective, some doggos may pose harm to small children if left unsupervised. But with thebest guard dog for apartment life and children, parents can now have an eye on their yard while ensuring that their kids are safe.

The protectiveness factor depends on what the family wants to achieve in owning a dog. Some prefer the so-called ‘gentle giants’ as its size intimidates thieves while their demeanor makes them friendly with kids.

If you’re looking for a breed that will match these criteria, here are 15 of the best candidates that you can consider:

1. German Shepherd

If there’s one breed that fits any task, it would be the great German Shepherd. These doggos are very intelligent, affectionate, but also bears aloofness that makes them a reliable guard dog.

German Shepherds have high energy levels and a tendency to play which requires a large yard to romp and run to. And if you’re planning to introduce this dog to another canine, make sure that you’ve socialized and trained it first.

Also known as Alsatian in Great Britain, this breed needs a lot of exercise and things to get busy at. As a working dog breed, they always want to be part of something.

Beware, though, because German Shepherds are also dubbed as “German shedders”. Also, they’re not the best guard dog for apartment life.

best guard dog for apartment life

2. Doberman Pinscher

The first sight of a Doberman Pinscher is enough for a burglar to take a step back and rethink his dark pursuits. This dog has an intimidating gait, alert ears and eyes, and an agile nature. Those who don’t know this dog would likely associate the breed to aggression.

But if trained and socialized early on, Dobies will be gentle on their owners and little kids. If someone tries to harm their family, Dobermans are fearless and will go to great lengths to protect their pack.

During regular days, Dobies like to cuddle, often forgetting their size. And if guests treat him nicely and respect his territory, a Dobie will be a total sweetheart.

3. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are large and stocky dogs that are known to be powerful. Due to their bold nature, Rotties need intense socialization and training during puppyhood. If raised well, they will be cuddly and clingy doggos even to kids.

This breed has a wait-and-see attitude when they see or get exposed to new people. This makes Rottweilers a natural guard dog but with a soft disposition if not under threat.

Rottweilers form a strong bond on their families and they’ll do everything to protect them. If you raise the doggo with children around, they would be very affectionate and playful. Just watch out, though, since their large size can knock a child down. You also need to take them on brisk walks to dispense their extra energy.

4. Giant Schnauzer

Schnauzers are playful and intelligent doggos, but get a giant one and you’ll have a guard dog for your home and kids. Giant Schnauzers have a rugged look and a commanding appearance which will help foil a burglary attempt. This makes them one of the best guard dog breeds for families with children.

Take note that Giant Schnauzers have a dominant personality and boldness which can make them a handful at times. But since they are very trainable, these issues are easy to fix.

If you’ve raised a Schnauzer properly, there’s no limit on the tasks it can do. You can use the dog for tracking, herding, carting, and other tasks. Most of all, this breed is very eager to please its owners.

Giant Schnauzers are very affectionate too, but you should supervise them if you have very little kids.

5. Fila Brasileiro

If you’re looking for the stud of the canine world, the Fila Brasileiro will surely impress you with its mastiff appearance and fawn or brindled coat. They are large and powerful dogs with intense determination and bravery.

Standard Filas are affectionate and tolerant with kids. Still, it’s imperative to train this dog before letting them mingle with your little ones. Their firmness should be channeled to protectiveness to avoid cruelty and aggression.

It’s best that you show them that you’re the house boss until the Fila reaches maturity. This way, the doggo will grow as a well-rounded and discipline canine. Also, you should keep them busy because Filas are master chewers and may vent out their boredom to your new sofa.

best guard dog for apartment life

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

For parents looking for size more than the guarding temperament, gentle giants like the Bernese Mountain Dogs will be the perfect fit. These dogs were bred to pull carts and herd cattle but not the best guard dog for apartment life. And although they are large, they also have a big heart.

The Bernese Mountain dogs are very affectionate and loyal to their families. They also make perfect cuddle buddies to kids due to their very gentle nature. Overall, they have moderate energy levels which are manageable for families.

The only problem with this breed is their large size. Unless you have a large yard, Bernese dogs aren’t for you. These gentle canines need a large space to stay happy – something that can be a mutual benefit for people looking for a guard dog on their property.

7. The Great Pyrenees

Sharing a physical similarity to Golden Retrievers, the Great Pyrenees is a fearless canine breed. They were born to guard just about anything, even the most mundane things they perceive as dangerous.

But when they aren’t keeping an eye against the enemies, they are showing their love to their owners and the kids in the house. It’s why they’re one of the best guard dog breeds for families with children.

Although they are large dogs, the Great Pyrenees are very affectionate. Still, they are a bit paranoid with strangers.

The struggle of owning the Great Pyrenees is the consistency of training. Although this breed is smart, their strong determination may come in the way. Also, make sure that you socialize and train this doggo from puppyhood to have a well-mannered pooch.

8. Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard dogs were initially bred to guard the area of the Hospice St. Bernard in Switzerland where they also got their name. But instead of being fierce, they are patient, kind, and calm. They prefer finding and saving lost travelers.

The size of Saint Bernard dogs equates the love that they give –giant. It’s a good-natured breed that is far from aggressive and prefers staying indoors.

They are also very patient with kids but you may want to watch out since their large size may topple a small kiddo.

If domesticated properly, Saint Bernards are perfect cuddle buddies for kids while watching TV or reading. Just take note that they aren’t the best breed for jogging and active living. Since they are muscular and large, they can easily suffer from exhaustion and heat stroke. They’re also not the best guard dog for apartment life.

best guard dog for apartment life

9. Pitbull

Pitbulls’ bull-baiting past is already long behind them. From being fierce canines to loveable pooches, Pitbulls will surely deter any burglar that will climb into your fence. Pitties have stocky builds and a fearsome gait which makes them a great guard dog.

If raised well, they will get along with kids.

In fact, Pitbulls tend to be more protective of kids than adults. Just make sure that you get the Pitbull pup from a responsible breeder to ensure that you have an even-tempered and healthy dog.

Early socialization and obedience training are necessary to raise disciplined Pitbull. But before you get one, I suggest that you check if your place has Breed-Specific Laws (BSL) that may prohibit owning this breed.

10. Great Dane

Large and noble, that’s how dog owners describe the Great Dane. And true enough, this large breed is loving and loyal plus they are one of the most well-natured dogs in the canine world.

Despite their large size, Great Danes insist to become lapdogs, often squirming their way to their owner in the couch. They also tend to become friendly with strangers, but if you just want a large dog for show, they will be a perfect deterrent against thieves.

Great Danes are also power barkers which will send a burglar away. Not to mention their athletic and muscular bodies, anyone won’t suspect that your doggo is actually a cinnamon roll deep inside.

But a word of caution: their wagging tails have a mind of its own. Make sure that you keep those ceramics away.

11. Puli

So a thief is trying to climb your fence when a mop-like dog suddenly burst out of nowhere. This will surely scare a criminal away, making Puli one of the best guard dog breeds for families with children.

Puli dogs have one of the most unique coats among all dogs. It actually resembles dreadlocks which some even describe as something that looks “like a floor mop”. If groomed well, they will stand out among other dogs.

When it comes to temperament, Puli dogs are very affectionate to kids and their owners. They can also thrive in apartment living given that you satisfy their playful nature.

Also known as the Hungarian Water Dog, Puli dogs tend to act like babysitters for little kids and other animals in the house. They are also sensitive to the needs of older people which make them a good candidate as a therapy dog. If trained well, Puli can be the best guard dog for apartment life.

12. Bullmastiff

If you want a fearless family guardian by your side, the Bullmastiff will be a good choice.

They have a standoffish attitude against strangers which is more of wait-and-see nature. Even though they are ready to put up a fight, Bullmastiffs always have a big heart for their family – including kids.

Bullmastiffs are large dogs but they are undemanding when it comes to physical stimulation. They are playful but their energy level is manageable. If you take a Bullmastiff to daily walks, they will be living happily in a condo or an apartment setting.

The good thing about Bullmastiffs is they are very versatile dogs. They do well as guard dogs but they can also tolerate guests if given enough human interaction while growing up.

best guard dog for apartment life

13. Catahoula Leopard Dog

A tough dog with a striking appearance, the Catahoula Leopard dog will be a perfect guard dog. As a bold breed, they need a strong leader and proper socialization to get along with kids.

Catahoula dogs aren’t very playful and they prefer spending their time working on their tasks. And since they have unique, webbed feet, they can swim or go around marshes and swamps.

With their history as tracking and guard dogs, Catahoulas are naturally watchful of strangers. Those who live with this breed say that Catahoulas are very great in judging characters. These doggos will defend their families against people they don’t find trustworthy.

Take note that although Catahoula dogs are tough, they also need TLC. They thrive as companion dogs and hate being left alone.

14. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Straight from Africa, this handsome doggo also makes a perfect family guardian. They form a close bond with their families and they are usually reserved and dignified in the presence of a stranger.

This breed is an athletic dog and will require an experienced dog owner to keep up with their needs. When it comes to kids, they are very tolerant but their playfulness may knock a little kid down.

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is an intelligent dog but it can be hard-headed at times. Still, this doggo knows how to let loose through its clownish ways.

15. Tibetan Mastiff

Like Saint Bernard, the Tibetan Mastiff is large yet very gentle. They were bred to guard properties and livestock, but in a domesticated setting, they prefer working closely with their humans. The size of this breed is a total opposite of their temperament: kind, patient, gentle, and very tolerant.

As much as Tibetan Mastiffs are cinnamon rolls, they know how to be a tough cookie when their families are in danger. But if not doing their guarding task, they are quiet and calm dogs.

Just beware since this breed can be hard-headed and stubborn at times. If left alone, they can really give a bothering fit of barking.

Not sure how to pick the right guard dog? Here’s a quick guide from HowCast:

What do you think of these best guard dog breeds for families with children? Let us know below!