10 January 2022
As the modern-day descendants of an apex predator, it is natural that dogs have retained wolves’ capacity to chase and bite. Through selective breeding and the development of breed standards, humans have been able to benefit from this and utilise dogs for a range of security taskings. A large number of breeds are now used for family and personal protection work, but some are more appropriate than others. This blog will offer an overview of the breeds commonly used for protection work, and aim to rank them from best to worst.
Perhaps the best breed for family protection work is the German Shepherd Dog. With pastoral roots and traditional responsibilities for herding and guarding livestock, its intelligence, work drive, and courage make it highly versatile. The German Shepherd Dog also has an “off switch”, so while highly driven is equally comfortable relaxing in home environments and enjoying the same kind of life a family companion would. The strong bonds they form with their families make them legendarily loyal, and they are perhaps our favourite breed to work with.
Also popular is the Dobermann. Another German breed which was originally developed by a tax-collector who sought a protection dog to accompany him in his unpopular line of work, it has proved popular and successful. Intelligence and courageous but playful, Dobermanns are a capable deterrent against would-be intruders and attackers, but known for being good with children as well. Temperamentally balanced working Dobermanns are becoming somewhat of a rarity, but the ones we select are truly outstanding.
<p>Other good breeds for this line of work are Rottweilers, Cane Corsos, Giant Schnauzers, and occasional Belgian Shepherds. They are all driven and intelligent enough to receive high-level training, but balance this with protectiveness and affection to allow them to thrive in family settings. Individual traits are most important, but breed is a good designator of how effective a protection dog is likely to be.
An alarming trend we are increasingly noticing is the use of large livestock guardian dogs such as the Anatolian Shepherd and Tibetan Mastiff as personal protection dogs. It is true that such breeds are formidable and intimidating, but they are very poorly suited to personal and family protection work. These kinds of dogs were bred to be most comfortable in outdoor settings, ideally with herds of livestock. This generally makes them poorly suited to the everyday home settings personal and family protection dogs spend their time in.
Also common but misunderstood and poor are pitbull-type dogs. Pitbulls and similar breeds may have been bred to fight, but they also inherently good with and friendly towards humans. The American Kennel Club describes the American Staffordshire Terrier as “good-natured” and affectionate to the point of “lovey-dovey”. Pitbull-type dogs’ reputations for ferocity are misplaced. While they can be trained for protection and bitework, they are often too friendly to be effective protectors.