Although certain breeds are known for their inherent traits, picking the right guard dog for your family has more to do with the specific dog you’re adopting and your household environment.
The most important watchdog trait is the only noninherent one: loyalty. Your dog will be steadfast and unswayed in their devotion to you if they feel this is reciprocated in its care and home life.
It doesn’t have to be the biggest or smartest breed, but if it doesn’t have the innate desire to protect, it can’t be a guard dog. You’ll need to find the right balance of protective and territorial so that looks after everyone living in your home, and not just who feeds or walks them.
It’s a no-brainer that your dog will need to be intelligent or a great problem-solver to be able to tell friend from foe when strangers come in. Not to mention any guard dog will require the ability to quickly pick up commands during protection training.
While big dogs aren’t necessarily the only kind of guard dogs, you’ll often see them in this position because they tend to have inherent dominance. This means they are confident and in charge, and other dogs even recognize this. This is why you hear insecure small dogs regularly bark at others.
Sure, a guard dog is supposed to be aggressive, but a family guard dog should be able to play around gently with your kids too. It’s best to choose a puppy that can be introduced to your family young if it’s going to be around children or other pets.