There are several attributes a dog needs in order to be a good guard dog. I’m talking about an all around TEOTWAWKI dog here, not just a guard dog. This dog should be able to stand guard duty while you’re out, walk the kids down to the stream to get water and make sure they get back safely, help in a hunt, and rip out an intruders throat when they try to break in at night. They need to be big enough to hold their own in a fight, but not so big they eat the entire cache of food you’ve been storing in the basement. They have to be intelligent and independent yet respect your authority and that of your family.
There are several breeds out there that meet this criteria, but my personal belief is that the German Shepherd is the best all around TEOTWAWKI dog. Let me explain why this is my favorite.
First of all I spent some time looking at lists of “Top Ten Guard Dogs” on the internet and found the GSD (German Shepherd Dog) on every single one of them. There are different lists, but I found a lot of the same dogs usually floating around in or near the top ten. Shepherds never placed at number one; however, the other dogs that placed in front of it I ruled out for the following reasons.
The Bullmastiff usually placed high and I’ve got to admit the only downfall with this dog is his size. The average mastiff weighs in between 110 – 130 lbs. That’s a lot of dog and he’s going to eat a lot of food. Other than that this dog is an excellent choice.
The others were a little easier to knock out of the competition. These were the Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Komondor, and the Giant Schnauzer. There are many others of course, but I lump them into the same category as the others. These dogs either are too big, too small, or have aggression issues. For example, the Rottweiler is a fantastic guard dog, but needs someone with a serious alpha dog attitude to be it’s master. Probably three-quarters of behavioral problems out there are due to the dog thinking it’s the boss and not the other way around and that goes for any dog. I’m not saying these aren’t all good guard dogs because they are. Exceptional even, but to have a good dog that will protect and LISTEN to your younger family members is critical and like I noted earlier, some of these dogs need to have a strong master.
A Komondor – never heard of one, but they’re supposed to be good guard dogs.
I had a GSD named Doc Holliday and he was an excellent guard dog as well as a family member. He loved my daughter and her friends and would play with them as gently as if they were his own puppies, but if you were a stranger you didn’t want to walk up and try and grab one of the girls. Not while he was on watch.
When I was diving for a living I’d leave him on the pontoon boat to guard the gear while I was down and I never had a problem with stuff disappearing!
There are many other types of breeds that make good guard dogs, but having owned a GSD I was quite taken with his intelligence, loyalty to the family, and physical ability, not to mention their noble and handsome appearance. Some people are put off by them because they have a reputation for biting.
Like any dog you have to be very careful when picking it out. Check for physical problems as well as psychological issues like nervousness or over aggressiveness. Make sure you meet the parents if at all possible. Any of these breeds are susceptible to problems, but with proper screening you can get an animal that will enjoy a long healthy life and at the same time be very stable and loving to your family.
One last note about owning dogs and I apologize to those of you who have owned or currently own a dog and are successful with it. The more intelligent breeds – listed as Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepherds (they come in third in intelligence) and others – need exercise and something to keep them busy or else they are liable to become a problem for you. These are work dogs and they enjoy having a job. If you get one of these animals and leave it inside twelve hours a day without exercise you’re likely to come home and find a big mess on your hands. Take the time to exercise and mentally challenge your dog and you will have a happy member of the family.
I’ll leave you with a quote from gopetsamerica.
As protection dogs, quality German Shepherds are regarded highly. Their alertness, loyalty, combined with high intelligence, and a love of children make them a superb choice. According to one of the most famous guard dog trainers, Captain Haggerty, “This is the best all-around guard dog.”
Here’s a few Youtube vids:
GSD Attack Training – Good training vid. The “bad guy” better be happy the dog had a muzzle on. (1:53)
GSD Bites a Reporter – this is an excellent video showing how it’s smart to know a dog before getting too close. When I started watching this video I could tell from the dog’s body language that the reporter was stepping over his boundaries. The cop should have known better too. Good explanation at the end of why the dog did what he did. (2:58)
Military Guard Dog – showing his love for the camera. Wouldn’t you rather have this working for you instead of against you? (:20)
Breed All About It – (3:00) excellent Animal Planet video about the GSD breed. I love the quote at the end, “The German Shepherd may not be the best biting dog, it may not be the best tracking dog, it may not be the best obedience dog, but there is no dog that will do all three better than the German Shepherd will on average.” – Mike Holbrook
K-9 vs Criminal – I’m not sure what kind of dog this was, but I’m including it because you can see how an average size dog can take on a huge man and conquer him. There’s some violence in this one. (:58)
Dogs 101 German Shepherd – Another excellent video about the breed. Police training, Rin Tin Tin, good and bad points (do they shed? Oh my yes, they sure do) and more in this vid. (5:05)
On the lighter side – If you have any doubts about how vicious one of these dogs can be watch this terrible twosome attack a black lab. (1:05) :-)
I LOVE German Shepherds. Can you tell?
What’s your favorite TEOTWAWKI dog?