Having an extra pair of hands (or paws) to help protect your home can make all the difference in a survival situation. After all, you are only one person and can only do so much. Not only can many home defense dogs actively defend your home. But, just by being there, they can deter would-be thieves.
I’ve been writing about dogs for years. Sadly, many commonly recommended guard dogs aren’t the best option for most survivalists. If you want a canine that will defend your home, I’ve put together the list you need to read.
Many traits make a home defense dog suitable. Preferably, you want a breed that was bred for this purpose. This way, they will have centuries of instincts working for you and your family. However, you also have to consider the care and needs of the dog if a survival situation does occur. Can you feed and manage the dog if the grid goes down?
You’ll probably find a few breeds on this list you haven’t previously considered because I dove deep to bring you the best home defense dogs.
Best Home Defense Dogs
1. Caucasian Shepherd Dog
- Weight: 99-170 pounds
- Height: 23-30 inches
The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is also known as the Russian Bear Dog because they were bred to protect livestock from bears in Siberia. If you’re looking for a dog that can guard your home against practically everything, you can’t get much better than this breed.
These dogs are massive – as they would need to be able to kill bears. They are big enough to take down a person, which is why they landed at the top of this list. Furthermore, these dogs are largely still bred as working dogs, and they retain much of their health, dependability, and instincts.
I love Caucasian Shepherd Dogs because they tend to put the job first. Yes, they can make good companion animals. However, their thick, double coat allows them to spend most of their time outside with their flock – even in harsh weather conditions. I would not recommend these dogs to someone looking for a house pet. However, if you need a serious home defense dog, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog may be the answer.
2. Tibetan Mastiff
- Weight: 70-150 pounds
- Height: 24-26 inches
The Tibetan Mastiff is an imposing dog. This animal was bred in Tibet to guard livestock and monasteries. These dogs are intelligent and independent, bred to do their job alone. Unlike other guard dogs, they weren’t bred to have a human handler. Instead, they primarily rely on their size, willpower, and territorial instincts to keep intruders away.
These dogs will need a lot of socialization to get along with others. However, they are one of the few breeds for which you don’t necessarily need to provide much guard training. It’s just in their blood.
However, be warned these dogs are costly. Breeders are few and far between, which makes them one of the more challenging dogs to get ahold of.
3. Belgian Malinois
- Weight: 40-80 pounds
- Height: 22-26 inches
The Belgian Malinois is a bit smaller than most guard dogs. However, they make up for their size through fierce determination and loyalty. This breed has primarily pushed out the German Shepherd when working on law enforcement and military teams. One of these dogs helped SEAL Team 6 take out Osama bin Laden. They were also featured in the movie John Wick.
These dogs are incredibly agile, fast, and intelligent. They’re easily trained to be a protection dog and guard your home. However, they are incredibly people-oriented and need quite a bit of attention. While these dogs make excellent home defense canines, you should have time to take care of their needs.
4. German Shepherd Dog
- Weight: 50-90 pounds
- Height: 22-26 inches
German Shepherd Dogs used to be the go-to for guarding. However, they have become prevalent companion animals over the last few decades. This trend has led to many German Shepherds being bred for companionship – not guarding. Therefore, their instincts, intelligence, and health are a bit worse than they were only a century ago.
However, German Shepherds can still make good guarding animals if you choose the right one. I recommend choosing a dog from a working line. You want a breeder that breeds German Shepherds for law enforcement and personal protection – not the show ring.
These dogs are incredibly active and territorial. You’ll need to spend a lot of time exercising them every day. Plus, you’ll have to do a lot of socialization upfront. Otherwise, they may be unduly aggressive.
- Weight: 80-135 pounds
- Height: 22-27 inches
Rottweilers were originally bred to guard businessmen, such as meat salesmen and tax collectors. These dogs are wary of strangers but very playful and affectionate with their families. They’re a bit smaller than other dogs. However, this does make it easier to keep them in a home. Plus, several lines reach over 100 pounds when fully grown.
Like all guard dogs, Rottweilers must be socialized and trained at a young age. Otherwise, they can be aggressive and attack people you don’t want them to. To keep them under control, early training is a must.
6. Cane Corso
- Weight: 80-120 pounds
- Height: 23.5-27.5 inches
The Cane Corso is one of the biggest guarding breeds around. They have an instinct for guarding. Therefore, if you put them inside your home, they will automatically guard it without training. They’re much more centered on home defense than personal protection.
For the most part, these dogs act as a deterrent. They have a loud, deep bark and a heavy build. However, they can still do some damage if the time comes.
We recommend focusing training on obedience, as they are natural guarders. They also don’t have as many exercise or grooming needs as other dogs, making them perfect for busy homeowners.
- Weight: 100-130 pounds
- Height: 24-27 inches
Bullmastiffs were initially bred to protect land from poachers. Their job was to detect and “hold” a poacher until the gamekeeper arrived. For this reason, they are a bit of a unique guard dog. While they can do some damage, that isn’t their primary function. Instead, they have a bit of a “soft mouth” like a Labrador. In other words, they “hold” things instead of automatically biting them.
This trait can be helpful when trying to arrest a poacher instead of mauling them.
These dogs have natural guarding instincts and are pretty territorial. Therefore, you don’t have to train them to guard your home. I do still recommend plenty of obedience training and socialization, though. They’re large dogs and need this training to remain under control.
8. Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Weight: 70-85 pounds
- Height: 24-27 pounds
Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally bred for hunting large game, including lions. They are sturdy, dependable dogs with an athletic streak. With the proper training, they can make good guard dogs. They do have some innate guarding instincts. However, their instincts aren’t as strong as other dogs. They do best in warmer climates, where the husky breeds may not thrive.
We highly recommend plenty of training for this dog. They were not necessarily bred to listen to commands as a hunting breed. They are much less “intense” than the other dogs listed here, though.
- Weight: 70-130 pounds
- Height: 24-28 inches
Akitas are one of the most loyal and protective dog breeds. They were bred to guard nobility in Japan, and many retain these guarding instincts today. They are very alert and naturally suspicious of strangers. Furthermore, they are one of the few guarding dogs that are naturally suspicious of other dogs. They perform these guarding tasks with little to no training.
However, these dogs are also known to be more challenging to control. They can quickly become aggressive to anyone outside of the family. Therefore, obedience training is recommended. Socialization is also required to prevent your dog from seeing everyone as a threat. Preferably, you only want your canine to be aggressive toward enemies and potential thieves.
10. Doberman Pinscher
- Weight: 65-100 pounds
- Height: 24-28 inches
Dobermans are another dog that was bred specifically to guard their owners. They are affectionate with their human family but off-putting to strangers. However, they are one of the less-aggressive breeds on this list. With proper socialization, they can learn to be friendly to everyone. However, their guarding instincts allow them to handle sketchy strangers with little training.
These dogs can benefit from a protection training program, though. They are very obedient and loyal, which makes them obey commands in even slightly more serious situations. Doberman Pinschers can become good guard dogs with a bit of work.
However, these dogs do take a bit of care. They are athletic and do best in an athletic family.
- Weight: 80+ pounds
- Height: 26-28 inches
While these dogs may not look like guard dogs, that was their original purpose. They were bred to guard livestock against both animal and human threats. Their corded fur is practical, allowing the dog to sustain in more challenging environments with little grooming required. Furthermore, they do not shed nearly as much as other dogs due to their corded fur.
However, their corded fur does require some special grooming considerations. They must be cut regularly to prevent the cords from becoming too long. Their fur also has to be corded when they are young. But, once the cords are started, their coat is straightforward to care for.
These dogs are pretty large and naturally suspicious of strangers. Therefore, they do need a bit of socialization and training. But, most of their guarding occurs naturally. They are affectionate with their humans and very gentle with children.
12. Estrela Mountain Dog
- Weight: 77-132 pounds
- Height: 24.5-29 inches
The Estrela Mountain Dog was originally bred for guarding livestock. However, this breed is very well-known for being stewards of children. They are incredibly affectionate and one of the best dogs for homes with smaller children. They do have natural guarding instincts, which require lots of socialization and training to counteract. But, with the proper training, they make a great house or farm guards.
These dogs are affectionate with everyone and lovers of kids. But they tend to choose a single family member to be “their” person. Often, this is the person that trains them and feeds them. They are typically considered “one-person” dogs.
13. Anatolian Shepherd Dog
- Weight: 80-150 pounds
- Height: 27-29 inches
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are imposing guardians that were initially bred to protect livestock. This breed is ancient, which means that these guarding instincts rest on a solid foundation. They tend to be very healthy and haven’t been “watered-down” for the modern dog owner. These dogs are still considered prized working animals by many.
These dogs are very well-muscled. However, they are also very agile and able to tackle rough terrain. They do great in mountainous areas where other dogs aren’t as effective. They naturally protect their flock and family.
Furthermore, these dogs are known for their calmer personality. While they can be extremely alert, they do seem to do a lot of laying around on the outside.
14. Barbado da Terceira
- Weight: 46-60 pounds
- Height: 19-22 inches
The Barbado da Terceira is a rare dog breed. However, they are excellent guard dogs if you can find them. They were initially herding dogs and are still primarily used for herding today. They are often bred for work today (which is one of the benefits of choosing a less-popular breed).
These canines are very intelligent and pretty easy to train. They’re very affectionate and people-oriented, bonding with their flock readily. Their instincts also mean they tend to guard naturally, reducing the specialized training required.
However, these canines are built to work all day as working dogs. Therefore, they require regular exercise and plenty of stimulation when not working. It doesn’t take a lot for them to become bored.
15. Belgian Laekenois
- Weight: 55-65 pounds
- Height: 22-26 inches
The Belgian Laekenois is a smaller dog, which is why they are a bit lower on the list. However, having a few of these dogs can be an effective guarding system. They’re extremely alert, allowing them to detect enemies quickly. Initially, these dogs were bred for herding. Today, they are pretty rare. Those that are around are practically all working animals. Therefore, they’re often healthy with solid instincts.
These dogs are observant but not as aggressive as other breeds. With socialization, they can quickly become great family dogs. However, they can also quickly pick up on danger and act on it.
The main issue with this breed is its rarity. Finding them is difficult, and they often must be imported from Belgium.
- Weight: 150-22 pounds
- Height: 22-27 inches
Boerboels are enormous dogs. They get bigger than even most Mastiffs. Therefore, they are very intimidating and tend to stop would-be aggressors in their tracks. Plus, they are bred as guard dogs, so they don’t require much guarding training. However, we recommend obedience training and socialization to keep these dogs in control. After all, they are huge.
These dogs have a very “no-nonsense” design. They are broad and blocky with thick muscles. They are very agile, though. These dogs are imposing and big but can shift into athletic beasts when necessary.
I love that these dogs are easily trainable and very intimidating. They require some exercise, but not as much as other breeds. Sadly, their larger size means their lifespan is lower than other breeds. For this reason, your best buddy won’t be around as long.
Marcus Aurelius said “Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.” If a crisis occurs do you feel that it would be overwhelming? Preparing and being mindful is a principle that Stoic people often practice.
Do you have young children and the thought of comforting them and also watching over your property and supplies is just too much for you and/or your spouse? A home defense dog could be the needed companion to accomplish the task.
A good home defense dog can be a great asset to your family. However, a dog alone isn’t the only plan you should have for home defense. Consider purchasing a firearm or crossbow for home defense, as well. Check out our prepping tips and civil unrest preparedness articles on how you can DEFEND your family and property.