f you are a woman looking for that extra layer of safety and protection, a large and intimidating guard dog may seem like a perfect fit for you.
As a Rottweiler owner, I would like to preface this by saying that there is no ideal guard dog for everyone.
Whichever guard dog you ultimately get, they will be with you for much of your life and, more importantly, for the rest of their lives.
I’m not just dumping a gazillion races on you with little bits of background information on each race.
You can google that. Kennel clubs literally have dog breed profiles for this purpose.
Let’s also be real; rare breeds such as the Komondor are of little interest to ordinary dog owners.
But what you can’t easily get elsewhere are the Real to ask.
I’ll tell you, woman to woman, how you can find the ideal guardian you and your lifestyle.
I’ve even created a little quiz to give you a nudge in the right direction.
This ties in perfectly with my article on whether dogs will watch while you sleep.
Let’s dive in! Here are my 13 favorite picks for watchdogs for women:
- Reed Corso
- Belgian Malinois
- German shepherd
- Danish dog
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Appenzeller Sennenhund
- Giant Schnauzer
- Jack Russell Terrier
Why did I choose these breeds?
Why are these 13 guard dogs suitable for women?
Every dog has different capabilities and needs.
The Rottweiler, Doberman, Cane Corso, Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd are all favorites for protection work. But they are also extremely intense dogs.
The Newfoundland, Great Dane, Boxer, Bernese Mountain Dog and Appenzeller Mountain Dog are very popular family dogs and are usually equipped with a less intense guarding instinct but still have a physical presence.
Smaller dogs like the Jack Russell Terrier may only be suitable for scaring off strangers when all you need is an alarming bark.
These are generalizations.
If treated well, a Rottweiler will be an incredibly calm companion in the home, while an Appenzeller can be very energetic and not as easy to manage.
We want to delve into the qualities these breeds are usually born with.
But we also want to be sure that the dog we choose fits into our lifestyle.
Here are the seven most important considerations when choosing a guardian:
- Do you need protection, deterrence or a property guardian?
- Can you handle a big dog?
- Are you active?
- Do you live in a city or in the countryside?
- Any physical preferences?
- What level of trainability do you need?
- Are there other animals or children in the house?
Keep in mind that your dog is not only your protector, but you also have a responsibility to protect him. Can you really control a 100+ pound puppy if your dog is attacked while on the road?
Now let’s dive into each breed a little.
Rottweilers are confident, robust and loyal protectors.
Early socialization and consistent training are essential to channeling their intelligence and strength responsibly.
As a fellow Rottie owner, I cannot emphasize enough how important adequate mental and physical exercise is for these majestic creatures.
My first guard dog was actually a Rottweiler (check out the linked article for more on that) and it can work, but definitely spend some time with an adult dog to see if it’s right for you.
The Doberman combines elegance with strength, making them an excellent choice for watchdog duties.
The Doberman’s sleek image, high sensitivity and ability to handle more easily than heavier guard dogs make them excellent for women.
With an imposing presence, the Cane Corso exudes confidence. As natural guardians, they form close bonds with their families.
Early socialization and evidence-based training are critical to shaping them into good canine citizens.
No one wants a liability of over £100, so don’t buy one if you’re not confident you can handle one.
Possibly one of the most under-trained dogs in existence, the Belgian Malinois is an incredibly versatile working dog.
If adventures are your thing and you have the financial resources, time and knowledge, get yourself one of these fierce protectors.
But make no mistake, this dog is not a couch potato and can be a very intense four-legged friend.
German Shepherds have been used for protection work for centuries and are popular choices for families around the world.
Because this breed is more common than other groomers, it may be easier to find good trainers who are knowledgeable about this specific breed.
Many women will realize that Newfoundlands are gentle giants by nature, while potential threats will be warded off by their mere presence.
Early socialization is crucial to ensure their friendly nature extends to strangers, but that is also their downfall. Newfies may not be the best property managers because they are just too hospitable.
In a literal sense, Great Danes will deter more than protect. Don’t rely on them because they’re basically just Softies.
Ultimately, the Great Dane finds the balance between a watchdog and a crazy companion for a woman.
Boxers are naturally alert, playful and extremely loyal, making them dedicated watchdogs.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Affectionate, loving and calm by nature – that is what we usually associate with the Bernese.
Although they don’t necessarily guard dogs, their large size will deter intruders, while their fluffy coat invites children.
Due to their calm nature, they can be ideal pets for women, but keep in mind that they require a lot of care.
Depending on your region, this breed may be less known, but their determined nature and fearsome bark make them a suitable watchdog for women.
This breed thrives on daily physical and mental challenges and is definitely a more active dog than its close relative, the Bernese Mountain Dog.
Giant Schnauzers are not often thought of as the best choice for guard dogs, but they are in fact one of the few breeds used for protection work.
Alert guardians with a slightly less intimidating physical presence compared to breeds such as the Rottweiler.
Akitas are known for their calm and dignified demeanor, but they are also fiercely loyal.
Of course, anyone who has heard Hachiko’s story already knows that.
Ensuring they are well adjusted requires a lot of socialization and training. Not the ideal breed for a daily visit to the dog park.
Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers are small but very spirited and fearless dogs.
They’re surprisingly effective when all you need is that snappy bark, but less so when you need real protection skills.
Research has shown that having a dog in the house deters potential attackers.
Here’s my little quiz if you have no idea and just want some general direction.
No dog is born a protector
Not a single dog on this list is born a flawless guardian.
Most of these breeds tend to be protective and while there are obvious advantages to a Rottweiler or Cane Corso, they may not be manageable for every woman.
The above protective skills will be your downfall once they stray slightly into reactivity or even aggression.
Not all women – or men for that matter – will be adequately equipped and prepared to handle an out-of-control 120-pound block of meat.
All dogs need socialization, care and exercise but guardians need training for that too encourage their protective skills in a measured way.
Don’t go overboard, but don’t sit and pray either.
Naturally, a Rottie will be more receptive to developing these traits, but they can be much more difficult to deal with compared to a Boxer or Bernese Mountain Dog.
Choose what suits your lifestyle and don’t overestimate what you can do or even need.
If you have any doubts, I recommend spending a day with a large guardian breed. This is the best way to get started and evaluate whether you can handle a large dog.
I would never recommend anyone give their dog protection training at home.
Only attempt this under professional supervision and consider other ways to stay safe.
The truth is that most women do not need a conventionally trained protection dog.
And if you have received threats or have reason to believe you are in danger, don’t trust your dog and contact the authorities instead.
Disclaimer: This blog post does not and does not intend to replace veterinary attention. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows signs of illness, call your vet.