If you are looking for a dog to guard your home or scare away intruders, you can’t just get any breed. Oftentimes people think that any large breed will do when it comes to finding the perfect watch dog. The fact is, there are some large breeds that don't have an intimidating bone in their body, while some small and medium-sized dogs will make the ideal watch dog.
Finding the right guard dog isn't just about size or appearance. You need a dog that is alert and will bark at the sound of intruders. You also need a breed that isn't overly friendly. The last thing you want is for your big, scary watch dog to turn into a tail wagging, licking, happy-go-lucky love machine the minute someone walks through your front door.
Some canines that are intimidating in appearance will only slow down an intruder by begging for love. But don’t worry, I've got you covered! Keep reading to find out the worst breeds for guard dogs.
35 Worst Breeds for Guard Dogs
Large Breeds Worst for Guarding
Don’t think that just because you have a large dog that you are all set for security. Some breeds are just too friendly and playful to throw their weight around in an aggressive way. Surely, the breeds in this section will come as a surprise to most people!
1. Great Dane (Harlequin, Blue, etc.)
Pictured above, the Great Dane is certainly an intimidating dog in appearance. However, this breed is loving and loyal. These pooches will get along with anything. Active and playful, they fit right in with the active family that is always on the go.
Great Danes are known to be patient and kind. Just remember, the bigger the dog the more planning that has to go into traveling. Also, everything is more expensive when you have one of these fur-babies to provide for.
2. Great Pyrenees
These beautiful dogs are as strong and steadfast as the mountains they are named after. These dogs are just gorgeous, with a white fluffy coat and soulful brown eyes. Gentle and loving, this is one large breed that is great with children.
The Great Pyrenees does well in warm and cold climates, preferring the cold. These energetic pups need an active family who will make it feel useful by teaching it some tricks.
3. Irish Wolfhound
While someone may not want to risk a meeting with these large pooches, they are actually affectionate to even strangers. To top off that glowing description, these canines are intelligent and easy to train as well.
A breed created from several other breeds, including the Saint Bernard, this large dog is not very well known. Affectionate and playful, this dog is great for kids. These active fur-babies enjoy being part of the family and want to do what you do.
Leonbergers are curious, bringing much entertainment to their owners. While they were created to be a working animal, they are more social adventures than cart pullers.
Powerful and muscular, these pets make any activity look effortless. The “Newfie” can trimmed in the summer to help it bear the heat. Patient and kind, these furry family members actually prefer the company of children.
A great family dog, these loving animals are very social and friendly. Easy to train, these pups want nothing more than to please their human.
6. Saint Bernard
These pups were made by the monks of Saint Bernard to rescue stranded travelers, so they have an outgoing personality to match up to the task. An affectionate breed, the Saint Bernard is great for homes with kids and other pets.
Saints are a tad lazy, and they don’t need a lot of exercise. Even still, they need playtime and room to stretch out a couple times a day.
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Medium Breeds Worst for Guarding
The compact, mid-size breeds are very popular – not too big, and not too small. Many owners feel like they get the best of both worlds, but in guarding, that may not be true. While these breeds may be big enough to scare away intruders, their personalities are friendly and welcoming.
7. Australian Shepherd
Like most breeds, this is one from the working dog class. In recent times, their friendly, playful disposition has made them popular companion animals. Like most shepherds, they are intelligent and take to training easily.
As you can see from the photo above, Aussies have a beautiful coat. If you are thinking about bringing home one of these furry family members, it must be known that they shed quite a bit. Also, due to their double coat, they cannot be clipped short.
8. Basset Hound
Calm and low key, the Basset Hound loves to just lie around and take it easy. These lazy dogs are great for first time owners, and the ones who are lazy trainers. Extremely friendly, you will never have to worry about aggressiveness in this pooch.
Just make sure you monitor snacks and meals. These babies can really pack on the pounds which makes them susceptible to joint problems.
9. Bernese Mountain Dog
Hardy and healthy, the Bernese is a great choice for the outdoor adventurer. This canine is friendly and out-going. This mountain dog is bred for colder climes and should not live in hot climates.
While muscular and intimidating in appearance, this is actually a very friendly breed. Boxers do great with kids, company and strangers. These happy pups are even good with other dogs; however, they may not like cats and other “prey” animals.
Active and energetic, make sure you are up to this canine’s exercise needs. As with other breeds that love “prey”, you will need a sturdy fence and leash.
These devoted pooches are gentle and loving to all they meet. Collies are hunting dogs that still love to bark and howl. They will need training to curb this desire.
12. English Bulldog
These stout, large dogs want nothing more than to be your next lapdog. Friendly and loveable, these dogs do well with kids and other animals. They are not very clingy, so they do better with alone time than some other breeds.
Not very active, these pooches don’t need a lot of exercise. While these dogs don’t do well in the outdoors, that makes them great for apartment living.
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13. English Foxhound
Like many hounds, this dog will chase a scent in a heartbeat. Make sure you keep your hound dog on a sturdy leash or in a kennel when traveling, and have a tall, sturdy fence.
14. Golden Retriever
One of the most popular breeds in America, these loving dogs are loyal and easy to train. Social and friendly, they are a friend to everyone they meet. Energetic pooches, they are best suited for the active, outdoors family.
They especially love water and mud holes. While these dogs love to assist in hunting and other outdoor activities, they cannot assist in guarding your home.
15. Irish Setter
Sweet natured and outgoing, you will be hard pressed to find a friendlier dog than the Irish Setter – unless you are a furry animal. This furry family member still retains a high “prey” drive and will give chase to anything that runs.
You will need a good fence if you own one of these pups. Another plus in their corner, is that they are intelligent and easy to train.
16. Labrador Retrievers
Not only do Labradors learn the basics, but they can also be taught to retrieve things, along with several other useful tricks. While the Lab does have short hair, they shed more than some other breeds.
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17. Standard Poodle
They shed very little and are considered to be hypo-allergenic. Just make sure you are up to the task of grooming it yourself, or bringing it to a groomer.
Vizslas are active, family dogs. This hunting breed can keep up with those family hiking trips and trips to the beach. These canines are extremely friendly with people, other dogs, and other animal types.
A clean breed, this dog will never smell like a dog. Like a lot of active breeds, they need something to keep them busy if they are left alone – like a puzzle treat box.
While these dogs need lots of exercise, they are considered a “barkless dog”. It just may be the perfect tradeoff for you. With short, sleek hair, they are also easy to keep clean.
Small Breeds Worst for Guarding
I know most people would never consider a small dog as a guard dog, but we don’t have the term “ankle bitter” for no reason. There are a few small breeds that can make excellent watch dogs, especially for homes with limited space and little outdoor access. Unfortunately, these breeds don't fit into that category.
Pictured above, this breed is more tolerant of temperature changes than other smaller dogs. They are healthy dogs. Their agility and obedience make them great for active travel like hiking or camping.
The Affenpinscher is also a “barkless” dog, so don’t count on them to scare off any intruders. Their low-shed, short-haired coat is also hypoallergenic. These little dogs are independent and need an experienced trainer.
The Beagle is a playful breed that loves discovering and exercising. These small dogs still pack a punch. Bred to be hunting dogs, Beagles are up for almost anything. These short hair dogs are easy to keep clean, too.
While they will bark and howl, they will not do anything else to deter a criminal. In fact, these noisy pups will need training to curb their desire to make noise.
22. Boston Terrier
This breed is American made. Boston Terriers are cute and lovable. They do great with kids, strangers, neighbors, other dogs, and cats. They really just need a friend. As with a lot of terriers, these “tuxedo” dogs are energetic.
They need plenty of exercise and things to do to be happy and healthy. If leaving these fur-babies alone, make sure they have an interesting toy to play with.
23. Brussels Griffon
Their friendliness with other pets, kids, and strangers will be prized when you take them on outings. These fur-babies love being the center of attention and will be happy to follow you anywhere you go. While their cleverness is cute, they can be destructive when bored.
24. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These little pups just love people. In fact, they become depressed if left alone too long. Sensitive and intelligent, this breed is great for first time dog owners. They also have a little lower energy level than a lot of other small breeds.
These good-looking canines are also pretty easy to groom. Their long hair needs no more than an occasional combing to decrease shedding.
25. Coton de Tulear
A happy, healthy breed, this dog hails from the royal family of Madagascar. These fur-babies are friendly, charming, and happy, just as any good lap dog should be.
Their name comes from their coat which is as soft as cotton. Dogs in this breed also do not shed, but they do need quite a bit of grooming as their white hair can become stained.
26. Glen of Imaal Terrier
These gentle dogs are friendly and happy. A great combination that means they usually won’t hurt anyone. The Glen is curious and intelligent making him easy to train. Strong and energetic, these small dogs can keep up with an active owner.
While they love humans, these fur-babies may not like other animals. They will need socialization training when young to prepare them for other pets.
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If you are a runner, hiker, or sight-seer, this breed is for you. They are agile and athletic. Quiet and polite, this pup is great for traveling. The breed also needs very little maintenance and grooming.
Italian Greyhounds are another friendly, low-shed breed. These fur-babies get very attached to their owners and do not like being left alone.
28. Miniature Schnauzer
These pups also tolerate alone time extremely well. They are independent and self-entertaining. While they will need regular grooming, they shed very little.
This lively animal is descended from one of the oldest toy breeds in the world. Seven hundred years of breeding has turned it into one happy lapdog – not guard dog.
Like with all small dogs, this fur-baby needs to be heavily supervised. One fall could seriously injure its fragile body. These pooches do not like to be alone. They need almost constant human companionship to be healthy and happy.
30. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
While it is true that the friendly Welsh Corgi would never be a guard dog, it is alert and may make a decent watch dog. These sturdy beings do will in all sorts of weather, in all sorts of housing types, and in all sorts of living situations.
While they are friendly with people, they may not like other animals in the house. With a high shed amount, it is best to have hard floors if you have one of these pooches.
Their facial structure can cause breathing problems and over-heating, and they are prone to arthritis. Take care that the parents of the Pug that you are considering for your home are healthy.
32. Scottish Terrier
A breed of many names, a Scottish Terrier is also known as a “Scottie” and an Aberdeen Terrier. Just like its cartoon counterpart on “The Lady and the Tramp”, these pint-size fur-babies are brave and confident.
They very much have the spirited good nature of the highlands. So while they are friendly and intelligent, they are hard to train. These pups feel their way of doing things is always the right way.
33. Shih Tzu
Most little dogs have the reputation for being hyper and loud, but nothing could be farther from the truth for the Shih Tzu. These little dogs are calm, and they have little desire to bark. While they are lapdogs, they are affectionate and kindly to new people and animals.
This breed was bred to be a lap dog and they excel at it. These pups are not built for too much exercise and temperature changes.
34. Skye Terrier
These little cuties are another breed that has lower energy amounts and exercise needs. These courageous dogs are friendly and good tempered. These dogs are strong-minded, but friendly with strangers making them great for going to new places.
Skye Terriers also do extremely well in temperature extremes. A stubborn and self-willed dog, these pooches need a strong, experienced trainer.
35. Toy Poodle
These little dogs have the size and the smarts to make them a very coveted little pup. This breed is friendly with other pets, strangers, and kids. The intelligence of the poodle makes them very adaptable and easy to train.
Toy poodles also shed very little, which will be a blessing to any allergy sufferers. Although, if the hair is not kept short, your fur ball will require extensive grooming.
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