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10 Best Guard Dogs for Families

Our vets in Richmond share insights on the best family-friendly guard dogs. These dogs offer protection and affection for your loved ones. 

When choosing a family guardian, consider factors like compatibility with children and other pets, size, and energy levels. Below, we have selected our top picks to help you decide on a new addition to your family.

German Shepard

This breed is courageous and gentle, excelling at guarding while being affectionate with family. When properly trained, this breed is excellent at learning, listening, and obeying commands.

When you are going to the breeders to adopt this dog, make sure they are reputable and, if possible, meet the dog's parents to make sure they are coming from a healthy environment.


known for their guarding skills. Rottweilers can be loving family pets, especially with proper training. Their intelligence and loyalty shine with the right guidance. 

The key to adding a rottweiler to your family (especially if you have young children) is to make sure they are properly trained because, without stern training, they can be aggressive. As a puppy, we also recommend socializing them regularly because they are naturally wary around those they do not know.

Doberman pinscher

Intelligent and imposing, Dobermans are excellent guard dogs. They are also extremely loyal and, with proper obedience training, will be great at following your orders. Their athleticism demands daily exercise. Raining them from a puppy in a family environment is ideal for integrating them with kids.


What makes this dog a great guard dog is its menacing look and talent for sensing people's intentions. They are friendly, protective, and enjoy engaging in activities. Regular exercise is crucial due to their high energy levels. 

Although boxers have a lot of energy from the beginning and require lots of exercise from their owners.

Bernese Mountain Dog

This dog makes a great watchdog, though the breed probably won't go out of its way to attack an intruder. But, they will bark if something suspicious is going on and are cautious around strangers. Early training is essential to manage braking and growling tendencies. 

Giant Schnauzer

They are loyal intelligent, and grow to be very large with an intimidating look that can ward off strangers. If you raise this dog from a puppy alongside your kids and family, they will also be very good with children. However, you do need to brush and groom them daily.

Great Dane

Great Danes are very big and have a loud bark, making them good at scaring away intruders. However, this dog is actually very gentle and patient with kids, as well as makes friends easily. They are better watchdogs than they are protectors because of their kind nature.

This breed requires lots of exercise through daily walks and lots of positive reinforcement obedience training from the beginning. They also need lots of attention and supervision until they are used to the rules and become accustomed to your home.

Great Pyrenees

This sizable, furry breed can be a loyal guard dog with proper training. They are cautious around strangers and guests. Early training is essential to manage barking and growling tendencies. 

Saint Bernard

Friendly and large, SAing Benard is more watchdogs than attackers. However, their large size and loud bark can help scare intruders from entering your home, making them a perfect addition if you are looking for a mild-mannered dog with a bark bigger than their bite.

Saint Bernards tend to be clumsy dogs until they are fully grown and don't understand their size, so they may accidentally knock down small children, so we recommend this dog for families that have children that are a bit older. They can also be harder to train and tend to eat more than other dogs, but they only need to be walked and brushed a few times a week.


Protective and attentive, Bullmastiffs are natural guard dogs. They also look intimidating and are always aware of what is happening around them, making them excellent guard dogs without risking your children. This dog shows great attacking qualities and can easily take down a full-grown man. If you raise this dog from a puppy with your kids and family and provide them with constant training, they can make a great, loving family member.

This dog does require stern training from a young age in order to obey your orders and get along with others. Without it, they will become aggressive. They also need strict orders and lots of exercise.

For further guidance on choosing the right guard dog for your family or introducing a new pet, contact our vet in Richmond today.

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