7 Characteristics of the Best Guard Dogs

Suzie Cyrenne
Authored by Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie is a Certified Homeopath and Co-Founder of Zumalka
, specializing in natural and holistic remedies for pets.
- Jan 6, 2023

Unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, getting a guard dog is more than just going for a particular breed for their looks and reputation. There are actually a few fundamental pointers to take note of to successfully pull off the whole thing.

If you’re planning to get a guard dog and would like some useful and practical advice on how to go about it, then make sure you follow along. Besides walking you through the characteristics of the best guard dogs, I’ll also share some other bits of information that I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

How about we start our discussion by finding out the difference between a guard dog and a watchdog?


Difference Between Guard Dogs and Watchdogs

guard dog

Sure this may sound surprising, but the terms “guard dog” and “watchdog” do not mean the same thing. This is because they signify somewhat similar yet contrasting functions, which I’ll clarify below:

A watchdog is a dog that gives an alert—usually in the form of very loud and continuous barking—whenever he senses that something is off. It could be a suspicious person, an odd sound, or some other thing that he perceives as out of the ordinary and could mean danger.

Common examples of watchdogs normally include small, agile, and excitable breeds like the Japanese Spitz, the Chihuahua, the Dachshund, the Beagle, the Shih Tzu, as well as the Yorkshire Terrier.

On the other hand, a guard dog also gives a warning when he notices that something is not right. However, he also has the ability to neutralize the danger should the situation escalate. This is the reason why besides having size and muscle, intelligence is also a key element in a guard dog’s list of traits.

As for the common breeds that are typically trained as watchdogs, we will go through them in just a bit. But before we get to them, let’s first check out the traits that only the best guard dogs possess…


The 7 Characteristics of the Best Guard Dogs

jumping malinois

Here are the qualities that you should take note of when getting a guard dog:

1. A balanced temperament is key.

While it is commonly accepted that fearlessness must be the top attribute to consider when getting a guard dog, this is definitely not the case. This is because too much of it can possibly lead to unwanted aggression—an attribute you wouldn’t want in a dog that has the size and strength to attack.

I highly recommend choosing a potential guard dog that has a balanced temperament. Besides knowing how to stay calm and patient, you should also look for confidence with a defensive touch in a likely prospect.

2. A responsive nature is a must.

The best guard dogs are not just very familiar with their environment, they can also sense if something is wrong almost immediately. Apart from closely paying attention to everything that’s happening in his surroundings, an ideal guard dog should also be quick to react and perceive if it’s a threat or not.

I highly recommend picking a potential guard dog that responds well to any situation and has the capacity to differentiate when to take it easy and when to defend. It is crucial to remember that defending doesn’t necessarily involve attacking in any way.

3. Exhibits a balance between energy and eagerness.

A high level of drive is essential when it comes to choosing the ideal guard dog. However, this energy should be coupled with the eagerness to train and improve on a regular basis. Alternatively, just having a high level of enthusiasm won’t also work since training can be very difficult and demanding.

When selecting a prospect for a guard dog, keep in mind to choose one that strikes a balance between having the impulse to get going no matter how challenging things become along the way and a genuine love for learning.

4. Complete control over aggression is crucial.

Contrary to popular notion, aggression isn’t the same thing as being brave and protective in guard dogs. Although bravery and protectiveness are key qualities that a likely prospect should possess, aggression definitely doesn’t belong in the list.

If not properly kept in check, unrestrained aggression leads to more harm than good. Besides the possibility of causing injury and damage to the people he should be protecting, an overly aggressive dog will also turn out to be distracted most of the time.

5. Possesses high levels of concentration.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of the best guard dogs is having very high levels of concentration. They have the ability to stay in focus no matter what. This is extremely crucial during training where they are subjected to physically and mentally exhausting tasks.

I highly recommend choosing a potential guard dog that knows how to stay alert and strictly follows commands even in unexpected situations. These qualities are very important since you will depend on him to take care of you when things get awry (and you don’t even have a clue what’s going on).

6. Knows when and where to be territorial.

Being territorial is another quality to look for in a potential guard dog. Apart from knowing the area he is supposed to protect very well, he should also easily discern which particular parts need an extra bit of safeguarding.

Moreover, the best guard dogs normally let out a warning if they notice suspicious people or similar elements that they perceive as potentially dangerous. They don’t just attack indiscriminately. Keep in mind that being territorial isn’t the same as haphazardly attacking anyone or anything.

7. Maintains a loving disposition despite rigorous training.

Now here’s something a lot of people tend to overlook when it comes to the best guard dogs. Did you know that a likely prospect doesn’t have to be rigid and alert at all times? He also has to be devoted, playful, and knows when to take it easy.

This is crucial since having the ability to switch from defensive mode to a more relaxed disposition exhibits a guard dog’s well-balanced temperament. Remember the saying about “all work and no play?” This applies to the best guard dogs as well.

Now let’s go through the breeds that are deemed as ideal guard dogs…


What Breeds are considered Ideal Guard Dogs?

Here are the specific canine breeds that are as deemed ideal guard dogs due to their inherent bravery, loyalty, focus, intelligence, as well as their overall discipline:

Giant Schnauzer

Giant Schnauzer



Cane Corso

cane corso dog

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois

German Shepherd

German shepherd

Australian Shepherd

Australian shepherd



Doberman Pinscher




Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Just to emphasize, it’s not uncommon that even the best guard dogs can be vulnerable to emergencies. And when it comes to these unexpected situations, you’ll need something to properly support him to maintain his wellness and quality of life.

And speaking of emergency kits, allow me to introduce a natural option that you should consider including in your home pet care checklist…


A Natural Kit to Help You Stay on Top of Any Emergency Pet Health Issue

Zumalka’s HOME ESSENTIALS KIT is designed to support your canine family member in any emergency that can have a negative effect on his health. This kit is composed of various formulas that allow you to support your pet quickly when the need arises.

Apart from detoxifying your pet’s organs and promoting his natural cleansing system, the HOME ESSENTIALS KIT also helps ease physical injury or trauma as well as boosting his overall immunity.





A Final Word

I’d just like to point out that while choosing a guard dog can be a bit tricky, things will surely be more manageable if you know the qualities to keep an eye out for. And when it comes to tricky health problems, going for our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION is one strategy that you can use.

Besides being designed to get to the root of your pet’s problem instead of just treating the symptoms, our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION also works well for all types of conditions—especially for pets dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues.

Naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!



About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.


  • Zumalka February 14, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Elizabeth! You are very welcome. Your new puppy sounds like a great addition to the family!

  • Elizabeth February 14, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you for such an informative article. It will help me train my staffiordshire puppy. He just showed up at our farm in southern Chile four months ago He is very intelligent, agile and lovable

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