Guard dog

Guard dog

A guard dog, watch dog, or sentry dog is a dog employed to guard against, or watch for, unwanted or unexpected animals or people.

Both guard dogs and watch dogs bark to alert their owners of an intruder's presence. The barking is also an attempt at scaring away the intruder. The watch dog's function ends here, while a guard dog might be trained to restrain or attack the intruder. For example, livestock guardian dogs are often large enough and strong enough to attack and drive away predators such as wolves. In cases where intruders are more likely to be human, guard dogs are sometimes trained simply to restrain an intruder with his owner's guidance, as in Schutzhund or K9 Pro Sports training. Occasionally, guard dogs are trained to attack human intruder(s), though this practice might be locally illegal. Some breeds (such as Keeshonden) are excellent watchdogs but not so excellent guard dogs, as they bark loudly to alert their masters of intruders but are not given to attack behavior.


Many of the now prominent guardian breeds such as Rottweilers started as farm dog types but then developed over many years into guard breeds. Some breeds, such as the Weimaraner and Rhodesian Ridgeback, were originally bred for hunting, but their large intimidating look and territorial instincts have helped them evolve into guard dogs in today's society. Others like Dobermans were specifically bred as guard dogs. Many of the below breeds have a greater amount of molossoid or mastiff DNA. This is confirmed by a DNA study done on >270 pure breed dogs. The study suggests that in the distant past thirteen ancient breeds broke off early on after which a group of mastiff style dogs were developed"Genetic Structure of the Purebred Domestic Dog" Science, 21 May 2004: Vol. 304. no. 5674, pp. 1160 - 1164. "(Subscription required)" Note: pay special attention to Figure 3 of the study.] . These dogs are grouped with the mastiffs Great Dane and Irish wolfhound. The Irish wolfhound (a traditional hunting guardian breed) has evidence that its population was nearly wiped out 200 years ago and its existing members descend from a very small group of dogs and thus it is a rebuilt breed, but evidently out of somewhat different building blocks"Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog" Nature 438, 803-819 (8 December 2005) | doi:10.1038/nature04338] . Some people think that the Irish wolfhound contributed to the Great Dane.

The St. Bernard is also somewhat different from the mastiffs and is not in the molossoid group; however, the Swiss mountain dogs are. The Moscow Watchdog thus likely inherits its guarding ability not from the St. Bernard but from its other major contributor, the Caucasian Ovcharka (no evidence other than speculation and the known breed characteristics). Great Danes are odd because they are not in the molossoid group and traditionally behaved as though they should be.

The original Saint Bernard was used for alpine rescue in the Saint Bernard Pass by the monks. An avalanche killed off many of the dogs used for breeding. The Saint Bernards had to be bred with larger dogs such as mastiffs which gave it the large size and the guard dog instinct which the Saint Bernard has today.

It is claimed that female dogs tend to make better personal guardians than males, due to maternal instincts, but males are considered better for guarding property because of their greater territorial instinct. [cite book|last=Willis|first=Malcolm B.|title=Genetics of the Dog]

List of breeds commonly used as guard dogs

* Doberman Pinscher
* Rottweiler
* German Shepherd
* Anatolian Shepherd (US and UK) or Kangal Dog
* Bullmastiff
* Black Russian Terrier (Russia)
* American Bulldog
* Kunming Wolfdog (In Asian nations)
* Sharr Mountain Dog (Albania, Kosovo & Macedonia)
* Tibetan Mastiff
* Kanni (India)

List of other guard dog breeds

Note some are not AKC, UKC, recognized and a few are not FCI recognized, but all at least have their own breed club.
* Akita Inu (Japan)
* Alano Español (Spain)
* American Bulldog (USA)
* Argentine Dogo (Argentina)
* Bandog (USA)
* Beauceron (France)
* Belgian Malinois (Belgium)
* Boerboel (South Africa)
* Bouvier des Flandres (Belgium)
* Boxer (Germany)
* Bully Kutta (Pakistan)
* Cão de Castro Laboreiro (Portugal)
* Cane Corso (Italy)
* Canis Panther (USA)
* Caucasian Ovcharka (Georgia)
* Ciobănesc de Bucovina (Romania)
* Chow Chow (China)
* Danish Broholmer (Denmark)
* Dogo Guatemalteco (Guatemala)
* Dogue de Bordeaux (France)
* English Mastiff (England)
* Fila Brasileiro (Brazil)
* Great Dane (Germany)
* Great Pyrenees (France)
* Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Switzerland)
* Hovawart (Germany)
* Icelandic Sheepdog (Iceland)
* Karelian Bear Dog (Finland)
* Komondor (Hungary)
* Mioritic (Romania)
* Moscow Watchdog (Russia)
* Mucuchies (Venezuela)
* Neapolitan Mastiff (Italy)
* Perro de Presa Canario (Canary Islands)
* Perro de Presa Mallorquin (aka: Ca de Bou)
* Rhodesian Ridgeback (Africa)
* Saint Bernard (Switzerland)
* Shiloh Shepherd (USA)
* Sippiparai (India)
* Tibetan Mastiff (Tibet, Mongolia)
* Weimaraner (Germany)
* Rajapalayam (India)

Rare breeds that are gaining popularity

* Antebellum Bulldog (USA)
* Black Russian Terrier (Russia)
* Boerboel (South Africa)
* Caucasian Ovcharka (USA)
* Kombai (India)
* Rajapalayam (dog) (India)
* Chippiparai (India)
* Kanni (India)

Dogs with good guardian instincts not bred as a guard dog

* Australian Cattle Dog
* Chesapeake Bay Retriever (a water retriever related to the Newfoundland)
* Dachshund (bred to hunt and kill badgers and small burrowing mammals in Germany during the 1700's, very alert and lively.)
* Greyhound (can be bred to hunt rabbits, hare and other small animals. Very alert.
* Jack Russell (can be used to hunt rats hiding around the house, can be used as effective guard dogs.)
* Pekingese (very watchful and loyal, they will bark and even attack anything suspicious; willing to die for its master.)
* Poodle (have a history of being used as guard dogs.)
* Rhodesian Ridgeback (a hound developed from native African and multiple European breeds)
* Airedale Terrier (developed to hunt and destroy large vermin, used in late 19th and early 20th century as police dogs, a role now controlled by the German shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Rottweiler, and Doberman.)
* Giant Schnauzer
* livestock guardian dog
* Norwegian Elkhound


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • guard dog — guard′ dog or guard′dog n. dch a large aggressive dog trained to guard persons or property; watchdog …   From formal English to slang

  • guard dog — n a dog that is trained to guard a place …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • guard dog — guard ,dog noun count a dog trained to guard property or people …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • guard dog — guard dogs N COUNT A guard dog is a fierce dog that has been specially trained to protect a particular place …   English dictionary

  • guard dog — noun a dog trained to guard property • Syn: ↑watchdog • Hypernyms: ↑working dog • Hyponyms: ↑kuvasz, ↑attack dog, ↑housedog, ↑schipperke, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Guard Dog — Filmdaten Originaltitel Guard Dog Produktionsland USA …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • guard dog — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms guard dog : singular guard dog plural guard dogs a dog trained to guard property or people …   English dictionary

  • guard dog — dog that is trained to protect a property against intruders …   English contemporary dictionary

  • guard dog — a large, aggressive dog, as a German shepherd or Doberman pinscher, trained to guard persons or property and often to attack or restrain on command. Also, guarddog. [1790 1800] * * * …   Universalium

  • guard dog — noun (C) a dog often used by soldiers, police officers etc that is trained to guard a place …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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