Owning a dog is a responsibility and a joy. There are a variety of reasons why people choose to get a dog such as companionship and company.
A common consideration when choosing to get a dog is the ability to protect one’s property; a good guard dog provides an extra level of security for many homes.
Some of the scariest-looking dog breeds include Great Danes, Bullmastiffs, German Shepherds, and Boerboels, among many others. A dog doesn’t have to be aggressive to guard, but rather needs only to appear menacing to an intruder.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have a dog that can offer both protection and companionship. In fact, many dogs that develop close connections with their families make the best guard dogs due to their protective instincts.
If you want your dog to scare off any potential intruders, it’s important you choose the right canine. There’s no point investing in a quiet toy breed and expecting your home to be safe. There are many breeds that make excellent guard dogs, so let’s look at 15 options to consider.
What Makes a Dog Scary to Intruders?
Dogs can be scary to people for a variety of reasons. Barking alone, which may alert an intruder to the presence of a potentially threatening dog inside, is often enough to keep a bad guy from trying to break in or enter a property. (Even a “Beware of Dog” sign hanging outside the house can do the trick, regardless of whether there is a dog inside or not.)
Size and attitude play a big role in being scary. A ferociously barking large dog will appear far more threatening than a docile smaller breed. Most people know the damage that a dog bite can inflict, and larger dogs take bigger bites.
Even if a dog doesn’t bark, snarl, or appear dangerous, most know that certain breeds are capable of being aggressive and will steer clear of any confrontation.
The bottom line is that an intruder is scared by the possibility that a dog will attack and bite. So any dog that appears to have that capability can scare off intruders.
The beautiful Great Dane is a good choice for a guard dog, mainly because of their sheer size. Typically, a Great Dane will measure at 30-32 inches at the shoulder and weigh 150-200 pounds.
To describe them as scary may be a step too far because they actually look pretty goofy and cute. That said, a potential intruder would definitely think twice if they came face to face with this enormous dog.
It’s probably better to describe a Great Dane as a watchdog as they aren’t aggressive and would more likely bark excessively if needed. Due to their size they have a pretty loud bark that would both warn of intruders and alert you to any danger.
Integrating dogs into the family is the best way to benefit from a dog you wish to serve as a guard dog as they are very territorial and will fiercely protect their family.
Great Danes are particularly alert, so will react swiftly to any perceived danger, even if that danger turns out to be a feather floating past the window.
Great Dames are predominantly calm dogs, so they are a good choice for those that want a dog for protection but don’t want to deal daily with aggressive behavior. They really are great family dogs and only a danger to intruders.
The Kangal could be described as a giant teddy bear by canine enthusiasts, but to an intruder these dogs look pretty mean. They have tall front legs and provide an intimidating presence.
They are sturdy dogs and fully grown will weigh in at 150 pounds (ca. 68 kg) with a height of 26-30 inches. In addition, they are muscular and strong with huge heads.
Kangals were bred to protect livestock, so they are instinctively protective and territorial. Just like the Great Dane, they are more protective than aggressive meaning they integrate well into the family and are good at perceiving potential threats.
Having said that, if under attack a Kangal will fight, and they have a super strong bite that will likely do some damage, so it’s best not to mess with them.
Rottweilers have a reputation for being one of the scariest and mean dogs around. They need a firm hand when training to enforce boundaries, so they avoid attacking every person they meet. They are incredibly strong and would certainly scare off anyone that appears to threaten their family.
Furthermore, they are very protective but are likely to go into attack mode immediately so need special training to tame their aggression.
Socializing your Rottweiler is crucial to tame these dogs. It’s especially important if you want a confident dog to protect the family from intruders.
Your dog should learn how to listen to your commands to indicate when a visitor is harmless and respond appropriately. You don’t want their behavior to be driven by fear and not protection, as this will filter into everyday life.
If you’ve ever had the privilege of meeting a Rhodesian Ridgeback you’ll understand how unique these dogs are. With long legs and a regal stance, you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of these canine beauties.
The Ridgeback requires intense training, in the wild they have been known to pick a fight with a lion, what brave beast they are. They don’t respond well to strangers and need to learn that not all strangers are threats.
With that in mind this breed makes the perfect guard dog and is likely to scare off anyone attempting to trespass into your property.
The Belgian Malinois is a working dog that is commonly used in the military and police force.
Highly intelligent, they are easy to train and are powerful dogs full of endless energy. If you choose to share your lives with one of these dogs, be prepared to exercise them a lot and provide plenty of space.
These dogs make fantastic guard/watch dogs as they are superfast runners and could easily outrun the average human. They need to stay stimulated to avoid destructive behaviors and would be happy acting as a look-out for their families’ property.
German Shepherds (previously known as Alsatians) can hardly be described as scary, however for those that are wary of large dogs the German Shepherd can be a tad intimidating.
They look similar to a wolf, which makes them perfect for scaring off the baddies. It isn’t a surprise that these dogs are used by the police due to their highly intelligent nature.
They make awesome family pets and are all unique in personality. They are fiercely protective of loved ones whilst remaining docile and placid with their family. The perfect combo of family dog and scary protective canine.
They are loyal, brave and always alert to danger, what’s not to love. As with the others these dogs require training from puppyhood to get them used to different situations and not be reactive constantly.
The gigantic Boerboel may look scary but they are actually gentle giants, however intruders don’t need to know that. Originally bred in South Africa, they were used by farmers as working dogs to protect people from animal predators such as Hyenas. They require assertive and committed owners to take time to fully train them.
These dogs are generally gentle and docile and wonderful around children and adults alike. They are protective though and combined with their size these dogs would act as a great deterrent to potential intruders.
They are superfast and could outrun anyone. Furthermore, they also have incredibly powerful jaws, so heaven help anyone that gets in their way, scary indeed!
The Great Pyrenees is hardly a scary monster, but these dogs are hardworking, strong and pretty big.
Weighing up to 120 pounds (ca. 54 kg) and 32 inches (0.81 m) high despite their beautiful coat they are quite imposing and likely to cause an intruder to think twice before breaking into a property. They have an impressive bark and will engage the vocal cords fully if threatened.
These dogs tend to be very independent and serious, so you can be sure of any tasks entrusted to them, such as guarding the house, they will fully commit to. They will naturally protect their families and provide unconditional love.
The dogs need proper socialization and training and can make fantastic family pets. They do have a tendency to wander off so will need a secure garden with high fences to keep them in and intruders out.
The Bullmastiff is definitely up there with the scary looking breeds. They were originally bred to deal with poachers on large estates throughout England. They don’t generally need to make a sound, their size, and strength acts as a deterrent in itself. If needed a Bullmastiff can run fast and confidently.
They are loving dogs with their families and known to be great with small children. They are typically mellow and calm when not on alert and can exist happily in a small space or a big house.
Perhaps a downside to these dogs is that they drool a lot! not so great when heading onto your lap for cuddles but perfect for sending intruders scuttling away due to their overall scary appearance.
The word giant here is used due to the Schnauzer’s size compared with regular Schnauzers. But they are still smaller than the previous contributions. However, these dogs are strong and naturally territorial.
These dogs are a working breed so if you choose them as a pet be sure they have plenty to do and lots of opportunities to be outside, or they will get bored. They are full of energy and highly intelligent.
The Schnauzer was originally used for driving cattle away from the farm and along to the local market, they are also incredibly protective making them a great choice of watchdog. They aren’t particularly cute looking so can be scary when barking.
They need proper training and commitment, and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and loving companion for the rest of your life, ready and willing to fight anyone that tries to hurt you. How reassuring is that?
The Caucasian Ovcharka is a variation of the Shepherd dog and is large and wolf-like in appearance. Their thick coat adds to their imposing size, and they would certainly be a force to be reckoned with for someone up to no good.
These dogs are quite sensitive and need a special diet, so it’s crucial you do some research before purchasing. You can also discuss with the breeder anything you are concerned about.
Unfortunately these dogs can’t really be family pets. They can be used primarily as guard dogs and will protect their owners completely, however, they are also likely to attack anyone else that comes to your home and won’t differentiate between friends and threats.
They need experienced and committed owners with lots of time to dedicate to training and raising this monster dog.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Typically known as Staffies this breed gets a bad press due to how they are raised. Many people raise these canines to be aggressive fighting dogs, however by nature they are gentle and can be loyal and loving companions.
Staffies are strong and muscular with powerful jaws. Given their negative reputation they would make a great guard dog just from their very presence and if they are protecting the family home by barking excessively they are a scary sight indeed. They are strong-willed and fearless and always ready to jump into protective action if needed.
For those that own Staffies they know they make great family dogs and love to play. They tend to be friendly and non-threatening to strangers and well-trained dogs are responsive to the owner’s commands.
Probably one of the most obvious choices of guard dog, the Doberman would risk their own life to protect the family they love.
Dobermans cleverly combine their alert nature, beautiful physical features and highly intelligent personality to create a deterrent like no other.
Without moving a muscle an intruder that spots a Dobeman sitting in the yard will very likely think twice about stepping over the threshold. They have a dangerous and fierce appearance with piercing eyes and erect pointy ears.
This breed is muscular and lean with powerful legs and chest. Super speedy with powerful jaws it’s wise to stay on the right side of these canine beasts. In fact, they can reach speeds of 30 mph (ca. 48 km/h) which is double an average human’s running speed. Impressive!
It isn’t surprising the Doberman makes a great guard dog, they were especially bred as protectors. They were used during the war and alerted soldiers to dangers as well as fighting and dying for the king and country. There’s no doubt you’d feel reassured and safe with a Doberman roaming around your property.
These scary looking canines have been bred to be loyal and loving. Despite their appearance and obvious strength they adore their human families and will protect them in any way they can.
Bullies are really intelligent which makes them super easy to train. This means if you train them properly at any time they are protecting you, and you give them a command to stop they will listen and change their behavior immediately. They’re obedient and responsive making them ideal as guard dogs and family pets.
Coming face to face with a Cane Corso isn’t for the fainthearted. These Italian canines were bred to be guardians so make the perfect guard dog. They are hard workers and were originally used on farms to hunt game as well as provide protection for their human owners.
The Cane Corso is incredibly territorial and determined, so any intruder would be most unwelcome and driven out before any damage could be done. Although they are careful around strangers, the cane Corso are soppy pooches and develop deep bonds with their families.
They love company and attention, so it’s important not to allow these dogs to spend too much time on their own. They are pretty easy to train so make great pets as well as taking well to their guarding role.
Dogs are wonderful animals to share your life with. They bring much joy and happiness to families that live with them. They also provide much needed protection to homes and act as a preventative measure against intruders.