Finding a good family watch dog is important for many people who are considering pets. While pets need to be gentle and friendly with their family, it doesn't hurt to have a four-legged friend who will also vigilantly guard his home and family. Not surprisingly, some breeds are better suited to being watch dogs than others so you should consider all the options before you choose your dog.
Before narrowing down to a particular breed, it should be noted that there is actually a distinct difference between a guard dog and a watch dog. Guard dogs are expected to aggressively protect their property or family and will not be afraid to go after an intruder. Watch dogs, on the other hand, may not necessarily be physically aggressive but they are alert and will do a good job of letting their family know when a threat is present.
When it comes to choosing a guard dog, breeds such as the Rottweiler, Mastiff and Doberman Pinscher immediately come to mind. These are all big dogs that can look intimidating, which should help to put off possible intruders, but they are all surprisingly gentle and loving with their families. For this reason, any of them could also make a good family watch dog.
Other breeds that are very good choices for protection include the German Shepherd, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Staffordshire Terrier. German Shepherds are exceptionally good family dogs; in fact the AKC calls them "dog lover's dogs" but they are also bright, intelligent and fearless which makes them a popular choice as police and rescue dogs.
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While Australian Shepherds make great watch dogs they may not have the size needed to be man-stopping guard dogs.
Staffordshire Terriers are often mistaken for Pit Bulls but these dogs, while powerful and intimidating looking, are actually quite sweet natured and usually only show aggression when a family member is threatened. Rhodesian Ridgebacks aren't most people's first thought when considering a guard dog or family watch dog but they are extremely loyal and are known to bark only when absolutely necessary, which makes them a perfect built-in alarm system!
There are other breeds that don't necessarily have the aggressive nature needed for a guard dog but still possess the extraordinary loyalty that makes for a good watch dog. These include the Bernese Mountain Dog, Boxer, and Great Dane. These dogs are all large, which can be off-putting to outsiders, but they are all extremely good with children and won't hesitate to let you know when trouble is brewing.
In terms of being a family watch dog Australian Shepherds are actually natural watch dogs and quite protective due to their herding instinct. They are a friendly breed, lacking the innate aggression to be a guard dog, but they are loving, loyal and very intelligent, so they can be counted on to keep a close eye on their family!
It can be comforting to know that your furry friend will be there to alert you should danger strike and if you want this extra security for your family you could do worse than consider an Australian Shepherd. That way you and your family will be able to breathe easier knowing that your best friend has your back!