Top 10 GUARD DOG Breeds in the UK
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Number 10 – The Rhodesian Ridgeback
And right at number 10, we have the Rhodesian Ridgeback - a large, beautiful wheaten-coloured hunting dog from Africa, with a characteristic “ridge” on its back. The Ridgeback is a natural protector as well as a fun-loving and very energetic companion who is the perfect guard dog for an active person or family.
Finding this breed here on our list of the TOP 10 guard dogs in the UK may come as a surprise, as the Ridgeback is not commonly regarded as a guardian breed. However, these strong and capable dogs were developed in Africa for the purpose of apprehending lions - until the hunters could arrive on the scene to shoot them.
This precise role did require an extremely courageous dog with high prey drive and a good amount of natural aggression. Such a dog also is more than capable of defending its owner and property. At the same time, the Rhodesian Ridgeback looks deceivingly mellow in its outer appearance, almost like a working line Labrador. It does not come with the slightly intimidating appearance of a Rottie, Bullmastiff or Cane Corso, and therefore, is unlikely to make people cross the street to avoid you on walks.
Number 9 – The Bullmastiff
The Bullmastiff is one of Britain’s very own guard dogs – and is perhaps the best natural guardian breed that the country has ever created. As its name suggests, the Bullmastiff has been developed by crossing the English Mastiff with the Old English Bulldog. Originally bred as by gamekeepers in the mid-1800s, this dog was specifically designed to assist in tracking down and apprehending poachers. And indeed, the majestic Bullmastiff beautifully combines the immense size and bulk of the Mastiff with the Bulldogs’ ferocity.
Today, this breed is one of the best family guard dogs in the world and well-loved by their British owners. Due to their enormous size and strength, strong leadership and diligent obedience training are essential for Bullmastiffs. In the right hands, these intriguing Mastiffs are gentle family companions who are great with children, and who are highly effective guardians at the same time – calm in the house, but fearless on the job
Number 8 – The Cane Corso
The number 8 spot on our list goes to an Italian guardian breed whose popularity has been exploding over the last few years - a descendent of the fearsome battle dogs of the Roman Empire. These massive guardians’ willingness to defend their owners with their own lives is legendary – and makes this breed one of the best natural guardian and personal protection dogs in the world.
We are talking about one of my personal favourites when it comes to guard dog breeds – the Cane Corso. More and more dog-enthusiasts in the UK choose these superb protectors over all other breeds - not only because they are very intelligent and trainable, but also, because Corsos make marvellous family guardians. They are usually far more loving, devoted, and gentle towards their owners than other well-known guard dog breeds, such as the Rottweiler, the Belgian Malinois or the German Shepherd.
Number 7 – The Airedale Terrier
And at number 7, we have the so-called “King of Terriers”, the Airedale Terrier. This breed is one of the original British guardian breeds. At the same time, these stunning dogs are loyal and loving family companions. The large Terriers come with a decent intimidation factor that is likely to discourage any potential burglars from trying to break into your home.
Britain’s largest native terrier has a long history as guardian on British farms. In World War I, Airedales were used as couriers who would deliver the message entrusted to them no matter what – even when injured. Their bold, fearless nature as well as their high tolerance for pain have made the Airedales well-respected personal protection- and guard dogs. However, just like the next amazing guard dog on our list, Airedales are quite independent canines who require strong leadership.
Number 6 – The Giant Schnauzer
The Giant Schnauzer is becoming more and more popular in the UK – with good reason, because these large, powerful, and athletic dogs will defend their families with everything they have got. Giant Schnauzers are extremely loyal dogs, but they absolutely require training and socialisation from an early age onward. Even though they do not look as intimidating as for example the Bullmastiff or the Cane Corso, these usually jet black giants do have a decent intimidation factor.
Whilst known to be stubborn and dominant by nature, the largest of the Schnauzers make excellent working and guard dogs. They are highly intelligent and love to work. Paired with an experienced handler, they can be trained to high levels of obedience, tracking and guard dog work. Which is precisely why especially the males of the breed are sought-after by the police force. Their strong character makes Giant Schnauzers perfect for experienced owners, and, in the right hands, they are amazing family guardians.
Number 5 – The Rottweiler
This brings us to the halfway mark of today’s list of the UK’s favourite guardians. Now, things are getting even more interesting! And at number 5, we have one of the best guard dog breeds on the planet – a breed that has a much higher intimidation factor than, for example, the Rhodesian Ridgeback or even the Airedale Terrier.
And yet, due to their not all too high energy levels, these bulky protectors make quite decent house dogs, and can even live inside an apartment – when provided with enough exercise. We are talking about an ancient guardian breed from Germany: the Rottweiler. Highly intelligent and trainable, Rotties are absolutely fearless and reliable protectors who do not require specific training to defend their owners and their homes.
Of course, these fierce and fearsome-looking dogs need to be trained and socialised from a very early age onwards. If you want a capable, highly effective guard dog – and you can be a calm, consistent leader to your dog – then, the Rottweiler is a perfect choice for you.
Number 4 – The Doberman
At position number 4 on our list of most popular guard dog breeds in the UK, we have the Doberman. As one of the best guardian- and personal protection dog breeds on the planet, the Doberman is extremely capable of protecting its owners and their home from danger.
Originally, this loyal and intelligent breed was created by a German tax collector whom the dog was named after. In his line of work, Mr. Dobermann had good reasons to wish for a fearless guard dog, and his efforts obviously have been vastly successful. The Doberman is a devoted guardian and affectionate companion who forms a deep bond with its owner.
Britain’s dog-enthusiasts love Dobermans – not only because of their protective instincts, but also because they are such a pleasure to live with: Dobermans are very calm and quiet house dogs who love to snuggle up to their owners on the couch and are very attached to their people in general. Because of their well-balanced nature, Dobies can even be kept in apartments – as long as they are provided with enough exercise.
Number 3 – The German Shepherd
At this point, things are getting really exciting, as we are going to name the TOP 3 candidates of our list of the United Kingdom’s favourite guard dog breeds - and the Bronze Medal goes to yet another working dog breed from Germany: the German Shepherd.
The German Shepherd, a versatile working dog who has managed to conquer the hearts and homes of the British. Back in Germany in the late 1900’s, Max von Stephanitz set out to create the perfect Sheepdog – a dog who would be able to trot for hours, tending to its flock, then rest, and then do the same all over again. Von Stephanitz used selective breeding of the Southern German Sheepdogs of the time to achieve his aim. The dog he created far exceeded his expectations: Today’s German Shepherd Dog not only is a high level endurance athlete and superb sheepdog, but one of the most popular and versatile working dog breeds on the planet.
German Shepherds are utilized in many different roles, including police service, search and rescue, therapy and canine sports. They make superb natural guardians who do not need to be trained as such to effectively defend their territory – as well as their owners.
Number 2 – The Boxer
As we approach the very top of our list of most popular guard dogs in the UK, we see a breed that stems from the same fearsome Molossus Hounds as the Bullmastiff and the Cane Corso. However, this breed has won the hearts of many British owners not only because of its ferocity as a guardian, but also because of its gentleness as family companion. Right here, on the Silver Medal spot, we have a beautiful, athletic and very capable working dog: the Boxer.
The Boxer is a medium- to large German guardian breed with a characteristic rounded head and well-muscled body. Originally, the Boxer was created by crossing the Old English Bulldog with the now extinct Boar Hound. Today’s Boxers are versatile working- and service dogs as well as agile sports dogs. These highly intelligent guardians are energetic and playful. They are usually very patient and kind towards children – and their natural protective instincts make Boxers one of the most popular choices for British families.
Number 1 – The Staffordshire Bull Terrier
And here we are, at the very top of today’s list of the TOP 10 most popular guard dogs in the United Kingdom. And the Gold Medal spot goes to one of the most devoted family guardian breeds on the planet. We are talking about another breed that is native to the United Kingdom. And it is no other than the amazing, wonderful Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Also known as Staffy, this stocky, short-haired, small to medium sized breed was created in Staffordshire, England. Early breeders developed the Staffy by crossing the Old English Bulldog with the Black-and-Tan Terrier. Over time, other terrier breeds were introduced for the purpose of creating a strong, but gentle dog who would be friendly towards humans.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier that we have today is an immensely loyal and devoted dog who absolutely adores children. In fact, the Kennel Club does recommend the Staffy as a suitable dog for being around children. At the same time, this dog comes with the typical “bully breed” looks – stocky, compact and muscle-packed from head to tail. This in itself makes for an excellent intimidation factor that is, of course, quite desirable in a guard dog.
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is not only the most popular guardian breed in Britain, but THE most popular dog breed in general in the UK in 2019.