9 Best Large Dog Breeds for Family and Protection

Guard dogs are often seen as vicious, aggressive, and always ready to bite when an intruder enters the yard. This makes families shy away from large doggos when they have kids in the house. However, the good news is you can get the best large dog for family and protection without worrying about the safety of your little one.

Dogs are called man’s best friend for a good reason. They are loyal companions who will stay by your side when you need them the most. That includes protecting your family against potential harm.

Some dogs will fight tooth and nail to protect your family. Others will use their appearance to scare off a burglar. Whatever your preference is, this list will surely give you the right dog for the guard post.

Can a guard dog be a family dog at the same time?

This is a question we commonly receive from parents who are worried that getting a large dog could be dangerous for their young family. Large breeds are indeed intimidating. However, not all of them are as vicious as you think.

Some breeds like the German Shepherd, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Boxers can be sweethearts if trained and raised well. This way, you get a guard dog and a family pet at the same time.

Each dog is unique…

Take note that each dog has unique temperaments and predispositions. If you are to get any of the breeds we listed here, make sure that you deal with a responsible breeder. This way, all the negative tendencies of the breed can be reduced.

Most importantly, you have to train and socialize the dog as early as possible. As much as you want to preserve their aloofness to strangers, you still want your pooch to be well-rounded canines that will be safe for your family.

Not yet sure what breed you really need? In this video, BRIGHT SIDE helps us decide which dog is our best suit:

Characteristics of the best large dog for family and protection

Unlike typical guard dogs, family dogs for protection need to have the right balance of aloofness and friendliness. Here are some of the characteristics that you should look for the pooch:


A family protection dog should be alert the moment that it hears a weird noise or if a stranger is nearby. Still, the doggo shouldn’t act aggressive or harmful, unless the person shows provocative movements.


Guard dogs aren’t cowards. These dogs are brave enough to stand in the yard and face the stranger.

*Moderate aggressiveness.

You’re looking for a guard dog, not a dogfighting canine. With that, you should look for a breed with just the right amount of aggression. The type that’s enough to scare off a thief, but not cause serious injuries.


You’d want a family protection dog that will stand by your side at all times. Your dog should be courageous and determined to defend its master when they sense potential harm.


Most of all, you should look for an intelligent dog that’s highly trainable and adaptable to domestic living.

Other traits like kid-friendliness and minimal tendency to wander are important. In short, you need a family protection dog that’s tough against strangers but cinnamon rolls for your little ones.

Some pet owners will look for a dog that sheds or drools less and so on. These traits are just minor if you’re keen to find a breed that suits the temperament you’re looking for.

Best large dog for family and protection – 10 Breeds

1.      German Shepherd

A dog breed with the right balance of friendliness and guard dog skills, German Shepherds are topnotch choices. They are one of the quintessential working dogs lauded for their intelligence and adaptability to various situations.

German Shepherds are the best large dog for family and protection if the owner can handle its high energy levels. As a working breed, this doggo needs to stay busy with a task.

Don’t worry because German Shepherds aren’t wanderers. They will stay in your yard and make sure that they are doing their job.

best large dog for family and protection

2.      Bullmastiff

A large dog to send a thief running? Bullmastiffs are the perfect companions. They have an intimidating look and their aloofness to strangers make them excellent guard dogs. Still, they are cinnamon rolls to their families, especially to kids.

Still, training a Bullmastiff isn’t an easy task. They aren’t as intelligent as German Shepherds and they also have an affinity for playing. Still, with a firm hand and consistency, this dog will yield to your commands.

Beware, though, because Bullmastiffs are massive droolers.

3.      Doberman Pinscher

If there’s a breed stereotyped to be vicious, it would be Doberman Pinschers. They are the perceived villains in every dog movie, but in real life, they can be sweethearts too.

Dobies were bred as a guard dog, so there’s no doubt that they will be efficient as the best large dog for family and protection. These dogs are also intelligent, so they are easy to domesticate.

However, Dobermans are best for families with older kids. This breed is a quiet one and they are focused on guarding their territory.

4.      Boxer

If you want a guard dog that’s actually harmless, you better get a Boxer dog. Their large appearance and inquisitive stare will halt a stranger on its tracks.

Still, you should know how to keep a secret if you are to make this doggo a guard for your home. Boxers are only for scare tactics because this doggo is friendly to strangers and kids.

Also, Boxer dog has intense energy levels. They love playing and they sometimes act like spoiled teenagers when they don’t get what they want.

best large dog for family and protection

5.      Giant Schnauzer

For those who are serious about getting a guard dog breed, Giant Schnauzers are the best bet. This doggo is fiercely loyal and it will fight tooth and nail to defend its family.

Like Doberman Pinschers, Giant Schnauzers are for families with older kids. They are less tolerant of pinchy behavior, which will make them snap around toddlers.

This breed belongs to the intelligent bunch, so they are a joy to train. However, you should be prepared to put up with its intense energy and exercise needs.

6.      Puli

For those who aren’t familiar with this breed, seeing a Puli dog can be confusing. This doggo looks like it has dreadlocks as fur.

Although Puli dogs are very affectionate to their families, they are always in alert mode around strangers. They will bark and howl if they perceive danger.

However, this breed also likes chewing things and running after speeding squirrels. They also love wandering around, so beware of these escape artists.

The good thing about Puli dogs is they barely shed and drool, so they suit households with allergies.

7.      Rottweiler

This dog breed needs no further introduction as a guard dog. As one of the first police dogs, guarding is second nature to Rottweilers. They always keep an eye on strangers, but with proper training, they can also be very friendly.

As herders, Rottweilers can be nippy and intense barkers. They also have an intense prey drive, but they definitely will stay on their post once you train them for the job.

Rottweilers are intelligent dogs that are easy to train.  However, they also shed and drool a lot which could be challenging for some households.

8.      Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Pit Bulls have been the victim of stereotypes, which is why a lot of people are afraid of this breed. This perception can be used to make Pit Bulls as guard dogs.

Although they were initially bred as bullbaiting canines, Pit Bulls are now well domesticated. In fact, with proper training and socialization, Pitties are intensely affectionate to babies and their masters.

Their stocky build and large teeth are enough for a stranger to think twice before walking into your home. However, a domesticated Pit Bull is actually as friendly as Golden Retrievers around strangers.

9.      Rhodesian Ridgeback

Do you want an energetic addition to your family? The Rhodesian Ridgeback might be the right breed for you. This is breed is a born hunter and guardian that will stand by its master in times of danger.

Although Rhodesian Ridgebacks are balls of energy, they are affectionate to their masters and small kids. Still, they have a sense of aloofness around strangers.

This dog is intelligent, but due to their strong hunting instincts, they can be challenging to train. They are also energetic, so they suit owners with large yards and active lifestyles.

10.  Belgian Malinois

The Belgian Malinois dog is a working breed, often trained for police work. They are also excellent watchdogs that can be trained to be friendly and disciplined around their owners. Still, this dog has an eye for strangers, the same alertness as German Shepherds.

Belgian Malinois dogs are extremely intelligent, but they also have strong hunting instincts. This dog also has intense energy levels which require regular exercise and enough playtime.

Take note that this breed isn’t an apartment dog. They need a large yard where they can take watch or run around.

Wrapping Up

The best large dog for family and protection depends on the characteristics you’re looking for. The breeds we listed here are all good candidates. Still, you should look into each one’s temperament, especially if you have infants at home.

Most of all, make sure that you are prepared enough to handle their energy levels and personality. Most guard dogs are natural hunters and they require a space where they can run around.

What do you think of these breeds? Have you owned any of these canines? Share your experience with us in the comment section!

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