Best Guard Dog Breeds for Families with Children

Most dogs are born protectors. They instinctively guard their family, especially when it comes to children!

While training is essential for your dog to learn how to protect your children, some breeds learn more quickly because being protective is in their nature.

Find out why your family might need a guard dog, which are the best guard dog breeds for families with children, and how to train your dog to protect your child.

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guard dogs for families & children

Why Your Family Needs a Guard Dog

With kids in the house, you’re probably having second thoughts about getting a guard dog. You might be thinking it would just be another responsibility to raise a dog.

But getting the right guard dog for your family and kids will help you achieve an extra level of safety at home. 

It may be a bit of work, but it will be well worth the time you put in! 

Dogs have been protective companions to humans for centuries now.

They are often used to protect livestock from predators and thieves. 

A family guard dog is both a working dog and a pet. You cannot turn them off as adorable, cuddly pets just to turn on their protective side and vice versa.

There must be a good balance between the two. 

It is important to note that a guard dog should not be an attack dog. They should not be trained to attack and kill because it could bring unwanted or accidental harm to family members, friends, or strangers.

Get a fun-loving, brave, and loyal dog who can be socialized with your children. Not only will they protect your property and kids, but they will also make incredible playmates! 

The Best Guard Dog Breeds for Families with Children

Here are some of the best guard dogs you can choose that make ideal companions for families with children.


The Bullmastiff is confident, funny, and brave. 

These strong fur babies need to be trained early so they grow into protective and loyal guard dogs.

Otherwise, they will be the first to run and hide when there is stranger danger.

These dogs don’t always bark, but they are great at sensing strangers. 

Great Dane

According to AKC, the Great Dane is very gentle and patient with kids, so they make friends easily.

At the same time, these gentle giants are also super alert and intimidating to strangers. Their size and bark would scare off unwanted visitors.

However, training them to be aggressive to intruders may be challenging. They are more of a deterrent than an actual guard dog.   

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is very smart, athletic, and easy to train. Like kids, they also have high energy levels.

You can trust them to play with your children at the park but also defend them from sudden threats! 

Their intimidating look plays a big role in their protective aspect. You can also count on them to guard the rest of your home.

People will surely keep their distance once they spot a big, fearless, black dog looking out the window.


Schnauzers are strong and dominant despite their adorable appearance. They are one of the best guard dogs out there for families with kids.

They are the perfect mix of intimidating and innocent! Schnauzers are extremely loyal and would protect you in any way possible.

However, they also need a lot of mental stimulation and constant attention.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a popular guard dog because they are quick to learn commands and are utterly fearless.

This bold dog is a favorite police dog, but they also make a great companion for kids! In fact, their calm demeanor is very lovable.

Despite this, they will quickly react when your kids are threatened.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

The Rhodesian Ridgeback originally hunted lions. Their high prey drive makes them an ideal guard dog.

Despite their fierce history, they are very loyal to family and kids. They are even selective when it comes to barking!

Rhodesian Ridgebacks need to be properly trained as puppies because they are not known for being obedient.

Learn more about the Rhodesian Ridgeback in this video. 

How to Train Your Dog to Protect Your Child

Your dog must first master basic commands before you train them to protect your kids. No matter what distractions are around, they need to learn to obey you.

They should also be socialized with other people and dogs.  

These are the foundations of teaching your dog to be more protective and loyal to everyone in the family, especially children. 

You also want to train them to bark appropriately. They should know when to bark and when to stop. 

For example, if someone rings the doorbell, let your dog bark three times. Then, give them the “quiet” command. 

Once they obey, offer them a treat.

Let your child hold the dog on a leash, then let someone ring the doorbell again. If your dog barks, your kid should give them the “quiet” command.

If they obey, let your kid offer them a treat.

More Dog Training Tips for the Family

We already know that it is imperative to consider the breed beforehand. Here are other things to keep in mind after getting a guard dog for you and your kids.

Get the Whole Family Involved

This is the most important part of training your family guard dog. Attend training classes together and read the same dog training information.

If your kids are too young to read, then teach them the basics in an engaging way.

Demonstrate what you learn in books or classes and be their instructor during at-home training sessions.

One concept you should be talking about is how to properly handle and touch your dog.

Teach your partner and kids to respectfully interact with your new family member.

Socialize Your Dog

Socialize your guard dog so they recognize who they should and should not bark at.

For example, let them get used to seeing your neighbors so they don’t make noise every time they walk by.

Above all, your dog should be most comfortable with your family, so they can grow to love and protect you.

Spending plenty of time with them, training and playing, is the best way to socialize them.

You also want to teach them to be indifferent to other animals, so they don’t perceive cats, squirrels, and other dogs as intruders.

Take Turns Working with the Dog

Your dog will naturally bond with those who spend more time with them. They know who provides the food, takes them for walks, and plays with them. 

To make sure they are socialized with the whole family, take turns caring for them. However, you should only do this one at a time to begin with, especially when training. 

Having many trainers at once can be difficult and conflicting. 

Kids should only be secondary trainers who work with dogs after they have mastered the basic commands and skills. 

Once your dog can go off-leash, bark only when necessary, and properly protect your house, the kids may start offering treats, changing water bowls, and more, with parental supervision. 

Educated Barking

Aside from the breed, a crucial element to having a guard dog for the family is training them to bark out a warning every time a stranger approaches the property.

Remember that they should bark only when a stranger is approaching. You should also teach them how to stop barking on command.

What is the Best Dog for a Scared Child?

The truth is any dog can be great for your scared child if they can be trained and socialized well.

Look for one that has a sweet personality and knows how to be flexible to a child’s energy levels.

Check out this list of dogs for a scared child and learn how to train your dog to play safely with kids.

What is the Best Guard Dog for First Time Owners?

We know how frustrating and exciting it is to have a dog for the first time. But you need to consider some factors, especially if you want a guard dog.

The best guard dog for first-time owners is low-maintenance, easy to train, and has a friendly personality. 

Some of these include Great Danes and German Shepherds. 

Find out what other breeds make good guard dogs for first-time owners.

What is the Best Guard Dog for Apartment Living?

Any dog that is the right size and has lower energy levels is ideal for apartment living.

Lower energy dogs only need to go out for a walk once a day. 

Because you have a small space, a small to a medium-sized dog that is easy to train is important.

Here are the best guard dogs for apartment living.

What is the Best Medium-Sized Dog for a Family?

A good family-friendly dog breed is good with kids, easy-going to everyone, and easily trainable. 

Many families opt for a furry friend that is just the right size because they may be easier to maintain, feed, and socialize with kids.

The Beagle and Basset Hound are two of the best family-friendly dog breeds. 

Here’s a list of some of the best medium-sized dogs for your family.

Add a Guard Dog to Your Family

Dogs add a sense of security to your home. 

Some are most protective of your kids! They know when to be gentle and when to be alert when a threat to your children is nearby.

Try getting a Bullmastiff or a Great Dane! These breeds will guard your kids and safely play with them at the same time.

Got a scared child? Check out the best dog breeds for scared kids.