Just because a dog is an effective guard, doesn’t mean he can’t be an affectionate pet. Many breeds have it in their personality to be both protective and affectionate. They know when to turn on the confident, alert side of their personality and when it’s time for a cuddle. In fact, guarding and affection are typically two sides of the same coin. Without feeling affection, guarding breeds would have no motivation for protection.
Large, powerful and loyal breeds like the rottweiler make excellent guards, as does the Akita and the Anatolian shepherd. They are also affectionate and gentle with family members. Working dogs were bred variously to protect, guard, pull sleds and rescue people from water. The typical working breed is large enough to be a formidable protector.
Terriers are tenacious, persistent and feisty, making them ideal guard and watchdogs. Examples of terriers that combine these attributes with a fondness for affection include pit bulls, Staffordshire bull terriers and black Russian terriers. The ASPCA says that pit bulls who were not used for dog fighting are “considered ideal family pets -- affectionate, loyal and gentle with children.” The ever-loving Staffordshire bull terrier used to have the nickname “nanny dog,” such was his reputation as a caring and affectionate pet.
Dogs bred for herding and guarding livestock are naturally protective and suspicious of strangers but they also make excellent, affectionate companions. The German shepherd, for example, is consistently one of the most popular breeds. He's fearless and agile but also loving. Less well-known herders that love a cuddle are the puli, who is naturally suspicious and barks when he detects a threat, and the Kuvasz. Although classified in the working group, this livestock guardian with strong territorial instincts is just a big softie with his owner.
Hound breeds, like the Rhodesian ridgeback, greyhound and Irish wolfhound, are typically loyal toward one person. This makes them naturally protective. The nonsporting group is home to a diverse range of breeds, including some affectionate and protective personalities such as the chow chow and the Shar-Pei.
- Petwave: Rottweiler Temperament and Personality
- ASPCA: Pit Bull Cruelty
- Battersea Dogs and Cats Home: Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- DogChannel.com: Guardian Dogs; Right for You?
- Anatolian Shepherd: About the Anatolian Shepherd; Information for the New Owner
- Cesar's Way: Top 10 Dog Breeds for Protection
- American Kennel Club: German Shepherd
- American Kennel Club: Kuvasz
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images