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Best Watch Dog Breeds

Which is the Best of the Watch Dog breeds? What makes some breeds better watch dogs than others?

A watch dog can be any size, because their main job is to be observant of what is going on in their immediate environment, and then relay their findings to you, the owner.

This means they must be alert, have a great sense of hearing, and sound the alarm if something just doesn't sound right to them.

The best watch dog breeds are those that know when to bark, usually when there is something novel in their range of sight and hearing. 

These dogs do not bark constantly, but have honed their discriminatory senses to alert you when they do sense something different.

Most all dogs will bark if excited at seeing something such as a squirrel or rabbit hoping across the grass.

Some breeds will alert you visitors some of the time.  The best watch dogs are those that are consistent in their efforts. 

Guard Dogs Vs. Watch Dogs

Are watch dog breeds protective? It depends. There are some great watch dogs that are also protective, but these are dogs that could do some serious damage if they did take matters into their own hands (err, I mean paws).

Many protective breeds are also very independent and need extensive training to be a good protection or guard dog. Some of the natural characteristics you might see in a guard dog include:

Guard Dogs Are:

  • Territorial
  • Aggressive
  • Physically Strong
  • Courageous
  • Able to Work Independently
  • Loyal to Family
  • Trainable
  • Wary of Strangers

Watch Dogs Are:

  • Any size,  small breeds often make the best watch dogs
  • May or may not be wary of strangers
  • Good Sense of Hearing
  • Great Vocal Cords
  • Territorial

Good Watch Dog Breeds

There are many more dogs that could have been placed on this list.  If your great watch dog is not here, why not tell us why he should be listed. 

At the bottom of the page is a place where you can tell us what kind of dog you have and what his watch dog abilities are like.  Oh, and don't forget to upload a picture or two of your great watch dog.

AND, what if your breed is listed on this page?  We want to hear from you too.  Tell us all about you great watch dog and add a few photos too.


Although the Affenpinscher dog breed may look like terriers, they are actually from the pinscher-schnauzer family which makes them more tolerant towards other dog and pets.

They are inquisitive, affectionate and playful and are very loyal and protective towards other family members although they can be a little territorial when it comes to their food or toys so they are not advised for families with very small children.

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Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is brave but not aggressive. They are intelligent, independent dogs, and can be a little stubborn at times. Mischievous and comical companions, they will do their utmost to cheer you up and make you laugh.

Originating from the Aire Valley in South Yorkshire, England, the Airedale terrier is the largest of all the terrier breeds thus gaining itself the title of "King Of Terriers".

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Watch Dog Breeds

American Eskimo Dog

These dogs are small enough to live in apartments, so long as they get ample exercise. This being said, they are not best for owners who will not be home for most of the day, as they are prone to separation anxiety and will bark as a result.

This breed is accomplished at alerting their owners to anyones presence. These dogs are known for being fairly vocal about things they find unusual. They are known for being wary pets, and would be able to sense the presence of a stranger just walking past their home. If not guard dogs, they are capable of keeping watch.

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Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a very alert, friendly, overall happy go lucky type of dog. They are very family oriented and do great with children and other pets.

Although small in size and stature, these dogs make excellent watchdogs due to their overwhelming amount of love and devotion to their family and owners. This dog loves to care and watch out for their loved ones, and will bark at any strangers or unnerving noises or people.

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Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a fun, inquisitive, watchful little companion dog who is very eager to please! They have huge hearts and are so affectionate - they just love jumping up for snuggles!

The Griffon Bruxellois is not aggressive. However, he WILL bark when a visitor arrives or someone passes by. These dogs just love to be near their owners, and will alert them to anything out of the ordinary. One of the best of the watch dog breeds.

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Cairn Terrier

Origins:  Scotland
Size:  Small
Grooming:  Average
Training:  Average
Recognition: CKC (Terriers), ANKC (Terriers), AKC (Terriers),  NZKC (Terriers),  UKC (Terrier,  (UK)  Terrier,  FCI  Group 3

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Watch Dog Breeds


The Chihuahua is a funny, small companion. They are well known for their size, being the world’s smallest dog. Their personality outsizes their body, making them a lively, social and friendly companion.

The Chihuahua is known for being all bark and no bite. Their vocal personalities pose useful vocational purposes as well. The breed has been well known for its capabilities as a watchdog all throughout history, and it continues to be one today. This is an ideal dog for alerting its owner to an intruder’s presence.

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Dachshund breed dogs are, surprisingly, commonly quoted as being among the most aggressive of breeds. While they are unlikely to inflict much damage to an adult, they could seriously hurt a child that they perceive as a stranger.

All versions will alert you to any strangers approaching your property and will more than likely try to take on the intruder as they have no concept of their size.

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Fox Terrier

A white Fox Terrier straining a his leash, on a grass fieldFox Terrier

Origins:  England
Size:  Small
Grooming: Minimal
Training: Average
Recognition:  FCI Group 3,   AKC: Terrier,  ANKC: Terrier,  CKC Terriers,  KC (UK) Terrier,  NZKC: Terrier ,  UKC: Terriers

Watch Dog Breeds


A Keeshond dog standing in a long grass field, looking back at the cameraKeeshond

Origins: The Netherlands
Size:  Medium
Grooming: Extensive
Training: Easy
Recognition:  FCI: Group 5,  AKC: Non-sportingA,  NKC:  Non-sporting, CKC:  Non-sporting,  KC:  Utility,  NZKC:  Non-sporting,  UKC:  Northern

Lhasa Apso

This breed was developed to act as an indoor watchdog in Tibetan noble houses and Buddhist monasteries. They have acute hearing, even for a dog, and are alert and naturally suspicious of strangers.

The Lhasa Apso is extremely confident and quite independent. They can be hard to housebreak, and not easy to train, but are very loyal and love keeping contact with their 'family'. They do not tolerate young children well, and may snap if provoked.

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Manchester Terrier

The Toy Manchester Terrier (MT) was once an excellent ratter, ridding the Manchester part of England of all its vermin. Nowadays,  this breed has all but retired from that role and now enjoys the life of a real canine companion. He is alert and often wary of strangers—two traits that make them excellent watchdogs. 

They are alert and are not shy at sounding out the warning if they see, smell or hear something. They are wary of strangers and devoted to a family making them an excellent choice for someone who needs a little extra protection. 

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Miniature Pinscher

Origins: Germany
Size: Small
Grooming:  Easy
Training: Average
Recognition:  FCI: Group 2,  AKC: Toys,  ANKC: Toys,  CKC: Toys,  KC: Toys,  NZKC: Toys,  UKC: Companion

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Watch Dog Breeds

Miniature Schnauzer

This breed is most common of the Schnauzers, for many reasons. Owners enjoy their affectionate and loyal personalities, which is paired with their playful energy. Their intelligence makes them responsive and quick learners.

While they may not be too capable of guarding a house, they make good watchdogs. These dogs are alert, reacting to some of the slightest abnormalities. Once they notice something unusual, they’ll let the rest of the neighborhood know. This makes the Miniature Schnauzer good for alerting its owner to a threat. One of the best of the watch dog breeds.

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The Papillon is a small breed that is well known for its known for its affectionate and energetic personality. These dogs are always looking for something to do, so they make for playful company. They are very social and are excited when they get to meet new faces.

They make for ideal watchdogs, as they will alert their owners to any out of the ordinary. They have the energy and wariness to maintain the watch through the night as well.

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The Pekingese is a small, unique breed of intelligent and sturdy dogs. Owners find qualities similar to a proud lion, for which the breed is named. These dogs are confident and independent, but once they have a good, authoritative owner, they become loyal and protective companions.

The breed is already notoriously wary of strangers, and will bark when alerted to one. These dogs were historically used to alert their owners to intruders, and manage to do so to this day.

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Watch Dog Breeds


The Poodle is a fascinating and special breed of dog for many different reasons. One of the more prominent characteristics that separate this breed from the rest of the bunch is that they are said to be the only breed that comes in three different sizes!

Poodles make excellent watch dogs. They will alert you to any suspicious activity outside. But if you are looking for protection, this breed may not be right for you. They are not likely to defend you, and do not have the nature to be defensive.

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Scottish Terrier

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Time Consuming
Recognition:,  FCI: Group 3,  AKC: Terriers,  ANKC: Terriers,  CKC: Terriers,  KC: Terriers,  NZKC:Terriers,  UKC:  Terriers

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Shetland Sheepdog

Origins: Scotland
Size: Small
Grooming: Time Consuming
Training: Easy
Recognition:  FCI: Group 1,  AKC: Herding,  ANKC: Working,  CKC: Herding,  KC: Pastoral,  NZKC: Working,  UKC:  Herding

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Watch Dog Breeds

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a compact breed of loyal, determined, and alert dogs. These dogs are well known for their intelligence and are considered one of the most popular breeds in Japan.

While the breed is not very physically capable, it’s up for the job. The dog's natural dislike of  strangers makes it ideal for protecting its owners. The Shiba Inu is also a vocal breed. While it can't stop an intruder, it can quickly alert its owner to ones presence.

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Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu dog breed may be just the perfect breed for you, if spunky, affectionate and playful is what you are looking for in a companion. 

Shih Tzu have keen hearing and never miss a thing. They make great watch dogs, but don’t expect them to protect you. They are likely to lick and kiss any intruder as they show them the way to the family safe.

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West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is best described as alert, active, independent and friendly. They are quick to win your heart with their energetic persona and their bright white coat that just accents their button eyes, making them an initial hit among anyone who loves a people oriented canine.

Watch dog yes, Guard dog, no. They make great watch dogs and will announce any visitors to your home with a decent bark. They will not likely serve you as a guard dog due to their small size and friendly nature.

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Yorkshire Terrier

Bold, affectionate, bright and fearless are words often used to describe the Yorkie’s personality. They enjoy adventures as well as snuggles, but they still maintain the terrier part of their temperament, which means they can be feisty and vocal.

Possessing a very dominant character, they will not hesitate to stand up for their rights, even if it means attacking a dog twice their size. One thing they do have going for them in the protection department is their vocal chords. Most Yorkies will sound the alarm if they hear something out of the ordinary or if someone comes to the door. 

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Watch Dog Breeds that are Also Guard Dogs


American Staffordshire Terrier

Anatolian Shepherd


Belgian Laekenois

Belgian Sheepdog

Belgian Tervueren

Black Russian Terrier


Bouvier des Flandres


Cane Corso

Doberman Pinscher

Dogue de Bordeaux

German Shepherd

Giant Schnauzer


Kangal Shepherd Dog (Anatolian Shepherd Dog)



Neapolitan Mastiff


Rhodesian Ridgeback

Standard Schnauzer

Tibetan Mastiff


We hope you found this guide to Watch Dog Breeds informative and helpful!

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