Top 10 Watchdog Breeds

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1. RottweilerA natural guard dog used with great success for military and police purposes, the Rottweiler will fiercely defend his family. He has an innate desire to protect his home and his owner, and is not prone to indiscriminate friendships. He is always alert, always watchful, and will not allow a stranger to approach his domain.

Dating back to the days of the Roman Empire, the Rottweiler is a large, powerful, and imposing animal. Energetic and easily trained, he excels in Schutzhund and obedience competitions.

The Rottweiler requires a great deal of attention and human companionship, but is relatively adaptable and can tolerate living in an apartment or small house. He is fairly inactive indoors but requires regular exercise. He loves to run, swim, and play outside.

Obedience training should begin early with the Rottweiler to ensure a happy, well-adjusted pet that does not become overly aggressive. Socialization is necessary to ensure he interacts well with other animals.

2. German Shepherd

The classic guard dog and a favorite family pet, the German Shepherd makes the ideal guardian, companion, or watch dog. He bonds closely with his family and has a strong protective instinct, yet is patient enough to tolerate children.

One of the most intelligent dog breeds, the German Shepherd is highly trainable and is well-suited to a variety of disciplines including Schutzhund, protection or guard training, police work, search and rescue, or as a companion animal for the disabled.

He has a happy disposition and is a loving, loyal pet. He enjoys the company of people and is able to get along well with other animals. He is large and muscular, confident, alert, and eager to please. Due to his pleasant disposition, incredibly high level of trainability, and devotion to his family, the German Shepherd is consistently listed as one of the top 10 companion dogs in the United States.

3. Scottish Terrier

A rugged, brave breed of dog, he has been nicknamed “Little Diehard.” The Scottish Terrier’s tenacity and loyalty to his family make him an excellent watchdog. He will bark vigorously to warn his owner of an intruder or danger, but will do so only when necessary. The Scotty is a very brave little dog who is always on high alert.

He is reserved with strangers and really has no interest in anyone outside of his family. The Scotty makes a good house pet but needs to be allowed time to run, play, and dig. He also loves to hunt small game.

Stubborn in nature, the Scottish Terrier needs firm but gentle training. He must be consistently reminded of the rules or he will dominate the household. His independence and feisty nature make it easy for the Scotty to forget that he weighs only 15 to 20 lbs., which sometimes leads him to get into more trouble than he can handle.

4. West Highland White Terrier

The “Westie,” as he is largely known, is small in stature but large in personality. He considers himself to be a bold, brave guard dog. The Westie is very possessive of his home, his belongings, his master, and his food…and will aggressively defend each one. The Westie is spirited in nature, consistently on alert, and will bark to warn his owner of intruders.

Despite his bravado, the Westie is a friendly dog that thrives on attention from humans. He is a great companion dog and is good with children. He is rather intelligent and easy to train, but loves to be allowed his time to dig and bark.

The Westie is a very energetic dog, and will nap between periods of intense, vigorous exercise. His temperament makes him a suitable dog for people of all ages and he will adapt well to nearly any living situation.

5. Miniature Schnauzer

The 10th most popular breed of dog in the United States, the Miniature Schnauzer is a good guard dog and an excellent mouser. He is extremely vocal – in fact, Miniature Schnauzers are known for their barking. Wary of strangers, he makes an excellent watchdog and will bravely defend his home.

Energetic, spirited, and playful, the Miniature Schnauzer likes children and thrives on attention. In fact, without affection and attention from his owner, the Miniature Schnauzer will become depressed to the point that it affects his overall health. He is a highly loyal animal who has a great deal of love for his family.

The Miniature Schnauzer has a wiry coat that does not shed, making him an excellent house dog. His high level of intelligence and eagerness to please make him easy to train, and his small size makes him easy to keep in an apartment or small yard.

6. Yorkshire Terrier

The second most popular breed of dog in the United States, the diminutive “Yorkie” packs a lot of punch into a compact body. He is a better than average working dog, inquisitive with a natural instinct to protect his home and his family. He will bark at strangers without hesitation, and is self-confident to the point of getting himself into trouble. His courage will allow him to take on an opponent many times his size.

The Yorkie is playful, intelligent, and learns very quickly. He excels in obedience and agility competitions and can be taught to carry out complicated commands. The Yorkie has even demonstrated the ability to recognize words and pick up specific toys on command. He is easy to care for and does not shed.

Eager to get into trouble, the Yorkie can be strong-willed, independent, and difficult to train. He requires patience and consistency, but can make an excellent family pet.

7. Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier originated in the Scottish Highlands in the 1500’s and is one of Scotland’s earliest working dogs. His most notable role was when he played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz.” Cairn Terriers, however, are stubborn, strong-willed, and independent, and would not normally tolerate being carried around in a basket.

Fearless and mischievous, the Cairn Terrier seems to be a big dog packaged in a little dog’s body. He is alert and loyal to his family, and will fiercely defend his territory. He also has a strong prey instinct and makes an excellent hunter.

The Cairn Terrier is patient and playful with children, but his independence prevents him from being a good lap dog. He is an intelligent animal, highly trainable but willful. At 14 lbs., the Cairn Terrier is a good house dog.

In 1917, the American Kennel Club changed the registration rules for Cairn Terriers, requiring them to be registered from that point on as West Highland White Terriers.

8. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog in the world, named after the region of Mexico where he was first discovered. Weighing in at anywhere from 2 to 6 lbs., he has no concept of his size and will behave as though he is a large dog. Ferocious and easily provoked, the Chihuahua makes an excellent guard dog, especially for the elderly or those living in an apartment. He is quick to give as menacing a bark as he can muster if he senses an intruder.

An intensely loyal animal, the Chihuahua is a devoted pet that is known to become very attached to his owner – many times to the point of jealousy. He makes an excellent lap dog but can have the tendency to bond with only one member of the family.

The Chihuahua is watchful of strangers and distrustful of those he does not know. Early socialization is important to ensure he minds his manners with all members of the family – human and animal alike.

Curious and adaptable, the Chihuahua is well suited to changing environments. He hates being cold, though, and is best kept as an indoor dog.

9. Airedale Terrier

The “King of Terriers,” the Airedale is the largest of all the terrier breeds. He has a high level of ability as a guard dog, and serves as a loyal, reliable, and protective family pet. Courageous and devoted to his owner, he is a friendly dog but won’t back away if challenged. The Airedale is typically calm and quiet – almost stoic. If he barks, it is for a reason.

The Airedale’s high level of intelligence makes him highly trainable. One must be careful, though, because he becomes bored with repetition. Once he learns a behavior, he will stubbornly end the training session. His aptitude for learning and eagerness to please make him an excellent competitor in obedience, Schutzhund, agility, and defensive dog trials.

Exercise is very important to the Airedale – he is energetic and loves to play rough. He gets along well with other dogs and loves to be involved with his human family. The Airedale has a sense of humor and needs to be with an owner who doesn’t mind being outsmarted by his dog. He makes an entertaining, devoted, loving family pet.

10. Poodle

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