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Are German Shepherds Good Guard Dogs? How To Train Them To Protect?

are German Shepherds good guard dogs

German Shepherds have been regarded as some of the best all-around dogs for decades. They are smart, beautiful, and are great with kids. But, are German Shepherds good guard dogs?

Well, these intelligent and versatile dogs have earned their reputation as one of the best guard dog breeds. With their keen instincts and unwavering loyalty, German Shepherds excel at keeping intruders at bay.

So, if you’re wondering “Do German Shepherds make good guard dogs?”, then do not worry, I have got you covered.

In this article, we will talk about:

  • What makes German Shepherds the best guard dogs?
  • How to train a German Shepherd to be a good guard dog?

Are German Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?

Yes, German Shepherds are renowned for being excellent guard dogs. Their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility make them well-suited for the guarding role. They are highly trainable and with a strong protective instinct and imposing presence, German Shepherds can effectively deter potential threats.

German Shepherds are vigilant and quick learners and are often used in various security and law enforcement capacities worldwide.

German Shepherds were originally bred in Germany in the late 19th century, these intelligent and versatile canines were primarily used for herding livestock.

Breeders quickly realized that German Shepherds possessed exceptional guarding abilities due to their strong loyalty and natural inclination to protect.

This led to a shift in focus from herding to protection roles. The breed’s protective traits were further enhanced through selective breeding.

German shepherds are used in military and police work

German Shepherds in Military and Police Work

The true breakthrough for German Shepherds as guard dogs came during World War I. They were enlisted by the military for various tasks, including messenger duties, tracking, and sentry work.

Their remarkable intelligence, agility, and courage made them invaluable assets on the battlefield.

Today, German Shepherds are highly valued and widely used in military and police work around the world.

In military operations, German Shepherds are trained to perform a variety of tasks. They are often used as scout dogs, helping to detect hidden explosives or alerting their handlers to the presence of enemy forces.

Their keen sense of smell allows them to track down individuals or locate hidden contraband. German Shepherds can also be trained in specialized skills such as search and rescue, where they assist in locating missing persons in difficult terrain or disaster areas.

In police work, German Shepherds are commonly used as police dogs or K-9 units. They are trained to apprehend suspects, protect their handlers, and search for illegal substances.

German Shepherds have a strong bite force and are trained to immobilize suspects without causing excessive harm.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Used In The Military

German shepherds guarding the gate

What Makes German Shepherds The Best Guard Dogs

When it comes to guard dogs, German Shepherds are in a league of their own. They possess a unique set of qualities that make them the best choice for protecting your home and loved ones.

Let’s take a closer look at why German Shepherds make the best guard dogs.

1. Intelligence

Their high level of intelligence allows them to quickly grasp commands and learn new skills, making them highly trainable.

This makes it easier for owners to teach them essential guard dog tasks such as patrolling, alerting, and apprehending intruders.

2. Loyalty

German Shepherds form deep bonds with their owners and will go to great lengths to protect them.

This loyalty translates into a strong sense of responsibility when it comes to guarding their territory and loved ones.

A German Shepherd will always be on high alert, ready to defend their family at a moment’s notice.

3. Protective Instincts

German Shepherds have an innate protective instinct that drives them to safeguard their family, property, and territory.

This instinct, combined with their loyalty, makes them highly reliable in detecting potential threats and reacting accordingly.

Proper socialization and training can ensure that this protective instinct is channeled appropriately, preventing aggression towards strangers while still maintaining their guarding abilities.

4. Strength and Size

In terms of physical attributes, German Shepherds are unmatched. Their strength and size alone are often enough to deter potential intruders.

With a muscular build and an imposing presence, they command respect and instill fear in those who may have ill intentions.

However, it’s important to note that their large athletic build requires proper exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy.

5. Fearlessness

German Shepherds are highly regarded as one of the best guard dogs due to their innate courage and bravery.

They are not easily intimidated and will fearlessly protect their owners, property or livestock when faced with potential threats.

They are extremely loyal and will fearlessly confront any potential danger to ensure the safety of their loved ones.

6. Responsiveness & Alertness

German Shepherds are highly responsive to their owner’s commands and cues, allowing for precise control in potentially dangerous situations.

Their ability to quickly assess threats and act accordingly is crucial for effective guarding.

7. Endurance

These dogs have impressive stamina and endurance, enabling them to stay alert and active during long hours of guard duty.

Their physical fitness ensures they can maintain their guard status without fatigue.

8. Versatility

While they excel as guard dogs, they can also be trained for various other roles due to their intelligence and adaptability.

Whether it’s search and rescue, police work, or serving as a loving guard dog for the family and children, German Shepherds are up for the challenge.

In conclusion, German Shepherds’ combination of intelligence, loyalty, fearlessness, strength, and alertness make them the best choice for guard dogs.

However, it’s important to remember that proper training, socialization, and responsible ownership are essential for harnessing their full potential as reliable and effective guard dogs.

Why German Shepherds Make Great Family Guard Dogs?

German Shepherds make great family guard dogs due to their unique combination of intelligence, loyalty, and protective instincts.

German Shepherd protecting and guarding a family

Known for their strong bond with their human family, they are naturally inclined to safeguard their loved ones. Their high level of trainability enables them to learn commands quickly, making them responsive to family needs.

They have a strong sense of territory and will act as a deterrent against potential threats or intruders. Their alertness and vigilance make them reliable watchdogs, always on high alert for any signs of danger.

They are not easily intimidated either. Whether it’s confronting an intruder or protecting their family from harm, these dogs exhibit bravery and determination.

With a balanced temperament, they are generally good with children and can form strong bonds with all family members.

The breed’s natural protective instincts make them vigilant guardians, providing a sense of security to the household.

German Shepherds’ versatility allows them to excel not only as guard dogs but also as loving and loyal family companions.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?

At What Age German Shepherds Start Guarding?

German Shepherds typically start developing their guarding instincts at around 6 to 12 months of age. Even as puppies, German Shepherds display signs of being good guard dogs.

They are naturally alert and attentive to their surroundings, always on the lookout for potential threats. This early development of their protective instincts sets them apart from other breeds.

While German Shepherds have an innate ability to guard, proper training at a young age can enhance their skills and make them even more effective in protecting their families and property.

As German Shepherds mature, usually around 2-3 years old, they reach their full potential as guard dogs. At this stage, they have developed both the physical strength and mental maturity required for effective guarding.

RELATED: Are German Shepherds Dangerous?

Are German Shepherds Good Livestock Guardian Dogs?

While German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility, they are not typically considered traditional Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs). LGDs are breeds specifically developed for guarding and protecting livestock, often possessing a calm demeanor and a strong protective instinct.

German Shepherds, bred originally for herding and guarding, may display protective behaviors, but their high energy levels and strong prey drive might make them more inclined to chase or herd livestock rather than solely guard them.

It’s essential to carefully consider the specific needs of your livestock and the temperament of the individual German Shepherd before relying on them as dedicated Livestock Guardian Dogs.

If considering a Livestock Guardian Dog, breeds like Anatolian Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, or Maremmas are often better suited for the role due to their natural instincts and characteristics.

RELATED: German Shepherd Herding Behavior

How to Train a German Shepherd to Be a Guard Dog?

Training a German Shepherd to be a guard dog requires time, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. It’s important to note that aggressive behavior should not be encouraged, as the goal is to train the dog to be protective and obedient rather than aggressive.

In this section, I’ll outline the steps you need to take to train your German Shepherd to be a reliable guard dog.

1. Start with basic obedience training

Before diving into guard dog training, ensure that your German Shepherd has a solid foundation in basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, and come. This will establish your authority and lay the groundwork for more advanced training.

2. Socialize your dog

It’s crucial to expose your German Shepherd to various people, animals, and environments from an early age. This will help them differentiate between normal situations and potential threats, making them more confident and reliable as guard dogs.

3. Guarding on command

Teach your German Shepherd a specific command, such as “guard” or “watch.” Use this command when you want your dog to pay attention to a particular person or area.

Instruct him to sit in front of the object he is guarding. Then have someone relatively unknown to him approach. Make sure they approach slowly. Now, when he gets too close, instruct him to bark.

4. Teach bark & cease barking commands

Your German Shepherd should be able to bark on command to warn you of any potential threats.

Additionally, your German Shepherd must be able to stop barking when told to do so. Otherwise, they might continuously bark at anyone or anything that seems unusual, which can quickly become a nuisance.

To start, you can train your German Shepherd to bark on command by teaching them the “Speak” command. Reward them with treats and praise for barking.

Then, introduce a command like “Quiet” or “Enough” to teach them to stop barking. Praise and reward them when they are quiet. This training will give you control over your dog’s barking.

5. Teach controlled biting

One of the key aspects of guard dog training is teaching your German Shepherd controlled biting. Seek professional guidance to ensure safe and effective training methods.

Remember, this training is not about aggression but about teaching your dog to protect when necessary.

6. Train for controlled aggression

While your German Shepherd needs to be protective, they should also be able to exhibit controlled aggression. This means they should only act aggressively when given a specific command or in response to a genuine threat.

7. Practice scenarios

Simulating real-life scenarios could include practicing guarding specific areas, responding to intruders, or protecting family members on command.

Encourage your German Shepherd to bark when strangers approach your home. To do this, act interested whenever your dog starts barking, and praise them for their alertness. Then, give a command like “Quiet” or “Enough” to teach them when to stop barking.

When your German shepherd dog alerts you to unfamiliar people or objects at home, it’s important to respond positively.

However, it’s crucial to prevent this behavior from occurring outside of the home. Your dog should not bother random or friendly strangers you encounter while out for a walk.

8. Enroll in professional training classes

Consider enrolling your German Shepherd in professional guard dog training classes. Trainers with experience working with this breed can provide specialized instruction tailored to their natural abilities and instincts.

These classes will help refine their skills and ensure they are properly trained for guarding duties.

Remember, training a German Shepherd to be a guard dog requires time, patience, and consistency. It’s essential to seek professional guidance and use positive reinforcement techniques throughout the training process.

With the right training and socialization, your German Shepherd can become a reliable and effective guard dog, providing you and your loved ones with peace of mind.

Other Dog Breeds That Make Great Guard Dogs

Several other dog breeds are known for their protective instincts and make excellent guard dogs. Keep in mind that socialization and training play significant roles in a dog’s ability to function as a guard dog.

Here are some breeds commonly recognized for their guarding abilities:

  1. Rottweiler
  2. Doberman Pinscher
  3. Belgian Malinois
  4. Boxer
  5. Bullmastiff
  6. Great Dane
  7. Siberian Husky
  8. Akita
  9. Cane Corso
  10. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Remember that while these breeds may have natural protective instincts, individual temperament, training, and socialization are crucial factors in determining a dog’s behavior. Additionally, responsible ownership, proper training, and adherence to local regulations are essential when considering a guard dog.


In conclusion, German Shepherds are undeniably exceptional guard dogs. Their history as working dogs, combined with their innate qualities such as intelligence, loyalty, and protectiveness, make them a popular choice for security purposes. From an early age, they display natural guarding instincts that can be further enhanced through proper training and socialization.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are German Shepherds naturally good guard dogs?

Yes, German Shepherds have a natural instinct to protect and guard. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and courage, making them excellent guard dogs.

2. Are female German Shepherds good guard dogs?

Yes, female German Shepherds can be excellent guard dogs. Their protective instincts and intelligence make them suitable for guarding roles.

3. Are white German Shepherds good guard dogs?

Yes, white German Shepherds are known to be good guard dogs. Their traits, including loyalty and protectiveness, are similar to those of other German Shepherds.

4. Would a German Shepherd protect you?

Yes, German Shepherds are often protective of their owners and families. With proper training and socialization, they can be reliable and loyal protectors.

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