Can a Protection Dog Be a Family Pet?

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Protection dogs have a bad reputation as being mean and vicious. In truth, many protection dogs have a sweet, loveable temperament. Yet people wonder if they could have a protection dog in their home.

Can a protection dog be a family pet? Protection dogs make good family pets depending upon their temperament, training, and socialization as puppies. If you want to use Schutzhund, or protection dog, training for a puppy, be sure you choose a puppy with a good temperament.

Visit the puppy’s parents to understand their temperament, because their temperaments influence what the puppy will be like. Research what breeds are good protectors as well as good family dogs.

Usually, the problem of a dog being overly aggressive towards family members or their owner isn’t a training problem, but a temperament issue. 

If you want to get involved with Schutzhund, but are concerned about the safety of having a trained protection dog around, here are some things to think about.

Living with a Protection Dog 

Having a protection dog as a family pet may be a good choice, but there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of a family-friendly protection dog

  • These dogs keep your home and property safer from break-ins and vandalism 
  • They’re loyal and loving to family members
  • These dogs adapt well to your family life. They can go with your family on vacations, short trips, and errands.
  • They’re a great companion and protection on walks or hikes.
  • They can be professionally trained to obey commands-either by you or a trainer
  • They can be taught to be calm in the face of danger.
  • They obey on command rather than attacking independently.

Disadvantages of a family-friendly protection dog

  • The costs for a specially bred protection puppy is high. You can purchase a fully trained dog through a protection dog company, but this is also very expensive. A completely trained protection dog ranges from $30K to $80K, with $50K being the average cost. 
  • The regular costs of things like food and vet bills add up when you have a dog.
  • You will need to provide continued training for your dog. If you choose to do Schutzhund, then you will need to join a Schutzhund club, find a mentor to give you dog protection training. If you hire a trainer, this can be expensive.
  • You must be in charge of your dog. Protection dogs need a strong owner to keep them in control. 

Are these dogs safe?

Violent crime is increasing in the United States and it will continue to grow. Having a protection dog as a family pet can give you peace of mind knowing your family and your home is safe.

Protection dogs are trained to protect a person or a family, they’re not police dogs used to attack criminals. They are loving family dogs that faithfully protect their people and home.

A well-trained protection dog is calm and obeys commands. He will bond well with the entire family while protecting his turf. 

5 Best Family-Friendly Protection Dog Breeds 

Many protection dogs are also family friendly dogs. Here is a list of five of the best protection dog breeds for your family. 

1. German Shepherds

Brown German Shepherd

German Shepherds are great family-friendly protection dogs. They’re smart, obedient and learn easily. They look intimidating as a protection dog, with their heavy fur and alertness, but they’re lovable pets and obey commands.

Raising these dogs takes patience and consistent training. Many people say that German Shepherds make the best family dogs because they are protective and thrive in a family. 

2. Rottweiler

Rottweiler with chain around neck laying on grass

Rottweilers are large, imposing dogs. Rottweilers must be well trained and obedient, otherwise, they’ll be too aggressive to be around small children. Rottweilers are great protection dogs, but it’s important to raise them in a household, so they will learn to be gentle around children.

A Rottweiler must be well trained and their owner must lead with a firm hand. If his owner doesn’t lead well, he will lose control. Rottweilers need lots of exercise to temper their energy and offset their desire to lead.

3. Bullmastiff

Bull Mastiff with Chain

This breed is another great family protection dog. They’re loyal to their family and will do anything to protect it. Bullmastiffs have an intimidating size, they can easily take down an adult if needed.

It’s best to raise your Mastiff from a puppy so he learns to be gentle around children. Training should be consistent and throughout his life. He needs to have a strong owner who’s in control.

Weak owners will lose control of a Mastiff. They don’t do well with other animals unless they’re raised with them. They are great protection dogs and if raised from a young age with a family, they will be gentle and loving, 

4. Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Looking over Fence

Dobermans are loyal protection dogs. They’re alert and suspicious by nature and require consistent training and a firm owner. A weak owner will lose control.

Dobermans should be raised in a household so they can learn to be gentle around children. Otherwise, they aren’t safe to be around children.

Dobermans can be difficult to control especially if their primary owner isn’t around. But if they’re well trained and raised in a loving family, they are great protective dogs for your family. 

5. Great Dane

Great Dane with Owner

Great Danes are huge, but they’re great with kids, because of their even temperament and sweet nature. They are more of a watchdog than a protection dog. They may bark but probably wouldn’t attack anyone.

They have a loud, low bark that would scare away would-be intruders. They’re timid and get along well with kids and other pets. Great Danes need a lot of exercise, walking is the best.

If you get them as a pup, they will need training with reinforcement to motivate them. They like to wander around, so be sure you have a fenced-in yard

Have You Considered a Guard Dog?

Many people confuse the terms guard dog and protection dog. They are trained differently and serve different purposes. You may think you want a protection dog, but in reality, you need a guard dog. Here is a comparison of the two types of dogs. 

Guard dog

A guard dog barks to alert its owner or household of something out of the ordinary. He’s alert to noises, smells, and strangers near the house.

Guard dogs can intimidate because of their loud barking, growling, and baring of their teeth. If raised in a household, they are great family pets.

Some guard dogs are trained for patrolling an area. They are more aggressive and need training to understand who is a friend and who is a foe. They often work independently.

The best guard dog breeds include: 

  • Bulldogs
  • Belgian sheepdog
  • Collie
  • Giant Schnauzer

Protection dogs

Protection dogs are trained to be aggressive towards intruders. Many owners choose Schutzhund to train their dogs. In this training, they’re taught to only attack if given a command by their owner. They should be raised in a household to help get them accustomed to children. They require consistent training and a firm hand by their owners.

The best protection dogs include:

  • German shepherds
  • Pit bulls
  • Bullmastiffs
  • Rottweilers

The biggest difference between a guard dog and protection do is that protection dogs obey the command of his owner, then acts. The guard dog listens to his instincts. Many dog breeds have a natural tendency to guard their home or property. 

That’s A Wrap!

Despite their reputation as mean and unpredictable, protection dogs can be great family pets. They should be raised in a household so they can learn to be gentle around children.

They must be well trained throughout their life and they must have an owner engaged in the training process. A weak owner will lose control of a protection dog.

With the continuing increase in crime, many families are choosing to raise a protection puppy who will one day protect them and their homes.