Before you select a guard dog, find out what qualities to look for and what to avoid.
Step 1: Decide if you need a guard dog or watch dog Decide if you need a guard dog that can deter or subdue an intruder, or a watchdog that will alert you of an intruder.
TIP: Most dogs make good watch dogs because they are territorial and bark at strangers.
Step 2: Learn the important qualities of a good guard dog Learn about the important qualities in a good guard dog, including trainability, a protective instinct, a sense of territory, strength, and intelligence.
Step 3: Look for the right kind of temperament Look for a temperament that shows courage, loyalty, judgment, and stability.
: Avoid overly aggressive dogs which may be difficult to control, or large breeds in a household with small children.
Step 4: Research breeds Research breeds to determine which are best for you. Search online and in the library, and talk to vets and breeders.
Step 5: Look for quality breeders Look for quality breeders if you're buying a puppy. Ethical breeders keep their dogs clean and well fed, don't sell to puppy mills, and won't sell you a puppy until it's about seven weeks old.
TIP: To evaluate puppies in a litter, pop open an umbrella to see which pups run away or ask the owner to feed them – the stronger ones will get to the food first.
Step 6: Evaluate mixed breeds Evaluate mixed breeds using the same criteria. Ask if you can take one home for a few days to observe its behavior.
Step 7: Pick up your new guard dog Pick up your new guard dog who, if trained with love, will love and protect your family and home.
FACT: Rottweilers and bulldogs are thought to be descended from the earliest known guard dogs, which are believed to have lived in Tibet around 3000 B.C.