15 Best Attack Dog Breeds: Alert, Courageous, Energetic, and Devoted in Service

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Attack Dog Breeds

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While most people own dogs for companionship, it’s not such a bad idea to have one with protection benefits as well.

The world we live in is insecure. No matter who you are, you will always be a target for malicious people who want to cause harm to you or your family for their own benefit. When you have a guard dog, he will alert you in case of danger.

If you want to take security up a notch, you might want to own an attack dog—the kind that launches an attack on the intruder. With proper training, you can count on him to attack or even exterminate if you give him the command to do so.

Dogs used in the military or police K-9 are examples of efficient attack dogs.

Attack Dogs, Guard Dogs & Protection Dogs: What Is the Difference?

You are likely to come across the above terms when looking for a dog for security. But do they mean the same thing?

The short answer is: No. There is a difference between a protection dog, a guard dog, and an attack dog, and it is important to understand the difference between the three to make a sound decision of owning one.

  • A guard dog is trained to alert the owner of the presence of an intruder by barking or growling. These dogs can be very intimidating but are not trained to attack on their owners’ command or to act overly aggressive towards intruders or strangers. So, guard dogs generally don’t make great attack dogs.
  • Attack dogs are trained to attack on command and respond aggressively to intruders and potential threats. They are commonly used by police law enforcement bodies for patrol, search, apprehension, and explosive or narcotics detection.
  • Protection dogs are trained to protect and defend their families in situations that they deem threatening. These dogs are extremely loyal and often become true family friends. They can be socialized with other pets, children, other family members, friends, and neighbors.

So, the main difference between a protection dog, a guard dog, and an attack dog is ultimately the training they are exposed to.  

However, while most dogs can provide protective functions or watchdog-like services that involve alerting their owners of intruders or strangers, only a handful are courageous bold, energetic, and devoted enough to provide more advanced protection services that involve attacking or biting an intruder.

The Realities of Owning an Attack Dog

Any dog that has been trained to attack humans and other living creatures with hard, gripping bite are neither sociable at any level nor safe as household pets.

An attack dog won’t necessarily utilize the canine warning system to avoid hurting people—after all, they have been taught that attacking humans or other living creatures is a good thing.

When they bite or attack, these dogs won’t be careful. On the contrary, they will grip and hold as they have been trained. This eliminates the safety mechanism that makes us so certain that our pets won’t hurt us even when we make mistakes while interacting with them.

Because of these types of training, attack dogs can become very volatile, may attack without warning, and may even turn against their handlers.

So, owning an attack dog is always a HUGE RESPONSIBILITY—not only for the animal but also people around you.

If anything, attack training is condemned in many jurisdictions as promoting ferocity in dogs. And if somebody is bitten or harmed in any way by your attack dog, you can be held legally and financially liable for any resulting damages—depending on the nature of the incident.

15 Best Attack Dog Breeds

While it takes training to teach a dog to attack on command, some breeds are born with natural qualities to make good attack dogs.

Without further ado, here’s a detailed list of 15 dog breeds that will hold and grip intruders to their dying breath if trained to be attack dogs.

1. German Shepherd

There’s a very good reason German shepherds are heavily employed in police and military applications. Apparently, the United States Department of Defense has over 2,300 GSDs.

These dogs have also been known to aid in other services such as guiding the blind, doing therapy work, and taking part in search and rescue missions. 

German shepherds are intelligent and very hard-working. Without proper training, these canines can attack at random.

The opposite is also true. With the right training from a firm handler, a German shepherd can turn out to be an excellent attack dog.

2. Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois Mixes

The U.S. Secret Service uses the Belgian Malinois as guard dogs for the White House premises. That says a lot about the potential of this breed to follow commands and attack when necessary.

These dogs are particularly great at detecting explosives. They are also agile and love to be put to work.

With a speed of up to 25 miles per hour, a Belgian Malinois can outrun most people and animals. Once they do, they will lock their teeth on the attacker and follow any other instructions given by their handlers.

3. Doberman Pinscher

The third dog breed with amazing attacking qualities is the short-haired Doberman pinscher.

Like the Malinois, this breed is unbelievably fast. When an intruder crosses a boundary he shouldn’t, this dog will spring into action in a matter of seconds, chasing them down and attacking him long before they go farther.

Dobermans are ranked as the 5th smartest dog breeds known to man. They learn commands very fast.

In addition, they are alert, loyal, and fearless- the perfect qualities of an attack dog.

4. Cane Corso

With an intimidating look, the Cane Corso can easily deter an intruder just by looking at them. If need be, he can also deliver a hardcore attack just to prove his loyalty and protection of his owners.

This breed scores high in intelligence, meaning he can interpret commands and act on them fairly easily. He is also incredibly territorial and alert.

When a stranger comes too close, a Cane Corso’s territorial instincts kick in fast. Thanks to his courageous and brave nature, this breed can face threat of any size.

5. American bulldog

Weighing more than 90 pounds, the American bulldog is large and muscular. This dog is fearless and very protective, so expectedly, it can attack if not taught obedience training.

There are a few instances of people being attacked by their bulldogs for different reasons.

However, if you get a good handler to teach him to only show and use his fangs and paws, he will turn out to be an amazing attack dog.

In addition to his guarding potential, the American bulldog is an affectionate dog that gets along with his owners.

6. Boxer

Boxers are popular for their impeccable work in police service. As a matter of fact, they were the first dogs to be employed by law enforcement agencies.

Throughout history, these dogs have proved to be courageous and super powerful.

Their love for human companions is well-spoken of. When a boxer feels that his owner’s security is at risk, he won’t hesitate to launch an attack.

Of course, that depends on the training offered to the dog among other factors but this dog is definitely a good attack dog.

As a strong canine, he can easily knock any human down and lock his jaws on him if you tell him to.

7. Giant Schnauzer

A giant schnauzer is an intelligent dog that responds well to obedience training. You don’t need to repeat new commands over and over before he grasps them.

He was bred by Germans to be a working dog, thanks to his ease of training, courage, and loyalty. This breed served in the police force, took care of livestock, hauled carts, and guarded brewers. 

To his owners, the giant schnauzer is a great companion. As long as you give him enough room to sleep and lots of exercise, he will reward you with a ton of affection.

Their sweet personality disappears when this German dog comes face to face with an intruder. His compact and powerful stature is intimidating in itself.

If properly trained to attack, he doesn’t waste time before pouncing on an intruder and not letting go of him until you command him to.

8. Rhodesian Ridgeback

This dog breed is famous for being aggressive at random. For the most part, this claim is untrue.

A Rhodesian ridgeback rarely attacks a harmless person unless provoked. However, don’t let his beauty and good temperament fool you into thinking he is harmless.

Bred to take up fights with larger animals (including lions), this dog doesn’t play when it comes to attacking an intruder.

He is very courageous and doesn’t back down no matter the size of the intruder.

Besides being fearless, a Rhodesian Ridgeback boasts good endurance. He can run miles chasing after man or animal.

When he catches up, trust him to take him down using his strong build and hold them there or silence them depending on the command given.

9. Akita

Throughout history, the Akita has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he can be trusted to track and hunt game. Whether he’s tracking small game like rabbits or huge and scary animals like bears and boars, he will get the job done.

He weighs 130 pounds, meaning he can use his large body to throw the intruder down.

Like many other dogs on this list, he is also very tenacious. Don’t wait for him to surrender from a fight. He will fight until his last breath.

10. Rottweiler

Rottweilers come with all the characteristics of guard dogs. They have the smarts,  meaning training them to obey commands is pretty easy.

These dogs are also very loyal—loving their owners to death, literally. This means if anyone or anything compromises their security, a Rottweiler will move in on them. If you let him attack, he will do so happily.

11. Beauceron

Known for his erect ears, short coat, and a wolf appearance, the Beauceron is a popular working dog in the military and other defense applications.

He was bred to herd sheep which entailed warding off intruders such as angry bears and a pack of lions.

Thanks to his sheer power and size, as well as his courage, the Beauceron can launch an attack of a lifetime.

This dog is a quick-learner picking up new tricks in record time. He is also very intelligent and trainable. If he’s not put to work, he will not be very happy.

All these combine to make him a fantastic attack dog.

12. Briard

The Briard is not a very popular dog breed in the United States. Only a few breeders and animal shelters have them.

He is extensively used by the military because of his trainability and alertness among many things.

As a livestock herder, this dog can do anything to keep his flock safe. He can run for hours chasing after an intruder.

In general, the Briard doesn’t like the company of strangers very much. He is always reserved and keeps a close eye on them until they leave. If he feels the security of his owners needs defending, he can attack and even kill.

13. Staffordshire Terrier

With the appearance of a Pitbull, the Staffordshire terrier is a mean and tenacious breed. His aggressive behavior stems from the fact that he was developed to fight bulls and bears.

After years of fighting bigger animals, this dog developed traits of a good attack dog.

He is very protective. If not trained and socialized early enough, he might not be interested in sharing the same roof with other pets.

As for making an attack, this dog can switch from his affectionate self to aggression when an intruder comes too close for his liking.

14. The Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is underestimated by many as far as protection goes. However, he combines courage, loyalty, and size to make him a good attack dog.

Back in the day, this breed used his traits to protect sheep and cattle from wolves.

In a family’s setup, the very same need to protect his owners make the Great Pyrenees perfect for attacking intruders.

15.  Neapolitan Mastiff

This list of guard dogs wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this large family dog.

The Neapolitan Mastiff weighs a whopping 150 pounds (70 kilos). His size and looks alone will intimidate most intruders.

Then there’s the fact that this dog is brave and ready to attack anything that crosses the line.

As long as he gets proper training, he will obey commands to the latter.

Attack Dog Breeds: Final Thoughts

Home break-ins, larceny, property theft, arson, and other related crimes can happen any time and in any location—rural areas, parks, gated communities, or affluent neighborhoods.

It is prudent, therefore, to figure out a perfect way of enhancing the safety and security of your property and family, and an attack dog may be the right solution.

If you are looking for a dog for both companionship and protection, the ones on this list tick both boxes.

Simply get firm trainers to teach him obedience training and you will have a fierce protector at home.

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Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.