Dogs are man’s best friend and are
a true marvel of how people can affect nature. Domesticated dogs are man-made
creatures that have been cultivated through breeding for very specific purposes.
This means that domesticated dogs actually look for humans as leaders and
companions. It’s ingrained in their DNA. One of the most amazing things about
dogs is that they have been known to show exceptional bravery and intelligence
when dealing with people. It can be argued that some of these dogs show behavior
that goes above and beyond simple programming. These animals show courage and
bravery in defending their loved ones.
This is why dogs make excellent soldiers and police officers. When filling
out a report or speaking about their canines, both military and police personnel
call the animal their partner. The dogs are given medals and a hero’s welcome,
along with their human service members. Many people can tell stories of how
their dogs have saved their lives. Not only are dogs excellent soldiers and
police. They also are known to be good companion animals. Medical journals tout
many breeds as being exceptionally helpful to persons with illnesses like fibromyalgia or MS. Large working dogs can help someone get up from a fall or
seated position. Small service dogs can offer therapy, comfort, and alert their
owners to dangers. Below is a list of the most courageous dog species we could
We’re not making this one up. The tiny Chihuahua is one of the bravest dogs
on the planet. Even though they can weigh as little as two pounds, the Chihuahua
is known to be an excellent watch dog. They don’t know how small they really are,
and tend to have a big personality to match. They won’t hesitate to tell you if they are upset or displeased,
and they tend to react immediately to defend their homes. These dogs are
extremely vocal when they are guarding and thus are still used as watchdogs.
Chihuahua Looking Over His Master's Property
Chihuahuas are an old breed and have a rather spotted history. One of the
myths surrounding them states that they were spirit guides who protected souls
as they journeyed into the afterlife. These days they are still excellent
companion animals, though don’t allow their small size to fool you. Chihuahuas
are very intelligent, and can become easily bored and destructive. They need
proper socialization and training to keep them from turning into cranky nippers who
are constantly barking. It’s also important to remember that most of these dogs
are far too small to rough house. Their naturally nervous states and delicate
stature make them unsuitable pets for most children.
14) German Shepherd
More noticeable for its bravery is the German Shepherd Dog, commonly
shortened to GSD among dog circles. German Shepherds are one of the smartest dog
breeds out there, ranking number three according to S. Coren’s book “The Intelligence of Dogs”. This ranking goes through 200 different dog breeds and
covers a range of intelligence markers. Recently the breed has been a common
police and military service dog, accompanying their human partners into action
and defending them in the line of duty. Columbus, Ohio recognized one of their
own service dogs for leaping into a frozen river to apprehend a suspect who had
shot his partner.
German Shepherd in Action
Still other stories exist about service dogs bravely defending fallen human
partners or even running to get help for comrades who would have otherwise
perished. These dogs thrive on activity and are a true example of a working breed. GSDs need jobs
as well as lots of occupied time to be truly happy. They do not have to have
full time jobs like military or police dogs, but training them to do something
with you on a regular basis will go a long way to keep the animals calm and
happy when they are in your home. GSDs make excellent hiking companions, and enjoy
many levels of intelligence and agility training.
13) Rhodesian Ridgeback
Rhodesian Ridgebacks have been gaining popularity in the United States. The name Ridgeback comes from the stripe of hair that runs
down the animal's back. This stripe actually runs in the opposite direction from
the rest of the dog's hair. This breed was bred specifically for hunting
alongside horses and human companions. Native to South Africa, the breed was
used to hunt extremely dangerous game, such as lions. Despite this, they are
considered people dogs, and enjoy curling up with their masters and generally
being part of a family. While they are excellent family dogs and bond easily
with adults and children, the Ridgeback responds entirely different to strangers
or intruders. This makes the Rhodesian ridgeback a powerful, protective force
for a household.
Rhodesian Ridgeback with Puppies
Ridgebacks are an extremely active breed of dog, and need regular running and
exercise. Because they are fairly sociable, they would prefer to go out camping
and hiking with their family compared to engaging in other activities. They are also large dogs, the AKC breed standard stands between 24 and 27 inches high at the shoulders and
weigh anywhere between 70 to 85 pounds. Due to their size, they need to be well
worked and trained. Like the Chihuahua, they become destructive if they are
bored and due to their size they can cause a great deal of damage.
12) Giant Schnauzer
A versatile and distinctive looking dog, the Giant Schnauzer is yet another
highly intelligent guard dog that can trace it's origins to Germany. While they
are called "giant", they are not any larger than other large breed dogs. Most of
them top off between 55 to 80 pounds. They are only called giants in comparison
to the standard Schnauzer. The Giant Schnauzer was
bred originally to guard property and help get herds to market. It was also left
at home to guard the homestead. These dogs are great protectors.
With protecting a home being a priority to Giant Schnauzers, they are
extremely independent and intelligent. This particular breed is still an
excellent guard dog as it's capable of being left to its own devices without
becoming distraught. This doesn't mean that you can ignore or not exercise a Giant Schnauzer.
All dog breeds should not be ignored or exercised - kind of a rule of dog
ownership. Like most intelligent dogs, it can get bored easily and needs you to
give it something to do on a regular basis. Another thing to note is that the Giant Schnauzer is a hard headed hound that
needs a very dominant personality as a master. If you cannot be very firm with a
dog, then this breed may not be for you.
Rottweilers are considered one person dogs.
This means that they are known to imprint on one specific person, even if there
is more than one person in their family. They are another German breed and are
excellent guard dogs. They are very well built in the chest with a strong
defined head. These dogs are intimidating, and are known to be extremely
protective of their people and their homes. They are also widely used as therapy
dogs because of their size and one person dedication. These dogs also need a
firm hand, but once well trained they do not forget commands.
This gets into the second aspect of the Rottweiler, as Animal Planet's
website explains. Rottweilers will be your companion for life. They are
singularly dedicated to their families and are excellent pets for large
families. Rottweilers are patient with children, and anyone that has been
accepted into their family unit.
German Rottweiler Guard Dog
They also have been used with much success in therapy and assistance
situations. For example a person with Fibro can use a Rottweiler to assist them
in sitting, standing, or help if they fall down. They're also excellent seeing
eye dogs or hospital therapy animals. Any time a Rottweiler feels that they have
a job to do, they are going to be calm and happy.
Bullmastiffs were bred as gaming dogs. These
massive animals are solid and stocky, making them excellent guard dogs.
Bullmastiffs are known as calm, dependable dogs that are singularly devoted to
their masters. One of the reasons that they are considered choice guard breeds
is that their instinct is to place themselves directly between an intruder and
their familiar humans. They will literally use their mass to block an attacker
from getting near what they are trying to protect. They also are known to knock
over attackers. Bullmastiffs are slow to bite, but will make use of their
powerful jaws if they feel it is necessary.
One of the lesser known aspects of the bullmastiff is how relaxed they really
are. These dogs are the perfect couch potato under the right circumstances.
While they are built for short bursts of energy, these dogs are not jogging
companions by any stretch. One thing to watch out for is that these dogs can
become very focused on a singular goal. For example, if they know you have ice
cream in your freezer, they may dedicate themselves to figuring out how to open
it so they can help themselves. These dogs can be goofballs and more prone to
mischievousness than aggressiveness with the people who make up their family
9) Doberman Pinscher
The Doberman Pinscher (more commonly known simply as
the Doberman) most likely originated in Germany in the late 19th century. It is
believed that the breed was originally a
protector and companion for Louis Doberman, a tax collector in Apolda. From this
beginning, the breed was officially recognized in 1900. This breed is also one
of several most commonly seen with cropped ears and a docked tail, although it’s
increasingly common to see family dogs that aren’t modified. Doberman Pinschers
are extremely intelligent and have an excellent memory, making them exceptional
K-9 officers in police forces as well as military units across the globe.
being one of the smartest and obedient breeds – when given proper training –
Dobermans are energetic, loyal, and almost surprisingly affectionate. In spite
of the violent stereotypes still shown in the media, present-day Dobermans tend
to have an even, good-natured temperament. However, a 2006 study by known canine
specialist Kenth Svartberg declared that the present-day Doberman continues to
rank low in sociability outside their family units, making them protective of
their owners and homes. While the aggression has been toned down over the years,
that defensive caring streak is still alive and well, making this dog a great
family guard dog.
8) Tibetan Mastiff
A breed that is steadily rising in popularity is the Tibetan Mastiff. This breed
looks like a cross between a traditional mastiff and Newfoundland. The Tibetan
Mastiff is a breed that originates from China, specifically the Himalayas. This
is where the breed got their distinctive coat. This coat has multiple layers and requires an underbrush to get
all the way through. They are capable of
surviving extremely cold climates, but not well suited to hot temperatures. The AKC register for the breed explains that these dogs are aloof and independent, as
their original purpose was to guard temples and homesteads. They are capable of
being alone for long periods of time, making them an excellent dog for someone
who is away at the office during the week. This animal is extremely intelligent,
and has the same laid back and somewhat stubborn manner of a bullmastiff.
This breed needs consistent and firm training from a very early age. The
Tibetan Mastiff is a massively built animal that can get to over 100 pounds.
This, combined with the fact that they tend to have their own agenda, means that
they need to know exactly where they fit within the family. However, as long as
you are firm and consistent in your training methods, you will have a loyal
guardian for life.
7) Alaskan Malamute
Malamutes are sometimes confused with very large Huskies, but their
personalities are noticeably different from the more popular northern breed.
While both dogs were bred to brave northern climates and drive sleds for long
and dangerous journeys, the malamute is by far a more independent animal. The
reason that they are much larger than huskies on average (males can get up to
90lbs compared to the husky's 60lbs) is that they were
meant to be the leader of the pack. These dogs are powerfully built in the chest
and can run for extremely long distances. Malamutes need plenty of exercise and
thrive if they are allowed to run.
Alaskan Malamute in the Snow
Another aspect of the breed is that they are extremely independent. In cases
where the human sled driver died, malamutes were known to lead their packs back
to towns of origin. They require very firm and
consistent training or they will think that they are the alpha animal in your
household. These dogs are not typically well suited for homes with small
children or people that have any fear of dogs. However, once a malamute has
bonded with their human of choice, they are deathly loyal animals and will
defend that person and their property with immediate force.
6) Komondor (herding dog)
Though they may look a little silly, but Komondors are known for being utterly
fearless. They are able to easily assess a situation and react on their own
without needing guidance. Due to their independent nature, they can be difficult
animals to manage for inexperienced owners. These herding dogs are from Hungary
and were primarily livestock guardians before they became popular show dogs. They are
extremely intelligent, and are well regarded as being able to remember rules and
commands without the aid of a human master. This makes them perfect livestock
guard dogs as they are able to remember where the herd needs to be while
protecting it from predators and theft.
These days the dogs perform excellently in agility and obedience courses.
They are happiest when given a job and commands to keep their minds active. They
are also gentle creatures that are excellent with all manner of pets and
children. It is important to remember
that Komondors are herding breeds, and may be compelled to 'herd' small children
and animals in an effort to keep them safe. This, however, can be worked out with
consistent and clear training. The animal also needs excessive grooming
to keep up with its massive coat.
5) Pit Bulls (Sgt Stubby, police dogs)
One breed that causes more debate
currently than any other is the pit bull. Despite their bad reputation, pit
bulls are excellent family dogs with easy going and gentle dispositions. It's
important to remember that pit bulls are terrier breeds and thus have a great
deal of energy, particularly in their formative years. Pit bulls are not more aggressive than other breeds naturally, and put to rest
the fallacy that they have
'locking jaws'. Instead, pit bulls are focused and driven when trained. This
focus can be easily directed by a dedicated owner who uses positive
reinforcement along with a lot of physical exercise.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Pit bulls are excellent household defenders
because they truly are family dogs. Unlike other medium to large sized guarding
dogs, pit bulls tend to bond with the entire family and will defend everyone
equally. Intelligent and easily trainable, pit bulls are extremely patient
animals and will strive to please their owners. Pit bulls are likely to want to
sleep in bed with their owners, and enjoy being in physical contact with the
people that they care for. Some pits can develop attachment issues that result
in anxiety when they are separated from their owners. However, this issue can be
worked out with medication and regular play.
4) Belgian Malinois
One of four variations of Belgian sheepherding breeds, the Malinois was
officially recognized as a breed in 1959. They are most commonly known in the
United States as a police dog, where it’s often mistaken for the German
Shepherd. The Malinois is one of the most energetic of canine breeds, and easy
to train due to their high energy, intelligence, enjoyment derived from
problem-solving and high motivation for being rewarded. This breed has been used worldwide
in police and military units, serving in the United States Secret Service, the
Royal Australian Air Force, the Israel Defense Forces and the United States Navy SEALs to name just a few.
Belgian Malinois Playing
The AKC states that the Malinois is best known for trainability, keen
intelligence and boundless energy, making this dog easy to teach but extremely
difficult to tire out! Due to their intellect, this breed tends to be
extremely loyal to their owners. Malinois have been known to “stand guard” at a
person’s bedside or outside their door, or do a quick walk around their home
prior to going to bed. They can also be trained to retrieve specific objects and
even recognize people by name! This means that not only can this dog play
hide-and-seek, but also definitely won’t let you forget that you promised to
take them on a walk afterward – they’ll even fetch their own leash.
3) Wolf Dogs
Wolves and hybrid dogs have always held a special place in American folklore.
According to legends, Balto, the dog that was famous for the serum run in 1925
to Nome from Anchorage, was part wolf. At the time, remote locations were all
but unreachable by any method other than sled dog teams. Due to the level of
danger and the importance of the delivery, the serum run was done by more than
one team in a continuous trail. This particular adventure has been the subject of
stories, movies, and even video games. The diphtheria serum was credited with
saving numerous lives in the small town of Nome. To honor Balto for his part in
the last leg of the run, a statue was erected of him in New York City's Central
Another famous wolf hybrid was the fictional White Fang. Most people recall
the story of the Fighting Wolf from their high school reading lists. While
White Fang himself was a fictional character, the historical events that were
depicted in the tale are fairly reliable. The story goes a long way to show how
very important dogs and dog teams were to building towns, and settling remote as
well as hostile areas located in the northern wilderness.
2) Yorkshire Terrier (Smoky the WWII vet)
Originally bred as ratters in northern England in the 19th century,
Terriers (affectionately referred to as “Yorkies” by most) are technically
classified as a “toy” breed. The maximum weight for a true
Yorkie is no more than seven pounds. In spite of their small size, the breed
is known for their distinctly terrier behavior, leading them to be curious,
determined, and exceptionally brave. In fact, one of the most famous Yorkies, a
female by the name of Smoky, served as an unofficial war dog to Corporal William
A. Wynne in World War II. She earned eight battle stars, survived 150 air raids,
and among other achievements succeeded in running a telegraph wire through a 70
foot pipe to make the construction of an air base in the Philippines possible.
Commonly seen as lap dogs, these tiny terriers still most definitely prove
that Smoky was hardly an anomaly. They are very protective, curious, and highly
intelligent. As a breed, Yorkshire Terriers serve as excellent watchdogs due to
their vocal behavior, but their intelligence allows them great trainability.
This makes it fairly simple to keep them from barking or getting out of hand with
attention. While they might not be big enough to protect their owners from harm,
they have more than enough personality to help in whatever way they can. Despite
their small size they still drive to keep their home and families safe.
Number one on our list are mutts or mixed breed dogs. Mutts are defined as
dogs that have no clear breed of majority. For example, the difference between a
pit bull mix and a mutt is that you can distinctly tell that the mix has one
breed that it has more in common with. Mutts, by contrast, do not have that
distinction. Because mutts are mixed breed dogs they typically live longer and
are in better health than their purebred counterparts. This is due to the lack
of inbreeding and selective breeding that shape pure breed dogs.
Mutts have been popular companion dogs for ages, and many of them have stories
and places of honor in history. For example, the first animal in space was Laika,
a terrier mix. There was also a heroic dog named Rags that
saved its human companions in World War I. In stories and myths, mutts are
prominent. Old Yeller, for example, was a mutt, as was Benji.
Dogs are not born with any training. They take up to three months to properly
learn pack protocol and how to behave before they leave their mothers. Certain
dogs will always need stimulation and training, while others will be content with
just simple command knowledge. It’s important to remember that if you’re looking
to buy or rescue a dog based on something like this list, that you know what you
are getting into. Highly intelligent dogs like the Doberman require a dominant
personality and a lot of training so they do not become bored and destructive.
Extremely independent dogs like Alaskan Malamutes require a certain amount of
space, and are rarely patient with people or other animals climbing on them. Even
small dogs, when improperly trained, can become dangerous and bite or destroy
personal property. Dogs are rewarding and give as much as you put into them.
However, you need to be willing to put the time into them or you will have
serious problems on your hands.