Protection Dog Selection

Which protection dog breeds are best for training? Should you get a male or female protection dog? Which is right for you, a puppy, an adult dog, or a trained adult dog?

For protection training it’s more important how the individual dog reacts to stress, than what breed the dog is.

Any breed of dog can be suitable for protection training. So a mixed breed could be better than some purebred German Shepherd Dogs. Although this can be true, one will find a higher number of dogs that have the proper temperament for protection training from the breeds that have been selectively bred for this purpose.

The most notable are the German Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch Shepherd. There are other dogs a person may consider for protection training such as the Doberman Pinscher, Bouvier Des Flandres, Airedale Terrier, or Australian Cattle Dog.

Out of these a German Shepherd Dog is probably the best choice for the average person looking to select a protection dog.

Breeds other than the German Shepherd Dog have their strong points, so they should not be over looked, however you need to be aware of your own needs, your strengths and weaknesses, and your dog handling experience, as well as the particular breeds good and bad points.

Another decision that needs to be made is whether you will select a female or male.

Male dogs tend to be larger than females and I think males also tend to be a little more confident and self assured.

It’s my opinion that female German Shepherds tend to bark a little more than males.

People often ask me, whether they should get a puppy or an adult dog for protection training? My answer is that getting a puppy is more of a gamble than getting an adult dog. However, testing a puppy and working with a reputable breeder, who knows what you are looking for, will increase the chances of getting a puppy that can develop into a dog with the mental characteristics necessary to do protection training.

The other issue is that it’s difficult to know if a puppy will develop structural problems, such as hip or elbow problems. It’s wise to make sure the puppy’s parents have been checked for possible genetic structural problems.

With an adult dog, what you see is pretty much what you get.

One of the drawbacks to getting an adult dog, is that you will not get to bond with the dog through it’s critical socialization period (up to 16 weeks). A potential difficulty also associated with acquiring an adult dog, is not being able to socialize the dog to your lifestyle. This could include teaching the dog to live with cats and other pets, or socializing the dog and training it to respond to family members, who may have trouble controlling an outgoing dog.

Another area that can be a disadvantage to getting an adult dog, is if you are going to use the dog for a highly specialized type of training. It is likely that an adult dog has already had some training, and it could be that this training may conflict with the training program that will make the dog deployable. In this case, it may still be better to acquire an adult dog, with the understanding that it may be necessary to drop the dog from a training program and start with a new dog.

To help prevent this type of set back, any predictable problem areas should be tested for. It should also be understood that a puppy will probably not be deployable until it is about one and a half years ( 18 months) old. If you need a dog fairly soon, it’s probably best to go with an adult dog.

You will have a better chance of getting a puppy that can do protection if you get it from a breeder who is breeding for working dog characteristics. The puppies genetic history is an important factor in selecting the right pup.


Many of the protection dog sports can be thought of as temperament tests for breeding stock. With this in mind you may want to look for a pup with titled parents. Even though the parents have titles it does not mean the puppy will be a good protection dog when it grows up, or even that the parents deserve the titles they possess. However, if the parents possess the proper make up for protection, it’s much more likely that the pup will too.

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