German Shepherds are natural herders. In fact, the reason why this breed was first discovered was…
Several breeds are generally regarded as the best options for personal security, property protection, and police work. Among them is the German Shepherd. Their high energy levels and work drive make them a high maintenance breed requiring plenty of opportunities to train and exercise on a daily basis.
If you’re looking for a security dog that can switch off and won’t require tons of daily physical and mental stimulation, consider low energy guard dogs with good protective instincts.
Read on to familiarize yourself with your best options.
What Are Some Low-Energy Guard Dog Breeds?
For protection dogs that don’t have excessive amounts of energy, your best options include mastiff-type breeds. Apart from the Mastiff itself, the Neopolitan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff, Boerboel, and Dogue de Bordeaux are excellent choices.
Other breeds to consider are the Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, Standard Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, and Anatolian Shepherd. Some uncommon but equally good options include the Komondor, Kuvasz, and Puli.
What To Look For In A Low-Energy Guard Dog
When looking for a protection dog, the most important trait to look for is a strong protective instinct. Some breeds are more alert while others tend to ignore things going on around them. But if you’re keeping a guard dog as a household pet, you’ll also want one that can switch off and lounge around with the rest of the family.
For guard dogs to be effective, they should also be intelligent and highly trainable. They need to be eager to please their humans and have the ability to form strong bonds with them. Ideally, they will thrive on firm handling, training, and obedience but also don’t need to work all day in order to be happy.
Thankfully, several breeds have all these characteristics that make for a good low-energy guard dog.
10 Best Choices For Low-Energy Guard Dog Breeds
Here are the best breeds to choose from when you want a protection dog that doesn’t have intensive exercise requirements:
1. Mastiff Breeds
Size: Extra Large (70 to 230 lbs.)
Mastiff-type dogs are excellent for guarding because they are alert and naturally protective of their humans. When trained to do so, they are also effective property defenders.
Although they are known to be fierce protectors of their home and family, they are also contented couch potatoes when there’s nothing much going on around them.
In some cases, these dogs might prefer to relax at home than take a walk around the block. Some of these dogs are also playful, affectionate with their family, and gentle with children.
But not all Mastiff breeds are low-energy, high-vigilance dogs. These are your best mastiff options:
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Tibetan Mastiff
- Dogue de Bordeaux
Size: Large (80 to 135 lbs.)
The Rottweiler is descended from the early mastiffs, so it’s not surprising that they are also a good low-energy guard dog breed. At first glance, you already know that these dogs could be vicious.
They bark sparingly. But when they do, the volume and conviction behind it let you know they mean business.
As for their ability to protect, their intimidating stance and demeanor are usually enough to keep ill-willed people at bay. When that’s not the case, the Rottweiler has the confidence and courage to step up and confront potential threats. Nevertheless, these dogs are known sweethearts at home.
Check out this German Shepherd vs. Rottweiler comparison.
3. Saint Bernard
Size: Extra Large (120 to 180 lbs.)
The Saint Bernard is playful and charming and is often described as a gentle giant. They are patient with children and wonderfully affectionate with family.
They are also known for their lazy bones—preferring to lounge around and drool on the couch than engage in strenuous physical activities.
Don’t let the Saint Bernard’s gentle demeanor fool you. These dogs keep themselves aware of their surroundings and are always on alert for threats. They are wary of strangers and will always be ready to defend their family.
Their gigantic bodies combined with their equally massive bark are useful for a protection dog because few would challenge their warnings.
If you like the traits of the Saint Bernard but want a higher-drive dog, check out the unique characteristics of the Saint Bernard-German Shepherd mix.
Size: Extra Large (100 to 150 lbs.)
Newfoundlands are another gentle giant breed. They’re considerably smaller than Saint Bernards but share their affectionate nature. Because of their mellow temperament, they respond much better to positive reinforcement rather than harsh corrections.
Additionally, these sweet-tempered dogs are not just patient with kids but actually show genuine love for them. They also relate very well with other dogs.
Apart from being a suitable choice for households with young kids, Newfies are also a good choice for families that frequently entertain guests. These dogs are not too wary of strangers but will remain vigilant and step up to defend their family if needed.
Want the gentle nature of the Newfie but prefer a much more athletic dog? Consider getting a Newfoundland-German Shepherd mix.
5. Standard Schnauzer
Size: Medium (30 to 50 lbs.)
Standard Schnauzers are intelligent dogs with excellent watchdog instincts. They remain constantly aware of their surroundings and are athletic enough to chase off (or apprehend, when taught to) menacing presences.
These working dogs are happy to run around, play long games of fetch, and entertain themselves by chasing squirrels. But their drive isn’t so strong that they need to be working all day.
At home, they are sweet-tempered and have a good ability to relax. Standard schnauzers are also markedly patient with kids, especially when compared with their Giant counterparts.
6. Great Pyrenees
Size: Extra Large (85 to >100 lbs.)
The Great Pyrenees is a breed developed to guard herds of sheep and defend them from wolves, if necessary. This heritage has given them a calm but watchful nature. These dogs may seem quiet but will spring into action with great agility and confidence when the situation requires them to do so.
Pyrs are affectionate with family but will need a proper introduction, socialization, and supervision to interact safely with children and other animals.
With proper training and a strong dog-to-handler relationship, these dogs can be taught to work independently and make decisions on the fly.
7. Anatolian Shepherd
Size: Extra Large (80 to 150 lbs.)
The Anatolian Shepherd is a dominating breed and can be stubborn without firm handling, early training, and proper socialization.
This breed doesn’t adjust quickly to family life and may find it difficult to relate with children and other dogs. But for all its faults, it is a remarkable low-energy guard dog. It is highly vigilant and has a strong drive for work. Even so, it doesn’t require plenty of physical and mental stimulation in order to thrive.
It is undeniable that Anatolian Shepherds are excellent watchdogs and defenders of property, but they are best suited for individuals rather than large families.
They are also most appropriate for people looking for less emotional companion dogs. But even with their independent nature, these dogs are known to develop a deep sense of loyalty to their humans.
Size: Large (80 to >100 lbs.)
The Komondor is best known for its dreadlocks—a full corded coat that frequently gets them teased as looking like a mop. But if you’re willing to take on the task of grooming these unique-looking dogs, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and dignified pet with an excellent ability to guard you and your property against threats.
Komondors were developed as guardians for herds of livestock, so you can count on their natural guarding instincts. They are agile and athletic enough to keep up with an active lifestyle.
Nevertheless, they thrive on some free-running time in an enclosed space rather than taking part in regular strenuous exercise. Although it takes time for them to warm up to other dogs, they tend to be loyal and sweet-tempered to all human members of the family.
Size: Medium (23 to 35 lbs.)
The Puli is another iconic breed with corded locks, but this one is much smaller than the Komondor. They also share the same sense of loyalty but are even more of a homebody. These dogs will love a stroll around the park but will love lounging around at home even more.
Pulik (Puli’s plural form)s are sweet-natured but tend to be wary of strangers. Additionally, they will need early socialization to behave safely around children and other pets.
Thankfully, they are highly trainable and always eager to please. They are also highly adaptable, able to adjust to any living situation
Size: Large (70 to 115 lbs.)
The Kuvasz might not be a very popular breed but it is actually an ideal choice for people looking for guard dogs that aren’t too energetic. These dogs are best known for their majestic stance and luxuriant, snow-white fur, but it is their calm yet vigilant nature that makes them naturally suited for guarding roles.
Additionally, the Kuvasz is an agile protector. They are light-footed and quick to either chase threats or meet them head-on.
What makes the Kuvasz an excellent family dog is their devotion and loyalty to their humans. They are incredibly affectionate, although they need work to develop a strong relationship with their handler to foster obedience and respect. Fortunately, they are intelligent, highly trainable, and adaptable.
Are Low-Energy Guard Dogs As Effective As Higher-Energy Dogs?
A dog’s ability to guard and defend is more about their nature than their energy levels. These low-energy dog breeds have the same level of alertness and guarding instincts as breeds most commonly used for protection.
Additionally, they have enough energy, athleticism, and agility to be effective guard dogs. Although, they might not have the same drive and capability to work long hours as high-energy dogs like German Shepherds can.
While these breeds might not be ideal military K9s and police dogs, they are excellent personal protectors that double as household pets. They are better able to assimilate into families and adjust to home life. Their lower energy levels also make them much easier to train and handle, especially for handlers that aren’t very active.
Dogs can be wonderful protectors. However, those that have good guarding instincts are typically also those that have tons of energy they need to burn off on a daily basis. Otherwise, they tend to develop unwanted behaviors.
If you want a guard dog but don’t have the time or energy to cope with the needs of high-endurance breeds, make sure you choose your breed carefully. Thankfully, there are low-energy guard dog breeds that are just as effective for protection but don’t need much in terms of mental and physical stimulation.
If you’ve never cared for a dog before and are looking to get one as a pet and a protector, you should also check out the best guard dogs for first-time dog owners.