Dogs are by nature very territorial animals, and will usually view their home, their garden, their local area and even their family to some degree as part of their “territory.” However, some breeds and types of dogs are much more territorial than others, and have been bred and worked historically in guarding and patrolling roles, enhancing their natural tendency to display territorial instincts.
This trait can have both advantages and disadvantages; if you live in a remote rural area and are concerned about trespassers or intruders, owning a territorial dog can provide you with a little extra peace of mind. However, overtly territorial behaviour or threat displays when a dog feels that their territory has been intruded upon can also be problematic, and so it is important for many reasons to know how likely it is for any given breed of dog to display strongly territorial behaviour.
Read on to learn more about six of the most territorial breeds of dog.
The Doberman Pinscher is an excellent working dog, but one that, along with the Rottweiler, has something of a reputation for being highly territorial and sometimes, aggressive. The media has a lot to answer for in the case of both of these dog breeds, often portraying them as vicious, snarling killing machines that are uncontrollable and prone to biting!
However, both the Doberman Pinscher and the Rottweiler are in reality very biddable dogs that are amenable to training and very responsive, which coupled with their territorial instincts, means that they can easily be trained for guarding and patrolling duties. The Doberman Pinscher is muscular but lean, meaning that they are also incredibly fast on their feet, and are quickly able to cover a large area of property when patrolling or running around.
The Rottweiler is another largely misunderstood dog breed, and with their families, they are gentle, calm, loving and kind natured. They are one of the most popular breeds of dog used for security patrolling, personal protection and enforcement roles, as they are also highly protective and almost fearless when threatened.
The Rottweiler will naturally take a territorial approach to their home and immediate surroundings, and will alert you of potential intruders, while also acting as a deterrent! However, they also like to sleep a lot, and are a calm, laid back breed to keep within a family home.
The Bull Mastiff was originally used by gamekeepers as an estate guarding dog and personal protection dog, back in the days when challenging poachers could be a very dangerous business.
They are large dogs from the Molosser grouping, being quiet, watchful, quick to react when threatened, and generally fearless. They are very protective of their packs and families, and will guard their property and loved ones in the face of any challenges.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large breed that hails from South Africa, where they historically worked alongside of farmers and homesteaders to ward off intruders and often, large game animals that could pose a risk to livestock and people.
They are bold, fearless and intelligent dogs, which are naturally alert, watchful and protective. They can detect the presence of predators or strangers approaching from some distance away, and will soon sound the alarm, as well as taking on a patrolling role to protect their home and property.
The German Shepherd dog is a really versatile dog breed, with a long history of working alongside of people in a wide variety of roles. Over time, they have been used as herding dogs, livestock guarding dogs, patrol dogs, personal protection dogs and for crowd control duties.
They are territorial on their own grounds, and like to know where all of their family members are at all times in order to feel comfortable and secure. They will soon bark and sound the alarm if they detect something amiss or someone wandering too close to their property, and also form an effective deterrent. The German Shepherd is also highly intelligent and very trainable, and forms strong bonds with their families and handlers.
The Giant Schnauzer is another Germanic dog breed, and has a long history going back to the 1700’s in being trained, selectively bred and worked alongside of people. They are multi-purpose dogs, which initially fulfilled the dual roles of livestock herding and livestock guarding, while later going on to work guarding businesses and properties in urban areas, such as butcher’s shops, factories and stock yards.
While they will work closely with their handlers in patrol duties or security roles, they are also naturally highly territorial, and left to roam across their given territory, will take on the role of patrolman or night watchman. They are watchful, fast on their feet and generally very alert, always keeping one eye on what is going on around them!