Are Dogs a Real Deterrent to Burglars?

Not everyone knows this but dog’s early relationship with humans was one of protection. The role of a domesticated canine was to protect its owners against other human intruders and wild animals. Dogs are territorial by nature, but that doesn’t mean all dogs will deter burglars. In fact, some animals are naturally passive, especially with humans. These types will welcome any stranger into their space, particularly those who offer food. So the answer to the question, ‘do dogs deter burglars,’ is contingent on the type of dog, its temperament and its training.

Not All Dogs Are Equal

People are often mistaken about dogs. They think that certain types make good guard dogs because it’s what they’ve heard, or it’s the breed’s reputation. This may be true, but if the owners have trained their dog in a certain way it could render it useless as a burglar deterrent. Sometimes, a gutsy little dog will deter burglars more than a great big loveable sloppy hound. There are other considerations too. For example, if you have kids, you will want a dog that is a great family pet first and a guard dog second. You will also want a family pet to have a bark that is far worse than its bite, meaning it doesn’t bite at all, not under any circumstances. The intruder won’t know this though, and that’s the point.

The famous Mexican-American dog behaviorist, Cesar Millan, has made a shortlist of the 10 breeds (when trained well) that make the best guard dogs.[1]

Cesar’s top 10 protective dog breeds include (in no particular order):

  1. Bullmastiff
  2. Doberman Pinscher
  3. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  4. Puli
  5. Kuvasz
  6. Komondor
  7. Giant Schnauzer
  8. German Shepherd
  9. Rottweiler
  10. Staffordshire Terrier

The list above is Cesar Millan’s pick of the best, but there are many others to choose from as well. Guard dogs which live and patrol commercial buildings are generally better at deterring intruders. The reason for this is because they are usually guard dogs first and pet’s second. Many of these working dogs are undomesticated, at least in the sense that you and I refer to domestic pets.

Pet First, Protector Second

Remember, if you’re a family it’s important that your dog is a good, loyal pet first and a guard dog second. You don’t want an unpredictable canine in any family setting, particularly one where there are young children. The more you know about a dog and its breed, the more success you will have with your new pet. There is a lot of great advice out there on how to choose dogs that make the best family companions.[2]


OK, to get back to the question of whether dogs are effective deterrents to burglars. A lot depends on the type of dog, its behavior (scare factor), and the burglar breaking in. No house thief likes a yapping dog, but noisy barking does not put off all thieves. Yes it’s better to have a barking dog than no dog at all, but not as your sole method of defense.

Understand that professional burglars know how to deal with most types of dog, even the big ferocious ones. Securing the safety of your property and family is best when you have a range of security measures in place. A good guard dog will act as a great first line of defense for any home.[3]



About Mark Bickmore

Hi, my name is Mark Bickmore. I'm an Engineer, who has a keen interest in home security and keeping my family, property and valuables safe from burglars. This website was set up to help me explore the research, facts and myths about burglars and burglary. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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