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I'm looking for opinions on the best "Watch Dog" breed, not a guard dog. What dog is the best at alerting it's owner to the fact that something is different? They let you know when they hear or smell something that's not normal. The best dog breed to let you know that someone or something is approaching the house. TIA.
 

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I would say a well bred working line German Shepherd that is confident and balanced in temperament and drives. Must have a nice off switch.
This assumes you will train the dog in obedience and give the dog plenty of exercise and create a bond with the dog.
 

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I would say a well bred working line German Shepherd that is confident and balanced in temperament and drives. Must have a nice off switch.
This assumes you will train the dog in obedience and give the dog plenty of exercise and create a bond with the dog.
OK, let me rephrase, I'm looking for a little yappy dog breed that does those things I discussed very well, not a bigger "guard dog".
 

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Almost any terrier will do that job for you.

We had a miniature schnauzer and now a 25 pound mix of pretty much every known breed that let us know about any activity within 50 yards of our house.
 
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As someone currently looking at small to medium breeds who are NOT yappy, I'd say the vast majority of them are. The problem will be finding a breed that discriminates and doesn't go ballistic over anything and everything. Also a lot of them are very high energy, so you want to evaluate that and your tolerance for it in deciding. For that matter, consider the whole dog, not just that one trait. Read breed descriptions carefully and talk to some people who own the particular breeds you are interested in. Finally, talk to the particular breeder you're going to deal with about the parent dogs.
 

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What other requirements do you have? How much exercise and training are you able to offer, and how much coat maintenance? Where will the dog be living? Many smaller dogs are companionable and need social time with their people, so it matters whether you're looking for a pet and family member who will also alert, or just a canine alarm system.
 

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A Pomeranian will let you know when someone three houses down sneezes. :)

As DaySleepers said, recommendations will vary depending on your other requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What other requirements do you have? How much exercise and training are you able to offer, and how much coat maintenance? Where will the dog be living? Many smaller dogs are companionable and need social time with their people, so it matters whether you're looking for a pet and family member who will also alert, or just a canine alarm system.
There are no real other "requirements". We have a lot of dog experience with English Bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogges, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Amount of exercise, coat maintenance, etc. are all things we understand are different with the different breeds and are willing and able to provide. We live in a house in a suburban subdivision and our pets are family and get tons of social interaction with us. Our dogs almost have somebody home at all times, and if they are left alone, it's only for a couple of hours once or twice per week.
 

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Tibetan Spaniels are on the short list of breeds with a long, long history of being bred for their alert barking. I don't have much first hand experience with the breed, so I don't know much other than their watchdog heritage and the fact that they're supposed to be quite sensitive and do best in low-key households without too much shouting and chaos.

My poodle (oversized miniature, probably with some standard heritage, maybe with some toy) has always been a very astute alert barker. He's always very quick to alert to unusual noises or events, but adjusts quite well to 'normal' sounds and doesn't go off every time the neighbor starts his lawnmower or the landlord opens his garage. He cannot have access to a street-facing window or he will scream at passing dogs, but that's more of a him issue than related to his breed. My younger dog (Lagotto Romagnolo) takes his alert barking duties VERY seriously but unfortunately also thinks we need to know if someone got up too quickly and bumped their chair too loud, so I've come to appreciate my poodle's discernment a lot more lately.

My in-laws' late standard wirehaired dachshund was also an excellent watchdog (though to note, many wirehaired lines - at least here in Norway - are still bred for hunting and can be more intense than other dachshund types). She wasn't one to actually do a lot of barking herself. If there was another dog around, she'd just give a quiet "wuff" and let the others lose their heads barking at the thing she'd alerted them to. I'm not sure how she'd alert with no other dogs in the household - when we visit there's always our dogs or my MiL's Leonberger around. But she was also very judicious about her alerts and did not like to waste energy barking about something inconsequential. ...sometimes she faked an alert bark when the other dogs had something she wanted, though, so they'd run off and she'd steal their chew for herself.

There's probably other breeds that would be excellent choices, but I thought I'd highlight the ones I had personal experience living with and the one I know was specifically bred for watchdog traits.
 

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I would say any small herding breed would fit the bill. They are generally barkers to being with since they were bred to bark to move livestock. Perhaps a Sheltie, Corgi, or a border collie on the small side. But, I feel it is important to get these breeds from a reputable breeder who strives for an excellent temperament, because that "aloof with strangers" and "will alert you to strangers/strange things" that many herding breeds are known for can become "afraid of strangers" and "downright reactive to anything new" if a breeder isn't exceptionally careful.

You would also have to be prepared to provide plenty of physical and mental stimulation to almost any herding breed.

But really, I don't think I've ever met a dog who didn't bark when someone was at the door, or came in the yard.
 

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But really, I don't think I've ever met a dog who didn't bark when someone was at the door, or came in the yard.
When we had that big, black lab (the one I mention pretty much daily) we were going to be gone for the day and arranged for a neighbor to come over, let him out and feed him. When our neighbor let himself in, he got a bit nervous 'cause he thought he heard the dog growling at him.

It WAS the dog, but he wasn't growling. He was snoring.

I love labs, but they are frequently terrible watch dogs - almost as bad as a Newfoundland. But if anyone got too close to the vehicle he was in - whether parked or stopped at an intersection - it was, "Red alert! Man your battle stations! Take no prisoners!"
 
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From what I've seen of both Shelties and Corgis (both Pembroke and Cardigan), they love to bark just to hear themselves. I don't know how people stand it. I met a woman at a Rally trial who had had her Sheltie debarked. I don't approve, wouldn't do it, but then wouldn't have the Sheltie in the first place, but that gives an idea of the nuisance barking of that dog.

I know it's not what the OP wants, but I can't help saying my idea of the perfect watch dog was my first Akita. If something struck her as strange, she'd give a single deep, bring-you-upright-in-bed bark. And that was it. Her attitude seemed to be that she'd done her part and what happened after that was up to me.
 

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I'm looking for opinions on the best "Watch Dog" breed, not a guard dog. What dog is the best at alerting it's owner to the fact that something is different? They let you know when they hear or smell something that's not normal. The best dog breed to let you know that someone or something is approaching the house. TIA.
A Jack Russel would be a good choice however DO SOME HOMEWORK!!! Great little dogs and nothing gets past them. A jack Russel needs lots of socialization at an early age so they are not constantly barking all the time. Additionaly they are not a great apartment dog, they need space to run.
 

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I'm looking for opinions on the best "Watch Dog" breed, not a guard dog. What dog is the best at alerting it's owner to the fact that something is different? They let you know when they hear or smell something that's not normal. The best dog breed to let you know that someone or something is approaching the house. TIA.
 

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I have an adopted street dog who was about one year when she came to live with me. I never trained her to be a watch dog; she just began to do it by herself after realizing that this was her home. She will bark if she hears someone coming up the stairs, or someone outside the door, or someone new walking under the terrace. She will stand in front of the door, bark and turn to look at me as if to say: There is someone there! Sometimes, I will open the door and no one is there, so I say to her: No one is there and she will look at me and walk away. She will bark at a cat walking under 'her' terrace, bark at trucks parked under 'her' terrace, bark at a new male who has come to the door, not a female. I never taught her to do any of these things. She just does it. No one needs to ring my doorbell. But, sometimes it's just annoying to me and my neighbors. It's too late to stop her instincts now that she turned twelve.
 

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When we had that big, black lab (the one I mention pretty much daily) we were going to be gone for the day and arranged for a neighbor to come over, let him out and feed him. When our neighbor let himself in, he got a bit nervous 'cause he thought he heard the dog growling at him.

It WAS the dog, but he wasn't growling. He was snoring.

I love labs, but they are frequently terrible watch dogs - almost as bad as a Newfoundland. But if anyone got too close to the vehicle he was in - whether parked or stopped at an intersection - it was, "Red alert! Man your battle stations! Take no prisoners!"
LOL, well I sit corrected!
 
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