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The Top 6 Small Guard Dogs – According to the Pet Experts

Having a small guard dog to live with can not only make you feel less alone but can also make you and your loved ones feel protected. Many years ago, when my husband and I worked opposite shifts, I was alone much of the time while he was away at work.

Even though our neighborhood was relatively safe, we did live in the city, and he and I both felt anxious knowing that he wasn’t around when I would be sleeping during the day. As a result, we decided to get a small guard dog.

An easy decision, in the end, the hard part was picking one to suit our needs. Here to help you with your decision is our list of the top 6 small guard dog breeds.

The Best Protective Dog Breeds for Apartments (or Any Small Home)

According to simplyfordogs.com having a small dog to guard your residence is about as useful as having a statue of a dog sitting in front of your home. If someone really wants to get into your place, or worse yet, cause you personal harm, a small dog simply isn’t going to cut it.

That being said, if your greater purpose of having a dog is to make you feel safer, because you are lonely in an empty apartment, or perhaps because having a larger dog isn’t currently possible, there are still plenty of protective dog breeds for your apartment to choose from.

1. Terriers (All Shapes and Sizes)

Terriers (All Shapes and Sizes)

Terriers have many to choose from, so you will want to do some research before you settle on the one you plan to use as your little protector. In no particular order, here are a few of the best small guard dogs of the terrier breed.

According to pethealthnetwork.com the Tibetan Terrier is actually not a Terrier, but since Terrier is in the name, and since it fits the style of dog we are looking for, we have decided to include this variety in with the rest.

At iheartdogs.com the Tibetan Terrier is described as a seemingly innocent looking dog but was actually bred for the purpose of protecting Buddhist monks and monasteries. They are a stubborn breed but are overall affectionate with their families and wary of strangers, characteristics of a good watchdog.

The Cairn Terrier is a Scottish working dog and one you may recognize from the movie The Wizard of Oz. This type of terrier, as suggested by pethealthnetwork.com has lots of energy, therefore requires regular exercise, also, their primary purpose is as a hunting dog.

Yourpurebredpuppy.com recognizes the Scottish Terrier as an intimidating watchdog as he is loyal to his owner, but is reserved around strangers. Overall a strong-minded dog with a deep bark that works well for letting strangers know not to mess around.

Boston Terriers, as described by simplyfordogs.com, are territorial dogs; they will help to protect both your apartment (as they like to live in a small space) and you and your family. This type of terrier was originally bred to go after vermin so may not play well with other smaller pets if not properly introduced first.

2. Dachshund –Standard or Miniature

This small guard dog breed is alert and active, as portrayed by iheartdogs.com, and can be stubborn yet affectionate at the same time. They are typically on guard as is their natural way, so you may have to watch how aggressive they get, if you have children, this may be a dog to avoid.

Dachshund –Standard or Miniature image

3. Lhasa Apso, Another Tibetan Treat

Having a background in protecting ancient Tibetan temples this cute dog is one of the best small guard dogs around.  Dogtime.com refers to this dog as a family companion that will protect you from danger, an obvious trait you want in a guard dog.  

Included on dogtime.com you will notice some of the characteristics of the dog that include adaptability to apartment living and is a good companion to a novice dog owner. This is a dog that takes his duty to protect seriously with his years of breeding to be a protector embedded deep into his personality.

4. Shih Tzu – Small Bark, Mean Bite

With a name that translates to little lion, how can you go wrong with this small guard dog breed? As dogtime.com states this dog is bred to be a companion and will likely follow you from room to room. As such, bonds are strong and a dog that wants to be with his owner nonstop will also want to protect his owner from danger.

Shih Tzu – Small Bark, Mean Bite image

This dog requires proper training and may not get along well with small children if not trained right. He requires little space and exercise so fits in well with the role of a good protective dog breed for an apartment.

5. Beagle, from Hunting Dog to Protector

Although a beagle can be harder to train, as he was bred to focus on hunting and therefore he has the instinct to run if not on a leash, it is worth putting the effort in. Yourpurebredpuppy.com describes a beagle as a dog that can easily become bored, so you may not want to leave him for long periods of time unattended in your apartment.

Beagle, from Hunting Dog to Protector image

One of the more popular small dog breeds in the United States, they come in two different sizes according to petful.com. They are smart, friendly dogs, but can be known to bark obsessively, which may help to deter unwanted intruders.

6. The Miniature Pinscher (Imagine a Miniature Doberman)

One of the more alert smaller dogs, this fearless animal is a great protective dog breed for your apartment. Although they may look like a smaller version of a Doberman, these dogs aren’t of the same kind, according to petwave.com, the Miniature Pinscher is an older breed.

They are great watchdogs as they size up anyone who approaches their kingdom, making them excellent at determining whether or not someone is a threat to their owner. They have a lot of energy and require regular walks and require proper training.

Just as the Boston Terrier was trained to kill vermin so too was the Miniature Pinscher, therefore they may not get along well with smaller pets if not properly introduced. They are territorial dogs and should be kept on a leash when not left in the apartment or home.

Deciding What is Best for Your Home

Trying to pick the best small guard dog for your home can be a real challenge, which is why it is best to talk with other pet owners who are in a similar situation and to consult lists such as this one to help you narrow down your choices.

Our goal is to help you understand that having a small guard dog to protect your home is more about giving your reassurance and a sense of not being alone than protecting you from a real threat. If you enjoyed this list we love to hear back from you.

Feel free to share your stories of your small personal protector and what he has done for you.


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