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Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good Guard Dogs?


Bernese Mountain Dogs are known more for their gentle temperament and affectionate nature rather than as traditional guard dogs. They are large, strong, and have a presence that could deter someone based on their size alone, but they are generally very friendly and good-natured with both family and strangers.

Bernese Mountain Dogs do have a protective instinct towards their family and can be wary of strangers, making them good watchdogs as they are likely to bark to alert their owners of anything unusual. However, their approach to strangers is usually more curious and welcoming than aggressive.

Their loyalty and devotion to their family mean that in a situation where their family is threatened, a Bernese Mountain Dog might step in to protect them. Nonetheless, because of their friendly disposition, they are not the best choice if you’re looking for a dog with a strong guarding instinct.

So while Bernese Mountain Dogs can offer a level of protection through their size and bark, they are primarily companion animals known for their loving and gentle characteristics. They are better suited to families looking for a large, friendly dog rather than those in need of a dedicated guard dog.

Difference Between a Guard Dog & a Watch Dog

While both guard dogs and watch dogs are vital in providing security, their roles differ significantly. Watch dogs, such as the Chihuahua or the Shih Tzu, excel at alerting their owners to potential threats through barking. Guard dogs, on the other hand, possess a more assertive and protective demeanor, taking direct action to neutralize any perceived threats.

Characteristics of a Good Guard Dog

A successful guard dog embodies a combination of characteristics that enable them to excel in their protective role. These include:

  • Loyalty: A guard dog must have unwavering loyalty to its owner and the territory it’s protecting.
  • Intelligence: Intelligence allows a guard dog to assess situations and respond effectively.
  • Courage: A brave and confident disposition empowers the dog to confront potential threats.
  • Assertiveness: A guard dog should display assertiveness in asserting its authority and protecting its territory.
  • Protectiveness: The innate instinct to protect their home and family is crucial for a guard dog’s success.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Aggressive?

Aggression is not a defining characteristic of Bernese Mountain Dogs. Their natural temperament leans towards being calm, gentle and friendly. This temperament makes them excellent companions but may hinder their effectiveness as guard dogs in situations requiring a more aggressive response.

Will Bernese Mountain Dogs Protect You?

While Bernese Mountain Dogs may not be the most aggressive guard dogs, they can still provide a certain level of protection. Their imposing size and tendency to bark at unfamiliar faces can deter potential intruders. Some individual Bernese Mountain Dogs might display more protective behaviors than others, depending on their unique personalities.

Downside of Using a Bernese Mountain Dog as a Guard Dog

Choosing a Bernese Mountain Dog as a guard dog has its limitations:

  • Lack of Aggression: Their friendly nature might prevent them from taking aggressive actions against threats.
  • Energy Levels: Bernese Mountain Dogs have moderate energy levels, which might not align with the constant alertness required of guard dogs.
  • Health Concerns: This breed is prone to certain health issues due to their size, potentially affecting their ability to perform guard dog duties over the long term.

Are There Other Breeds More Suited to Being Guard Dogs?

If you’re seeking a breed more inclined towards guard dog duties, consider:

  • German Shepherd: Known for their intelligence, loyalty and protective nature.
  • Rottweiler: Strong, confident and naturally protective.
  • Doberman Pinscher: Alert, loyal and highly trainable for guarding roles.

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs Good Guard Dogs?