Humans have enjoyed a great relationship with man’s best friend for thousands of years. Because of their intelligence, dogs can do almost anything that doesn’t require an opposable thumb. They can detect bombs, help the blind see, warn people of intruders, and provide emotional and physical support. Considering how useful they are, it is no wonder that preppers often wonder which dogs would work best for them.
Here are the best dogs for preppers:
- German Shepherd Dog
- Doberman Pinscher
- Giant Schnauzer
- Labrador Retriever
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Yappers (Daschund, Shih Tzu, Terriers, Chihuahua)
Below you will find more information about each of these dog breeds and what roles they can fill. Any prepper who is looking for a dog should find something on this list that will fit their needs.
Best Guard Dogs for Preppers
A guard dog is probably the first dog that you think of when you picture a “prepper dog”. A good guard dog should be physically intimidating and capable of physically defending people or property. It should also be smart and obedient.
Although a guard dog should be a capable defender, it should not be a loose cannon. Breeds that comprise the guard dog category can become serious legal liabilities if they hurt someone. Because of this, proper training and socialization are an absolute must.
It is also important to note that a dog that has gone through bite training may be more likely to pose a danger than one that hasn’t. While this training is of value when a dog is meant as a personal defense dog, it may not be worth the risk. This is especially true if you have small children or elderly family members in your household.
As far as guard dogs are concerned, German Shepherd Dogs are one of the best options for preppers to consider. I will admit before I go any further that I am biased. My German Shepherd, even though she drives me crazy sometimes, is one of the best dogs I have ever owned.
Being a guard dog, German Shepherds have amazing protective instincts. They are also very loving of their family members. These two things combined make them a formidable foe for anyone who would want to harm you or your family. They are great with children in most circumstances, as long as they are properly supervised. The main problems come from their size and energy level. They can easily knock down a small child accidentally.
Pros of German Shepherds for Preppers
- Physically strong, agile, and fast
- Their looks and use in the police and military make them intimidating.
- Very intelligent. They can be taught almost anything. (They are the 3rd most intelligent dog breed)
- Excellent protective instincts
- They are incredibly loyal.
Cons of German Shepherds for Preppers
- They shed like crazy.
- German Shepherds are prone to health problems, such as hip dysplasia.
- Their intelligence and high energy levels make them prone to boredom. Bored German Shepherds are noisy and can be destructive.
- German Shepherds may be aggressive if not properly socialized.
- Even if they aren’t aggressive towards humans, they may be aggressive towards other animals. This is especially true if the animal isn’t familiar to them and your dog is in an unfamiliar place.
Rottweilers are another excellent choice for preppers looking for the best guard dog. They were originally bred to help herd cattle and protect them from wild animals, such as wolves. As such, they are strong, smart, and possess keen protective instincts. When properly socialized, they are laid-back and loving additions to their families.
Pros of Rottweilers for Preppers
- They are strong and have great stamina.
- Rottweilers are large and physically intimidating.
- Thye have good protective instincts, including with children
- They have a laid back but confident personality.
Cons of Rottweilers for Preppers
- They are not as fast or agile as other guard dog breeds, such as Dobermans or German Shepherds.
- They have a tendency to drool.
- Rottweilers can be stubborn.
A true guard dog, the Akita breed was originally developed to protect nobles in feudal Japan. As such, it is strong, fearless, and does not back down from a fight. While the Akita is loving of its family, it exhibits intense ferocity when dealing with threats. It has also been used to hunt wild boar and even deer.
Pros of Akitas for Preppers
- They are physically strong.
- Akitas are intimidating.
- They are loving and, at times, funny.
- Akitas are brave protectors.
Cons of Akitas for Preppers
- They shed and drool.
- They aren’t as kid-friendly as other guarding breeds.
- Akitas are a poor choice for inexperienced dog owners.
- They require grooming and maintenance.
The Doberman Pinscher is another one of the best guard dogs for preppers. Dobermans share a lot of characteristics with German Shepherds, including incredible protective instincts. Physically, they are athletic, powerful, and intimidated. However, unlike German Shepherds, Dobermans were bred specifically for guarding. Louis Doberman developed the breed so that he would have a dog to accompany him while he was making his rounds as a tax collector.
Pros of Doberman Pinschers for Preppers
- Physically strong, agile, and fast
- Intimidating appearance.
- Very intelligent (They are the 5th most intelligent dog breed)
- Bred specifically to guard.
- Loyal and loving of their family
Cons of Doberman Pinschers for Preppers
- Dobermans are prone to health problems, such as hip dysplasia and dilated cardiomyopathy.
- They do not respond well to confrontational training techniques.
- Their intelligence and high energy levels make them prone to boredom.
- Dobermans may be aggressive if not properly socialized.
Although they look a little funny, giant schnauzers are another excellent choice for preppers looking for one of the best guard dogs. They are the largest of the schnauzer breeds and can be loyal companions. They are also able to learn various tasks, and have been used as herding dogs as well as for drug detection and search and rescue.
Pros of Giant Schnauzers for Preppers
- Their size and personality make them good guard dogs.
- Giant Schnauzers are highly intelligent.
- They can be trained as a therapy dog.
Cons of Giant Schnauzers for Preppers
- Giant Schnauzers get bored easily, which could result in undesired behavior.
- Their large size and high energy can make them hard to manage.
Best Hunting Dogs for Preppers
Another question that preppers ask about dogs is, “What is the best hunting dog?”. This largely depends on what the dog will be helping their owner hunt. Some dogs are perfect for bird hunting, while others can help track or even subdue larger animals. Here are some of the best hunting dogs that preppers could want:
The Labrador retriever is the most popular dog breed in the United States. It is also one of the smartest dog breeds, coming in at the number 7 spot out of over 100 dog breeds. Labs are excellent bird dogs and amazing family companions.
Pros of Labrador Retrievers for Preppers
- If you bird hunt, it is the perfect dog.
- Labrador Retrievers are excellent family companions.
- If properly trained, they can be extremely obedient.
Cons of Labrador Retrievers for Preppers
- Labs, in general, are too friendly to be reliable guard dogs.
If you want a tough hunting dog, the Rhodesian Ridgeback may be what you are looking for. They were originally bred to help hunt lions in Africa. Although most places don’t have lions, they do tend to have feral hogs. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a popular breed for that type of hunting.
Pros of Rhodesian Ridgebacks for Preppers
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks are large and strong.
- They are intelligent and trainable.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks don’t shed much and require little grooming.
Cons of Rhodesian Ridgebacks for Preppers
- Their size and high energy may make them hazardous to small children or elderly family members.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks can be prone to health problems.
A pointer is another one of the best hunting dogs for preppers. As their name suggests, they alert their owners to birds or other small animals by “pointing”. They are excellent family dogs, and usually, handle kids very well. They are also quick, agile, and easy to train.
Pros of Pointers for Preppers
- Pointers are excellent family dogs.
- Their alertness allows them to function as watchdogs as well.
- Pointers are highly intelligent.
Cons of Pointers for Preppers
- Pointers are prone to health problems.
- They have high energy and may become bored and destructive if they don’t get enough exercise.
Although most people think of them as adorable family dogs, Beagles are excellent hunting dogs. Their nose can find just about anything. They are also very intelligent and easy to train.
Pros of Beagles for Preppers
- Beagles are intelligent and friendly.
- They are great trackers.
- Most beagles are awesome with kids.
Cons of Beagles for Preppers
- Beagles can be hard to manage if not trained and socialized.
- They tend to bark a lot.
- Beagles don’t respond as well to house training as other breeds.
Best Watch Dogs (aka “Yappers”) for Preppers
Not every dog is built to be a guard dog, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful. Smaller dogs, although they can’t eat a bad guy, are often very effective watchdogs. A watchdog’s primary function is to alert their owners of intruders or potential threats. They aren’t butt-kicking dogs, however, they will let you know about a potential threat so you can take appropriate action.
Sometimes all it takes is the sound of a dog to deter intruders. Many incarcerated burglars have stated that the presence of a dog makes a home less appealing as a target. They didn’t want to risk the dogs drawing attention to them. Also, if they could only hear the dog, they didn’t have any way to know for sure how large or small the dog actually was.
Although you want a watchdog to be alert and give you a warning of potential threats, you don’t want them to be uncontrollable barkers. Uncontrolled barking could alert someone to your location when you are trying to keep a low profile. Because of this, you want to properly socialize and train your dogs so that they will stop barking when told to and keep quiet when necessary.
Good watchdogs for preppers include:
- Shih Tzu’s
General Rules Regarding Dogs
Breeding and Socialization Are Important
In order for preppers to get the best out of their dogs, they must be socialized properly. This means allowing your dog to spend time with other people and animals in a variety of different environments. Socializing should be done from as early of an age as possible. Proper socialization will allow a dog to be calm and confident regardless of what is going on around them. This will greatly reduce the chance of your dog snapping at a person or another animal.
A dog that has been abused has a greater likelihood of inflicting violence. Just like people, dogs that have experienced violence are more likely to use violence themselves.
Another influence that will determine a dog’s personality is its breeding. Even within breeds, temperament can vary widely. Aggression, timidity, and a host of other personality traits can be passed from one generation to the next.
Breeding can also affect a dog’s health. When dealing with breeders, find out as much as you can about your puppy’s parents. Your dog will likely inherit any personality defects or illnesses that are present in them.
Dogs Need Training
Preppers also need to understand that the best dogs are properly trained. Since dogs are so intelligent, they get bored easily. A bored dog will find a way to keep his mind occupied. Unfortunately, the ways that dogs cope with their boredom are usually destructive. Bored dogs are frequently the cause of property damage, holes in the yard, and angry calls from neighbors who just want a good night’s sleep.
To avoid as many of these issues as possible, train your dog from an early age. You can find decent training at pet stores and local clubs. Clubs are also great ways to train your dog to perform specific tasks. Bird hunting groups can help other hunters train their new dogs, while sports such as Schutzhund can help dogs learn protective skills.
Another thing for preppers to consider when training their dog is the animal’s behavior under stress. In an emergency, both you and your dog will be stressed out. It is important that any dog that you have with you is reliable and doesn’t become a liability. Regardless of the breed, preppers would benefit from giving their dogs the best training they can.
Buy Your Dog from the Right Place
It is a sad fact that unscrupulous breeders profit from selling poorly-bred dogs to unsuspecting families. Dogs such as these are often prone to health problems or temperament issues. I’m not against all breeders, but if you want a purebred dog, research who you are buying it from.
Ask for a list of people who have purchased dogs from them and ask them about their experience. Preferably, talk to those who have owned their dogs for several years. This will give health problems time to show up. It is also a good idea to meet your puppy’s parents so that you can have an idea of their temperament and health.
After having a couple of bad experiences, I strongly recommend that preppers avoid buying dogs from pet stores. Many times, they get their dogs from poor breeders. These dogs are purebred and have papers, but they may have issues won’t show up until later on. Also, dogs purchased from pet stores may be almost as expensive as those from reputable breeders. If you are going to spend a lot of money, spend it on a dog that has been properly bred.
I am a big dog lover. I think that out of all the pets that you could own, that a dog is by far the most useful. With so many breeds available, preppers can pick the dog or dogs that will best suit their individual needs. My family has two dogs, a German Shepherd, and a Shih Tzu. The Shih Tzu barks to let us know if there is a potential issue, and the German Shepherd is our muscle. They are a great one-two punch.
If you have a favorite dog breed that I didn’t include in this list, please mention it in the comment section below.