Some people figure they will kill two birds with one stone and get a dog that is both a pet and a guardian. Unfortunately, watchdogs and guard dogs do not make the best pets. For one thing, the instincts in any dog that can make it good guardian is the same ones hat can compel them to attack strangers or even a member of your own family.
A particularly good watchdog may be hard to keep quiet at night and may adopt the habit of snarling and snapping at anybody that comes near you or your things and property. Guardian dogs or watch dogs tend to be hard wired to be a little more possessive or territorial then other types of dogs. This is why they don’t make the greatest of pets.
It does not take much of a transgression to set the dog right off or perhaps even put into into attack mode. The best guardians are usually the dogs that qualify as alpha dogs. They respond well to training but untrained they can attack loved ones and strangers, make a shambles of your house and yard and incur lawsuits for noise, injuries and damage to other people’s property. Guard dogs and watchdogs usually comprise the larger breeds such as German shepherds, Bull Mastiffs and Akitas. This means that they can easily overpower a small animal or child. Most of them also tend to shed quite heavily and do not make great residents inside the house.
Of course, I know that there are a lot of owners out there that have these kinds of dogs and that would disagree with me. I am talking in broad generalities here. Some smaller dogs such as Maltese, Daschunds and Yorkshire Terriers do make keen watchdogs but they are not really capable of defending you in case of an attack. In fact some little watchdogs, such as the Pomeranian are more likely to sound the alert and then make friends with the intruder.
The key is to choose the dog according to what you need as security. As a rule of thumb the larger and more ,alpha, the dog is the better he will be at protecting your person and your property. The smaller the dog the more likely he is to sound the alert not only when real threats appear but also when he perceives just about anyone approaching you or your yard. Some animal owners find this tendency for small dogs to bark at the drop of a hat to be very irritating (and so do the neighbors.)
A true watch dog needs to be run in an off leash area frequently. Ideally they should be kept in a large yard with lots of shelter, food and water and with some protection between them and the general public. You should also go to great care to take your watch or guard dog to obedience or training classes or else you could end up with a pet that is treated like public enemy number one by the neighborhood.