Watchdog vs. Guard Dog – Are They The Same Thing?

People tend to mix up watch dogs and guard dogs quite often, thinking that they both are the same thing. The truth is that there is a major difference between a watchdog and a guard dog, watch dogs only watch, meaning that they observe and act as a kind of alarm that alerts their owner of suspicious activity. Guard dogs guard, they are capable of driving off, attacking, and even subduing trespassers and wild animals. In this article, we are going to do a comparison between a watchdog and a guard dog to highlight what make the two different, and if you plan on buying a dog, then which type you should go for.

Watchdog or Guard Dog, Which One to Go For?

watchdog compared to guard dog

If you plan on adopting a dog for security purposes, then you should be able to clearly tell watchdogs and guard dogs apart since each type has a specific set of traits that you need to be aware of in order to train them properly. There is a big difference between a watch dog and a guard dog.


The simplest way to define a watch dog would be by calling it a receptionist or a gatekeeper, someone who stands at the entrance to greet visitors, keep an eye on them, and basically let people know that someone is keeping an eye on the area. Well trained watchdogs are able to tell wanted people apart from the unwanted and are expected to immediately alert their owner about anything out of the ordinary. Dog breed that are considered to be good watchdogs are typically vigilant, have a high amount of energy that keeps them active, and also have a loud bark that is easy to hear and capable of scaring potential intruders.

Size and strength are not sought for in watchdogs since they are not expected to fight or attack, in fact, most of the popular watchdog breeds are of the smaller variety. Terriers and a variety of smaller predatory dogs usually make great watchdogs, just keep in mind that these breeds are usually highly excitable and energetic, they can easily become aggressive towards strangers and therefore need to be trained properly. Without proper training and socializing, these dogs can become overly aggressive and can prove to be a handful for their owners.

Guard Dog

A guard dog (also called a guardian dog) has all the qualities of a watchdog, it is alert, has high intelligence level, and a lot more as well; this dog is large, intimidating to look at, and can easily incapacitate strangers. Guard dogs have a naturally strong instinct to protect their owners or family, guard dogs develop a strong sense of loyalty towards their owners and will pretty much do anything to protect them.

Guard dog breeds have been produced through careful selective breeding, breeders who know what they are doing preserve lineages quite carefully, focusing on developing natural instincts and temperament as well. Guard dog breeds can be further categorized into two types; herders and guardians. Herding dogs have been selectively bred to be able to independently guide animal herds from farms, herd them through pastures, keep them safe from thieves and predators and then bring them back to their farms. Herding dogs are typically found on farms and are known for their high intelligence and independent nature. The Right Dog For You By DF Tortora is a great place to get qualitative information about how to pick the best dog for yourself.

Guardian dogs have a strongly protective nature, they are quite averse when it comes to strangers and will not hesitate to attack, and they are difficult to scare. These dogs are used by security agencies and even armies for a variety of purposes. People often think that guard dogs are incredibly hard to train since they need to be taught how to guard, however, the truth is that their training is quite straightforward. These dogs possess a high level of intelligence that makes them fast learners, and all you have to do is spend time with them and socialize them, the rest they do themselves as their instinct is quite strong.

Remember, watchdogs and guard dogs have very strong instincts that need to be refined by their owner, otherwise, these kinds of dogs can become hard to manage, and in some cases, they can even become aggressive towards their owner. So before you go out to buy a dog, think of the responsibility that will come with your decision.

One Comment

  1. Thanks a lot for this valuable information.
    I love those fearless guard dogs and need a pair.
    German Shepherd

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