Updated: Dec 30, 2020
If you’re looking down at an 8 week old bundle of fluff, you may be wondering if your doodle pup has any guard dog capabilities. Will he grow up to be protective of you? Can you expect him to guard the house while you’re gone?
First of all, let’s consider the protective abilities of dogs as a whole. Many people theorize that the wild dogs of the ancient world were initially domesticated because our ancestors found that keeping dogs near their homes had benefits. Their warning barks were helpful when it came to alerting them about potential predators.
Which doodle breed makes the best guard dog and protects its owner?
This seems to be a common thread among all dog breeds, whether large or small. As a pack-oriented, social species, the dog is naturally inclined to protect and communicate with his fellow pack members. So as a general rule of thumb, you can count on your doodle, regardless of specific breed, to let you know if they spot something strange near your house.
But this doesn't mean they will attack threatening individuals on demand.
Some dog breeds do stand out as being especially vigilant watch dogs and/or taking their guard dog abilities to the next level and actually be willing to physically protect their owners or home. Many dog breeds were specifically bred for their protective abilities such as the Great Dane, Mastiff breeds, etc. Let’s see how the doodle stacks up when it comes to personal protection.
First, all doodle breeds are part Poodle…whether miniature or standard. Poodles were initially bred for retrieving game, specifically in the water and later on they were bred more specifically for companionship. Their clever, trainable, and athletic traits reflect their breed’s roots.
The Poodle is an active, highly intelligent and people-oriented breed. For this reason, his watchdog abilities are above average. A Poodle will be keenly aware of any change in their environment and want to communicate to their human about it (cue barking at the window).
When it comes to strangers, the Poodle tends to range from friendly to politely reserved. Poodles are typically a sensitive and gentle breed. They are known to be family-friendly. Some may be shy, but in general, this is not an aggressive breed. The Poodle likely will bark to warn you of a stranger, but would not be the best fit when it comes to actually physically protecting your home.
What about the “other half” of your doodle — or the non-Poodle breed? Doodles are a relatively recent phenomenon that began in the 1990’s with Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. The original purpose was to create a guide dog or service dog that was hypoallergenic. The goal was to produce a low-shedding pup that was still highly intelligent and trainable.
Those who have interacted with labs or Golden Retrievers likely know that these breeds are typically quite friendly, even with new people! Both breeds were originally bred to retrieve game on the hunt. While some are still used for their original purposes, both breeds have risen to the top ten of the most popular breeds in America as pets and companions.
Labs and Goldens (often mixed with doodles) have friendly traits but stay on guard and protective for their owners
Labs and Goldens are both common guide dogs, therapy dogs, etc. So, while there are always exceptions to the rule, most Labradors and golden retrievers are very eager-to-please and social dogs! As with other dog breeds, they will likely warn you of a stranger, but may turn into a tail-wagging, belly-rub-requesting pushover upon being approached by such a stranger.
So when it comes to Goldendoodles and Labradoodles, you can expect that they will be an overall alert, communicative breed, willing to alert you if they spot something strange. They are strongly people-oriented and intuitive and may have a “sixth sense” when it comes to their interactions with other people and animals. Some may have stronger protective abilities, but most will stop short at being a physical guard dog.
Other doodle breeds have risen to popularity on the heels of the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle. Most of the common doodle breeds have followed suit when it comes to producing a lower-shedding version of some of America’s most popular and family-friendly breeds.
Herding doodles make sense as a protective guard dog
Similarly, many of the herding breed doodles will also make sensible watchdogs, but not necessarily great guard dogs. The energetic Sheepadoodle, Aussiedoodle, etc. will be ever alert and sensitive to any change in the environment, but again, most will only bark to warn their human of potential danger and then look to him for cues rather than taking matters into their own hands (or rather, paws!).
Many of the larger working dog doodle breeds (Bernedoodle, Pyredoodle, Saint Berdoodle, etc.) do have their historical roots as guard dogs. For example, the Bernese Mountain Dog descended from mastiff type guard dogs, but he was slowly bred down more for his cart-pulling abilities than his protection abilities.
Still, this large breed dog with a powerful bark would make a stranger think twice before entering your home. Similarly, the Great Pyrenees is known as a livestock guardian and many are still used for that purpose today. As previously mentioned, doodles as a whole are known for being family-friendly, gentle dogs.
This is, in part, thanks to their Poodle half, but also because breeders have been selective in which breeds they combine them. Most reputable doodle breeders are specifically selecting parent dogs with gentle, easy-going temperaments.
So, a working dog doodle breed with a breed history of guarding such as the Pyredoodle will likely be your best choice when it comes to a doodle guard dog. But keep in mind, your doodle’s parents, grandparents, etc. were likely kept as companions and pets rather than true guard dogs so the resulting offspring is likely more companion-oriented, too.
Still, the standard size of any of these larger working breeds certainly make an imposing figure in your doorway even if he/she lacks true attack abilities.
In conclusion, doodles have primarily been bred for their trainable temperaments and impeccable companionship! Thanks to the Poodle, you can count on all doodle breeds to be intelligent, intuitive and alert, thus making them sensible watchdogs. They will be incredibly devoted to their family.
So you can count on them to be aware of strangers or other happenings around your home and to communicate with you. Their intuitive nature means they may alert you to subtle changes in their environment or interactions with a stranger. However, most will stop short of physical attack.
Jenna and the JLDD Team