Can a Labrador be a Guard Dog?

For whatever reason, you may have a requirement to be away from your home and land for extended periods of time. Often, people use dogs to guard their property as they can be a good deterrent.

A criminal may be less likely to enter your property if there is a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign on a fence, for instance. Or, if they hear a dog barking, again – maybe they’ll choose a different property. Either way, if you’re really going to do this, you’re going to need a dog! But is this something any dog can do?

Of course, all dog breeds are different and some are significantly better for this role than others. So, if you absolutely want a dog to protect your home, land and valuables – is a Lab a good choice for you?

Can a Labrador be a guard dog? No, a Labrador does not make a good dog. It does not have the right qualities to be able to protect your home and property. Read on below to find out why and what options you have.

What type of dog makes a good guard dog?

There are some breeds of dog that will naturally be protective around those that they have bonded and around those things they consider to be theirs. These breeds of dog are known as guardian breeds and all share similar qualities.

These breeds are usually medium to large in size and will alert you when (for example) someone knocks on your door or when it believes you have been put in a threatening situation. I should say that not all large dogs make good guard dogs, btw – for instance, the Scottish deerhound. These dogs perform this role instinctively but all require (ideally) formal training at an early age to ensure their aggression can be managed and controlled.

Can a Labrador be a guard dog?
German Shepherd

Some of the more well-known dogs that are typically considered as a guardian breed are:

  • Bullmastiff
  • Doberman
  • German Shepherd
  • Schnauzer
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

There are actually many others but the above are the more popular to adopt this role. In fact, some of the others I found I hadn’t even heard of! One of the attributes that all these breeds share is their possessive behavioral traits that put a strong emphasis on both people and their perceived belongings. These things may include their food, toys or indeed their owners and home.

What type of dog is the Labrador?

The Labrador is usually a friendly, sociable and sometimes mischievous breed of dog. Their temperament has made them a firm favorite for families with children for many years and there’s a very good reason (actually, several good reasons) why the Lab is the most popular breed of dog in the Western world.

Can a Labrador be a guard dog?

The Lab often makes for an ideal first-time pet as they are genuinely straight forward to look after as long as you know what you’re doing. Just keep them happy by feeding them good food, giving them space to have fun and exercise in and somewhere nice to sleep.

They are a dog that thrives on attention though and the more the better! They have a lot of energy which comes in useful when trying to encourage your kids to get some exercise. They don’t usually get spooked that easily and typically are well-behaved.

I’ve used the words ‘usually’ and ‘typically’ once or twice here as no two dogs are the same and any dog, if provoked enough, can lash out. Parents are wise to remember that there is no dog that is 100% safe around your children and they should always be supervised.

What will happen if you get your Lab to guard your home?

Possibly not what you expected. Or maybe exactly what you expected, depending on what your expectations were. The first thing that you’ll notice when you come home after leaving you Labrador to look after your home for the evening is that as soon as you open the front door they will come running up to you, tail wagging, of course, excited that your back.

If your property was the target of a burglar during the time you were out, do let me explain most likely what happened during this time:

  1. Burglar breaks in through a rear window, suspecting no-one home.
  2. Intruder notices quite large dog and quite large dog notices intruder.
  3. Your Lab’s tail starts wagging.
  4. Your Lab walks up to intruder who becomes nervous and considers making a quick u-turn back out the window.
  5. Your Lab drops his favorite toy at intruders feet.
  6. Intruder picks up the toy and begins to play with your Lab.
  7. Intruder and Labrador become best friends.
  8. Several hours later, intruder hears the front door open as you come back and they quickly escape back out the window.
  9. Intruder re-thinks his life and decides to dedicate his life to charity from that point onwards.

Okay, so thinking about it – maybe they make the perfect guard dog! They’ll just become best friends with whoever thinks they want to steal stuff from your property and will amuse them for several hours.

Can a Labrador be a guard dog?

Joking aside, the Lab does not make a good guard dog 🙂 It is not usually aggressive in any way and makes friends sometimes way too quickly!

Ask yourself why you want a guard dog anyway?

These days there are so many better options! Why not utilize technology to do the same job. It’s never a good idea to leave a dog home alone anyway. Although some breeds deal with being alone better than others, it really doesn’t take long for them to start showing signs of separation anxiety which can lead to health problems.

Actually, if you’re going to have to leave them home alone for any amount of time, they should probably be in a crate (this helps them deal with the anxiety) and so this wouldn’t work for guard-dog duties anyway, right? I could understand people using dogs to guard property in the years before technology provided us with some better answers. So, let’s take a quick look at these some better options…

There are better ways to protect your property!

Rather than using an animal that needs to be fed, watered and looked after – why not use technology that only requires electricity! It’s far easier and can be trusted a lot more to get the job done 🙂

For instance, take a look at this PTZ Pet cam (link goes to Amazon in a new window). You can view via the camera what’s going on at home via your phone and can also get alerts when it detects movement. The idea though is to have them all clearly visible so they act as a deterrent.

All we’re trying to do here is make the potential intruder think that there might be better options than this one. Some people even have fake cameras that are enough to act as a deterrent.

Seeing cameras on the property and perhaps signs saying ‘Protected by CCTV’ may make the potential intruder move on to somewhere else, which is actually all we want to do here.


It should be pretty clear that the Lab does not make a good guard dog. It is not possessive of its things in a way that it would need to be to be able to make a good guard dog.

If you really want a guard dog for your property then there are many options available to you but you need not look at the Lab to do this job for you. Ideally though, you should consider other, more reliable options to protect your property other than an animal.


I'm Matt Pettitt, joint founder of the Pets Knowledge Base alongside my wife, Jane. Since I was just 2 years of age I've had pets in my life - which I don't mind admitting is 47 years! I strongly believe that when you introduce a pet into your family you should do everything you can to give it the best life possible. I've learned a lot during the past (almost) five decades and this blog gives me a medium to share everything I have learned ( both good and bad) about pets. If you'd like to know more about us, and how to contact us - take a look at our About page here!

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