There are lots of questions to ask yourself when considering whether a Labradoodle will be the perfect fit for you and your family. Their color assortment, size variants and typical personality traits. You must have also asked whether they make guard dogs as you have found yourself here.
The Labradoodle is a fun loving and friendly breed. They are far too welcoming and sociable to make an effective guard dog. They can potentially make a good watch dog due to excitable barking at the presence of a stranger, although this is most likely because they want to play with them.
What does make a good guard dog and why would you need one? Is there a difference between a guard dog and a watch dog? Join us in discovering the answers to these questions and indeed if a Labradoodle fits the bill.
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Why do you Need a Guard Dog?
You may see this as a self-explanatory question. Maybe it is but let’s have a look anyway.
There may be many reasons why you feel that you need an extra level of security for your home and your family. It may be that you have more valuables than what is considered to be usual. Are you away from your property for an unusual length of time or do you live in a particularly vulnerable area? Perhaps you have experienced burglary or unsociable behavior in the past and you are keen to minimize risk. Is a dog the answer to this?
CCTV and other such security systems can also act as a preventative measure to burglaries and further potential threats. These systems also have the ability to alert you in the first instance just like a well-trained guard dog would. Think alarms. However, should that threat not retreat once the warning of a siren has been given, there is little more that CCTV or a similar security system can do in terms of protecting you. A guard dog however is trained to be physical if necessary, in order to protect their territory.
So, we know that they can protect you and your home. They are able to warn you of any impending dangers. They are even willing to physically defend you and your home. We have all seen guard dogs at the movies, on the TV and even in real life. The question is, can any breed make a good guard dog?
What Makes a Good Guard Dog?
Does size matter? In this instance it probably does. Even the yappiest Yorkshire Terrier or noisiest Chihuahua isn’t going to act as much of a deterrent to a determined perpetrator. Ideally a good guard dog should be sizable and valiant.
A good guard dog needs to be loyal. They have to want to protect their property and family. They need to be very observant and alert, a pooch who would rather have a snooze as ‘Bill the Burglar’ sneaks past them will not make a great guard dog. They need to be obedient, and highly receptive to comprehensive training. We know that Labradoodles are highly intelligent, could this be a positive sign for their guard dog abilities?
Contrary to popular belief, a guard dog can be friendly. If they don’t feel that what or whom they are trained to protect are under any threat, then they won’t feel any need to act. However, should that situation change then any respectable guard dog should change along with it. If the owner is present, then the dog should be alert and ready to receive stand down or attack instructions. Should the dog be alone and guarding property they should instinctively know how to react.
Some of the traits that make a good guard dog are also the very traits that make them a good family dog. They do need extensive and thorough training to meet the ideals of a good guard dog but with that fierce protection will come love, affection and loyalty.
Good Housekeeping magazine have recently (April 2020) compiled the 15 best guard dogs to protect your family and home. Here are the top five in that list:
- Akita – Muscular and powerful, this beautiful breed was originally bred to guard Japanese Royalty. With the correct early training, they make an ideal cross between a fun and loveable family pet yet a bold and intimidating guard dog.
- Appenzeller Sennenhund – Native to Switzerland, they are smaller than the average guard dog. Originally bred to heard livestock, pull carts and guard the farm their intelligence, high spirits and suspicion of strangers make them ideal for family life and protecting their own. Early training and socialization are a must in order to achieve the perfect balance.
- Australian Shepherd – Despite its name this breed actually originates from Europe and came to Western US via Australia where they were developed into the breed they are today. They are a medium sized herder known for their presence on ranches and at rodeos. Intelligent and protective, they also make great family dogs due to their affectionate and playful personality.
- Bullmastiff – This solid, muscular and powerful pooch was developed by gamekeepers in 19th century England to guard the estates of the rich. Originally a cross between the English Mastiff and the Old English Bulldog they have a long enough lineage to be AKC recognized. Affectionate and easy going they are good family dogs. However, their strong will and fearlessness also make them excellent guard dogs.
- Catahoula Leopard Dog – The only breed of dog to originate from the state of Louisiana, their name means ‘Sacred Lake’ in the Native American Choctaw language. Fiercely protective of their families, they will instinctively alert you to any danger or curiosity. They can be a good family dog and are gentle and loving. However, as predominantly working dogs it is important to remember that a rigid training regime and early socialization is necessary to maximize their potential as such.
What is the Difference Between a Watchdog and a Guard Dog?
There is a distinct difference between a watchdog and a guard dog, and it is important to recognize what this is. Especially if you are specifically looking for a breed that is one or the other.
The priority of a watchdog is to alert. A loud and effective bark is the way that a dog is going to achieve this. Revisiting our question of size earlier in the article here is where is doesn’t matter. Some of the most prolific barkers are smaller dogs so the likes of the Yorkshire Terrier and other excitable breeds are perfect for alerting their owners to the unusual.
However, it is important to be aware that there is a line between alerting you to a potential threat or stranger activity and just constantly barking at everything and anything. Being over vigilant could even indicate that rather than your pooch being a good watchdog, they are actually under socialized and barking due to fear.
Whilst a guard dog is also expected to be alert, they have the additional responsibility of being expected to act on the threat that is posed if their barking doesn’t deter it. This can include biting, attacking and even restraining intruders of either the human or animal variety.
What Kind of Personality does a Labradoodle Have?
The Labradoodle is an affectionate, intelligent and loyal breed of dog. They inherit all the best characteristics of both their parents, the Labrador Retriever and the Poodle. They make the perfect therapy dog and were originally bred as a guide dog for the blind.
They are a high energy dog, friendly and sociable. They would play all day if they could. If these needs are not met, they are likely to become bored, anxious and unhappy and this can lead to lots of noisy barking.
The Labradoodle just wants to love and play with everybody and are extremely perceptive to their surroundings. As such they potentially fit the criteria to make a good watchdog. However, their barking at a stranger approaching your home is much more likely to be because they see someone new to make friends and have fun with rather than to alert you to a potential threat.
We have talked lots about watchdogs, guard dogs and the difference between the two but not a great deal about the Labradoodle. However, what we have learned regarding what constitutes an effective guard dog and the personality traits of the Labradoodle is enough for us to be able to deduce a plausible answer to the initial question.
If it’s a guard dog that you are looking for then the Labradoodle is not going to fit the bill. Whilst we have discovered that a good guard dog can still also be a fabulous family pet, the Labradoodle is not capable of making that switch from friend to protector. They are more likely to lick an intruder into submission than act as any successful deterrent.
Even as a watchdog, the Labradoodle is more likely to achieve this status by accident due to their excitement of seeing someone rather than consciously alerting you to any impending danger.
Are Labradoodles Destructive?
The Labradoodle is highly intelligent and highly energetic dog. Should neither be stimulated sufficiently then they have the potential to be bored. Boredom in a Labradoodle is very likely to be met with destructive behavior.
Are Labradoodles Good with Other Dogs?
Highly sociable Labradoodles get along with just about anyone. Kids, dogs, even cats. However, in order to maximize the chance of successful integration with other dogs, early training and socialization is recommended.