14 Dog Breeds for Preppers

Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis December 16, 2016 14:39

14 Dog Breeds for Preppers

Tens of thousands of years ago, early humans established an unlikely alliance with another animal—the grey wolf. Over the last 15,000 years, our fates have intertwined, and we have managed to domesticate them into what we now call man’s best friend. Given the fact that dogs were the first domesticated animals—long before cows, sheep, pigs, or goats; before we even learned how to plant rice or corn; and before we shaped the world as we know it today—they became essential to our lives.

Have you ever wondered what the most suitable dog breeds for preppers are? Or for dire situations?

Outdoor/Hiking Dogs

   I. Bernese Mountain Dog

bernese mountain dog

As the name suggests, these dogs are perfect for outdoors. Having originated as a working farm dog in Switzerland, BMDs love staying active and stimulated. They are sturdy, good-natured, calm dogs that are great at herding livestock, protecting the family, and even pulling carts that can weigh up to ten times the dog’s body weight. Additionally, they are very easy to train since one of their special skills is to being able to analyze what you want them to do.

Bernese can help with carrying your survival supplies, they are excellent trackers, they have a great level of energy, and they do well during harsh winter conditions.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Strong
  • Eager to please, loyal, and affectionate
  • High level of energy; need constant challenges
  • Short lifespan: 6-8 years

II. Alaskan Malamute

Alaskan MalamuteThis impressive, wolf-like dog just might be the perfect dog breed for any survivalist out there. Their strong, large stature, together with a high level of energy, endurance, and intelligence, enables them to participate in heavy-duty activities, be very resilient, and adapt to any situation. They are expert hunters, diggers, and climbers. These abilities allow them to be very versatile dogs that are perfect for any prepper.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Sturdy, resistant, and powerful
  • Independent nature, friendly with strangers, not very good for protection
  • Perfect hunters (They will hunt everything)
  • World-class leash puller
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years

III. Border Collie

Border Collie

These dogs apparently possess a supernatural amount of energy and stamina as they can run up to or even more than 50 miles per day. Border collies are, therefore, the ideal working dogs, and while they already qualify as the perfect outdoor dog, there’s more. Due to their natural herding instincts, they have an uncanny ability to perceive what you’re about to tell them before you ask it. Since they absolutely love to please their owners, they can be easily trained to do anything—even collect firewood for you. Border collies have proven to have mental strength and are up for any kind of physical exercise.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Highly sensitive
  • One of the most intelligent dog breeds
  • Live to work
  • Lifespan: 10-17 years

General Guard Dogs

IV. Giant Schnauzer

Giant-SchnauzerThis is the first guard dog on every professional list because its guardianship is absolutely instinctual. These dogs have gained various aptitudes and skills over the years that make them the perfect dog for anyone and for anything. They have a complex temperament that shows spirit and alertness, amiability, high intelligence, courage, loyalty, watchfulness, and alertness. Their structure and weather-resistant coat make them perfect for any climate.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Big dog, big personality
  • Intelligent, obedient if well trained, agile
  • Natural guardian
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

V. Akita

Akita-Inu

Akitas are courageous and profoundly loyal dogs. They were originally bred to guard Japan’s royalty and nobility and also for tracking and hunting wild boars, bears, and deer. Being big, strong dogs, their powerful presence alone serves as a deterrent. Naturally wary with strangers, they instinctively guard their territory and loved ones without hesitation.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Enjoys carrying stuff around
  • Naturally fearless and protective; can easily become aggressive if not trained properly
  • Won’t back down from any challenge
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

Related: Top 9 Animals to Raise in a Post Apocalypse World

VI. German Shepherd

german shepherd

The reputable German Shepherds can instill fear on sight due to their notoriety as police and military dogs used for tracking, sniffing, and attacking, but they will excel at anything they’re trained to do. However, they are extremely loyal, gentle, and loving dogs with their families, and thus they won’t welcome guests.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Intelligent, capable, hard-working dog
  • High energy and courageous breed
  • Require regular mental and physical exercise
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years

VII. Chinese Shar Pei

Chinese-Shar-Pei

It might seem odd to include this breed on this list, but their heritage points to their great guardianship skills. They were originally bred as fighting dogs but rapidly became guard dogs due to their ferociousness and loyalty. Shar Peis must be trained very early and must learn who the “pack leader” is or else they will likely compete for the job—they can be very stubborn.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Tough and merciless dogs when needed
  • Very territorial; may display “sharking” behavior with strangers
  • Calm, devoted to loved ones, and excellent guard dog
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years

VIII. Doberman Pinscher

doberman-pinscher

With a reputation as a ferocious breed, the mere sight of a Doberman might be enough to scare anyone away. But they are loyal, watchful, and trustworthy companions with admirable guarding abilities—they were actually bred primarily as guard dogs. They are ranked as the fifth most intelligent dog breed, and they will assume the alpha role in your household.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Very protective dogs; alert and fearless
  • Loyal, obedient, and determined
  • Super-intelligent; natural protector; won’t hesitate to act when he thinks his family is in danger
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years

 Hunting Dogs

IX. Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian_ridgeback

This dog was once known as the African Lion Hound because it was used for hunting big game prey, such as lions, bears, and boar. They can be described as extremely athletic, big and strong, fearless, very loyal, and intelligent. (They need mental stimulation; otherwise, a bored Rhodesian Ridgeback will become a destructive Rhodesian Ridgeback). Being a hunting breed, this dog is the best protector from outdoor threats and will do anything in its power to make sure you and your companions are safe.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Perfect fit for dry, hot climates
  • Muscular and sturdy
  • Very intelligent
  • High prey drive
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

X. German Shorthair Pointer

german-shorthaired-pointer

This dog was bred for hunting and retrieving game, so if you are in the great outdoors, you won’t need to worry about food since the GSP will be enticed by any moving creature. This is one of the few hunting breeds that can perform all gundog roles both in the field and water. If you lose sight of each other, this dog will always find its way back to you.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Highly energetic, remarkably intelligent, and hard worker
  • Versatile—an all-purpose gun dog
  • People oriented; hates to be left alone for a long time
  • Lifespan: 12-14 years

XI. Labrador Retriever

LABRADOR RETRIEVER

Even the name suggests this dog’s hunting inclination. Labs might be the ultimate hunting dogs due to their excessive energy, their willingness to go almost anywhere to retrieve the kills, and their love for both land and water. Labs are America’s favorite breed and for good reason: They are always happy, playful, good-natured, and a hard worker.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Bred for physically demanding jobs
  • Stable temperament; intelligent
  • Great fur for cold, rainy weather
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

XII. American Foxhound

AMERICAN FOXHOUND

The American Foxhound is a rare purebred that is known for its excellent hunting abilities and its easygoing, loyal, kind, and sweet nature. They do great with the companionship of other dogs (since they originally hunted in large packs), while another great feature is the fact that their bark can carry for miles. Additionally, this dog is also a great watchdog and protector.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Incredible running skills and boundless stamina
  • Willing to chase down anything they’re asked to
  • Gentle and tolerant but can be stubborn and independent
  • Lifespan: 12-13 years

XIII. Vizsla

VIZSLA

This medium-sized dog was originally bred to work in the forest, field, and water, and over time it became a versatile dog of power that was able to fulfill any job. One special characteristic for this dog is their very affectionate nature, which makes them prone to always staying close to the hunter.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Superb scenting skills
  • Excellent watchdog with great protective instincts
  • “Talker”: barks, whines, and moans to make their “opinion” heard
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years

XIV. Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound

Strong, athletic, and agile, these dogs can keep up with a cougar. This breed is perfect for hunting big, fast game, such as mountain lions. They have excellent noses that can pick up on old trails, and they can follow any cougar climbing trees or even on the edge of a cliff. Due to their muscular stature and speed, they are actually capable of killing big prey with ease.

Highlights of the breed:

  • Devoted, smart dogs at home and fearless, tenacious pursuers on the trails
  • High level of stamina and very powerful
  • Hunters first (descendant of various hunting breeds, such as the American Foxhound, Blue de Gascogne Hound, and English Foxhound)
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

Did we missed something? What other breeds would you suggest?

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Sarah Davis
By Sarah Davis December 16, 2016 14:39
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60 Comments

  1. bluey December 16, 16:52

    the Queensland blue heeler is an ideal all around dog, extremely loyal, smart, tough as iron, will do anything the owner teaches it, hunt, guard, heard, do tricks, search & rescue,has an all weather coat, comes in all sizes from 10 pounds to 80 pounds, life span of 12 to 20 years

    Reply to this comment
    • SJF December 16, 23:33

      Australian cattle dog is my choice as it is super loyal and strong and tough as nails and super intelligent. All weather dog with super stamina. I have a blue and a red. Wicked awesome guard and if necessary attack dogs.

      Reply to this comment
    • Sparrow~ December 28, 18:46

      I agree with you, 100 percent.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Jim December 16, 17:29

    Another breed that great is a Boxer. Very loyal, great with children and adults, very intelligent, has hunting abilities, FEARLESS, very loving, can be trained for almost any duty.

    Reply to this comment
    • Laura December 16, 20:43

      I agree completely.. we have a boxer now and this is our 2nd one. They are extremely loyal and fiercely protectives.. best family dog in my opinion

      Reply to this comment
    • Chuck January 23, 16:21

      I agree 100%and I also wanna say, I raised them from a champion mother and dad for about 10 years! They have been the best dog breed I’ve ever raised for kid protection. Doesn’t even have to be your kid, they are just a great breed for the protection of kids.

      Reply to this comment
  3. shadowchaser December 16, 17:35

    one dog that is not very well known but also makes a great SHTF companion is the mountain cur. If you have never owned that breed, you might want to do a search for them.

    Reply to this comment
    • Olevet December 16, 20:52

      absolutely correct!

      Reply to this comment
    • AwaitingTheRapture January 23, 17:44

      Absolutely, I have a 60 lb female that is the strongest dog, Lb. for Lb. that I have ever been around. Just last week she tore into two coyotes that were chasing my chickens. She hit the biggest one head on and when they quit tumbling, she had him by the throat , shaking him like a rag doll. I dispatched the second one with my 22 mag Ruger revolver, that I always carry on the farm I also humanely finished off the big one she had pretty well killed on her own.
      GREAT LOYAL, FEARLESS DOG.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Hal Longue December 16, 17:40

    You mention only MONSTER size dogs, but make no mention of how one is supposed to be able to provide the vast amounts of food these animals will require.

    Reply to this comment
    • Grrrrichard December 16, 18:00

      You simply keep a bevy of small dogs on hand to feed to the monster dog.

      Reply to this comment
    • Ramona December 16, 19:45

      As a person exploring prepping, I would think some of the street wise cross breeds would be ideal. Many large breeds have hip, back & arthritis problems from breeding. Most good survivor dogs in other countries are smaller, 35 to 60 lbs. They have learned to eat just about anything a coyote would eat. And they love their human pack.
      How do preppers keep dogs healthy; parasite free?

      Reply to this comment
    • Me December 17, 04:38

      You would be surprised how little they eat. They may have a lot of energy but they have a slow metabolism

      Reply to this comment
    • Sandy December 17, 09:03

      Border Collies aren’t “monster” sized dogs; they’re medium-sized dogs (on the smaller side of medium) and can be lap dogs or picked up and carried. They don’t eat tons of food, yet somehow they’re “Energizer Bunnies” with never-ending energy.

      Reply to this comment
  5. idamouse December 16, 19:55

    Anatolian Shepherd is another one I would suggest. Guardian Dog. Really works good.

    Reply to this comment
    • Fifth_Disciple December 17, 05:58

      Ditto. An Anatolian is big, protective of his territory and just aggressive enough that strangers don’t want to come on to your property. However, I also have a Chihuahua in the house as an alarm dog.

      Reply to this comment
  6. chestnut December 16, 20:18

    Can’t believe you didn’t mention pit bulls!

    Reply to this comment
    • Tos843 December 17, 00:27

      Yes!

      Reply to this comment
    • ceasser January 19, 23:51

      don’t be confused a pit or Rottweiler is a great fighter but they are only fighters and have almost all the other hunting and tracking instincts breed out of them further more its only 1 in 20 that has sufficient intelligence to be really trainable and even then they are very hard to train. now don’t get me wrong in those rare occasions when you get a above average intelligence pit and its been well trained they can be friendly loyal and protective. but its less than 1 in 20 that you should trust and even then not with a person that doesn’t out weigh them. (in my opinion this is the most difficult breed for a human to establish and maintain alpha status with)

      Reply to this comment
  7. Fly December 16, 20:41

    Catahoula. Great for tracking/hunting boar and deer, they are smart and loyal

    Reply to this comment
  8. Gena December 16, 21:13

    The Brazilian mastiff gets my vote. They’re big, strong, very way going and super protective. My boy has kept an attacker off me once and stopped a Breslin to our home.

    Short haired, smart and easily trainable. And pretty!

    Reply to this comment
  9. Pam December 16, 21:58

    my favorite is a Anatolian Shepherd, herding, large enough breed. good with my family

    Reply to this comment
  10. Jerry D Young December 16, 22:05

    I consider Airedales, from reputable breeders, to be nearly ideal for all around dogs for preppers. Can hunt pretty much anything from rabbits and squirrels up to deer, elk, cougar, and bear. Even water fowl, as they were originally a ‘water dog’.

    Great with kids, protecting all children and elderly, not just those in ‘their’ family. Intelligent, loyal, protective, friendly, but wary of strangers until introduced as ‘okay’.

    Well known for their exploits in WW I and other wars as war dogs and couriers.

    Medium size breed, not too prone to major health issues, if from reputable breeders.

    Just my opinion.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Lucy December 17, 01:00

    My house insurance company’s black list includes German shepherds, dobermans, Akitas, and malamutes among their list of 14 “bad dog” breeds. I was told that about 1/3 of all home insurance claims were generated by dog bites. I’velearned that there are some insurance companies + Michigan and Pennsylvania, that don’t ban any breeds.

    Reply to this comment
  12. MACK WAS HIS NAME December 17, 01:31

    SHEPARD MIXED WITH CHOW IS THE BEST DOG I HAVE SEEN AROUND VERY LOYAL VERY PROTECTIVE SMART I HAVE A APARTMENT COMPLEX AND HE LEARNED WHO LIVED THERE AND WHO DIDNT BELONG AND NEW TENANTS HE WOULD ALSO LEARN THEM

    Reply to this comment
  13. Gramma December 17, 02:15

    My personal favorite is a Borzoi. Bred in Russia to be both protectors and hunters of small game, which they will bring back to their master every single time. Easy to train and extremely loyal and look like an overgrown collie. I used to take my Borzois out to the country and let them do my hunting for me. One even brought me back a yearling deer! Large, long haired dog, can grow to 36″ at the shoulders. Avg. lifespan is about 12 years. Only downfall I can find with them is they are susceptible to human influenza, and that can kill them.:-(

    Reply to this comment
  14. feebs December 17, 03:32

    What about Livestock Guardian Dogs? You totally ignored these wonderful soldiers. I am surrounded by national forests, have horses, chickens and goats. NEVER had a predation problem. We have Cougar, Black Bear, feral pigs, feral dogs. Never lost any stock.

    Reply to this comment
  15. KCK December 17, 05:32

    Any of the Belgian breeds: Groenendael, Malinois, and Tervuren. The Lakinois is less known and not recognized in the US.

    They are mostly used now as protection (Police and Military.) They are highly intelligent and want to please. They need to be with their ‘pack/people.’ And they NEED a JOB!

    Life span: 10 to 14 years.

    Reply to this comment
    • IOP December 18, 01:59

      Malinois are a great choice. I have 2 Dutch Shepherds and they are outstanding protectors.

      Reply to this comment
  16. winonalivin December 17, 06:52

    I have a blue heeler and a catahoula leopard dog. Tough as nails, especially the catahoula. They are used to hunt wild boar and coon, and they make good cattle dogs same as the heeler. Very loyal.

    Reply to this comment
  17. imatellinub4 December 17, 08:55

    having raised australian shepherds they are great dogs as well….very motavated learns quickly and learns also by observing people…used in search and rescue …..another is great pyr….another lgd (livestock guardian dogs) same group as anatolin shepherds….look a lot like a big fluffy polar bear…these dogs are capable of foraging and feeding themselves….being low metabolism dogs they require no more food then most midsize dogs….very intelligent reason things out……

    Reply to this comment
    • Lainey December 18, 01:50

      Completely agree! My dog is a mix of blue healer and Catahoula cur. She is very smart, loyal, sweet to her family. She has different barks for her “pack” vs extended family she knows are friendly vs complete strangers

      Reply to this comment
    • Cynicles December 21, 02:54

      Aussies every time for me.
      Have an ancient female and a mid-aged male, more like a stubborn donkey that never leaves dad’s side.

      Reply to this comment
  18. lonewolf. December 17, 09:54

    terriers are my favourite dogs.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Wi6tch December 17, 10:58

    English Shephard: long breed as a cross between a border collie and a German shephard, you get the best mix of a working dog and a fierce protector. Highly intelligent and must be given a job or purpose or will become bored and destrucive. Fiercely loyal. Willing to hunt, herd or work beside you in all situations.

    Reply to this comment
  20. chorsego December 17, 17:50

    I have had several Dobermans – They are my favorite of all dog breeds but not a prepper dog- not very weather resistant. I bred and shown Akita’s,their temperament is very stubborn and too twitchy and they are extremely dog aggressive, worse than Pit Bulls which I have had also. I really like Pit Bulls, great family dogs but have the same problem as Dobermans, not weather resistant and can be dog aggressive. My vote for prepper dog would be Australian Cattle Dogs or Queenslands, compact size, weather resistant, easy keepers, protective with herding abilities, extremely loyal and willing to please and are ok in a pack. Better to have 2 or 3 mid-size dogs rather than 1 big dog, More eyes and ears and more intimidating for strangers to be confronted with 2 or 3 dogs than one and harder to take out. Followed by non-American German Shepards. I’ve had all these breeds and have thought about the hardiest,healthiest and most low maintenance and fairly common to acquire.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Prepped up December 17, 18:45

    I only have one thing to say….Catahoula, Catahoula, Catahoula.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Mona December 17, 20:25

    I think know Saint Bernard is the most awesome dog there is. Smart, Loyal, and very obedient. Wonderful to there family and kind to their owners friends once they understand. Also another great dog is the Norwegian Elkhorn. Medium in size, loves the snow, and is very loyal to their family.

    Reply to this comment
  23. Mary December 17, 21:03

    I have one thing to say… Canaan Canaan Canaan they are bred for herding but make excellent guard dogs etc… Very loyal and affectionate

    Reply to this comment
  24. Mastiff mom December 18, 02:51

    My favorite breed after having many dogs are the Mastiffs. They are loyal, easy going, don’t need alot of space. They love children, but like all dogs should be watched because of their size. They are guard dogs simply by size but do it by instinct. They should not be bought our rescued without real information on the gentle giants, I don’t recommend getting any dog without research. But my two Mastiffs have taught me that I will be a Mastiff house forever.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Just December 18, 05:03

    Bouviers deflandre is up, for consideration

    Reply to this comment
  26. Gran December 18, 16:18

    Every dry dog listed here is is worthy of consideration and can be great family dogs. However, most of the breeds listed require an alpha leader who will be in charge and who will give good consistent training. If a person cannot take the time to train and is unable to be the leader, it will be best to pass on these breeds.

    Reply to this comment
  27. Dale December 19, 07:44

    Boerboel

    Reply to this comment
  28. TerrierMan December 19, 22:12

    Rodents will be a major problem after a disaster and/or when our modern living conditions permanently deteriorate…. I’ll take a pack of 20-30 pound terriers ….

    Reply to this comment
  29. dracoe December 21, 07:24

    Dachshund (wiener dog) bred for hunting small prey such as rabbits, and to wriggle down into their burrows to get them. This dog is excellent for smaller groups where killing larger game such as deer would just be a waste (a small group without preservation methods won’t be able to eat a deer in a reasonable amount of time, not to mention, if on foot, carrying it around)

    Reply to this comment
  30. Scallywag December 23, 23:34

    I have Siberian Huskies and a wolf hybrid. There is no game they can’t run down and kill and are good for transportation when equipped. They I can travel with them at incredible speed on most ant path or road and when SHTF there won’t be ant traffic.

    Reply to this comment
  31. oldcorps December 29, 07:05

    Mastador…a cross between a Mastiff and a Labrador Retriever. They tend to get the best traits of both breeds.
    Best dog I ever had. Great with family members, protective, loyal and a little intimidating.

    Reply to this comment
  32. Callum December 31, 09:42

    I wouldn’t trade my three for anything I have a Mini Aussi, Boxer, and a Black mouth Cur. Think i got all my areas covered.

    Reply to this comment
  33. REALJT January 6, 12:44

    Curs early homesteaders found them extremely valuable. I have a Cur/Lab mix. Very protective, squirrel dog, jumps deer but will not run them gives you a shot. Runs molds out of yard and keeps other preditors away from the chickens.

    Reply to this comment
  34. Chuck January 23, 16:37

    In my mind there ios only one choice. The South African Mastiff, called the Boerboel, was bred for family protection and farm protection in South Africa. Females run 130 to 150 pounds. Males are 145 to 170 pounds. They love children, are gentle and very trainable, But, they are the most ferocious dog I have ever seen when protection is needed. They look similar to English Mastiffs, but are MUCH more active and energetic. And, no, they don’t eat all that much. Over the years, I have owned three in sequence. They are WONDERFUL!

    Reply to this comment
    • Howsweetitis January 23, 18:59

      Chuck, your completly right about the South African Boerboel its a perfect survival dog and you can come in, but never leave.
      (my dog) Is a great hunter, but i never had a better watchdog than My Boerboel, i have kids and grandkids and they can walk over her and she dont care, but try to slap them and she is in between.
      Love her to pieces and she is wonderfull

      Reply to this comment
  35. rzrdawg January 23, 18:49

    I have a fairly new breed. The Do go Argentino is an excellent breed. Well rounded for whatever the need.

    Reply to this comment
    • AwaitingTheRapture January 23, 18:53

      I also own two Dogo mix breeds. Am VERY impressed with them. They can actually be used for anything, hunting, tracking, water dogs, and last but not least, PROTECTION. They know no fear and can back it up.

      Reply to this comment
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