Everyone who becomes a pet parent does so for different reasons.
Many people are looking for a child-friendly pet, meaning many of the scariest dog breeds we highlight today don’t make the best option. The same applies to those seeking a companion to ward off loneliness.
Others buy a dog primarily so they can get outdoors and exercise more, while others are looking for dog breeds content to spend long spells inside an apartment or condo.
One of the most pressing reasons that people get dogs, though, is for personal protection or to scare away intruders.
If you require a protection dog capable of more than simple guard dog duties, you will need to explore some very specific breeds trained to use their teeth and jaws along with their neck muscles to keep any assailant restrained until help arrives. If, on the other hand, you just want a dog that looks fierce and intimidating, you have more options to investigate.
12 of the Scariest Dog Breeds
In no particular order, here are 12 of the scariest dog breeds:
1) Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan mastiff is a dog so powerful it is capable of killing a tiger. Once you set eyes on this towering breed, it’s easy to see how it could take down such a lethal predator as a tiger.
Weighing 150 pounds and standing 25 inches high, the Tibetan mastiff has a luxurious and furry coat.
Tibetan mastiffs can be challenging to handle. If you are an inexperienced or first-time owner, avoid this scary breed.
This breed is highly protective, although smart enough to exercise restraint before they attack. As long as you are confident that you can assume the alpha role and assert your authority over a Tibetan mastiff, they make for rewarding if challenging pets.
2) German Shepherd
The German shepherd is a large but lovable dog weighing close to 100 pounds. German shepherds look bigger still due to their voluminous fur. The overall appearance of these dogs is wolf-like.
This breed has traditionally been used by the military and the police. Today, the Belgian Malinois is favored for those purposes.
German shepherds are smart, fearless, and incredibly powerful. That said, this breed is also family-friendly. Shepherds mix well with children and have intense protective instincts.
This scary breed with a softer side is ideal as a pet or a guard dog, even if you have kids at home.
Even though the Japanese akita is not the largest dog, they still exude a menacing air thanks to their bulky heads and shoulders, as well as their aggressive and dominant posturing.
Despite weighing less than 100 pounds, akitas are powerfully driven to protect their owners. The breed was first developed for this purpose. Akitas historically protected the nobility in Japan. These dogs were also used for large game hunting.
Fierce and occasionally confrontational, the akita can still be a lovable family pet. Thorough and early training is vital. You may need to pack plenty of patience until you have asserted your dominance over this feisty dog. Properly trained and socialized, your akita shouldn’t give you or your family any trouble at all – the same cannot be said for any unwanted intruders.
Note that this breed is notorious for heavy shedding. This means you’ll need to invest plenty of time into grooming. Akitas do not make the smoothest fit if anyone in your house has sensitivities or allergies.
4) American Bully
The American Bully, formally called an American Bull Terrier, is an outwardly intimidating dog with a short and stocky frame packed with muscle.
The American Bully is a type of pitbull. The breed has a bad reputation due to their regular use in underground dog fighting competitions. This breed may look fierce, but these dogs can also be very sweet and loving.
Due to the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding this breed, they make first-class protective dogs.
5) Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is an Italian breed that often weighs 120 pounds or more.
These dogs are super-strong and extremely stubborn. Inexperienced owners are liable to struggle with this breed.
Since the Cane Corso is wary of strangers, it is imperative to socialize this breed from an early age. These dogs will also need obedience classes and specialized training to ensure that you remain in control of the dog.
First bred by shepherds to protect their flock, the kangal stands high on its front legs, looking far more imposing than the average dog.
This breed has a strong protective instinct. Despite this, the kangal looks to guard you rather than attacking a potential threat. This makes them more of a guardian dog.
Equipped with the strongest bite of all dogs, this is hands-down one of the scariest dogs in the world.
7) Great Pyrenees
Although the Great Pyrenees looks similar at a glance to a golden retriever, this working dog was bred for herding flocks and is much more imposing than a retriever.
Weighing up to 120 pounds, the Great Pyrenees stands up to 32 inches tall.
If an intruder or threat materializes, this dog will bark authoritatively and shut down the danger, even if untrained or unaided.
This breed can be a family pet if they are trained and socialized effectively. They will assume a protective role over small children and any other pets in the house.
Be wary of allowing this breed to exercise in the yard if it is not fully secured and fenced. The Great Pyrenees will endlessly test the boundaries of their territory. The last thing any neighborhood wants is a scary dog on the loose!
The boerboel is a type of mastiff initially bred as a guard dog. The breed protects farm dwellers from hyenas and other potential predators.
This fearless breed will face up to any challenge head-on, however intimidating. Additionally, these dogs are fast. Once engaged, they can chase down intruders and threats with ease.
Like many dogs on today’s shortlist, the boerboel is inadvisable for inexperienced pet owners.
9) Rhodesian Ridgeback
The Rhodesian ridgeback is a South African dog that faces down lions in their natural habitat. Bringing this breed home is not for the faint-hearted.
Rhodesian ridgebacks are still not fully domesticated. They do not tolerate strangers well and need plenty of positive reinforcement to eliminate oversensitivity leading to poor reactions.
The Rhodesian ridgeback may be an unsuitable pet, but it is certainly among the scariest dog breeds.
Doberman pinschers are working dogs bred for the purposes of protecting workers on their rounds.
Highly alert at all times, these sleek and muscular canines make great guard dogs or watch dogs.
These dogs are by nature friendly, and they do not tend to bark excessively, meaning you can potentially avoid using a training collar. Dobermans can make excellent family pets if properly trained and given the exercise they need.
The rottweiler is consistently ranked among the fiercest breeds. Originating in Germany, this breed was developed to pull carts, demonstrating their huge strength.
Rottweilers are very intelligent and will never stand down from threats or dangers. Rotties are remarkably protective of their owners and can immediately enter attack mode when threatened. It is vital to train this breed thoroughly to avoid this issue. When provoked, this breed can be especially aggressive.
12) Tosa Inu
A huge Japanese dog, the tosa inu was bred for use as a fighting dog. This dog is classified as dangerous in many countries such as the United Kingdom.
As long as these dogs are not unprovoked, you will find they are gentle giants. Regrettably, the dog has a deeply ingrained hostility and aggression toward other animals. This breed doesn’t make a good choice if you have children or other pets at home.
If you arrived here today looking for inspiration for scary dogs, we hope you found what you were searching for.
Before bringing any dog home, it is vital to conduct plenty of research. This is doubly important if you are considering a scary breed. These dogs can be demanding and intimidating if you are an inexperienced pet parent.
You should never buy a dog purely on the basis of its appearance. You need to fully account for nutrition and exercise requirements, training needs, and the temperament of the dog. You should also think carefully about your needs as a family, particularly if you have children in the house.
Before you head off today, take a moment to bookmark GO Boxer Rescue and pop back soon for more great content on all aspects of dog ownership.