People have dog for all kinds of reasons, and one of main reasons is to have a loyal security guard for your family, especially if you have kids in your family, While many modern dogs will instinctually act as home guardians, there are specific breeds that are known for possessing the characteristics needed to best ward off unwanted intruders. Here are ten of the best guard dogs for families:

1. German Shepherd

German shepherds are bold, confident, and fearless. They are extremely intelligent and quick to learn commands, thus making them a favorite police dog breed. This breed is among the best protection dogs today. German Shepherds are very loyal, and don’t go through a rebellious streak like some of the other dogs on this list. They form very strong bonds with their owners, and will defend them to the bitter end.

2. Bernese Mountain Dog

The calm, good-natured, strong and intelligent Bernese mountain dog is a great pet for kids because she loves to play sports and spend time with her human friends. This breed is not very aggressive, but her large size and loud bark can serve to deter intruders. All in all, the Bernese mountain dog makes a great family watchdog and a loyal, obedient companion.

3. Rottweiler

Rottweilers, if not properly trained from a young age, can be a very dangerous breed. If they aren’t socialized enough to get used to the company of others, they will try to dominate any nearby person or animal, usually in the form of a very strong bite. With that in mind, though, if they are loved as a pup, the chances are that they’ll grow to be very loyal and friendly pets, and they’ll make best guard dogs for your home. Many people already know how aggressive they can be, so intruders will tend to flee the scene when they see that you have a Rottweiler on guard.

4. Akita

An intelligent and intense breed, the Akita can be very loyal to its owner and very standoffish to strangers. Of course, this is what they were bred for. Like most of these breeds, they need to be well socialized if plan on taking them off your property or want to have people over.

5. Giant Schnauzer

Though they are not as well-known or as popular as some of the other dog breeds on this list, Giant Schnauzers are undeniably incredibly capable mutts, boasting a far-above-average intelligence and the ability to learn literally dozens of skills. These dogs, however, do require quite a bit of mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy and will be quite a handful if they don’t receive it. That being said, these playful pups are still definite contenders for both great guard and family dogs – though they do far better with older kids than small children and toddlers, which is worth keeping in mind if you’re looking to start a family during the lifespan of your adopted Schnauzer.

6. Doberman Pinscher

There are a few breeds that come to the front of our minds when we think of guard dogs and the Doberman Pinscher is almost always at the front of the pack. And for obvious reasons – one of which being that they were specifically bred to be guard dogs in Germany during the early 19th century. Truly, that is reason enough to put them at the top of anyone’s list of the best guard animals. They are also extremely smart, meaning they can tell the difference between an intruder and a family member or visitor, and have a streak of loyalty that is nearly unrivaled.

7. Pit Bull

Pits have a very unfortunate reputation due to their use as fighting and guard dogs, but there’s no denying their abilities in those venues. To clarify (or perhaps confuse), the term ‘pit bull’ actually refers to a group of breeds that share many of the same characteristics. These include the American Pitt Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Terrier. There is some argument as to whether these are all different or the same breeds, but the fact remains that their strength, tenacity, and loyalty all make them great guard dogs.

8. Boxer

Named for their unusual behavior of standing on their back legs and “punching” with their front legs, this large dog breed is typically full of energy, which requires quite a bit of exercise in order to keep them calm an obedient. That being said, a Boxer that receives enough attention and exerts a good deal of energy is an exceedingly loyal companion, indeed. They’re also legendarily patient with children and are excellent family dogs. They also, however, can be viciously protective of their homes and property – especially against unwanted invaders. These traits have led to frequent use in both the military and police force – which means they are also excellent candidates for guarding you and your home.

9. Shar-Pei

The Chinese Shar-Pei might look a bit goofy at first glance, but they’re definitely a breed you don’t want to mess with. You see, they’ve been around for literally hundreds of years and have served as hunting, herding, guard, and even fighting dogs. They do, however, require a strong hand when it comes to training as they have been known to be aloof and have a tendency to overreact to intruders and welcome visitors alike. Still, they’re quite calm otherwise, well-suited for apartment living, and are easy to care for in regards to grooming.

10. Great Dane

Despite the fact that mystery-solving cartoon dog, Scooby Doo, has given this breed a reputation as scaredy cats, real-life Great Danes are far from being easily intimidated when trained as guard dogs. And it helps that they tower over just about every other breed of dog around. They’re practically closer in size to horses than to your average pup. The good news is, however, that these dogs are also known as ‘gentle giants,’ thanks largely to their extremely kind and family-friendly nature. Still, they will protect you and your home from any unwanted invaders should they receive the proper training. Just keep in mind that these mutts are more of an intimidating deterrent than an actual attack dog.