21 Scariest Dog Breeds: The Most Intimidating Dogs To Frighten Intruders!



Ben Team


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People get dogs for a variety of reasons. Some want a lap warmer, while others want a companion for their kids.

Still others are looking for a running companion, and a few want their dog to perform some type of work- or hunting-related task.

Many people choose to get a dog for protection. In exchange for a warm place to sleep, a belly kept full, and some regular haunch scratching, these owners expect their dog to protect them from nefarious types.

For most owners, what they really want is a scary-looking dog — a pup that can keep strangers or unwanted guests away. Below, we’ll share some of the scariest dog breeds around!

Protection Dogs Vs. Dogs That Provide Protection

Belgian shepherd protection dog

True protection dogs are exquisitely trained (read: expensive) four-footers, who can be taught to physically intervene against an attacker.

Such dogs are trained to use all of the tools at their disposal (strong jaws, bone-crushing teeth, and powerful neck muscles) to stop an attack; some even received specialized training and learn how to restrain assailants until help arrives.

These kinds of dogs are used by K9 police officers, military units, potential kidnapping targets and others who may expect potential danger around every turn. But most people do not need or want such a powerful and potentially dangerous companion at their side – most simply need a dog as a form of deterrence.

Videos like the one below show just how well-trained true protection dogs can be, but this isn’t what most owners have in mind when they’re considering a dog for added security.

Just about any big dog will make the average criminal think twice – many bad guys will even avoid confrontations with small dogs, given their predilection to bark incessantly at any perceived threat.

Because of this, most average people are probably better served by acquiring an intimidating or scary-looking dog breed, who has been trained in basic obedience and little more.

The Scariest Dog Breed: What Makes a Dog Scary or Intimidating?

growling dog

Few trouble makers are going to try to identify your dog’s breed while sizing you up as a potential target. Rather, they are likely to note a few key characteristics when deciding his or her next move.

Most intimidating dogs exhibit the following characteristics:


Tibetan mastiff

In this case, bigger is definitively better. Most scary dog breeds are, in fact, big ‘ol pups.

A 50-pound pit bull can be incredibly intimidating, while exposing his teeth, emitting one of the scariest barks in the world, and lunging at you. But a 200-pound Great Dane barely has to look at you to tighten your sphincter.


black German shepherd

Some empirical data demonstrates that black dogs are more intimidating than those of other colors. The reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, but it may have something to do with the use of Rottweilers, Doberman pinchers, German pinchers, and similar, predominately black breeds in security, guarding, and attack contexts.

However, it is important to remember that this is only one component of the overall intimidation factor of a given breed. Is a 175-pound Great Pyrenees more intimidating than a 95-pound Doberman? It depends on the mind of the person giving you the willies.


bully breed

Things like a blocky head, large mouth, and broad shoulders tend to make a dog look more intimidating.

Consider, for example, pit bulls – one of the smallest breeds to make our list below. Part of the reason these dogs appear so intimidating (aside from the myths surrounding the breed) is the combination of their square heads, big ‘ol mouths, and shoulders that look strong enough to do one-armed pushups.


mastiff bark

A dog with a rough and tough bark will be enough to make any potential intruder turn tail and run. Generally, the bigger the dog, the deeper the bark. This means that mastiffs, Danes, and other giant breeds tend to make some of the most menacing sounds.



Have you ever noticed how an 8-pound Chihuahua can make a 200-pound grown man jump back? That’s the power of bluff, bluster, and swagger. And while a Chihuahua who weighs as much as a gallon of milk can occasionally intimidate jumpy foes, a 95-pound Rottweiler could probably intimidate a rhinoceros.

By contrast, the biggest black Lab that ever lived would be more likely to lick your face than get his hackles up. The same could be said of numerous other, non-intimidating breeds.

The Scariest Dog Breeds: Dogs That Will Terrify Intruders

German shepherd

While this list is obviously subjective, we’ve done our best to cover a variety of scary dog breeds. We broke this list down into two different sections.

The first group includes the most intimidating common breeds – those you could find at a pet store or from any number of local breeders.

The second section covers intimidating breeds which are not seen as frequently. Although you can often find puppies of these breeds for sale, you’ll likely have to go to greater lengths (and pay more money) to do so.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of the breeds listed below are banned in some areas (unfortunately, this includes many that make great family pets). Accordingly, you’ll always want to check out the legal environment for your area before adding one of these dogs to your family.

Common and Intimidating Dog Breeds

doberman pinscher

These are the most intimidating pups that are relatively common — you are probably already quite familiar with them. Check ’em out!

1. American Pit Bull Terrier

American pit bull terrier

The block-headed pit bull, pit bull mixes, and similar-looking bully breeds are feared far and wide. Most criminals will assume that any 50- to 70-pound dog that looks vaguely pit-like should be given a wide berth.

Of course, anyone who’s ever owned a pit knows that they are typically little bundles of tail-wagging, face-licking love; they’re not an aggressive breed as sensationalistic media headlines would have you believe. In fact, when raised in a loving family situation, they are among the friendliest dogs you could want.

However, they are typically very protective of their home and family, and will gladly put on a ferocious display to deter those who come too close.

It is important to note that while many pit bulls are very protective, many professionals consider pit bulls to be too friendly to be used for proper protection work. Nevertheless, a pit bull running around your house will likely keep prowlers away.

2. Akita

Akita Inu

Akitas aren’t the biggest dogs in the world – most weigh about 90 to 100 pounds. However, the combination of their large head and shoulders-forward posture can make them look quite menacing.

Akitas are instinctually driven to guard and protect their families. In fact, this is one of the primary purposes for which the breed was developed – protecting nobles and other VIPs during the feudal period of Japan (they were also used to hunt large game, such as boar).

Despite their fearless and sometimes protective nature, Akitas are often loving family dogs. However, Akitas are not one of the easier breeds to train, so they are not a good choice for inexperienced owners. They need consistent, firm, respectful obedience training and regular socialization from an early age.

3. Rottweiler

Rottweiler guard dog

Rottweilers always appear on these types of lists, and it is easy to see why. They’ve got all the hallmarks of an intimidating breed: They’re pretty big, clad primarily in black fur, have incredibly muscular bodies, and are often suspicious of strangers.

But Rottweilers aren’t only intimidating – they also make incredible pets, who are sensitive, loving, and loyal companions. However, they don’t like being far from their owners, so they aren’t great family pets for those who spend a lot of time away from the home.

Additionally, they are amazingly intelligent and head-strong dogs, who require an owner who can lead them in a confident, yet loving manner.

Generally speaking, this ancient breed is not a great choice for inexperienced owners. However, females can be a bit easier for novices to control.

4. Doberman Pinscher

Types of Canine Aggression

Dobermans are big dogs, but their ability to scare would-be-troublemakers exceeds their size.

Rarely exceeding 100 pounds in weight, Dobermans look bigger than they really are, thanks to their height (big males may stand 28 inches high at the shoulder), long necks, and (sometimes) cropped ears. Additionally, Dobermans tend to adopt a pretty impressive posture when facing something they deem a threat.

But underneath this impressive exterior, most Dobermans are as loving as the sweetest Lab and probably just as committed to their owners, too. They share a number of similarities with Rotties, as they are also smart, sensitive, and incredibly loyal.

This well-known working breed isn’t the ideal choice for first-time dog owners, but Dobermans are probably better than many other breeds on this list for novices. In any case, they’ll need firm training, obedience classes, and plenty of socialization, beginning at a young age.

5. German Shepherd

aggressive dog questions

Historically, German shepherds were one of the most common breeds to be used in military and police contexts (although they’ve largely been supplanted by Belgian Malinois in recent years). They’ve excelled in these roles thanks to their intelligence, fearless nature, and powerful presence.

German shepherds occasionally approach the 100-pound mark, but most are closer to 80 or 90 pounds. They often appear larger than this, thanks to their thick, long fur. They also have large ears, which further increase their apparent size.

Their protective instincts are easy to see, and a big German shepherd is surely one of the most intimidating breeds to encounter in a proverbial dark alley.

Although they are loyal companions who are one of the easier breeds to train, German shepherds are not ideal for homes that harbor allergy sufferers. Shepherds shed by the fistful, and they’ll quickly bury your belongings in an archeological layer of hair.

6. Great Pyrenees

great Pyrenees

One unusual, somewhat paradoxical breed on our list is the great Pyrenees. These dogs often grow very large (some males exceed 150 pounds) and they have a very protective nature.

However, they also look like big teddy bears (which is actually by design, as it helps the sheep they’re often tasked with guarding to feel comfortable with their canine companions). They’re coated in long, fluffy hair and they have roundish faces with cute ears.

However, the net impression of great Pyrenees can be quite intimidating, especially to those who are not comfortable with dogs. Great Pyrenees were not only developed to chaperone sheep or goats, but also protect their charges from wolves or other predators – by physical means if need be.

The great Pyrenees is one of the gentlest breeds on our list with respect to their families, but they aren’t a good choice for all owners. While they can make great family pets, Pyrs do not adapt well to apartment life, and they are Olympic-caliber shedders. They can also be somewhat difficult to train and march to the beat of their own drum.

7. Great Dane

Best Foods for Great Dane

Great Danes are absolutely huge dogs (big individuals may reach 200 pounds and stand nearly 3-feet-tall at the shoulder), who are able to intimidate many people by virtue of their imposing appearance alone (and their powerful bark certainly helps). Like so many of the other breeds on our list, Great Danes may look frightening, but they are the quintessential “gentle giant” breed.

In fact, Great Danes are typically sweet, affectionate, and very loving with their families.

But despite their warm-and-fuzzy personalities, Great Danes require proper training and socialization from an early age. Failing to do so can actually be dangerous, given the size of these immense beasts. Because of this, they are rarely appropriate for first-time owners or those who lack the desire to engage in a proper training regimen.

8. Cane Corso

Italian dog name ideas

Although cane corsos may stand almost 28 inches tall at the shoulder, they rarely reach the weights of Great Danes or similar breeds; typically, they weigh between 90 and 120 pounds.

Nevertheless, cane corsos are easily some of the most intimidating dogs in the world, and their gaze alone will surely send shivers up the spine of even the most brazen criminal.

Cane corsos demand respect, and they should never be acquired on a whim or without serious thought, consideration, and preparation.

And because the breed has such a muscular body, you’ll need to provide your cane corso with sufficient exercise — these dogs were originally bred to chase and subdue big game, so they won’t be happy without sufficient exercise and stimulation.

Less-Common Dog Breeds that Are Intimidating

Dutch shepherds

You may see one of these breeds at the dog park from time to time, but you’re unlikely to encounter them as commonly as you would German shepherds or any of the previously mentioned breeds.

While any of these can make loving, loyal companions and family pets, all require very effective training and are unsuitable for novice owners.

1. Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a good protection dog

Dogue de Bordeaux are beautiful dogs, but their stocky body, bulky musculature, and large heads make them one of the more intimidating canines available.

While females usually reach about 90 pound or so, most males exceed 100 pounds and stand about 26 or 27 inches high at the shoulder.

DDBs (as they’re often called) are very confident dogs, who rarely back down from a threat. Though loving with their families (including children), DDBs are not what you would call welcoming to strangers. Though they have a short coat, which is easy to take care of, they do produce buckets of drool and have lots of loose skin, which turns off many would-be owners.

If you’re thinking that you’ve seen one of these dogs before, but you can’t put your finger on where, I’ll help you out: Hooch was a Dogue de Bordeaux.

2. Dogo Argentino

dogo argentino

Dogo Argentinos look absolutely terrifying, but this prickly appearance actually belies their fun-loving personality.

Described by the AKC as cheerful, humble, and friendly, Dogo Argentinos are big dogs with big muscles, big heads, and big mouths. Everything about them simply screams power and strength, though it is important to understand that they do not have an inherently aggressive nature.

Reaching about 27 inches in height and 100 pounds in weight (females are slightly smaller), Dogo Argentinos — or Argentine mastiffs, as they are also called – are powerful runners who were originally developed to hunt big game. Indeed, many hunters still use them in pursuit of feral pigs.

Dogo Argentinos require a lot of exercise to remain healthy, and they need plenty of attention from their family to avoid depression and the development of destructive behaviors.

3. Boerboel


Boerboels were originally developed by South African pioneers in the seventeenth century to perform a variety of tasks, including hunting and livestock guarding – they were even expected to be excellent guard dogs who were willing to stand up to predators as formidable as leopards and hyenas. Today, they are primarily companion dogs, albeit ones that easily deter any who would wish to do you harm.

With an athleticism that belies their size and bulk, Boerboels move confidently through the world, meeting challenges head-on.

They do not back down from challenges, and display a fearlessness that is uncommon among other breeds. They are very challenging breeds for novices to train and control, but experienced owners often find them delightful.

4. Mastiff


Mastiffs (formerly known as English mastiffs) are gigantic dogs that often reach 150 to 170 pounds and stand nearly 3 feet high at the shoulder. Yet despite their immense and intimidating size, they’re typically gentle, laid-back dogs who get along well with most people they encounter.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t ready to protect their pack when necessary, but they don’t go through life with the suspicious attitude of a cane corso or some others.

Thanks to their calm and confident demeanor, mastiffs are probably the most suitable of the less-common breeds for novice owners, but caution is still warranted. Even the gentlest 170-pound dog can cause serious injuries, and proper training and socialization are necessary to ensure they remain friendly.

5. Perro de Presa Canario

bully breed presa canario

Perro de presa Canarios (aka Canary mastiffs or simply, Presa Canarios — the capitalization practices for this breed are a bit odd) are large, intelligent, and protective dogs, for whom proper training is imperative.

Often tipping the scales at up to 120 pounds, Presa Canarios are a mastiff-family breed, who were originally developed in the Canary Islands. Although affectionate with their families, Presa Canarios are rarely as syrupy sweet as mastiffs or Rottweilers.

Presa Canarios are often very territorial dogs, who do not take kindly to strangers or unfamiliar animals. They do not adapt well to apartment life, and require a moderate amount of exercise to remain healthy and happy. Of all the dogs on our list, this may be the one least suitable for first-time owners.

6. Caucasian Shepherd Dog

Adult Caucasian Shepherd dog

Caucasian shepherd dogs are flock-guarding behemoths, who look even larger than they really are, thanks to their long, fluffy coats. Originally developed to fend off wolves, these dogs are very territorial and do not accept strangers – including people, dogs and cats — entering their world.

Caucasian shepherd dogs are frequently challenging animals that will test the limits of their owner’s patience and skill. Accordingly, they need firm but loving leadership and consistent training from an early age to ensure they remain trustworthy and safe.

7. Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Anatolian shepherd

As leggy as they are loyal, Anatolian shepherds are courageous canines from Turkey, who were originally bred to protect livestock from wolves. Coming in at 29 inches tall at the shoulder and 150 pounds, they’re massive dogs with an independent spirit and reserved nature with strangers. Because of this, early training and socialization are vital. Training can be a challenge, too, as these pups are headstrong.

This breed is not for beginners.

Anatolian shepherds have thick coats designed to insulate them against the harsh mountainous region of their homeland. This dense pelt needs weekly brushing to strip away loose hair, though you’ll need to increase this to a few times a week during shedding season, as these pups undergo an intense “coat blowing” event twice a year that’ll leave your home covered in furry tumbleweeds.

Anatolian shepherd dogs are sometimes called Kangals, though they are two similar-looking yet different Turkish breeds — at least according to the UKC; the AKC considers them the same breed.

8. Bullmastiff


While sometimes confused with mastiffs, bullmastiffs are a separate breed with a very distinct look, complete with far blockier heads and broader, shorter muzzles. They actually descended from breeding mastiffs with bulldogs, creating their trademark look.

Bullmastiffs got their start as guard dogs on English game preserves and estates. While not tasked with mauling intruders, they caught and held trespassers, which is terrifying enough when you consider that they weigh up to 130 pounds and stand 27 inches at the shoulder. Their size alone made criminals think twice about entering places they shouldn’t.

Personality-wise, bullmastiffs remain formidable foes with their bravery, loyalty to family, and protective ways. They aren’t big-time barkers, so it’s worth investigating if your bullmastiff utters a sound. As with all guardian breeds, early obedience training and socialization are crucial in building the breed’s confidence and making them easier to handle. Otherwise, you’ll have an out-of-control giant that can quickly become dangerous.

Daily exercise is important for bullmastiffs, but some pups will need encouragement to get moving, preferring to warm the couch instead. Exercise and a proper diet are vital in keeping bullmastiffs healthy, as excessive weight puts unnecessary stress on frames already prone to hip and elbow problems. Other health concerns include hypothyroidism, bloat, and cancer.

9. Chow Chow

Chow Chow

Chows are big dogs, coming in at 20 inches tall and a maximum of 70 pounds, but they look much larger thanks to their coat, which comes in rough and smooth varieties. Both coat types require weekly brushing to remove loose fur, with special attention to detangling around the ears, tail, chest, and inner thighs. You’ll also need to thoroughly dry these canines after a bath, as they’re prone to hot spots and skin irritation.

Chow chows are among the most ancient breeds, and they date back thousands of years to China, where they’ve served as companions to royals, guardians, hunting dogs, and even haulers of carts. This work ethic still runs strong in them, demanding moderate physical and mental exercise daily. Use caution in warm weather, however, as they don’t tolerate the heat well.

Chow chows are independent and intelligent, making training them challenging. Early obedience training using positive reinforcement methods is essential in starting them on the right path and building their confidence. Healthy socialization with other dogs and people is also vital, as these pups can be standoffish.

10. Giant Schnauzer

giant schnauzer

A werewolf-like silhouette, impressive size, and courageous attitude make these canines some of the scariest around. Standing at a maximum of 27.5 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 85 pounds, giant schnauzers rest squarely in the large breed category and are known to be fiercely territorial. You’ll want to start socializing and training obedience early in puppyhood.

Giant schnauzers are one of the most versatile breeds on our scariest dog breed list, having served as cattle drivers, guardians, police dogs, and military mutts over the years. Paired with the breed’s intelligence, this strong working drive demands a daily outlet through long hikes, dog sports, and other canine enrichment activities.

Grooming these giant guardians can be exhaustive, as they require weekly brushing and regular hand-stripping or clipping to maintain their trademark look. This is by no means a low-maintenance dog, needing a hands-on owner devoted to providing hours of training, grooming, and exercise regularly.

11. Belgian Malinois

Belgian malinois

While these Belgian brutes are far from the largest dogs on our list at 26 inches tall and up to 80 pounds, they’re certainly capable of being intimidating. Their speed, agility, and exhaustive drive make them fearsome opponents, whether you’re the sheep they’re herding or a perpetrator on the run. They can and will chase you down, circling back for seconds, if necessary.

Often called “Malligators” by owners and breed fanciers, Malinois are known to chatter their teeth and chomp in excitement, a display that can be downright terrifying for those unfamiliar with the breed. These dogs excel in bitework, a fact that’s less than comforting when you consider their speed and infamous bravery.

Belgian Malinois are very eager to please and intelligent, but they bore easily and require a combination of varied routines and rewards to stay on task. Early and ongoing obedience work and vigorous daily physical and mental exercise are critical in keeping these canines content. They are some of the best dogs for running, but canine sports like dock diving, Schutzhund, and agility are also great. Better yet, give them a job, such as chasing geese from ponds or herding livestock. These are not meant to be an everyday pet dog.

12. Irish Wolfhound

Irish wolfhound

Standing at least 31 inches tall and weighing about 120 pounds, the Irish wolfhound is the tallest breed recognized by the AKC. These canines may not have the ferocious reputation of some other dogs on our list, but their size alone is enough to scare the pants off of some people.

Irish wolfhounds began as hunting dogs, accompanying hunters on big game expeditions after wolves and elk. While friendly at home, these dogs were downright lethal when necessary in the field. That said, today, these gentle giants are known to be as affectionate as can be with their people and good with other dogs. Due to their sheer size, they’re a poor match for families with small kids, however.

Irish wolfhounds are intelligent and highly social, preferring a place at their people’s side versus a spot alone. This combination demands daily enrichment at your side; otherwise, your dog may get into serious trouble at home. At such a size, these pups can do a great deal of damage fast!

13. Dutch Shepherd

Dutch shepherd

Rounding out our list is yet another breed prized in police and military work: the Dutch shepherd. Running on seemingly endless energy and drive to please, these are next-level pups in many ways, but their agility is what can make them particularly scary adversaries. Similar to Malinois, these dogs are speed demons who can tackle seemingly any obstacle, from ladders to walls to jumping over cars.

At 24.5 inches tall and up to 75 pounds, Dutch shepherds aren’t the biggest dogs on the block, but they use every bit of their body when working. And work they do, with roles from protection to herding around the world. They’re also as sharp as a tack, loving nothing more than a good challenge here and there. This makes varied, fun training sessions paramount in keeping them on track.

Dutch shepherds are not meant to be household pets for the average family, as they require a great deal of daily physical and mental exercise, preferably around the farm or with a sport like Schutzhund, scent tracking, or agility. They also make excellent jogging, hiking, or bikejoring companions.

Check out some of the best dog foods for Dutch shepherds!

Scariest Dog Breeds: FAQ

Anatolian shepherd

Still have lingering questions or concerns about the scariest dog breeds? Check out the most commonly asked questions about scary dog breeds and the corresponding answers.

Which dog has the scariest bark?

The scariest dog bark varies by listener. Some people may find the forceful, rapid-fire bark of the German shepherd to be scariest, while others might feel the deep rumbles of a mastiff more terrifying.

Which dog breed is the strongest?

The strongest dog breeds are in the working group, including the St. Bernard, mastiff, Great Dane, and Rottweiler. These doggos are designed to do tough-as-nails jobs, like pulling heavy carts around the farm, protecting livestock against predators, and rescuing humans from peril. They have to be strong!

Other strong breeds include the Newfoundland, Anatolian shepherd, and Caucasian shepherd dog.

What breed are devil dogs?

“Devil dogs” is a term sometimes applied to breeds used as military working dogs with the U.S. armed forces. This includes the Doberman pinscher and German shepherd. Another term often used for these working woofs is “war dogs.”

Today, Belgian Malinois and Dutch shepherds are frequently used in military work alongside German shepherds, with the Doberman far less common on the frontlines. While Dobermans are great at a number of tasks and certainly intimidating, shepherd breeds are simply more agile.

What breed is Cerberus?

Cerberus is a three-headed dog from Greek mythology that guards the underworld’s gates. His breed origin isn’t expressed in legends, and his physical description varies from tale to tale. Some stories even have him with only one or two heads!

What dog bites the hardest?

While there hasn’t been a definitive study comparing the bites of all breeds, certain doggos consistently rank high when tested, such as the Kangal, cane corso, and mastiff. These large-headed, massive mutts have broad jaws that can lead to bite forces above 700 pounds per square inch.


Can you think of any other intimidating or scary looking dog breeds we missed? Which one do you think is the scariest dog breed?

Let us know which ones we’ve forgotten — and which breed you’d pick as an excellent guard dog to keep your family safe — in the comments below.

We’d also love to hear your experiences with any of the breeds detailed above – particularly those on the uncommon list!

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the managing editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.

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  1. Ben L Avatar
    Ben L

    I just can’t agree with some of the choices on this list, also the atika is definitely not the biggest dog in the world, that title goes to the English mastiff

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Ben. No worries! Feel free to disagree.

      But we said that Akitas aren’t the biggest dogs in the world (and, for the record, the Great Dane is generally regarded as the largest dog breed).

      Thanks for checking out the site!

  2. Ben Avatar

    Hi. I am looking for an at-least 70 pound dog breed that is very intimidating, the color black, and has a powerful bite. I would also like it to be kid-friendly. The amount of space the dog needs and the shedding do not matter to me. I would also not like to have to groom it every 1 or 2 days. Can you help me find a dog that meets this criteria?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Ben.
      Rotties and Dobies immediately come to mind, but neither will be a great choice for a first-time owner (particularly the Rottie).
      Best of luck!

  3. Ben Avatar

    How come Bullmastiffs aren’t on this list?

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Ben.
      We just had to stop the list somewhere — we could have probably made the list twice as long. But you’re right, bullmastiffs certainly can be intimidating.
      Thanks for checking out the site!

  4. James pruett Avatar
    James pruett

    Kangal dog the dog with the most powerful bite in the world that’s an intimidating dog

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      We’ve seen a number of different breeds lay claim to that title, but you’re right, James — Kangals can certainly be intimidating.

  5. Lgd Avatar

    Hi. Thank you for an interesting article. I’d like to know if you have a particular college/ university degree, or your work is through experience or both? Also. I am a person with a disability. I struggle with cptsd. I’d like to have a dog. I have a small parrot who is my emotion support companion. I would like a breed that I will train as a service dog, as well as a guard dog. The ideal breed would be intimidating, assist me with safety ie. House check before I enter, and would not harm my parrot.. Shedding. Allergies, size really not a problem. Cost…well it depends. I live in CA. Thank you.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey there, Lgd.
      It really depends a lot on what service you need the dog to perform. If, for example, you need a dog that can help you with mobility issues, you’ll likely need a really large breed, such as a Great Dane (which, incidentally, is a pretty common service dog breed). But if mobility issues aren’t a concern, a pittie may work out well.
      As for getting along with your bird, that’s a bit trickier to figure out. You’ll obviously need a dog without a strong prey drive, but that’s not always easy to tell in advance. You’ll probably just need to speak with the breeder/shelter about any tendencies the dog has exhibited.
      Best of luck!

  6. Ki Ki Avatar
    Ki Ki

    Ali i can agree but ive gotten bit by a big dog before it was NOT fun

  7. Ki Ki Avatar
    Ki Ki

    You said all these dogs are scary… well there all FREAKING ADORABLE! and NO ONE can convince me otherwise! Hab A Nice Day!

  8. Adam Avatar

    nice article. Really the intimidation factor is all you need in 90% of situations.
    Just a note: the picture of caucasian shepherd looks to me more like central asian shepherd.

  9. Ali Avatar


    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Lol. Some little dogs can definitely have an attitude, Ali!

  10. andrey Avatar

    also american bullys my feind has one like he dosent takce care of it it is fat and not intimidating

  11. andrey Avatar

    the bull terriers are not intimidating but very strong

  12. Ben Avatar

    Hi. I am looking for a dog that is huge (size is irrelevant, I just prefer larger dogs) and intimidating, but the softest cuddle-bug with anyone or anything that it knows. I live in an area where there are quite a few dogs of different breeds, so it will need to be friendly. Factors such as exercise and living space do not matter as they can be taken care of (our house isn’t exactly averagely sized) but the main thing is it needs to look scary but not act in a violent manner. Thanks

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Ben.
      Every dog is an individual who’s personality is not only a result of his or her breed, but also the upbringing and environment in which it lives. Additionally, no matter which breed you select, you’ll want to socialize it from a young age and provide basic obedience training.
      All that said, you may want to investigate Great Danes or Great Pyrenees. Both are typically huge and they tend to be pretty affectionate (although Great Pyrenees can be a bit aloof around strangers).
      Best of luck!

    2. daniel Avatar

      Hi, Ben!
      A larger breed that looks intimidating, but is a softie inside? May I suggest a German Shepherd? I own a huge German Shepherd named Atticus, and he looks terrifying, but he loves nothing more than a good belly rub, cuddle with my daughter, or play fetch. He’s even afraid of our cat! Of course, early socialization has to happen and also training, because they are big and strong. They also shed a lot, so I suggest brushing them outside.

  13. Nicole Avatar

    Blue Healers (Australian Cattle Dog)! They are described as Cautious, Obedient, Energetic, Loyal, Protective, Brave. TheSmatCanine.com states that they are “the 10th smartest dog breed for obedience & working intelligence. They are highly intelligent…great with obedience, but they really shine with instinctive intelligence…”

    In my opinion, they may not be big dogs, but are definitely intimidating. I’m pretty comfortable with dogs, but I quickly learned to have a healthy respect for this breed. Very loyal and “attentive” to their owner, you can see them sizing you up and deciding if you are a threat to their owner, family, and home. They will even try to insert themselves above you in the chain of command by using their body to push you to the side while they get in front of you behind their owner/family members. Be sure the owner knows this before attempting to nudge them confidently, but respectfully to the side when getting ready to go through a doorway where they are following their owner. The owner should help reinforce “humans before dogs” chain of command. Watch their eyes…they are pretty expressive and can inform you of what they’re thinking/wanting. Surprisingly protective of my friend’s new born baby…keeping eyes on anyone near the baby. When the healer heard the baby cry…she looks at you like, are you going to do something, then looks back at the baby. The dog was clearly in full alert mode. When baby girl was sitting up, but still a little wobbly…even with mom and I on either side of her…quickly started toppling backwards off the couch and the healer (always in close vicinity of the baby) just as quickly nudged the baby in the back with her snout, effectively bringing her back upright where mom and I could help her get her balance back. AND while in the backyard (no one home), someone who had been spotted lurking around the area, came to my friend’s front door. We came in to see bloody scratches on the inside of the front door and a window to the backyard (straight line of sight to front door) broken through..blood droplets showing the path the dog took to the front door. Luckily no major veins were cut and we quickly got her into the vet to get her stitched up. My friend talked to the neighbors who told us about the person lurking around, and that they had heard my friend’s dog barking pretty loud. I would not have wanted to be the person on the other side of that door if that healer got out! They measure people up and seem to be driven by instinct. If you’re not the owner, be sure to give this dog a fair amount of respect and space…especially if they are dominant. Let them have their space as they check you out. Do NOT lean over the top of this type of dog to pet them if this is not your dog. You will get a warning growl if you do. Their head will go down slightly, ears down, eyes on you and back will bristle up. Take heed or they will most likely lundge at your face! So if anyone looks at you sideways and this dog picks up on it…their posture will alert you that something off and where to look. They will wait for your command unless they feel an imminent threat. So…train these dogs with at least basic commands and always work with them. They need adequate excersie. They are affectionate and fun to take to parks and lakes. An amazing dog to include in your family, make you feel safe, but not so big that they eat you out of house and home!

  14. Robert Swanson Avatar
    Robert Swanson

    Thanks, enjoyed your article.
    Perhaps another dog to add to your list would be the American Bulldog. We have one of those, and a Rottweiler, and they are an active and alert guard team. Both males, the Bulldog is about 3 years older than the Rottweiler, and seemed to naturally show the Rotty the ropes.

  15. Lisa Avatar

    This article is ridiculous and perpetuates nothing but negative stigma on really excellent and caring dog breeds. Whatever breed you foolishly decide is ‘intimidating’ by looks may in reality do nothing in an actual threatening situation without proper training. And also to anyone remotely used to dogs, none of these breeds are intimidating just by a mere glance. Not the writer nor reader who finds this ‘educational’ should ever own a dog if this is your priority.

    And a great dane? Are you kidding me?? That’s one of the most docile breeds out there. Unbelievable.

    1. Sophia Avatar

      Hello, Lisa– this comment is a little late, and the chances of you seeing it are dim, but I would like to clear some things up for you.
      Upon further reading, you might notice that the point of the article is to list dogs whose APPEARANCES might make potential muggers think twice. Note: appearances, not actual rates of aggressiveness.
      For instance, I’m looking for a sweet dog who looks scary because, as a lone young woman who frequents cities, I’m at a statistically higher risk of assault and having an intimidating dog by my side would deter potential harassers. If you present as a woman and have been subject to harassment and dangerous situations because of this, as nearly all women have, you’ll understand why I would favor a dog that may look scary at first glance to potential attackers.
      While this is certainly a factor in my decision to get a dog, I’m also seeking a companion and a friend. I’m not so shallow as to treat it like an object and lock it away into a kennel when I’m done using it as a bodyguard. Judging from your comment, you value dogs greatly, and I’m sure you’ll understand that they are living creatures as well as I do. Dogs deserve to be treated with love and respect, and the treatment of mine will be no different.
      I hope that you have calmed down since the writing of your comment around a year ago and that you will be able to approach this with a level head. Outdoor recreations do marvels for one’s mood. Perhaps you can look into adopting an energetic canine companion who will motivate you to blow off steam on a hike.

  16. Lisa Avatar

    American Bulldogs – we have had both a Johnson and a Scott AB. The male was a 120 pound Johnson and was taller than most AB’s. He was the sweetest dog that never hurt anyone or anything, but his huge square head and overall size intimidated everyone who saw him. The female Scott, was about 80-90 pounds and she was quite intimidating. She loved us dearly and had the sweetest smile but would growl ferociously and bark at anyone else even though we took her for training.

  17. Jon Ciotti Avatar
    Jon Ciotti

    We’ve had 2 Bullmastiffs, 1-female and 1-male. The male passed away at age 8-years old but our female Haley lived to over 14-years old and passed away of kidney failure. Haley was a loving protective member of our family which we spoiled her rotten. She had a keen sense of whenever she felt we might be in danger. I saw her take down my niece’s weimereiner in a split second only because the dog was coming towards me to be petted. Haley let out a growl we never heard before and before any of us knew it Haley grabbed the dog by the throat and had the dog on the ground. Every time the dog tried to move Haley would tighten her jaw. All this happened within a second or two. Once Haley saw my neice’s dog as not a threat to me she let go and came over to me and sat there by my legs. At the time Haley weighed around 125 pounds. We now have a male Am Staff that weighs 85 pounds, his name is Spot and we’ve had him since he’s been a puppy. What I would say to people that are looking to add a large dog to their family is DO YOUR RESEARCH. Match your lifestyle to the dog because it’s a lifetime commitment. Make sure you purchase your dog from a reputable breeder. The Bullmastiff breed was perfect for us but any large dog is not perfect around small children just because of size of the dog. Lastly ask yourself why are you wanting this type of dog. If it’s just to show-off then please don’t get one because the dog will lose in the end.

  18. Richard Chiger Avatar
    Richard Chiger

    sealyham terriers are the best, don’t shed, smart and delightful

  19. Jeremy Avatar

    You forgot the St. Bernard

  20. John Rock Avatar
    John Rock

    I will also add. I have had the great honor of sharing my life with a Doberman (Romel) and a Great pyrenees (Adorre). Both of these dogs were very territorial and highly protective of their home and family, but neither one of them could come close to the fearlessness and intimidation of my Tibetan Mastiff. It’s not even close.

  21. John Rock Avatar
    John Rock

    Our 1 year old lion-headed Tibetan Mastiff puppy is 165lbs. He makes some people cross the street in fear when taking him for a walk.

    He is sweet as can be, but even most other dogs are in fear of him. These dogs guarded the Chinese palaces and the village gates at night. They are fearless in protecting their owners and the livestock when working as Shepards. They would protect the herds from bears, wolves, leopards and even tigers. They are fearless and are more deserving of your list than just about any of the dogs you listed.

    Their coat is very long and thick. With a 6″ thick mane a 200lbs Tibetan mastiff dwarfs even the shorter-haired dogs that weigh the same amount. They are huge, powerful and very intimidating. Their genetic link can be traced back 52,000 years with the Tibetan wolf, making them the oldest domesticated dog in existence.

    Most modern giant breed dogs have an ancestral link to the Tibetan bloodline. One last fact, Gyngus Khan had an army of Tibetan Mastiffs. He conquered lands with minimal loss to his armies by sending in the dogs first. Communities were in such fear that they would surrender without a fight. Tibetan Mastiffs were a dog of war and helped to create the largest empire our world has ever known.

    It really is impossible to make a list of the most feared dogs and not include them. Your list is incomplete without them.

  22. Tammie Patrick Avatar

    Anatolian Shepard’s are another very intimidating breed. I have two and they would rather eat your face as let a stranger on their property.

  23. Terry Mitchell Avatar
    Terry Mitchell

    Although they are extremely sweet, loving and loyal family pets, the Irish Wolfhound will never hesitate to defend his family if he feels there is a threat. The fact that they are bigger than a Great Dane is usually enough to deter anyone from testing their protective instinct. These dogs are also capable of moving with lightening speed and excell at threat assessment.

  24. Kris Avatar

    What do you think about American bully?

  25. Wilford Brewer Avatar

    Well i must say ive had alot of experience with german shephards and belgium mels.. also many dobies. Ive owned many pittbulls and some rottweilers. One thing im going to point out is the fact of mixed breeds. One of the best dogs ive ever had for any kind of intimidation was my dog Layla. She was very easy to train and social to a medium degree. I say that in the reference that the people or strangers she was aggressive toward had ill intent. She had a very intimidatong look. Very broad chest and VERY large neck. Well porporrioned head. She was about the height of a mail pittbull. Her average waight was 70lb to 80 lb. 80lb in tje winter and i drop her down to 70 in the warmer months. She was mixed with 3 great protection breeds. She was ( in order of percentage of bloodline) Rottweiler,Pittbull and Chow Chow. By far the best dog ive ever had the pleasure of loving. Id post pic but no option to do so. I now currently have 2 dogs Rocko a pittbull/american bulldog mix. Great dog….way to friendly but im confident that in a threatning situation he would attack. The second is just a little dog. Hippie is a cairn terrier/yorkie/schnauzer/pug mix. He is the alarm and Rocko is the enforcer. Great dogs and a great team.

  26. Annie Avatar

    Surprised no one ever mentions Afghan Hounds, mine got very protective of her cats, she would not tolerate any cat coming into their yard and messing with them.

    1. Terry Mitchell Avatar
      Terry Mitchell

      Agree…bred as camp guardians in Afghanistan as well as huntind gazelle and leopards, this breed looks elegant but can be a formidable protective dog.

  27. Brandon Futch Avatar
    Brandon Futch

    Bully Kutta, Tosa Inu, Kangal, and the Brasilia Fila

  28. Peter Geisler Avatar
    Peter Geisler

    You missed the black Russian terrier

  29. Daisy Avatar

    Weiner dogs are vicious (to non family members), very protective of their “person”.only dog I have had that vet had to mussel

  30. Damian Chango Avatar
    Damian Chango

    The year is 2021. Left-wing liberals have banned firearms all together in California. Hundreds of thousands of people flock out to buy dogs for protection. But, here I am, your typical criminal who didn’t turn in my legally purchase firearm that I used to rob houses because I know people aren’t allowed their second amendment rights anymore. I walk up to my next home, and I hear a dog barking. I looked through the window, and it’s a Doberman. Sure, the dog looks scary, but the people inside are unarmed. I’m not. What happens next?

  31. Margaret Avatar

    I adopted A American mastic bull when he was 2 years old And had him another 12 years He passed away 3 weeks ago. I am 71 years old and have owned the Great Dobbie and Rocks never have I owned a better dog then he was, He loved his family and was the best protector of any dog I have ever owned, R should I say owned me, If there has ever been a perfect dog It was DeBeaux. I have lived alone for the past 2 years but I never felt alone when he was here. He was very powerful and extremely intimidating I highly recommend him on your list.And a big Love bug.

  32. Margaret Avatar

    I adopted A American mastic bull when he was 2 years old And had him another 12 years He passed away 3 weeks ago. I am 71 years old and have owned the Romans right Wilders Great Dane’s and never have I owned a better dog then he was, He loved his family and was the best protector of any dog I have ever owned, R should I say owned me, If there has ever been a perfect dog It was DeBeaux. I have lived alone for the past 2 years but I never felt alone when he was here. He was very powerful and extremely intimidating I highly recommend him on your list.

  33. Lynda Avatar

    I have had the pleasure of being guardian to Rottweilers since 1986. I have 4 right now. 2 males, 2 females. I bought one. The rest are rescues. These dogs are the BEST. they are loving, goofy, and love attention. They do not shed much unless you purchase one with a double coat. But they do love mud. Water is a draw too. Fun dogs. Training is easy if you remember YOU are the pack leader. Can test you at times. Generally healthy, but short lived. 9 – 10 years ave. Lifespan. Not near long enough. Cancer most common cause of death. Enjoy every minute of your Rottie. ❤

  34. Chris Avatar

    I know you can’t cover every breed of guard dog but the American Bulldog is also a great protector. I have a 2 year old 95 pound female American bulldog and a 4 year old 125 pound male Argentine Dogo. Very sweet dogs but very protective and aware. It’s so funny because everyone is scared of my dogs. If they only knew how silly and playful these “scary” dogs really are. Great article by the way.

  35. Susan Weiser Avatar
    Susan Weiser

    I really think that your article
    14 Scariest Dogs is terribly misguided. It’s true that all of the dogs listed are indeed “scary”, they are totally unsuitable for fearful people who think they need “protection”. These highly intelligent dogs will intuit that “protection” of their owners is their primary responsibility. These dogs need a calm, confident, assertive owner which is something most fearful people
    are not. Regardless of socialization and a high level of obedience training, a fearful person will encourage these powerful dogs to be protective of them and territorial of their property. I believe that combination results in a dog that is quite literally a loaded gun. I applaud your efforts to advise your readers that these dogs are not for an inexperienced owner, however in nearly 20 years of experience placing puppies with potential owners, I have found that to a man, every potential owner overestimates their dog training experience and abilities.
    My concern is for the potential owner should even one of your readers purchase a dog on your list and said dog seriously harms someone. By contrast a labrador retriever, most hounds, indeed any dog over about 40 pounds will pick up on the owners fearfulness and become more protective of the owner. A growling or barking 70 pound lab or lab mix would work just as well and be far less of a liability. A boxer scares the pants off of people with their deep bark and inscrutable faces, but are temperamentally great family dogs if you have even a minimum of dog training experience. Another breed to look at is the Siberian Husky. I don’t know why but many people are afraid of their blue eyed faces. I could go on, pointers and setters, etc. I believe your heart was probably in the right place but please be careful of what you put on line.
    Good luck with your future endevors.

  36. Suzanne Mullen Avatar
    Suzanne Mullen

    Neapolitan Mastiffs aren’t in the top seven. They look pretty formidable.

  37. Robin Avatar

    I own a female Akita. She’s 10-years-old and comes in around 95lbs. Her grandfather weighed 150lbs. She is the joy of our home. Akitas do shed twice a year. American bred Akita males usually max out their weight around 120lbs but there are exceptions that can be bigger. I am not a first-time dog owner, and I trained our Suki myself. She loves to travel more than she does her treats. I am a professional event photographer, and we take her with us wherever we can. In regard to security, I pity the fool who tries to rob our home. They will be met with her teeth.

  38. Rose Avatar

    How about a schnauzer? With their ears, beards and eyebrows. They can look mean.

  39. Elle Avatar

    Australian cattle dogs . Any dog that herds cattle and goes head to head with ornery stock is badazz.

  40. Julie anne knight Avatar
    Julie anne knight

    I used to have a very Akita..He was a sweet ole baby but man could he scare people in a skinny minute.I have seen grown men and woman cry at the sight of him because they were so scared even though he was on a leashed and laying down. Again,he would not have hurt a flea..I guess size really does matter.

  41. RonR Avatar

    Can’t beat a Boerboel.

  42. Tracey Avatar

    I have a rodishion ridgeback (sorry for spelling) and he is fantastic at protecting me and our home

  43. Jose Alvarez Avatar

    I own a 4 yr old 178 lb male Tibetan Mastiff. Most intimidating dog I have ever seen.

  44. Joyce Ertner Avatar
    Joyce Ertner

    Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. The are guardians dogs from Turkey. Our boy Tiberius, a 16 month old Anatolian weighing in at 120 lbs and has lots of growth left in him . He honestly more cat like than canine. Quick on his feet and can turn on a dime. Most people have never seen one and I’m constantly being asked what kind of dog he is. They are definately not for inexperience owners and
    need constant but gentle training for the first year at least. This is not an apartment type dog and needs lots of room to run. The bark on these guys can rattle windows and neighbors nerves. Loving and devoted, they are generally just big floofy pups, unless doing their job of being a guardian to farm animals. Our new home was on a cougar path until Tiber came into the family. No more cougars and the wild Turkey population has doubled.

  45. Brandi Avatar

    I have a Belgian Malinois and he definitely intimidates people. Most of the time,the mailman pulls up and honks for me lol. He is sweet to us and most people because we socialized him well growing up. As long as we around he will be nice. If someone were to come into our yard while we are not home, then he would be on guard and do his job.

  46. Susan Avatar

    You really should include the Tibetan Mastiff. One will stop an army!!!!

  47. Peggy Avatar

    You for got a small breed that will protect big time. Blue Lacy outstanding breed. Much more protective than my America Pit. Love these dogs.

  48. Frank Downs Avatar
    Frank Downs

    I had a Neapolitan Mastiff that regularly scared people off my porch — from behind a glass door. Even his trainer, who loved him, said he looked like Satan.

    I also had an Akita/border collie mix that looked like a panda crossed with a wolf and kept a police detective trapped in his car just by looking at him. He had the stare, and herded other dogs without moving by looking at them and growfing.

  49. Enrique Avatar

    I know you can’t have all the intimidating breeds, but you should consider the Black Russian Terrier (BRT). Created by the former Soviet Trd Star Kennel, they wanted their version of a GSD. The BRT makes can be as large as 140-160lbs, are all black and have a fall so you don’t see their eyes. Very gentle with children but have a ferocious bark and growl, given their size. Also, I’m allergic to fur, they have hair so no allergies. Just wanted to share. Cheers!

  50. Corey Avatar

    Lets not forget about the Alabai (Central Asian Shepherd). One of the oldest breeds known. Imperturbable!!
    Not the same as Caucasian Shepherd Dog

  51. Darryl Hansell Avatar
    Darryl Hansell

    You forgot a could be a killing machine .Mine was 202lbs on a vets scale the Fila Brasileiro!This dog wont just bite a arm it will take you down andbite part does not have to be trained to protect, hates any stranger near you

  52. Brenda Taylor Avatar
    Brenda Taylor

    You forgot about Bullmastiff. They are also large, loving, family dogs. Laid back and loving, most people are intimidated by their size and look but don’t know they are gentle giant drooling machines. Although sometimes to friendly, will protect their family when they sense danger.

  53. Brook Warren Avatar

    Anyone who’s interested look up beuceron, it’s much bigger than a Rottweiler and looks like one but it’s much rarer

    1. Michael Green Avatar
      Michael Green

      My father in law told me in world war 2 that the miltary would go around the country side looking for mean dogs to patrol the coastline in California from the Japanese they would hire people to tease them and be attacked it just shows what all these dog breeders have done to dog breeds all dogs use to be protection i even remember when i was young junk yards use to do the same thing take all the mean dogs they could get and most were muts aka junk yard dog’s now i think the Belgian Malinios are some of the best dogs the police and miltary use them alot they haven’t been screwed up yet by bad breeders just wait they will screw them up too

  54. Lillian Avatar

    The Catahoula Leopard dogs shouldn’t be left out. My boy Buddy’s got the look and IS very protective of our home…

  55. Terence P Colligan Avatar
    Terence P Colligan

    Our German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix “Max” is the smartest dog we have ever seen. He likes to make us laugh and he watches the sky when he’s outside.

  56. Eve Avatar

    One of the better sites, honest description of each breed, especially mine, being a Doberman owner, trainer. No other breed, for me!

    1. BETTY Avatar


  57. Chandan Das Avatar
    Chandan Das

    hi,nice compilation, but I think there’s been a big miss, TIBETAN MASTIFF

  58. Joseph Mmangisa Avatar
    Joseph Mmangisa

    Nice to join this group of dog lover and with passion.

  59. Lisa Shepard Avatar
    Lisa Shepard

    You completely missed the Black Russian Terrier… developed by the Red Star Kennel as a working military dog.

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Black Russian terriers are certainly awesome, Lisa, and I’m a fan of the breed.
      But we just had to draw the line somewhere.
      Thanks for reading!

  60. Junior Jones Avatar
    Junior Jones

    You’ve missed Siberian Huskies…They look like wolves. Most people think there wolves or part wolf and are big enough to scare the crap out of anyone when they start howling….More than one is always better….I have 3 who howl together and it sounds like a house full of wolves

  61. Bobby Levy Avatar
    Bobby Levy

    The centrall asian shepard. With cropped ears and tail. Males reach up to 31 inchs at shoulder and a erage 150-190 in wieght.
    Well known breed in russia.
    Also there a acient breed said to go back nearly 5,000. Years and for a large dog they have no inherited sickneses. And life exspectancy is between 12-15 years hows that for a large dog. And are a develooed breed that have not been crossed.
    My russiann friend has a pair he mated that he broouuggjt fftom russiiia 2 yeears ago. The mother iss huge n sccarrry.

  62. Tina Avatar

    I have 3 Chow Chows and they are extremely protective of their home and of me and my husband.

    1. Cecelia Harris Avatar
      Cecelia Harris

      I have had 3 chows, all rescues, all incredibly well behaved, and giant teddy bears (talk about fur balls…), great apartment/condo dwellers, not Velcro dogs who thrive on attention become destructive, yet … people have crossed the street rather than walk past my babies who would just stand there, unmoving, waiting for a word of acknowledgment or a pet, the. Droop their tails when none was forthcoming. Their street rep is that intimidating! People would look, say, oh, thanks a chow, they’re mean, and turn the other way

  63. Timothy Salazar Avatar

    I am a retired deputy sheriff from California. I have been a professional K9 trainer. I have owned 4 of the breeds on your list. I now am handicapped. My service dog is an American Mastiff. He is very intimidating. Check out the breed!

  64. Kana Avatar

    Wants to know more on dogs

  65. Denise Pridgen Avatar
    Denise Pridgen

    The Boxer is an intimidating breed and well as English bulldog. I have had more people afraid to come on my porch because of those 2 breeds than when I had my Rotty. The Boxer really worried them but our English both wait till they get on the porch then appear at the all glass door with their broad shoulders and muscular build and under bite with ever showing canines.

  66. R. Avatar

    My standard schnauzer does a good job at protection, and a giant schnauzer would do just as well.

  67. Patrika Avatar

    You did not include the Beauceron dog – highly protective.

  68. Sarah Knoepfle Avatar
    Sarah Knoepfle

    I have breed #6 and he is very much a protector another words if it doesn’t live in his home it doesn’t belong in his home. The ONLY stipulation to this is IF you remove him from his element. Most people are terrified of his booming bark but to me, my Yeti (yes, that is his name), is absolutely sweet when he wants to cuddle and a total dork when he wants to play. I would NOT trade my Pyrenees for anything no matter how darn stubborn and challenging he is………even at 130 lbs and 5’6″ when he stands on his back legs (i am 5’3″)

  69. Nicholas K Avatar
    Nicholas K

    I currently have a 2yo Male cane corson, and he is a great dog, especially with having kids in a not so safe area. My kids can ride him, poke him, pull his ears, etc and he just takes it and licks them, but everyone else in the neighborhood is terrified of him. The only other breeds I would consider for this type of need would be a kangal, bully kutta, or a fila- but all 3 of those temperaments are not as well suited to having children in the home.

  70. Marilyn Avatar

    Ty I enjoyed reading about all the dogs

  71. Scott Cutter Avatar

    I own a 70 lb Boxer that seems to intimidate a number of people. He is wary of visitors but is a big baby.

    1. William Clifford Weaver Avatar
      William Clifford Weaver

      I have a big 101 pound Boxer that scares everyone. He’s a goofy clown though.

  72. Carolyn Sponza Avatar
    Carolyn Sponza

    Awesome article! I love all types of large dogs (45 lbs. to 140). These were very accurate (of the breeds I have owned & worked with) & unbiased evaluations. Thank you for a very interesting review.

  73. Brendan Williams Avatar
    Brendan Williams

    English Bulldog

  74. Ross Avatar

    Anyone who has ever been wandering along a foot track somewhere in the northern Himalayas and has turned a corner to surprise a fully grown male Tibetan Mastiff that is fully dedicated to defending its turf no matter what, will be putting them high on this list. Not the biggest maybe, but pretty darn big, a massive gob full of humongous teeth, a menacing death-stare, and a freakishly baaaad attitude! Holy Crap!

    1. Ben Team Avatar

      Hey, Ross. I totally agree, Tibetan mastiffs are certainly intimidating canines! We’d have included them, but they’re pretty rare in the U.S.

    2. Marilyn Avatar

      I ready the article fully expecting to see Tibetan Mastiff listed. My first experience was with a Tibetan Mastiff/Lab mix – my soul mate dog. Easier to train, protective, absolutely beautiful, not needy but willing to participate in family fun, impressive. I went on to get purebred females on 2 different occasions which didn’t go well even though I’m a pretty experienced dog owner and handler. Choose for puppy personality over perfect show quality looks. They are stubborn and a challenge to train so if the pup is stubborn you’ll have your work cut out for you to change that with training.

  75. Kp Avatar

    I have always had a pit in my family and with other dogs and cats. They have always been very loving and sweet. People walk by my house all the time and the Pitt I have now will grab her ball first and then watch the other dogs bark. If people come in the yard then yes she will bark to let us know. It’s crazy to me that the news will only talk about Pitts biting or attacking. But they will never tell about other breeds that do!! So yes I find it upsetting that they do. It’s not the breed its the people and until you have one then people should stop blaming the great dogs that they are!!!

  76. Amy Avatar

    The brazilian mastiff. I love mastiffs but they hate anything that isn’t theirs and will go to any length for any reason even a bird landing in their yard they will protect. A press a shouldn’t be at th top this breed should. Not for the novice owner. Its my dream dog I love mastiffs I have owned 7 and all but 3 are still here. Don’t believe look the breed up. Just look at their eyes

  77. Jayce Schorn-Pedro Avatar
    Jayce Schorn-Pedro

    I think you missed the most intimidating breed of all… the Turkish Kangal

    1. Gareth Avatar

      The Turkish kangal is just an Anatolian shepherd born with a black mask. If a litre of Anatolian shepherds are born then some breeders are separating the pups with the black masks and calling them Kangals. This will make the gene pool smaller and damage the Anatolian breed because people are breeding them for looks

    2. Andy Avatar

      I have owned many dogs– including a bullmastiff, Anatolian shepherd, and English mastiff– all intact males. As far as natural guarding instincts, intelligence, and intimidation– nothing comes even remotely close to the Anatolian. Got him from a working goat farm– definitely bred for function, not just looks. That dog’s smarts and instincts are just on a different level than any other dog I’ve been around. He will not take food, not even raw meat, from anyone he does not know and trust. When a pushy salesman put his foot in the door as my wife tried to close it, his stance, wolf-like stare, and low growl gave even my wife a little chill. Most loving and doting family protector– even with our pet rabbit. Truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs. We’re blessed to have him as part of our family.

      1. Joyce Ertner Avatar
        Joyce Ertner

        Anatolians ARE the best! It’s very hard to explain the breed to others but you pretty much nailed it.

  78. Laura Avatar

    I appreciate the brief mentioning of the Belgian Malinois, but I believe despite their small size (at least compared to a GSD), they’re a very intimidating breed. Especially the individuals with more black on them. A dark face makes it harder to see the dog’s expression, and it makes those chompers stand out more when they’re showing.

    Their common use by militaries, police forces, and specialized units (like those going after poachers) around the world makes them really recognizable, despite being much less common. People don’t think of a pet dog when they see them….they think of a highly trained protection dog. They’re even likely to outright assume you’re either law enforcement or military, which is extra helpful when you want someone to leave you alone….since the consequences of an attack on a person like that are more severe.

    Not to mention that they’re one of the most athletic breeds, and if they want to get to you, there’s really not much you can do to prevent it. They jump like their feet are perpetually on a catapult.

    1. Laura Avatar

      They’re absolutely not even slightly for the inexperienced, though. They aren’t lovingly called “Maligators” for no reason. They’re high energy, high drive dogs to the extreme. They need tons of exercise and mental stimulation, or they’ll find a way to get it themself…..at the expense of your stuff and quite possibly other people.

      1. Amber Avatar

        I absolutely love this conversation! I was wondering the same thing about Malinois making this list, and you have some great points. I’ve had my Mal for three years now, and she’s extremely well-trained and loved by many! She’s a goofball, and so attached to me, so loving, and so needy that I’m sometimes taken aback when I’m out walking her by other people’s reactions! I’ve had people see her (always on a leash and well-mannered), and they’ve literally run away in fear before, went the opposite way, etc. She is very well-socialized, and would never hurt anyone unless they were trying attack me, but people still get scared by her presence. However, your point about people thinking a Malinois owner might be military personnel is pretty spot-on I think. I don’t think my combat boots and tough demeanor help to dispell this stereotype, but hey, she’s good for protection and nightly snuggles! Among other things. Lol She’s a great dog, really.

        1. Doris E Perry Avatar
          Doris E Perry

          Malinos is also one of my “Favorites” I love big dogs….where I live those little yappy ones are loved by most..but would be potential lunch..for bobcats, mtn.lions, foxes and bears..not to mention Large preditorial birds like Owls n’ Hawks etc….if I could afford the initial price of one of these beauties I would have one already….I can only dream….besides I volunteer for the feral cat program in Colorado…the mix might not be safe for the now trusting ferals I have in my care….

    2. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Thanks Laura, love the great depth of info you added about the Belgian Malinois! They are certainly amazing animals. I do wonder how many folks really associated the Belgian Malinois. While they do seem the most common police dog used these days, most movies and media still portray German Shepherds as the standard police dog, and I’d imagine that’s still what comes to most folks’ minds. Not that it makes the Malinois any less intimidating!

  79. Jan Beyer Avatar

    We just had to put our 19 month old English mastiff down, we are heart broken he was such a delight loved everyone and was great with other dogs would recommend that breed to anyone as long as you went to training with him (very stubborn) and socialized him from a young age.

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Good advice Jan – stubborn dogs can still be amazing, but they definitely require more training effort on the owner’s part. Sorry to hear you had to say goodbye to your Mastiff – never an easy time 🙁

  80. tiffany Avatar

    As a part of the dog environment meaning, I own dogs. No dog is actually scary it’s the owner who makes there nature, not the dog.

    1. Laura Avatar

      Dogs are a predatory species (they’re a subspecies of wolf). They’re absolutely capable of being scary. It’s the owner that makes them NOT scary. That’s what socialization is for. A dog totally left to its own devices without human intervention is a dangerous thing. They’ll join packa of coyotes or form packs of feral dogs. Thery’ll surplus kill livestock. They destroy property.

      Dogs are powerful animals that really should be respected. They may act like teddy bears sometimes, but they aren’t. They’re animals descended from an apex predator.

  81. Saria Avatar

    What do you guys think would be scarier? A 120 pound tall male doberman or a large block head 143 pound rottweiler(shorter than Doberman but taller than most Rotties)

    1. Meg Marrs Avatar

      Either of those dogs would be quite intimidating Saria! I’m personally a huge Dobbie fan, but Rotties are awesome dogs as well.

      1. saria Avatar

        Thanks for your reply. It really helps.

        1. Gg% Avatar

          You don’t sound like you should be owning any of these dogs

          1. Saria Ahmed Avatar
            Saria Ahmed

            I have done research and have considered lots about both of the breeds. I want a dog that suits me but will also be intimidating to intruders or attackers. I have decided that I like the doberman better. I was also just wondering which is scarier to people because my brother believes the rottweiler is scarier and I wanted other peoples opinion to prove him wrong.

          2. Laura Avatar

            Bith are extremely intimidating and are immediately recognizable as guard dogs. Everyone knows that a sog that looks like either will have iasues with you if you are up to no good.

            What’s important to consider is what exactly are you looking for? Rottweilers are stronger and have the most powerful bite of any breed, but are slower. Dobermans are faster and more agile, but aren’t as powerful. It’s the same considerations when choosing a GSD or a Malinois for protection. Strength or agility….which matters more to you? Each breed can do both, but each is better in a different area.

          3. Laura Avatar

            Good lord I did a bad job typing that. Sorry about the typos. My phone had switched to a keyboard in a different language without me noticing and the keys were in different spots lol.

        2. Frank Avatar

          May be too late but always consider the power a dog has. No one in the house hold can walk my rott because he’s very powerful, dragged my 14 year daughter across the street, luckily I was there. But he’s pulled me and I’m a weight lifter.

        3. Sharon Avatar

          I have 2 Dobermans and they are amazing dogs. My female seems more protective then my male does. And they are very smart and easy to train.

    2. Ben Avatar

      I’m obviously biased, Saria, as I have a Rottie, but I actually think Dobermans may be more intimidating because of their height.

      1. Meg Marrs Avatar

        Haha I’m biased because I used to have a Doberman so I guess you should trust neither of our opinions.

      2. saria Avatar

        Thanks for your help. I am looking to get an easy to train good companion personal protection dog for myself. I have narrowed my search down to the doberman and Rottweiler. And I have done much reasearch on both breeds and I am still deciding. I love them both and they both have there pros and cons so I decided I would choose on whitch dog is scariest. I have already found breeders for both dog breeds. But I was also wondering witch dog breed would get along better with a male GSD and male Cane Corso? Thanks.

        1. Ben Avatar

          Not sure which one would get along better with a GSD and a Corso. That’ll probably depend on the individual personalities of the dogs.

          I’m sure you’ll love either a Dobe or a Rottie, they’re both incredibly loving, protective breeds.

        2. TaeVaughn Reed Avatar
          TaeVaughn Reed

          I know I am late Saria, but I will leave my biased opinion too. I grew up with Rotties and pit bulls all of my life. I have also had three boxers during my late teenage years. Now I am in my early 20s and I have my first doberman. Smartest dog I have ever had by far.. Biggest gentle giant I have ever had as well, while at the same time intimidating people just by the way he looks. The crazy thing is he is only 6 months old and has mastered certain training faster than any dog I have had yet. He is very tall for his age, very muscular, and his cropped ears are an added bonus. I exposed him to the appropriate people and the appropriate amount of people as well as other dogs. Because of this he is such a friendly dog/not “aggressive” but I have no doubt in my mind that he will take someone down if he or I felt threatened. I hope you decided to get a dobie!

          1. Hannah Avatar

            I will love to own a Rottie in the soon as my protector from anyone attacking me badly so I just want him to be my best friend and a best guarding hero ever

    3. Kevin Avatar

      Sara. Laura was misleading about bite strength. While the Rottweiler has more bite strength than a Dobbie it is not as strong as the mastiff breeds. The Cane Corso has twice the bite strength of a Rottie at over 700 psi, with a couple more being stronger.

      1. TaeVaughn Reed Avatar
        TaeVaughn Reed

        Mastiff breeds have a high bite force but none of these dogs have a bite force that surpass the Kangal dog (Anatolian Shepherd) at 740+ bite force. Cane Corso can reach up to 700.

    4. Doris E Perry Avatar
      Doris E Perry

      In love both of these breeds and could never choose which one, consequently, if I could ever afford the cost of owning them I would have to have both….

  82. Julia Avatar

    Fila. Brasileiros are another rare breed who would give their lives for their people. They are not for first time owners, somewhat stubborn. But being adored by such magnificent beast is one of the best feeling in the world.

  83. Jenny H Avatar
    Jenny H

    I appreciate your comment re German Shepherds — “Shepherds shed by the fistful, and they’ll quickly bury your belongings in an archeological layer of hair.”
    The number of time people tell me that their smooth-haired small to medium sized dog
    would challenge me German Shepherds for hairiness — honestly until you’ve owned on you cannot believe it!
    Though the book I have on weaving/knitting dog hair does say the softest undercoat comes for German Shepherds — that why it makes such efficient tumble-weeds!!

    1. Ben Avatar

      They are serious shedders! I have a neighbor with a big shepherd, and I’ve seen him remove a metric ton of hair while brushing him outside. The hair then rolls around the neighborhood like tumbleweed.

    2. Raven Madland Avatar
      Raven Madland

      I totally agree…my german Shepherd she sheds big time!! Shes super intimidating but, for the most part is a huge suck! Shes overly protective of her kids and other kids and is always beside them..shes never even attempted to bite or attack anyone but I always get shit on saying her bark is too “aggressive” ‍♀️ shes only 1 and is the most amazing dog over ever had!!