Are Poodles Good Guard Dogs? (Dog Experts Answer)

Categorized as Poodle FAQs, Poodle Breed Information
A-miniature-poodle-hiding-behind-their-owner-as-a-stranger-approaches
A cute little white dog is obscured by a child in a garden. Another child stands in the foreground. The scene is playful.

Are poodles good guard dogs? Or are they more likely to bark at an intruder to scare them away?

Poodles aren’t good guard dogs, but they make very good watchdogs. Unlike guard dogs, watchdogs don’t need to be as aggressive; their primary purpose is to alert you to danger rather than repel it.

Some poodles make excellent guard dogs, but most are not suited to that role.

Just like with any other breed, the temperament of a Poodle can vary from one dog to another.

However, poodles do have certain personality traits that are most common in the breed.

Some Poodles are great guard dogs, but most of them won’t be suitable for that purpose because of their friendly, nonaggressive nature.

Will a Poodle Protect You?

We surveyed 83 poodle owners and asked them if they thought their poodle would protect them or not. Here’s what they had to say.

Of the 83 poodle owners surveyed, 16 of them said Yes while 58 others responded with a No, and 17 were unsure if their pet would protect them or not.

A brother and a sister holding their poodle and looking happy

After conducting the survey I can say that most poodle owners understand that their poodle will not protect them if they are threatened.

Some of the poodle owners we asked reported that their poodle would typically hide behind them if they felt threatened, or even run away altogether.

However, in our interviews with poodle owners, it is clear that most of them understand their pet’s disposition and are okay with the fact that a poodle will not protect its owner.

Here are some of the most creative ways I found people describing their poodles!

“my spoos are of their own shadow and will run endlessly to escape those monsters!”

“my poodles are definitely not guard dogs, more like a ring device that barks..”

“10/10 would run in case of danger”

“50-50 chance of my poodles protecting me”

“will bark when people walk by the house but he’s not protective at all”

“reasonably protective dogs”

“He sees protection as my responsibility, not his. Which is fine by me.”

Do Owners Think Poodles Are Good Guard Dogs?

To find out if poodles are really protective of their owners or not, I decided to ask 83 poodle owners.

The results were very interesting!

I asked them a simple question: “Do you think your poodle will protect you?” Here’s what they said:

16 of them said “Yes”

58 said “No”

17 of them just weren’t sure

A miniature poodle hiding behind their owner as a stranger approaches

When I asked people about their experiences with their poodles and why they thought the dogs were protective of them, I received a lot of responses that had some common themes.

Of the 16 poodle owners who answered “yes” to this question, most of them told me that their poodles became protective of their property and would bark at any unfamiliar person approaching the house.

One interesting thing I noticed in the answers was that poodles tend to be especially protective of cars—this is evidenced by a majority of respondents.

When Sean, one of the interviewees, left his poodle in his car on a hot day, he left the window slightly open. When he returned from the store, he noticed blood on the front passenger seat and Joey–the poodle–on guard in the backseat.

This kind of behavior is not unique among poodle owners, and although Sean was surprised at his dog’s protective tendencies, it turns out that 37% of the 83 people I surveyed also reported their poodles being protective of their car.

A majority of poodle owners we asked responded that their dogs will bark to alert them if they sense a “shady” presence approaching their property.

When we asked those same owners whether their dogs would escalate the situation by lunging at and/or biting a stranger approaching their property, most of them said they wouldn’t count on it.

Only 6 of the 83 participants reported that they could be certain that their poodle would protect them if they felt threatened.

Are Standard Poodles Guard Dogs

Standard poodles are 18-24 inches tall, and they can weigh anywhere from 50 – 70 pounds. They are generally healthy dogs and have a life expectancy of 12-15 years, which means that they’re likely to be around for many years to come!

The standard poodle is a friendly and playful breed of dog. They are known for their intelligence and obedience, but they are not known as guard dogs. In fact, their loud barks and alert nature make them excellent watchdogs!

An attentive standard poodle being attentive

Standard poodles have a deep bark that can be very loud and intimidating to intruders. However, if an intruder gets too close to your property a standard poodle will most likely not escalate its aggression towards the intruder.

Each dog is their own individual but in general standard poodles are friendly and laid-back dogs that lack the edge that’s needed in a good guard dog.

Are Miniature Poodles Guard Dogs

A miniature poodle is usually 10 to 15 inches tall, which means they can fit into many different homes without taking up too much space or making the house feel crowded. They weigh between 12 and 20 pounds. These small dogs have a long lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Two poodles keeping a watch on their lawn

But do these mini poodles make good guard dogs?

No, not in the traditional sense. Miniature poodles aren’t big enough to stop anyone from getting near you by standing protectively at your side; they’re also too easygoing and friendly for most people’s definition of aggressive guardian behavior.

More importantly, these traits are what make miniatures such good dogs—they’ll alert you if there is something amiss (watchdog qualities), but then happily greet whomever it turns out to be afterward!

Although they can make a good watchdog, a poodle isn’t always the best choice for guarding your home.

Are Toy Poodles Guard Dogs

A toy poodle running in the park

Toy poodles are the smallest of the three poodle sizes. The average weight of a male toy poodle is 6-7 pounds, while females weigh between 5-6 pounds on average. The average height ranges between 7 and 10 inches tall at their shoulders. They have a life expectancy of 12-15 years on average, though some live longer than that.

Toy poodles are not great guard dogs, but they can make decent watchdogs. This is because toy poodles are small and friendly, making them the opposite of intimidating. They were bred to be companions rather than protectors, so if your requirement is protection, a toy poodle may not be the right choice for you.

Are Male Poodles More Protective Than Female Poodles?

When it comes to the poodle, the question of whether male or female poodles are more protective is one that has been asked for years. It’s not an easy question to answer because there isn’t a lot of data available on this topic.

However, there is some information that we can use to make an educated guess about what might be true.

A toy poodle running in the park

The first thing we need to look at when trying to answer this question is what genetics have to do with the level of protection that a poodle provides. The short answer is: A LOT!

The fact that male poodles tend to be larger than female poodles has everything to do with genetics and nothing at all to do with gender roles. In fact, it has more to do with how well each dog was bred in order to produce the desired result—a larger size in males and smaller sizes in females (and vice versa).

So even though you may think your male poodle seems more protective than your female poodle, this could be due entirely to genetic differences between the two breeds rather than any kind of gender bias on your part!

It’s a common belief that male dogs are more protective than female dogs, but does this apply to poodles as well?

As it turns out, there’s no solid evidence that male poodles are more protective than female poodles. In fact, many poodle owners suggest that male poodles are less protective than female poodles!

Are Poodles Good Guard Dogs or Better Watch Dogs?

In order to know whether or not Poodles make good guard dogs, we must first identify the difference between watchdogs and guard dogs.

A miniature poodle and a girl keeping a watch on the door

A watchdog’s primary function is to alert its owner if something is amiss. This usually involves barking, but some watchdogs are trained with a variety of other methods as well.

However, a watchdog’s role is to alert its owner of threats rather than engaging the threat directly.

Typically, a watchdog will alert that there is a problem and then retreat until backup shows up.

Detection dogs sort of fit into this category.

As you may know, poodles come in various sizes from toy to standard.

This is important because watchdogs do not have to be big or intimidating; their job is to simply watch and report.

This means a standard, miniature, and toy poodle can all be trained to be good watchdogs irrespective of their size.

Watch Dogs vs. Guard Dogs

A guard dog, on the other hand, is trained and used to defend property or livestock from threats.

Typical guard dogs, such as home watchdogs, sheepdogs, and farm dogs, also qualify.

Two standard poodles keeping a watch on the main door

Guard dogs are trained to behave similarly to watch dogs, but their purpose is more than sounding the alarm; these animals have been taught how to engage with a threat if needed.

Typically, if a guard dog does bite it has been trained to do so only as a last resort and after displaying “aggressive warning signs” such as growling or aggressive barking.

A guard dog will first try to scare intruders away by growling or barking. If that does not work, the dog may be provoked into biting as a last resort.

Unlike a watchdog, a guard dog’s success is largely dependent on its size and strength.

While watchdogs can be smaller and less aggressive, guard dogs tend to be larger and more intimidating.

Guard dogs and watchdogs are frequently used together.

Many breeds of dogs were created to form a cohesive, efficient unit when working together to secure an area, such as the Lhasa Apso and the Tibetan Mastiff or the Cane Corso and the Neapolitan Mastiff.

Can a Poodle Be Trained to Be a Guard Dog?

Any dog, with the right training and experience, can become a guard dog. However, this is especially true of breeds like poodles which are among the most intelligent dogs on earth

While this is true of many dogs, not every dog has the necessary physical and mental traits to be a good guard dog.

Physical and mental traits can work together to determine whether a dog is suited to guard duty.

These canines must both possess the physical attributes needed to carry out their guard duties and be intelligent enough to discern a real threat from the other.

It is therefore critical that the physical attributes required for this engagement are present in a guard dog, namely significant size and strength.

No matter how well trained they are, a tiny dog won’t make an effective guard dog.

A guard dog must have both a protective instinct toward its owner and some level of aggression toward strangers and threats.

A friendly dog that hasn’t been trained to be aggressive might not know how to handle a threatening situation at all.

Mixed poodles may be able to make good guard dogs, but these pups will need a lot of training and patience from their owners.

A teenage boy training his black standard poodle to be a guard dog

Conclusion 

Poodles are sweet, loving dogs that make great companions. But are they good guard dogs?

Most experts agree that poodles are not good guard dogs, as they do not have the instincts or aggressiveness needed for effective guard work. However, poodles can make excellent watchdogs, as they will sound the alarm by barking when they see something suspicious.

But if you’re looking for a dog who will protect you and your property, a poodle may not be the best choice.

Poodles are not known for being aggressive, or even protective. They are more likely to cower than stand up to a threat.

So why would anyone want a poodle as a guard dog?

Well, they do make good watchdogs! They are alert and aware of their surroundings and will let you know if someone is approaching your home. They may bark more than bite, but they will let you know if something is amiss.

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By Nancy Williams

Hi! My name is Nancy Williams, and I'm a poodle owner. I started PoodleGo because I was tired of not being able to find high-quality information about how to care for my poodle. I wanted to help others who were also frustrated with the lack of good poodle information on the internet. I spend every spare moment reading about poodles, talking to other poodle owners, and learning more about best practices for caring for my dog. I love seeing a healthy, well-groomed, happy poodle—and hope that my site will help you get there!

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