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What Dogs Are The Best Watch Dogs?

Humans originally selected for dogs that barked a ton. In the ye olden times, dogs were often used to as the first alert to intruders, dangerous animals, and other scary things that go bump in the night. Although we have modern alarms these days, those looking for a dog that announces the arrival of guests and deters intruders may find these pups to be a perfect fit.

While every individual dog is different, here are the dog breeds that typically are great watch dogs and will alert you to an intruder. Loudly. With extreme prejudice:

    1. Beagle
    2. Dachshund
    3. Coonhound (any hound actually)
    4. Foxhound (seriously, ANY HOUND)
    5. Basset Hound
    6. Chihuahua
    7. Miniature Pinscher
    8. Pomeranian
    9. Yorkshire Terrier (really, any terrier)
    10. Cairn Terrier (again, ANY terrier)
    11. Fox Terrier (this is getting repetitive, again you get it)
    12. Miniature Schnauzer (also a terrier)
    13. West Highland Terrier (see above terrier notes)
    14. Jack Russell Terrier/Parson Terrier (I think we made this point)
    15. Siberian Husky (finally, NOT a terrier)


First bred to alert hunters of the whereabouts of foxes or other prey, Beagles are well-known for their impressive vocal cords. While these floppy-eared and playful pups have become a popular family dog over the last few decades, be advised that their penchant for barking, baying and howling remains.


Also part of the hound family, Dachshunds are particularly loud because of their deep chests. Originally bred to hunt out game that burrowed (like badgers for instance), hunters made sure these dogs could be heard when they were fighting the good fighting underground.


Another hound, these mainly American-made breeds (Black and Tan, Redbone, Plott, Treeing Walker) are known for their baying. Why? They were trained and bred to scent, corner and tree game like raccoons independently, roaming far ahead of their hunters. So, humans gave them a built in GPS. A very loud GPS. They’re…vocal.


A bigger version of the Beagle, these dogs were specifically made to track, and hunt foxes or other larger prey. Thus, the need for an athletic, barking, baying and howling-inclined dog.

Basset Hound

This lazy low-rider is a popular dog with country and city-dwellers, but its original purpose is related to its incredible sense of smell: they can sniff out prey from miles away. Thus, this velvety-eared pup also has a reputation for a loud, ringing bark and bray. Of course, at other times, they’ll just be your floppy friend, fast asleep on the couch.


Originally from Mexico, this tiny dog is known for its confidence and sass. Although their petiteness makes them perfect for an apartment, their confident watch dog demeanor may keep the whole neighborhood up at night. While the right training should curb the constant noise, they definitely will let you know when someone (or something) is outside the door.

Miniature Pinscher

The fearless and perky Min Pin is a great choice for those looking for a small dog with a big personality—and a big bark. They’re known for yapping at everything that crosses their path: the mail carrier, a visitor, the neighbor’s dog, a squirrel. Still, they make for fun and entertaining companions, and you can be sure they’re definitely all up in that STRANGER DANGER business.


A beloved choice of dog for royals and commoners alike, this fluffy and fox-like pup isn’t known for being shy or laid-back. With an attitude that only toy breed dogs can muster, the Pomeranian is frequently a loud talker. Still, their playfulness and smarts may win over even those with the most sensitive of ears.

Yorkshire Terrier

Don’t let this terrier’s elegant silky coat fool you: this brave and bossy little dog has a lot to say. If you can tolerate the noise though, Yorkies—like most terriers—make for great watch dogs. Plus, they’re content in both in the suburbs and the city, and will provide you with years of laughter and love.

Cairn Terrier

Although adorable with their scrappy appearance and little legs, the Cairn Terrier is curious, inexhaustible and, yes, an alert barker. Bred to root out rabbits and other furry creatures in the Scottish Highlands, this pup tends to make a lot of noise. Still, it has a softer side, and with the right amount of exercise, can also learn when it’s appropriate to be quiet, and when it’s time to sound the alarm.

Fox Terrier

The frisky Fox Terrier comes in three different types: wire, smooth, or toy. Yet, although their coats and sizes differ, a key personality trait remains: they’re energetic barkers. Bred to flush out foxes, like most terriers, this dog is smart, tireless and loud. Luckily, with the right training, they can also make excellent companions.

Miniature Schnauzer

Bred to be ratters AND guard dogs, don’t be fooled by the miniature version of the Schnauzer. Tough and fearless, these pups can also muster up the energy to bark for hours when they feel you need to be notified about…well, many things. With enough exercise and stimulation, they can also be lovely companions, especially for families with children.

West Highland White Terrier

Due to their high prey drive and a sturdy self-esteem, these small dogs adhere to the reputation of terriers everywhere: they love to make noise. Furthermore, with their all white coat and wide-eyed faces, the West Highland may look like a high-maintenance dog, but they’re not. Minus the racket, these perky dogs make for the perfect, self-reliant friend. Also since they’re white, easier to seem ’em in the dark for when you two are standing the night watch, right?

Jack Russell Terrier (or Parson Terrier)

Take everything we said about the terriers above, put it into one small, dog and times the energy and relentless prey drive times a hundred. Wishbone was a JRT, but when he wasn’t on set, he was probably telling his owners that BALLOONS ARE THE ENEMY (and then attacking the balloons and popping them in under 10 seconds flat).

Siberian Husky

Small dog breeds usually take the cake for being the biggest barkers, but the Siberian Husky breaks the mold. These high-energy, athletic and independent dogs are known to be “talkers,” meaning not only will they bark in the backyard, they’ll likely make a range of vocalizations, including howling, yelping and other unique noises.

Remember, any dog with the right training, patience and love can be the right pup for you! Although breeds can give you a guideline, every dog is an individual (there are quiet Yorkies. What, there ARE). Make sure research to choose the right dog for your family and your lifestyle before adding a fuzz butt to your household!
Think any of these pups may be the Starsky to your Hutch? Make sure you do your research and adopt from a local rescue or reputable breeder! If you need help scrolling through dogs in your area, try using the app BarkBuddy, where you can swipe right to the right dog for you!
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