Dogs are often referred to as man’s best friend, and for good reason. Dogs are smart, loving, and can be very helpful, even during a widespread disaster. But which breed of dog would be best after the SHTF? With thousands of breeds to choose from, finding a good prepping or survival companion can be a challenge.
While some dog breeds can be trained for multiple purposes, most breeds have instincts that make them better in specific areas. For example, Border Collies are great for keeping track of kids and livestock, but not as good at warning you about trespassers. The breed you choose really depends on your personal preferences and what scenarios you’re planning for.
General Guard Dogs
1. The German Shepherd is an intelligent breed which has been trained for a multitude of purposes. Due to their high intelligence, they are an excellent dual purpose guard dog for preppers. They can be trained to guard your family, to detect certain things, and are friendly and loyal. It has been said that they can be trained to only bark at certain threats. Getting a pup and training it yourself, or getting a well-trained dog is a must. Not all people who breed German Shepherds are able to train them well, so be wise in your choice.
Shepherds, as their name suggests, were originally developed to herd sheep. So while excellent guards, they can also be trained to work with livestock. Any dog you want to work with livestock should be gotten as a puppy and trained with your animals, otherwise your animals will not trust the dog and the dog will not be bonded to your herd.
2. Rottweilers are another good choice for a guard. Being large working dogs, they need room to be active and must be well trained. Not everyone is suited to training a Rottweiler and it only takes one badly trained dog, or one training oversight, to create a major headache. The Rottweiler needs lots of exercise, and can be an excellent family dog with proper socialization.
3. The Siberian Huskie is another excellent working dog, able to literally pull its own weight. The challenge with the Huskie is that it is an independent breed who must respect its owner/trainer to be able to work with them. One benefit of the Huskie is that they are not a breed that eats to excess, but will just eat what they need to optimally function. Since Huskies were originally bred in rural areas, they usually work best remaining in similar habits.
4. The Scotch Collie is the ancestor of the modern Collies, and while some of the modern Collie breeds have had many of their instincts largely bred out, the Scotch collie still retains its hunting, herding, and guarding instincts. Border Collies mostly have the herding and guard instinct, but aren’t as good for hunting. Scotch Collies, on the other hand, can do it all because they were originally bred as all-purpose dogs. Collies require lots of space and exercise. If they are cooped up in a bugging-in scenario, they could create havoc with their excess energy.
5. Retrievers – There are several breeds of Retriever. Golden retriever comes to mind, but there are many others. These breeds have a retrieving instinct that can be useful around the homestead, for fetching and assisting indoors, and for hunting.
Retrievers are one of the many breeds used for bird hunting, though any hunting dog should be trained so that they are not gun shy. They can also be trained to collect the eggs, though they may get smart and figure out that if they drop an egg they get to eat it. I know of one Retriever who would fetch 5 eggs and always drop the 6th one.
6. Pointers – Another bird hunting dog, these are also good dogs for noticing sneaking predators, though they won’t chase them off. Pointers will point out the location of a game bird, and can usually be trained to also retrieve it. They have good eyes, and can notice intruders or predators well in advance.
Both Pointers and Retrievers can be good family dogs, and they cooperate well with livestock. As these are working dogs, they like activity and the freedom to roam. They can also be trained as an intruder alert system, though they may not be as threatening as the guard breeds.
Livestock Guardian Dogs
7. Great Pyrenees are bred for guarding livestock or people. They are a perfect homestead breed for large or wilderness bordered properties. Great Pyrenees will keep any predator off their territory, and they will even will tag-team to drive off bears and other large predators. The female Great Pyrenees has a smaller territory than the male. A male will range for nearly a square mile, while the female will range about half that.
If you need a dog to drive off human dangers, Great Pyrenees may not work. In livestock guard trials they were the only breed that did not instantly attack humans. However, they are very protective and act aggressive if they do not trust a stranger. Their size and aggressive bark can also be a deterrent.
Pyrenees also have a mind of their own, so if there is something out there, they will not come in and they will not stop barking until it is gone. Pyrenees can be bonded to either your family members, or your animals, and will guard and protect both.
8. The Akbash are similar in appearance and instinct to the Great Pyrenees. However, they are more aggressive toward strange humans than the Pyrenees. Both breeds originated in the same mountains, and were intended to guard livestock from predators and intruders. Akbash are the more aggressive of the two breeds, and typically have a larger guard range. For livestock guarding, a properly bonded and trained Akbash is good to have.
Both these livestock guard breeds have heavy coats, so they might be uncomfortable if you live in a very hot area.
Hopefully this post gave you a better idea of what kind of dog you might want to get. If you already have a dog or intend to get one for prepping purposes, make sure your preps include supplies for your dog.