When asked if you think your dog would protect you most people think not. Many breeds nowadays have had all the guardian instincts removed in the attempt at making the perfect companion. Take the Great Dane for instance; a very large and scarey looking dog. Once bred to be a guard dog; breeders have bred a more even tempered gentle giant that can live in our crowded society.
There are still many guarding breeds; and even more that we are just finding out about. So what is it that we really want from our dogs? Some people think they want a guard dog; they go out and purchase a guarding breed but then soon realize that a guarding breed can be alot to deal with. When I am on a "future dog" consult I ask alot of questions with regards to what the individuals in a family want. One is the guarding factor.
Many people think they want a guarding breed but once we go over what they really mean by this; they want a dog to bark if someone comes to the door. Having an actual "guard dog" is far from a dog that barks to let you know someone is on your property. And in the wrong hands a guard dog who is left to their own devices guarding your property can be a huge liability.
The bigger the dog the more intimidating usually. That is if you are not talking about a Golden Retriever which is one of the softest breeds there is right now; that and maybe the Cavalier. Having any dog at all is a good alert system. Most would be criminals would rather head next door where there is not canine alert system to do there dirty deeds.
But as far as the family dog is concerned; you really never know until put to the test which is somewhere you never want to go. Dogs have the innate ability to distinquish friend from fo; often much better than we do. I listen and watch my dogs and if they are freaked out by someone; I pay attention. Sometimes it's just a non dog person; someone who is uncomfortable and ackward around dogs, other times it is someone to keep a close eye on.
We should never underestimate our dogs; although I've only seen small glimpses of guarding from my guys I have no doubt when needed they would spring into action. And being that I have poodles; most people have no idea what great protective guard dogs they are; which is just fine with me.