Survival Debate: Which Dog is the King of Survival

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A few months back we asked the question, Dog or No Dog?  The overwhelming response was to bring the dog for a variety of reasons, excellent early warning system, close quarters fighting advantage, threat deterrent, companionship, and your emergency “last resort” supply of food.

Now that most of us agree to bring the dog, the next question is what type of dog makes the best survival dog?  (Dogs are listed in random order)

1.  Labrador Retriever:

(Also know as a “Lab”) a type of gun/hunting dog.  A breed characteristic is webbed paws which makes the Lab an excellent swimmer, useful for the breed’s original purpose which was the retrieval of fishing nets.  This and their subsequent use as legendary hunting companions, gave the Lab the name retriever.  The dogs of this breed are very loving, kind and compassionate to their master. The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog (by registered ownership) in the world.

Pro’s – excellent hunting dogs, all weather coat, excellent endurance, strong swimmers, highly trainable, intelligent, excellent hearing and sense of smell for early warning, strong work ethic (can carry their own bug out bag), devoted to family.

Con’s – can overheat in extreme heat, can be loud and clumsy at times, questionable protection capability due to their lovable nature, high prey drive means they can sometimes run off, medium fear factor.

2.  Rottweiler:

(Also known as a Rott or Rottie) The Rottweiler is a large size breed of domestic dog that originated in Rottweil, Germany.  The dogs were known as “Rottweil butchers’ dogs” (For you Germans that would be: Rottweiler Metzgerhund) because they were used to herd domesticated livestock and pull carts full of butchered meat and other products to the local market.   Some records indicate that earlier Rottweilers may have also been used for hunting, although the modern Rottweiler has a very poor hunting instinct.  It is a hardy and very intelligent breed.  The breed is ancient, one whose history stretches back to the Roman Empire.  In those times, the Roman legion traveled with their meat on the hoof and required the assistance of working dogs like the Rottweiler to herd the cattle to keep the logistical train on pace with the legion.

Pro’s – for personal protection they are second to none, all weather coat, highly trainable, intelligent, strong neck, good hearing and sense of smell for early warning, strong work ethic (can carry their own bug out bag), devoted to family, high fear factor.

Con’s – can overheat in extreme heat, questionable endurance, poor hunters compared to other dogs, due to their defensive nature they can be a liability.

3.  Rhodesian Ridgeback:

The Ridgeback is a unique dog breed developed in Southern Africa where it was used to hunt lions and served as an overall homestead dog.  Due to the Ridgeback’s history of hunting lions, this dog is known for its bravery.   Its European forebears can be traced to the early pioneers of South Africa, who crossed their dogs with the semi-domesticated, ridged hunting dogs of the Khoikhoi.  Note: Excessively harsh training methods, that might be tolerated by a sporting or working dog, will likely backfire on a Ridgeback, this is not a dog you can hit or beat.

Pro’s – This dog is built for endurance and speed, excellent hunters on their own (no gun required), intelligent, excellent hearing and sense of smell for early warning, trainable, high fear factor, ability to go long periods without water, adaptable coat for most weather conditions (especially heat), devoted to family, can transverse almost any terrain due to athletic build.

Con’s – Due to high prey drive this dog can run off, questionable coat for extreme cold weather, medium to low protection ability, this dog can be stubborn.

4. German Shepherd Dog:

The German Shepard is a breed of large-sized dog that originated in Germany.  As part of the Herding group, the German Shepherd is a working dog developed originally for herding sheep in the hinterland.  Because of its strength, intelligence and abilities in obedience training it is often employed in police & military roles around the world.  Due to its loyal and protective nature, the German Shepherd is one of the most registered of breeds.

Pro’s – Good endurance, high fear factor, superior personal protection, highly trainable, good all weather coat, devoted to family, superior hearing and sense of smell for early warning, intelligent, strong work ethic (can carry their own bug out bag).

Con’s – can overheat in extreme heat, due to inbreeding and it’s popularity they have a questionable health records.

5.  Akita:

The Akita is a Japanese breed of large dog from the mountainous northern regions of Japan. This dog is a unique combination of dignity, courage, alertness, and devotion to its family.  It is extraordinarily affectionate and loyal with family and friends, territorial about its property, and can be down right nasty with strangers.  Because it is a large, powerful dog, the Akita is certainly not a breed for everyone.  Their background gives them a strong independent streak that can make Akitas unreliable off-lead and more challenging in obedience activities.  The Akita was never bred to live or work in groups like many dogs.  Instead, they lived and worked alone or in pairs, a preference reflected today.  Akitas tend to take a socially dominant role with other dogs, and thus caution must be used in situations when Akitas are likely to be around other dogs, especially unfamiliar ones.

If you are destine to walk the earth alone like The Hulk….this might the dog for you.

Pro’s – Good endurance, high fear factor, superior personal protection, trainable, superior cold weather coat, devoted to family, good hearing and sense of smell for early warning.

Con’s – Does not play well with others, sometimes spontaneous and unreliable, can easily overheat in extreme heat, stubborn and more difficult to train.

6. Jack Russell Terrier:

The Jack Russell terrier is a small terrier that has its origins in fox hunting.  Due to their working nature, Jack Russell terriers remain much as they were some 200 years ago.  They are sturdy, tough, and tenacious, measuring between 10–15 inches and weigh 14–18 pounds.   The Jack Russell is a high energy breed which relies on a high level of exercise and stimulation and does not have a great deal of serious health complaints.  Pound for pound, the Jack Russell is the toughest dog on this list of Survival Dogs.

Pro’s – Unbelievable endurance for its size, excellent hearing for early warning, tenacious barker at strangers, low health problems, decent all weather coat, easily transportable due to size and weight, low food consumption, excellent small game hunter, fearless,  they can fit into any shelter you have to hold up in.

Con’s – Low fear factor, low personal protection ability, high prey drive means this dog can run off, excessive barker can be noisy, will not travel well in deep snow,  questionable coat for cold weather.

7.  Pitbull:

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog.  It has a short coat and smooth, well-defined muscle structure.  The dog was bred first to bait bulls and bears.  When baiting bulls was deemed inhumane, ratting, a sport where a number of rats were placed in a pit for a specified time with the dog and dog fighting became more popular uses for the breed.  The Pit Bull is a breed that is loyal to friends and family, and is generally friendly towards strangers.  People have been known to be afraid of them because of their bad reputations.  They do exhibit a higher percentage of dog aggression than some other breeds, and a very high prey drive toward small animals (including small children) so socialization at an early age is a must.

Pro’s – Good endurance, devoted to owner, high fear factor, trainable, good warm climate coat, long life span and generally healthy dogs, medium protection ability, good small game hunters.

Con’s – Does not play well with others, questionable history around small children (including master’s family), sometimes spontaneous and unreliable, poor cold weather coat, beware of backyard breeders who often turn out ill tempered pit bulls.

8.  The Mastiff (English Mastiff)

Distinguishable by enormous size, massive head, and a limited range of colors, but always displaying a black mask, the Mastiff is noted for its gentle temperament. The lineage of modern dogs can be traced back to the early nineteenth century.   A typical male can weigh 150–250 pounds and a typical female can weigh 120–200 pounds, that’s big!!!  Though calm and affectionate to its master, it is capable of protection.  If an unfamiliar person approaches near the Mastiff’s perceived territory or its master, ideally, it will immediately position itself between its master and the stranger.  If the approaching person is perceived as a threat, the Mastiff may take immediate defensive action (or offensive action, it depends on how you look at it).  Mastiffs are normally good natured, calm, easygoing, and surprisingly gentle for their size. It is a well-mannered house pet, provided it gets daily exercise and activity. The Mastiff is typically an extremely loyal breed, exceptionally devoted to its family and good with children and small dogs.

Pro’s - High personal protection, all weather coat, highly trainable, intelligent, good hearing and sense of smell for early warning, strong work ethic(can carry their own bug out bag), devoted to family, high fear factor.

Con’s – can overheat in hot climate, very questionable endurance, high food consumption

9.  The Mutt

The mutt can be any combination of the qualities you like most in a dog and hopefully, very few or none of the qualities you would prefer to do without.  With a mutt it is tough to know what you’re going to end up with but usually if you raise them from a puppy and train & treat them well, they will be more likely to be an asset than a liability.  Some of the best survival dogs we have been around have been mutts.
Pro’s – Could be the best qualities of any number of dogs mentioned above, tend to have lower health problems than pure breeds.

Con’s - Could be the worst qualities of the dogs mentioned above.

Let the debate begin!!!

Information on the breeds was gain from Wikipedia and

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{ 227 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh November 6, 2010 at 6:59 am

I love the Rhodesian Ridge back, but realistically I think I would go with a mutt.


joe March 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I would take my grate Dane because she is big and very protective


adventureK9(YT) November 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

Since a dog isn't a tool like a knife of gun, or other miscellaneous piece of gear designed for a specific function that can just sit on a shelf, I would say to pick your "survival dog" based on your current lifestyle and not what you think you may need should the SHTF. Remember, that you need to live with this animal for a lot of years, day to day, perhaps never having to use the traits that would make it a good "survival dog". So pick wisely.

In my opinion my Belgian Malinois is the perfect "survival dog" because she meets all of MY criteria for a good all-around "survival dog". That criteria being:
1. well trained, and will listen to me in any situation (talking off-leash here).
2. athletic enough to keep pace with my every move.
3. confident and able enough to overcome any physical or environmental challenge.
4. conditioned to gunfire, so she won't bolt should I have to engage with a gun.
5. quiet when she needs to be, but will be very imposing when a threat is near.
6. light enough that I can carry on my shoulders, and lift over fences, but big enough to be imposing should I have to bug-out.
7. fast enough to catch small game should I run out of ammo.
8. all-weather coat for all seasonal conditions in MY region.
9. sound genetics and good health, including dental health
10. keenly alert and naturally cautious of strangers.
11. extreme loyalty to me!

I think sound off-leash obedience and good confidence are the two attributes that are a MUST regardless of which breed you go with, because those to qualities will be called into EVERY situation that comes your way.


Nick November 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I can't even find a wife with those qualities!


adventureK9(YT) November 16, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I agree with ya! Here's a test for you:
Lock your spouse in the trunk of your car. Lock your dog in the trunk of another car. Wait an hour until you open the trunks, and see which one is happy to see you! LOL


Rory November 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

Excellent points, all comes down to training and preparing and being able to properly use the tools you have. Applies to animals and people as much as it does to hard gear.
The trunk test reply was pretty funny, I'm still wiping up the tea that came out of my nose from laughing. Thanks.


Brian November 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

The best way to look at it is to understand a breed’s weakness and decide if they are able to be tolerated. If you have a strategy that emphasizes hunting, look at a sporting breed. If you are homesteading you might want a guard dog. Few breeds can be good at everything. They were bred according to the need they were filling.


Jerry November 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The Malinois is a great choice. My mother is a K9 trainer for several local PD's and the Malinois is her demo dog. Very intelligent and definitely fits all of the criteria listed by adventureK9(YT). Additionally they have less health problems then Shepherds as they have not been over bread. That being said another great bread in IMHO is the Beauceron. Similar to Shepherds and Malinois they are a working line dog and are commonly used by military and police departments. Extremely intelligent, loyal, very trainable, most agile dog i have ever seen, unbelievably strong, great with kids, cautious of strangers but not scared (so no worry that they might might bite the wrong person), and fierce looking (if ears are cropped). They look like a cross between a Rottweiler and Doberman. They are less common in the US, at one point I think I heard there are only like 5,000 and I have yet to meet someone (other than myself) that owns one.

A bread of dog is a very personal choice, but whatever bread one goes with, if you are preparing for a SHTF scenario it is extremely important to make sure to pick the right dog within that bread. As each bread has its pros and cons each individually dog within that breed may not live up to your expectations. If purchasing a dog, make sure you do your homework on the particular lineage of the dog and the breeder. If you are unsure on what to look for in a puppy to get the atributes you want as an adult take a trainer with you. Although nothing is 100% and even the most well trained and experience trainer is no guarantee, it will extremely increase your chances of getting a dog to fit your particular needs.

The other critical component to all is this is the training, regardless of whatever breed it is or how great of an individual dog you get, if its not trained it will become a liability. Make sure to socialize the dog with people and and other animals and work with it on obedience on and off the leash. Because we are talking about worst case situations you maybe unable to handle a leash (i.e. Injury, carrying items or family members) the dog needs to be under your control at all times. This requires a lot of work and preparation by both the owner and the dog.

I personally think that the dog should be trained for attack work (think police k9's). But not every bread is cut out for such training. Even breeds that are (Shepherds, Malinois, Beauceron etc) not every dog in that breed has the temperament for it. So whatever breed it is, it imperative to know the individual dogs strengths and limitations prior to the SHTF.


jerry November 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I ment breed not bread.


caine30 November 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

my Dog of choice is not mentioned so i will add it at this time I have a Husky she is vary smart and loyal to me and mine her only down fall is she likes to roam a little when she gets bored so i have to keep her busy with either a bone or a Kong toy but i would trust her with my life and i Know that my wife and kids would be safe while i am away. I love my dog like she is part of the family cause she is. the only real down fall is if it came down to her or us i would have a hard time putting her down but i think she would understand as much as i would not like the idea.
when we got her from the pound they told us she was not good with kids or other animals well i think they did not know what they were talking about, I have had her for five years and I would never question her around my kids or our cats she has pushed people out the door for making aggresive actions with me or our kids it was mildly amussing.


Emerson November 7, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I used to have a siberian husky. What a wonderful dog! They are very intelligent, strong, have a great work ethic (if trained right), and are a wonderful source of protection. The only downside I noticed (aside from the "roaming") is that they can be VERY territorial. My dog attacked the neighbor's dog because she was too "close" to our property. She ran full steam and hurdled our fence, and went for the jugular! Bad experience, but it let me know that she wouldn't play around. If I was to get another dog, it would be a husky again.


sandy March 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

I’ve had two huskies. Both were/are natural hunters. Our first husky list of kills include geese, racoon, dove, and a large bass! Our second has killed about 7 skunks that strayed into our yard in the last 6 months. They are happiest with a job to do, which might include pulling a cart/sled or something similar with your supplies.


lmeehan1332 November 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm

a relitvely new breed is the dogo argentino this dog is a breed that is used to hunt big game such as bears wild boar. they are also great gaurd dogs but are not for new dog owners as they can be difficult


Jim November 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I have a Dogo Argentino mix. I can attest that they are a strong breed, by which I mean physically, and in their stubbornness. They make excellent guard dogs. Mine is very affectionate, but he is not a purebred, and I do not know what he is mixed with. I attribute his affection more to how he was raised, versus his breed. They are difficult to train because they are very stubborn, but are highly intelligent. As far as protection goes, they rate similarly with Rottweilers.


caine30 November 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

we also have that same issue with Huskys lol


Ryan August 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm

i have a female one, so she tends to be a tad smarter but twice as needy compared to a male a. shepard. they take a lot of training to get there, but they are perfect. i say this with zero exaggeration. id love to hear more about this white german shepard of yours, seems like he'd be a great dog


Scott811 November 8, 2010 at 3:09 am

I have a White German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix and he's a great combo… super easy going and mellow but disciplined, protective and attentive when it comes to the whole family, plus he looks pretty cool. I'm also partial to Australian Shepherds, they can be amazing as long as they get attention, you definitely have to put the time and energy into developing them but the returns are amazing.


Scott811 November 8, 2010 at 6:10 am

I have a White German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix and he's a great combo… super easy going and mellow but disciplined, protective and attentive when it comes to the whole family, plus he looks pretty cool. I'm also partial to Australian Shepherds, they can be amazing as long as they get attention, you definitely have to put the time and energy into developing them but the returns are amazing.


Scott811 November 8, 2010 at 3:16 am

I have a White German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix and he's a great combo… super easy going and mellow but disciplined, protective and attentive when it comes to the whole family, plus he looks pretty cool. I'm also partial to Australian Shepherds, they can be amazing as long as they get attention, you definitely have to put the time and energy into developing them but the returns are amazing. In the past few years I've gotten opportunity to work with and around Belgium Malinois, I'm not sure how they would be as pets but they are impressive working dogs and incredibly smart.


Scott811 November 8, 2010 at 6:16 am

I have a White German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix and he's a great combo… super easy going and mellow but disciplined, protective and attentive when it comes to the whole family, plus he looks pretty cool. I'm also partial to Australian Shepherds, they can be amazing as long as they get attention, you definitely have to put the time and energy into developing them but the returns are amazing. In the past few years I've gotten opportunity to work with and around Belgium Malinois, I'm not sure how they would be as pets but they are impressive working dogs and incredibly smart.


Scott811 November 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Contrary to popular belief silencers/suppressors are and always have been legal to own under Federal Law. In addition they are not illegal to own according to current state law in 37 states. Of the 13 states that they are illegal to own (according to state laws), 5 of them allow ownership with a valid class 3 dealer or class 2 manufacturers license. You simply need to submit the proper form and pay a $200 tax for an NFA stamp from the ATF. There are quite a few videos on youtube as well as other resources to aid in construction. There are some great reasons to use them in practical application for both hearing protection in a home defense situation and at the range and hunting (although I believe hunting with a suppressor/silencer may have some legal restrictions). It's unfortunate that they are illegal in some parts of the country and hopefully in the future some of those laws will be overturned. My recommendation is to get your NFA tax stamp if you live in one of the "free" states, pay your $200 when you submit the correct form(s) and stay out of hot water.


OutLander777 November 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I would love to get one of these. California Karelains ( California Bear Dog ). Seems to be a very versatile well rounded dog. As I'm getting older, a partner out in the Outlands would be welcome.


Mike November 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Check out the Kuvasz. They are an ancient breed, from Hungary. There are several American breeders. The Kuvasz is big, robust, loyal, and good with kids. Socialized, they are excellent protectors and watchdogs.


AnnA November 11, 2010 at 10:11 am

For me and my family its the Rottie, but we also have a little Boston (who is the alpha dog in the house.) The Rottweiler is the scare factor but it's the Boston that bring home the moles, squirrels, and birds. Not to mention my Boston is the one strangers have to watch out for!


Marcia November 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Currently we have a beagle and a golden retriever. We have owned 3 pit bulls though and I have to say the pit bulls are still our favorite. If you raise them from pups and purchase from a reliable breeder you should not go wrong. They are so lovable and incredibly loyal. They are tenacious and strong. You just have to let them know who is boss. We had 1 male and 2 females. We are still grieving over losing the last one and it has been almost 3 years. There is so much negative press on them and unfortunately in the wrong, irresponsible hands that can be a real problem. But in a survival situation, the American Pit Bull Terrier would be my and my husband’s pick! Thanks all for sharing.


G.D. November 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I have a Black Lab/ Akita mix. She is awesome, but very dog aggressive. Looks like a black 50lb Shepherd with a coiled tail. Very intelligent. On walks she is friendly to people, but wants to go after other dogs, squirrels or rabbits, postal carriers, etc…. In the house she woofs to alert the presence of company arriving she knows and barks angrily and becomes extremely aggressive hair up ready to fight and repel borders if the person is not known to her. Incredibly keen sense of hearing and smell. She knows if it's friend or foe before the door is even opened. Her alerts are 100% on the mark every time. If she barks… someone IS there. Strong as an ox. The only 50lb dog I know that could probably pull a vehicle with the parking brake on. Drinks very little water and eats only when she is hungry. Will leave food in her bowl all day long. She can fight like a wolverine and is absolutely fearless. (killed a pit bull that picked a fight with her, it had to weigh all of 75lbs and solid muscle). She is very affectionate to family and friends. Often mutts make the best pets.


truemonster November 11, 2010 at 8:35 pm

a few more breeds for people to look at would be the bull mastiff, american bulldog, cane corso, and others in that vein, these dogs are all large to very large. my wife and i owned an american bulldog and he was an amazing dog. very well mannered when off leash, protective, didnt get hot or cold very easily, smart, and he had some prey drive, but was wonderful with children and most other dogs. the bull mastiff is a breed thta i would like to get next, heard many good things about them. and the cane corso i had heard some bad, but after meeting a breeder and one of his dogs i was pleasantly surprised.


usnyhockeyguy November 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Having been a breeder of Mastiffs and a lover of large dogs(American Bulldogs included) I will tell you that you can't go wrong with a English, Bull or Neo Mastiff. That being said, I have seen enough at shows and at friends houses to never let a cane corso near anyone I cared about. Remember its always the "nicest" dog that eats the kid next door, don't be fooled be one dog in a controlled situation. I hate to say it but usually a breed of dogs has a reputation for a reason.


AczeWolf November 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

This is supposed to be picking a survival dog? Almost everyone here has a favorite BIG dog and that makes sense for a lot of reasons, but big dogs eat big. Also in the summer time a big dog can consume a lot of water, which may be hard to come by in some situations. If you were only able to shoot a small animal, or catch a fish from time to time either the big dog or it's owner would starve. As an early warning system and companion a small dog would serve as well as any. A 40 caliber hand gun is just as intimidating as a large dog and better protection. I think a Fox Terrier because of its energy, intelligence, and ability to hunt might be a good choice. If game and water were not an issue, I like the German Shepard, intelligence, hard working, good fighter, very loyal, few health issues. has a natural instinct to perform task, sense of smell is incredible.


18Echo November 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

My Lab is a great security dog. Her low frequency snoring repels pests and her farting is lethal from 10 yards. She also patrols the yard leaving land mines along the perimeter and will go out of her way to bring meat home as long as it's been aged to dog perfection. She also stops any attempts by the skunk population to infiltrate. Sadly her enhanced interrogation techniques are hard on the skunk but she is happy to present you with the recently dead prisoner even if it's in the middle of the night. (note to self.. lock the darn dog door at night).


Rory November 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

My ole Rottie was the same way. She could clear out a house with some of the stink that she put out and from the looks of her expression seemed to be quite proud of the fact.


aj52 November 13, 2010 at 10:34 am

As with gear and techniques all breeds have advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. Unlike switching gear and technique as the situation demands, our dogs,no matter how well trained or loved, won't be the best tool for all jobs.Somewhere I read that the smartest breeds have the intellect of a 5 year old. Pretty good for a dog. Not so good if your situation requires an intellect higher than a 5 year old. I guess how our dogs play into a survival situation has more to do with us than the dog. By that I mean,what value do we place on what our dogs mean to us.


Rsnyder22 April 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I been reading up on them and they hunt puma's (Mt.Lions) and are a super mutt truefully


georgehumphreys November 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I have a Brazialian Mastiff and find that this dog has been the best overall of the breeds I've owned. He is close to the rodesian in looks, and temperment, But has the significant size of a mastiff.

The only problem that I have with the breed is that they ALWAYS protect thier master. There is no way to 'train' it out of them. If someone is not an immediate family member,( lives with me or comes over on a daily basis) they can't enter the yard/house. Introducing most dogs to strangers will protect them from being attacked; not so with brazialians. They have a natural distrust of all strangers.

However if that sounds like a dog for you, by all means get one, if you can locate a breeder. As far as I am aware there are only 3 or 4 in the United States. Any questions about the breed or whatever? I'm on facebook.


Matt November 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

As a dog enthusiast I found this article to be a good read. It's nice to see a new take on the K9 ownership debate. Having trained several dogs and seen many breeds up close at work in LE and military applications, I would without a doubt add the three following breeds:
Giant Schnauzer
Belgian Malinois
And definitely the Doberman Pinscher.

The Doberman is a slender dog that eats less (a big deal in a survial situation) than most dogs on the list and has a track record of survival situations from previous wars ( several stories of them succeeding in SHTF situations). The Malinois is also a fantastic choice for many of the same reasons.


Matt November 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

As a dog enthusiast I found this article to be a good read. It's nice to see a new take on the K9 ownership debate. Having trained several dogs and seen many breeds up close at work in LE and military applications, I would without a doubt add the three following breeds:
Giant Schnauzer
Belgian Malinois
And definitely the Doberman Pinscher.

The Doberman is a slender dog that eats less (a big deal in a survial situation) than most dogs on the list and has a track record of survival situations from previous wars ( several stories of them succeeding in SHTF situations). The Malinois is also a fantastic choice for many of the same reasons.


Nick L November 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I am a fan of the australian shepherd. All terrain dog that can handle the elements. Smart, protective, and loyal family dog.


dave February 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

I have to agree with the australian sheaperd owned one that would literally do anything I asked understood over 40 hand gestures and150 voice comands and saved my daughter from a mother racoon, and if I had to leave him behind I could simply drop my jacket and he would wait with my coat left him for 36 hours once and only abput 60 pounds.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Australian Cattle Dogs (Heelers) are in the same category of herding dog. Where your choice was bred from dingoes to protect the flock and defend against them on an even field, the scrappy little Heelers became infamous for chasing down and massacring dingoes, being more of an attack dog. Every bit as smart and loyal, but way more vicious.

As I stated elsewhere, a breeder of all dogs Australian once told me,
"The Heeler breed's motto is 'Nobody f*cks with Master!'"


aquaman November 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Mate of mine has the Belgian Malinois as a security guard dog. Small rat like german sheppard. it is good with kids, smart, fast light and an insane fighter.
I also know people who train them as sniffer dogs.
would be my dog of choice.


ONE November 18, 2010 at 9:50 pm

what about blue heelers or huskys?


Dean November 19, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Glad to see the Ridgeback mentioned. I had one for seven years before losing him to cancer. He was awesome! Had more personality than some humans I know. In fact, my family used to kid and call him Scooby-Doo, as he behaved more like a person than a dog. He was very loyal to me, and would listen usually, but if he got it into his head he was going to do something, he would do it, no matter how much I tried to stop him. Not to say he was aggressive or attacked anybody, but if he wanted to scout or chase an animal, he would, so they can be stubborn at times. And he wasn't a neglected dog that only went out on walks, he was my right hand for those seven years, even going cross country with me once. I haven't had another dog since him, and he died in '04, only because I'm still of the mindset that he was the best dog ever and no dog could live up to him. Someday that will change and I'll consider another dog. But kudos for listing the Ridgeback, they are a great breed.


Rob November 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I've always had German Shepherds and they are great great dogs. I am very familiar with the Ridgebacks. I would choose a Rhodie over any other dog for survival purposes. No costest.


Rory November 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

I'm actually looking for a Rottie. My last one passed away some time ago and it is now time to move on and get a new dog. My last one was very hardy, strong, protective (but oddly quiet up until the go get'm started) and handled the cold very well. Heat like Florida. not so good, but here in the Carolina's they should be fine.


cautionaryprose November 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm

interesting list. Being a life long dog lover and living with a veterinarian for 9 years I always enjoy a good dog debate. I totally understand the desire for a big badass guard dog, although to be honest, very few people have the time or skill to seriously train a guard dog so you either get a cuddle machine or dog that is seriously hard to control. Hunting dogs are great, but like the list mentioned they can be a bit well absent minded at times. I really think that people are underestimating the use of a good small dog. Most small dogs (other than your designer toy breeds) are around because they were super useful. They make good mousers and ratters (which protects your food and provides them with a great deal of their own food). They require less water and food and are often just as good if not better in some cases at flushing out or tracking game. While they may not have the bark or bite of the bigger dogs, they can provide a nice and painful distraction that lets you get the jump on your enemy.

little working dogs
Cardigan corgi's -they can mouse if you let them. flush game, serve as a watchdogs are smart as hell.
Swedish Vallhund's- same basic work profile as above
Shiba Inu- A little hard headed but smart and great hunters
terriers- teddy bear shape with the heart of a lion.

the nice thing is each of these dogs can get by on a cup of food (or less in some cases) a day and a lot less water. they can thrive in any living situation and hunt if you teach them. They may not single handedly take out a bad guy, but they will let you know with time to spare (i dont let my dog fight my battles for me)


SurvivorHerbalist April 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for supporting small to medium size dogs. I’ve never had a dog and plan to buy a Standard Schnauzer within six months. AKC says they need at least 3 one mile walks a day. I don’t think I’ll have time for running with a large dog multiple times a day. Or do well with one, not having had a dog before.


Ashley November 26, 2010 at 1:57 am

On point about the Akitas. I have one and he is extremely stubborn but he is an excellent guard dog. Akitas are one of the easiest breeds to train but only in the first year or so after that you would need someone who works with Akitas to help. They are good companions and are beautiful dogs. It takes commitment to have one and patience to deal with their antics.


rutlandw November 27, 2010 at 5:46 am

I've had many dogs over the years and the Doberman is the best. They love to hunt, were bred to protect you, and very loyal.
They won't run off like other dogs and are in the top 5 for smarts. The Marines used them in WW2 as trackers and for warning and they saved many lives.
I would say hunting, tracking, fear factor, and protection are what you need after the shit hits the fan and you are on your on.
The Dobie will be there for you.


Minarchist_1776 November 27, 2010 at 4:23 pm

The "best" dog? Kind of like trying to decide which is the "best" firearm. In the end the answer may simply boil down to "the one you have with you at the time". If I were to get a dog, my current economic situation and the tiny apartment I am living in would dictate one of the smaller breeds. In a total nightmare SHTF scenario, the fact that larger breeds have a credible ability to "attack" might not mean so much if one is facing multiple opponents with firearms. True, the dog may very well buy you some time, but you'll likely lose the dog. Whereas a smaller dog that hasn't been trained to engage/isn't perceived as a threat may survive to continue on as an "alarm". Regardless, I would contend that on average over the long haul you are probably better off with a dog than without one.


Pete November 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Might as well throw in my 2 cents… The 9mm and the .40 are high pressure rounds that travel faster than the .45 ACP. The .45 wasn't designed as a high pressure load, it typically travels under 1000 fps. If you look at the reloading data in the Sierra manual you will see that the although the .45 may make you feel better because it's bigger and heavier there isn't a significant difference in muzzle energy between the 9mm and the .45. The 9mm makes up for its lighter weight in velocity. You only find a real noticeable difference with the .40. The .40 throws a heavy bullet at a high velocity and creates kinetic energy similar to a .357 magnum.

For me personally in a teotwawki situation I want high cap mags so I can hold lots of rounds, the army thought so too when they went to the 9mm. As sexy as a $1,000 1911 is, a $450 Glock 17 is lighter, extremely dependable, and can hold lot's of ammo. If I felt that the 9mm wasn't up to the task I'd skip the .45 and step up to a .40.

Only hits count, increase your odds by having more rounds.


Diana August 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Pitt bulls do not prey on small children. BUT they are territorial, and unfortunately it is small children who wander into their bounds where everything else has enough sense to stay away!!! Children do not read KEEP OUT signs and most have not been taught DO NOT PET strange dogs. The parents should be held accountable for their children being in these situations and not just a breed of dog. 'Cause that's doggy racism!


Caddell October 2, 2011 at 11:41 am

I too have worked in the medical field for a long time. Pitbulls have gotten a bad wrap due to bad breeders, bad owners, and bad parents. I have seen lots of bites that could have been prevented by owners/parents paying attention. The last few bites i have had to treat were do to kids tormenting the dogs before the bite and its not until much later you herar about what they did to the "big, mean, bad pitbull". I do agree Pitbulls are not the best for everyone and every situation, however they are not the horrible breed that everyone makes them out to be.


hillbillywldmn April 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I have worked an ER once or twice and I know that most people say it was a pitbull that bit them just to sound that it was a tough dog that took them down. we had a loose jack russel in our town not too long ago that everybody said it was a killer pitbull. Pitbull is more of a bodytype now, not just a American Pitbull Terrier which actualy came from breeding boxer,english bulldog and American Staffordshire Terrier or so I have read. Most Mosoler breeds(squared,large chest, and that speciffic ear shape, along with a squared off muzzle) get classified as pit bulls. That's like saying all people with brown skin here in America were descendants from slaves.


l. Massie December 1, 2010 at 1:25 am

My first Irish Setter had all the attributes mentioned above. A tall rangy dog bred for hunting rather than show he would forage for himself and usually did better than I did on hunting trips. He was smart enough to be cautious around bears and coons. Ify about skunks and proky's, he'd eat everything else. He'd also without fail lead me to the closest body of water. Well actually he'd be going for a swim, but if I followed …
The second setter was a house dog. Just goes to show that it's the dog that counts, not the breed.


Stonemaven August 12, 2013 at 9:20 am

I had a Kuvasz/Pyr mix bitch and she was the bomb for protection and predator control. Lost her to wild hogs one night. I miss her.


msparks December 1, 2010 at 7:29 am

I've got a German Shorthair Pointer. These dogs were bred in Germany to be Versatile Hunters (Point, retrieve, waterfowl, track, and small game). Check out the NAVHDA. They are also family oriented, as well as good for warning/protection. Mine is not aggressive but will surely put up an act like she is. If you are on the other side of the door you don't want to come in. Some other breeds include: Weimereiner, Vizsla, GSP, GWP, and the Munsterlander


caninecoach December 1, 2010 at 8:35 am

I would personally choose the Belgian Malinois. But they are a handful for most people. so might not be a good choice for all.
My second choice would be a Border Collie.


One Victor December 8, 2010 at 12:15 am

I totally agree with the Ridgeback. Other than their coat being short, they are excellent survival dogs. VERY smart.

Having a small pack of dogs would be the best solution. They work best in a pack (very natural) and they tend to listen better I have found. Plus, then you can reap the benefits of many different breeds.


guest December 20, 2010 at 11:58 pm

You are misinformed about the pitbull having a prey drive towards small children,as a matter of fact its english cousin the staffordshire bull terrier is know as the nanny dog because of its love of children. I have a american pittbull terrier and she has not shown an ounce of aggression towards my year old daughter, even with her screaming and trying to pet her.


guest December 25, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are the result of crosses with Newfoundlands, hounds, setters, water spaniels and other dogs and were first recognized as a distinct breed in America in the middle of the 19th century. Chessies are not "happy-go lucky" retrievers – they will not "love" everyone they meet. They are indifferent to other people and dogs – very different from Goldens and Labradors. Chesapeakes are unique, intensely loyal, protective, sensitive, and serious dogs DON'T BUY A CHESAPEAKE BAY RETRIEVER if you want a totally unaggressive and unprotective dog. Most Chessies have an assertive and confident personality.


dogs October 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I know them well, and like the breed much.


Jerrod December 26, 2010 at 1:47 am

I believe that a Catahoula would be the best dog in a bug out. The american indians thought enough of them to keep them around their camps so they should be good enough for mine. I may be partial because I own one but he has every trait i would want in a dog that I am going to be surviving with. They can tolerate heat, hunt, they have web feet, and are good pack dogs


Tim January 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Call me a novice SHTF planner…but I feel like the caucasian ovcharka would be a great homesteading breed. The only cons i can think of are food and size.


guest February 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Yah Australlian Cattle Dogs! I got mine from the Michigan Cattle dog rescue. I LOVE her! She is super smart, a great hunter and a good watch dog, VERY territorial and tough. Also she as a bark that sound bigger than what she really is when someone is at the door, otherwise NO yappy critter here. ACD's are considered the 10th smartest dog… and the smartest dog breed is the border collie. My Roxy is actually 3/4 ACD and one quarter border collie, so she is one smart cookie. It was to easy to clicker train her. I even without knowing started doing hand signals which I can direct her without voice. So keep all you "stereotypical" bad ass dogs…. at the dog park, Roxy is in charge! She herds them all and keeps them in line by snarly barks when she does not like how they are behaving! That would be rotts, pits, german sheppards…. etc!


LUNCHBOX February 11, 2011 at 1:48 am

where is the love for the hounds at Maybe im just a southerner at heart or maybe im partial from owning one ,but in my opinion a good hound especialy a plott hound would be great in a SHTF sit. great hunters got a howl to wake the dead only cons are being a little stuborn and a tendency to wonder off following their nose .


Derek February 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

I have an Akita/Malamute dog, and it's extremely smart, loyal, loving, fun. He loves cold weather, has a lot of energy. Very dependable dog. A great dog for hiking, outdoors, and even long survival times I'm sure!


305 February 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

Don't forget, unlike other pieces of "gear", dogs need good training to be effective partners. My survival dog – Australian Cattle Dog (a.k.a. Blue or Red Heeler.) Have had my current bitch for 10 years, getting another puppy soon. I'll never be without an ACD. Quiet, compact( 50 pounds), intelligent, highly protective, good in all weather, no coat maintenance, low water requirements, high endurance, loyal. Not skittish. Very durable dog – bred to be kicked by cattle and work hard all day. Not usually a "cuddly" dog, not a kids pet. Herder, not hunter. Doesn't have a high prey drive. Very vigilant and aware. Naturally mistrustful of strangers. Howls in greeting, doesn't bark much. Doesn't wander away. I'm a solitary person, this is a solitary dog. We live in the woods and love it.


dave February 20, 2011 at 12:48 am

My acd was raised with my two girls and could not have asked for a better kids dog pn that point I disagree but as mentioned above its all in the training, and the acd is very easy to train


justin July 26, 2013 at 1:14 am

im australian own cattle dogs they are the best all rounder and are great hunters we use the for hunting wild boar.


rutlandw February 14, 2011 at 5:01 am

I've had many dogs over the years and the Doberman is by far the best. I had several wolf hybreds, labs, and mutts. and they would not protect you or would be gone in a SHTF situation. The Dobie is loyal and won't run off, he scares the shit out of people, loves to hunt, and will fight for you.
The Marines used them in WW2 and they are the real 'Devil dog'. I take mine hunting and they will sit beside you and alert when something comes close. I live with 3 of them and the female is the toughest and she is not a bitch – she is 'the bitch'!


Jim February 18, 2011 at 8:30 am

This is an odd issue…. which breed has the best survival characteristics depends on what the context is. If I was tramping around a savannah, steppe or grassland, 3 ridgebacks plus a pharaoh hound to chase rabbit. That combination would be terrible in an urban environment, due to the ridgeback's independence and stubbornness. (yes, I have owned two). They'd also be iffy in cold weather. Inuit use malamutes for a reason, right? For urban settings, a guatamalan bulldog or fila brasiliero is not a bad choice. Very alert, obedient and people-aggressive.


Johnny February 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Dutch shepherd. I have one. Awesome dog. Smart, fast, protective, lots of endurance and no genetic inbreeding. Very hearty dog.


Eli February 26, 2011 at 4:24 am

My choice is actually not for hunting or intimidation. It would be the Shi Tzu. Yes its a lap dog and one of the best breeds I have ever owned they are quiet, calm and sweet. Friendly and low food needs make it perfect for me. Their long coat and is a SOFT hair not fur making it hypoallergenic, the hair can be sheared and used like wool.
Though all the Shi Tzu I have owned have been very protective if I showed any signs of being upset. and after watching a pack of 5 (my aunts) take down a very large German Shepherd I'm not too worried about them holding their own.


drew March 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

hmmm you guys should all up a kangal dog


drew March 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

sorry i meant look up


dhoffa March 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

my .02; I had or have- 2 german shephards, 2 olde english bulldogges, bullmastiff, pit bull, Fila, and German Wirehaired Pointer. A couple of things to consider for the topic: a dog pointing on game is very helpful, the dog has to be able to swim to cross creeks etc ( you laugh but my bulldog can't swim) , the bigger and faster breeds like the Fila can help take down deer, turkey, and hogs, there is a difference between a guard dog and a watch dog, do you want a hunting dog that guards or a guard dog that trys to hunt? The Fila is a good dog for the topic IF you could feed it. Mine is a runt at 125lbs, attack trained and I trained him to track/trail. On the other hand my pointer is 80lbs and has brought me rodents, varmints and birds repeadetly and has proven himself to be a good guard dog also.


Guest March 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Yoda, I have 2 BRTs and I agree that they are great. As you know they were "developed" by Russians after WW2 to guard military installations in harsh winter climate. I know they would fight to death to protect the owner. Very intelligent, very trainable. How would they act in high stress situations? I don't know.


Nick L May 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

sound like great dogs and really designed for working, but I wouldnt want a dog I had to groom on a regular basis in a survival situation.


James March 9, 2011 at 9:06 am

Well, I have read all these posts and a few points really stick out and I wanted put my 2 cents in also. A dog is a companion first and foremost. People are going to fall into depression, fear, anxiety, loneliness will come in play. We will all face these psychological obstacles to survival. So my first choice is the dog I wll be most happy with. Defense, attacking, guard vs. watch. these are admirable traits but the relationship with whatever dog you have now will be the most important factor. So if your looking for a dog for when tshtf find one that is loyal first and all thoose traits for war second. We will all need to survive our own mental issues first and foremost. btw… low food and water needs are paramount. after all, It's going to be hard enough to feed oursevles and loved ones.


Matthew March 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Mine would have to be my Bouvier des Flandres I have had him almost my entire life and there isn't much he can't do. They are about 100-120 lbs and incredibly smart, strong, tough, and probably the least breakable dog out there. They were used by the Belgians as cattle herders, cart pullers, guard dogs, police dogs, and trackers. They even used them for trench/war dogs during World War 1, sadly the breed was near decimated during this war but they have been making a comeback since then. They are about 100-120 lbs and incredibly strong, tough, and probably the least breakable dog out there. When they were used for cow herding they didn't bite at the heels like other herders do to make the cows move a certain way, if a cow got out of line they would run at it and body slam the cow back in place. They are one of the smartest breeds out there and can tell when a stranger is dangerous or not, mine has always watched anybody he does not know intently and never barks unless of danger. They are extremely loyal and good a good around children and families and extremely loving once they know you are not a threat. They are also possibly the most protective dog I have ever seen, once during an argument with a violent neighbor he always positioned himself between myself and the neighbor not making the first move but waiting for things to escalate,(like I said very smart) but the minute the neighbor pulled a baseball bat my dog nearly killed him to protect me he took two good hits from the bat and it didn't even faze him and the neighbor had to be taken to the emergency room with multiple deep puncture wounds and even a chunk torn out of his shoulder. In this kind of scenario is the only time they act violently towards humans I've let my baby nephews crawl all over him, pulling at his ears and tail and he just lets them do it and never gets rough in any way even unintentionally. I have also used him during boar hunting and he has no gun shyness about him he tracked a whole herd of boar and nearly took down a 400 lb male until I intervened. It is because of this that my bouvier will always be my #1 survival dog there isn't anything they can't do. Sadly I'll probably have to get a new one soon because mine is almost 18 years old and is starting to show his age even though he is still very tough, smart, protective, loving, and loyal. There isn't a dog that can replace him and I would suggest this dog to any person out there.


ken March 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

dont forget if you have a dog you also have to care ( feed and water) for it, my german shepard (gsd) was raised on raw meat,it is good to get a dog used to it asap so their digestive system is robust. it apparently controls fleas and doggie odor also.never had a flea or dog smell,even wet odor is minimal..i would have two dogs even though it is more mouths to feed…google BARF (biologically accurate raw feeding). i think the benefeits are worth it and if you want your dog to survive too, teach him to eat like the carnivore he is..and make sure he is not gun shy.. personally i dont think there is a more reliable dog, a good breeder is important…use a clicker,etc. for commands so as to not draw attention to yourself if you need to stay undetected….never eat your companion! if your survival skills are good you should have a sustainable supply of food, if not then you are not going to survive it anyway,so dont eat the dog


Michael Dean Miller March 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm


I wonder what kinda dog Scott811 has?



josh March 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

there is only one dog that has been bread for SURVIVAL since its inception some 4000+ yrs ago. The siberian husky.
the siberian husky is the ultimate survival dog for any non-desert climate and has proven itself as such for 4000 yrs with the tribes of siberia.
these dogs have arguably the most endurance of any dog, eat less lb for lb than other dogs and are incredibly intelligent survivalists
just by the nature of the way they lived with the tribes they came from they are a function driven pure bred survival dog
siberian huskys have one of the smallest rates of hereditary disease (less than 1%) for things like hip displasia and other inbreeding problems.
when siberian huskys lived in thier native enviroment with people they did everything, most of the time at thier own liesure, everything from finding food, (both flaura and fauna), keeping a perimeter, watching over the people in the camp that need supervision (children and elderly), these things were down automatically by the dogs instinctively without being commanded

when considering a dog for survival i myself would never choose a large breed dog, the food requirements alone for most dogs over 80 lbs would be overwhelming (think about how much food your large breed dogs eats now with its sedintary lifestyle, how much more will it need when survivng and working hard)
the siberian husky is one of the daintiest eaters lb for lb


SantaBob March 30, 2011 at 10:03 am

Of Course there a lot of small breed that have certain good stuff; I raised Long hair Dashounds from West Germany:: their hearing is unmatched; Someone turning into driveway over a couple of hundred feet away and they are ready to defend their yard;; Love to hunt and will run to ground rabbits, Badgers and anything that crossses yard on 4 o2 legs.. Of course as with any dog overfeed and Back Problems occure..As some say Ankle Biters..Family dog..Will Defend Children and other dogs in the pack..If a child were to cry out when they are around and adult would loose.. The Long Hair when Pissed off will flare hairs in back and around head untill he looks twice as large and if in a fight the other animal will get long hair before getting the dog..


Alec April 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Saw someone mention the Catahoula Cur above and have to step in and agree with him. I have what I consider the "ultimate survival canine". She's part Catahoula, part Husky. Basically, imagine a Catahoula with an undercoat. Good in both the cold winters I spend in Michigan and the humid summers we spend in Tennessee.

They are truly the best dogs. Intelligent, lean, excellent prey drive for hunting. People down south use packs of them for hunting pigs. Webbed feet makes it easy for her to navigate water. I've taken her on a 10k run before with no leash and by the time we got back home she was giving me this look like "That's all you got?". And I know they have that intimidation factor because every time someone delivers a package to the house she gets greeted with "whoa, big dog".

Anything that was a mix of the great war dogs and the tough mutts bred by the Native Americans is sure to have the best qualities wanted in a survival dog and none of the degenerative diseases so common is popular breeds.


T.Rapier April 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

If your in the city trying to get out … no dog ! , if your in the city staying put , anything but an ankle-biter will do , if your a rural person a large dog at least two or three , preferably one that can hunt is desirable .


Reener53 April 23, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Working breed that has been well trained and that you love! Personally, I am a Rottie lover and am currently putting together a b.o.b. for him. He can carry the AK47! Hahahahahahaha!


BamaMan May 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

My lab is highly protective of our house and kids. Realy knows how to show his teeth and bit a workman trying to cut through our yard (not promoting that behavior).

At the same time he is percieved as a friendly dog b/c he is a lab.

This debate is like the one on wearing one of those head wrap things from the middle east. They might work great but sending off the wrong impression could bring you more trouble than functionality, the same is true with dogs. Train them to be loyal but don't get a dog that sends an immediate fear factor or the dog might get shot.


Hook May 20, 2011 at 3:40 am

Let’s not forget the great pyrenees a very hard dog to train but if you do it right one of the best dogs out there I’m a big of the more dangerous breeds of dog and have ownedor trained many of them from wolves to dingos the pyrenees while not as wild as those dogs is one of the best all around dogs I’ve owned great for personal protection they guard there family and territorywith vigor not a good dog for beginners though they are very stubbornand can get out of hand easily if you don’t know what your doing


Nick L May 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Only dogs I own are aussies. you left out they are protective of the family. a few years ago I found myself with a large bull approaching me and my aussie got between the two of us and slowed the bull down enough for me to get over a fence. also, aussies are good at finding snacks for themselves. don't know how that pans out in survival, but they do find food in the darndest places.


Noxious May 26, 2011 at 2:02 am

No Australian Cattle Dog? IT'S THE DOG MAD MAX HAD!!!!!! C'MON HOW DO YOU LEAVE IT OUT??

It's the most well rounded survivalist dog BAR NONE. Second would be Border Collie.


Lance June 10, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Australian Cattle Dog, Tough, Good Endurance, High Prey Drive, Loyal and Easy to train. I have one and a Rhodesian along with my wifes two terriers.


laura June 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Pitbulls that are well bred are NOT unreliable around small children. In no way should a good pitbull be people aggressive…many that are are bred with other bulldog types. I took an interest in this breed many years ago and got to know them doing rescue work for the bred, even ones that were severely abused will NOT hurt humans unless afraid. In their past history they were used as 'babysitting' dogs, meaning they were LEFT with small children (herding instinct, protectiveness). Regardless, you should never leave a small child alone with a dog…that is just common sense.


laura June 13, 2011 at 4:41 pm

btw…pitbulls were used in WWI :)


hillbillywldmn April 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm

true, a pitbull was the most decorated dog in WWII. And in the 1920's they were known as "nanny dogs" That's why Peety on "Little Rascals" was a pit. And with all the fear people have of them, their looks alone will deter alot of folks, just by reputation. So as long as they have this bad reputation, let's use it to OUR advantage, and let these dogs scare people away just because "They have a Pitbull guarding that shack" LOL


person July 7, 2011 at 10:11 am

I have to go with Akidas!


devildogcpl84 July 9, 2011 at 10:44 am

American pitbull i have own them for years, can trust them around my son, alot of people dont know that the American pitbull was one of the first true american breeds and was bred to acompany, assist and protect the frontiersman and his family, only issue i see is mine cant seem to get along with any other animal other than the cano conrso they where raised with, great varmint hunter mine are always cornering coyotes and have even tooken down a medium size bore


Martial Law July 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

GSD as that is what I have right now, he is very smart, protective, loving, excelent off leash, and knows a variety of commands, I can actually give a command without making a sound, I have integrated hand signals or head movements into my verbal commands so even without verbalizing a command he knows what I want him to do. This could come in handy in a "no noise" situation. I have also conditioned him from a pup to loud noises and gunfire, just incase. No matter what dog you choose obedience training is number 1 priority, a good recall and obedience commands without resistance are a must for a survival sitiuation


nathan August 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

great article. personally, i have 3 dogs. my german shepherd/pit/lab mutt is probably my most adaptable, protective dog. she is good with the family (wife, 2 1/2 yr old boy and 6 mo/old girl), protective, alert, athletic, requires little food and she follows commands and listens better than my other 2 dogs without any real training. she is a little aggressive toward other dogs but friendly with strangers unless she perceives them to be a threat. she weighs 65 lbs.
i also have a chihuahua… the best alarm system anyone can invest in. he's alert, barks at any perceived threat (doorbell, neighbor taking out the trash, etc.) and is easy to care for. chihuahuas also have a history of hunting small rodents and such. not ideal but when the SHTF i'll eat about anything to stay alive (or he can feed himself while i eat something more appetizing).
my third is a mini pinscher/terrier mix. also a good alarm system, alert, protective (about as much as a 14 lb dog can be) and easy to care for. also a great small animal hunter (birds, rodents, rabbits, etc.). he's also the alpha dog of the house.


tuckman2112 August 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

personally i would choose a German Shepperd because of the high fear factor and loyalty,also they can carry their own bug out bags so u don't have to carry their food just have them carry it…plus since I'm going to have to live with this dog i would choose a loyal one (the rumors of them being naturally aggressive are wrong, i used to have a German Shepperd who would just love on me like no other…but one of my friends came over i would have to make sure she knew not to bite him.this wasn't on the list but i might also go with a cow dog (i believe their called catahoola's


James August 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I have 2 English Mastiff that are presently 6 months old they are training fast and fearless. Even though they consume large quantities of food their abilities far out weigh their cons. They dont even have to be seen their bark is enough to warn an intruder. Their ability to carry weight equal or greater than their own is a help that cannot be matched. And any dog properly trained will be as quiet or noisy as you have trained them.


Lance August 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

As someone with years of experience with numerous breeds there are two that truly standout and they are the Doberman and Malinois. Many are aware of the Malinois due to it's popularity in LE and military communities but the Doberman became the official war dog of the USMC in WWII after they showed tremendous courage and intelligence under fire.


Mike August 22, 2011 at 1:48 am

I have children and I have to think about what dog will put them first. What dog can pull a cart. What dog can drag a person to safety. What dog can strike the fear of god into anybody. What dog was used traversing the known world with Hannible"s army. The Mastiff wins. Extremely devoted, always protective to its pack(family). Extremely good with children and other livestock. And can whoop a bear(was used to fight bears and lions in baiting sports). They can get too hot if in a hot climate. They eat as much as a german shepard(slower metabolism). Require patience in training but naturally great at protection and they can take out a wild boar if you cant. They can carry their own bug out bag and drag another as well. Amersdam uses 1 of these dogs as a stand alone crowd control and disspersment tool. Always look for quality breeder. Atheletic built mastiffs over fatties. And insist on health tested AKC mastiff,OFA cert hips and elbows,Monster Mastiffs make the best dogs for now and the SHTF war dogs.


Diana August 30, 2011 at 9:13 pm

My pick is the Hanging Tree Cur Dog; (a combination of Blue Heeler, Aussi Shepard, Border Collie & Catahoula) I have 5 currently living in and out of our house with our family on the farm. They are very family loyal ( I have been nipped in the butt while spanking my 6 yo because I made him cry) and are good readers of people, (I don't trust anyone my dog doesn't). My dogs are big enought to work cattle, and obedient enough to work sheep & goats without killing them. They will hunt hogs or deer. I have watched them get kicked in the head by horses, shake it off & keep going, as well as dodge a wild boar's tusks while holding its ear, without getting a scratch. They are some of the most intelligent dogs I have ever worked and are always happy. They also have thick short hair and are very adaptive to climate changes; (our FL coastline has humid, freezing winters & smothering summers). Very hardy breed, I have even caught my female eating a rabbit she caught herself.
PS – A good dog defense system doesn't just start with a good dog, it takes good training and handling, too.


Diana August 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

And they come in awesome camoflauge colors!


Justin September 4, 2011 at 9:19 am

What about the Argentine Dogo? Large Powerful and a great hunter.
and loyal till the end.


MjeanM September 6, 2011 at 1:12 am

So im prepared for the ridicule, but i have a boston terrier pug mix. Shes not a big eater, the heaviest either one of her breeds get is twenty pounds, which means easy carrying in heavy snow[shes actually about 15-18]. She may not be scary but she is a good indicator of when someones around that she doesnt know[which means i dont know them]. And while she may not to damage to someone, she is very protective of my family.

Shes is technically a mutt, but most def has the best qualities her breeds have to offer.

Little side note to add on to lower health problems also able to consume things that would kill pure breeds [chocolate-asprin-entire gallon of ice cream]


Ready September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

chiauhau's eat faaar less and can still hear and smell just as good. not an attack dog but they act like it and will scare off 90% of things just from their viciousnous. I would never rely on my dog to save me from an attack. I believe the Aztecs used them for early warning. They are also one of the most devoted dogs and will pick one person to attach to permanently, no fear of it leaving you for a stranger that feeds it regularly in secrecy and then it not barking one lone night , they will bark at everything that moves that presents a threat to YOU! yea, I'm biased, then again, I never liked dogs until I found out how loyal these lil farts were, also being small they are harder targets for the armed evil unless its a shotgun.


Old-Scout October 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I live on the edge of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48…and thats a big back yard…3.8 million acres of roadless land. I have two Great Pyrenees and at 120+ lbs. and about three foot at the shoulders Brutus and Caesar have proven their worth time and time again. A Pyrenees has enough force in their jaws to break the neck of a wolf with one bite. And mine have not backed down from man nor beast since they were one but yet they will hold if I tell them to hold. Yes they are big dogs, and yes they eat alot but you dont want to skimp where your safety and your life may hang in the balance. Are they the perfect dog, no – they are not – but then no dog is. I am in a hostel wild place and these dogs are a god sent when the chips are down. Plus they are big enough to carry their own food, try that with a terrier or a chiauhau. Scouts out


Joshua October 17, 2011 at 4:16 am

I am a big dog enthusiast.

Any dog with protective and or watchdog instincts is good to have around. That early warning can save you and you're families life in countless situations. Not to mention the valuable companionship this animal would offer.

But the key factor in a good SHTF dog is how well trained you have them and how loyal they are to you. I trust my dogs more than I trust many people. Why? Because they sit when I say sit. They attack it when I tell them to and LEAVE IT alone when I say LEAVE IT. Its simple. Its not merely coincidence that 1 in 3 households in america have some form of canine living in there home.

Now this article is called Which dog is the king of survival so I will focus on that.

The dogs that are bar none without question the KINGS of survival are the flock guardian breeds of dog. Most of these breeds are unheard of to many people and are not the novas dog owners pet. These dogs have been unchanged for thousands of years and because of this they are very rustic and self sustaining. If not socialized well these dogs can even look on to other dogs and children as food. These dogs are capable of killing anything from rabbits, wolves and bears to chetahs.

The true Flock Guardian Dog breeds consist of the Anatolian Shepherd, Caucasian Ovtcharka / Caucasian Mountain Dog. Kuvasz and the Central Asian Ovtcharka / Alabai. Sorry the Great Pyrenees can not be included because over the past thirty or so years they have been bred to be more friendly less work oriented and more of a cuddle buddy than a true FGD. Not to say that some true working capable Pyrenees are not still out there but as a breed as a hole they have lost much of what they use to to be a FGD.

But of course there is pros and cons to anything and the same holds true to these various dogs.


Provide extreme protection ability if needed. And I mean extreme.
Catch there own food. Can ward off any predator. And will protect you and you're family until death. They can also survive in climates from -40 degrees to a 95 degree dry heat. These breeds are thousands of years old and do not have the modern day breed problems in health and live very healthy lives as family companions. They can be trained to be reliable family companions.


These dogs are a liability throughout the whole life of the animal. Large tireless strength combined with a high drive to defend and protect makes a good concoction for a disastrous situation. That is why these dogs are not for everybody. They are highly capable of ripping a strong and smart grown man to peaces. Such events do not occur because no one is dumb enough to try and fight one. These dogs are not insane man eaters. They only attack when it is warranted.
These dogs are large and take up lots of space. Generally weighing from 110lbs. – 170lbs. and 30in. – 34in. tall at the shoulder. Other than the Ovtcharka breeds these dogs are all generally white in appearance. You get my drift . You cant miss them. They tend to bark at night and will wonder off if not monitored off leash or kept in an enclosed area when you are not around. Also they can be stubborn and independent at times.

With all that said you cant possibly still be thinking that the dog that is KING of SURVIVAL is anything else. If so, you only need to do a little bitt of digging on the internet and your opinion will soon be incontrovertibly changed. Now best family dog? NO. That is not the debate. It is KING of SURVIVAL.


Steve October 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Mutts are best, visit local dog pounds and select the combo you feel suits you, not only will you have helped the local dog population, but it's cheap. Most shelter dogs are "fixed", first round of shots, and "chipped". These dogs will not have any of the health (physical or social) that inbreeding propagates. Many will be street dogs who have relied on their wits to survive already, maybe that is why they turn out to be so loyal to a good owner. Life time dog owner, mutts are best, people often get a dog like they are picking out another status item like their car or clothing. Mutts are practical.


Gen October 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

There's 2 breeds that weren't mentionned here that are very worth it. First, the Standard BullTerrier. Extremely sturdy dog with a high fear factor (people tend to be scared of them) , very intelligent and good small game hunters if they are trained right. They aren't too big which means that they don't take too much place and they're good in moderate to warm weather. They might have problems in very cold weather due too short coat. They were bred to fight so they are extremely strong.

Then there is my all time favorite the Irish Wolfhound. I'm thinking the only problem with that dog is the size. It's retty much the tallest dog out there, bigger than the Great Dane. But they are extremely intelligent, loyal and they were bred to hunt so they have great hears and nose and can hunt bigger game. They also have a high fear factor due to their size. I'd say it's the perfect dog for this. They don't really have problems with hot or cold weather but like any dog or human, they have their limits.


Kate October 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I eard you mention the karelian bear dog. I had one myself until her death. She lived a long healty life until she became sick and died at the age of 14. She was a good tempered dog, very high energetic and pack leader. She used to gather a bunch of dogs in the naberhood and lead them around and finaly bought them home at my place. They were 7 to 8 dogs altogether following her everywhere. She had the undisireble treait of running away to do her thing and come back home later, no mater what trick we used to prevent it.
Breed history
The karelian beardog was used to hunt bears to keep them away from homes. They hunt in packs of 5 to 6 dogs. They are not protection dogs, but they can warn you if strangers are coming near. They love to play.

To select a dog, go for temperment first. Size matters. You don't want a mouse. you want a dog.
Sledge dogs like malamuth and huskey are an option.

The problem with pure breeds dogs today is bad breeding! So you get alot of iltempered dogs, and others afflicted with serious hip problems and other health problems etc.


jvv26 November 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

anatolian shepards might be a good choice for homesteaders. They are territorial, large, not overly aggresive or friendly. They are very hardy and very loyal. Since they are not a popular breed it easier to find animals of good. healthy lineage. In my experience, with some training they are very reliable of lead and are well behaved around other dogs and humans, until they sense a threat to the family/friend group


Arnie November 6, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I’m a fan of a amercan breed of dog called a mountian cur .used mostly for hunting treeing small game or baying larger game like feral hogs or bears .Highly inteligent ,trainable,loyal protective,of a medium size they don’t have huge demand on your food supply and can contribut to it helping in hunting and help keep varmits out of your stash the 4 & 2 legged types .though they are not as scary as a rot to look at there fearless nature shines when needed as a calm and watchful eye when not they are rairly I’ll and don’t have any gentic problems as hip deslepsmia which seems to plage many larger dogs


Jon H November 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Just a note, you should also look at where you live, I keep pitbulls, but know they do not do well in extreme weather, great for a bug-in type situation. These have been proven to be the most versitile dogs just bad press holding them back. There's a book out there called "The Working Pitbull" great unbiased info writtren by Diane Jessup I think. As long as you prepare yourself for your companions survival as well, your pick of breed should be based on personal preferance, I myself would stay away from smaller breeds unless you can figure a way to keep them quiet.


big C November 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm

i personally wouldnt want any other dog than my german sheperd she is protective, loyal, smart and ive seen the remnants of rabbits, and squirrels and have even received partialy dead squirrels form her that i had to dispatch. The sheperd is king.


Stealth Spaniel November 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

i guess the quest is to have the "defense" dog, but what about when you are just trying to survive? My cockers are great barkers at strangers, 1 is friendly-the other is definitely not, but best of all, they both LOVE going after small & large birds. I can enjoy a good fresh birdie over a fire anytime! They are easy to transport, cheap to feed, and not fat couch potatoes if you don' allow it. Personally, i have loved many wonderful German Shepherds. They are natural patrol buffs, loyal to their family, and hell on wheels when they need to be. (Take it from a woman who survived many tough neighborhoods in LA) The breed follows function, so maybe you need defense and offense in the survival mix.


curraheefox November 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler). SUPER smart. Tough as a pine knot. Light , strong, fast, good nose, invisible from dusk till down, will catch game, fight to the death and works well as a team player. Mine will work silently but sounds the alarm almost intuitively when appropriate.

I prefer a medium (45 -60lbs) dog. I can feed two heelers for what I couldn't feed one rott.


Bradley E. Owens December 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

Australian Cattle Dog? That is my favorite too. Seems to be bult for thre rough and tumble. I heard they take to just one person in a family however, is that true?


Joshua December 14, 2011 at 10:42 pm

This is not entirely true. Australian Cattle dogs bond very strongly with there families and those that they spend the most time with. If the owner is a very singular person and does not socialize there Australian Cattle Dog early in life they will most likely be truly obedient to that one person and only that one person for the entirety of the dogs life. This can all so occur in other breeds of dogs as well. This can be prevented with good socialization of the animal early in life as well as through out the life of the dog.


Odinson December 26, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I'd would try and breed my own kind of mutt. What I would want is the intelligence, trainable, and generally good body design of a German Shepard and the endurance, strength, and intimidation factor of a bigger dog like a Caucasian Mountain Dog. Those are the two breeds I would want individually, so I guess just mix the two.


US_Border_Guard January 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm

A German Shepherd was donated to us and she has proven to be a great K9.…


OMER January 15, 2012 at 3:16 am



Beryl January 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

I have a rottie cross marema, and he looks really scary, being all black, but is actually a big Teddy bear. That is, Except if he percieves a threat to me or the property. I’m not worried about being burgled if I leave a window open and he is in the yard. he doesn’t seem to get cold due to the marimba half, and also has the marema guard dog instinct He doesn’t eat a huge amount, but maintains about 55kg. He is also fast enough to catch rabbits or the odd slow bird, so could keep himself fed if need be. He is very loyal and loves us, what more can you ask for?


catfish hunter February 7, 2012 at 10:10 am

I'd take my blue heeler over any others. She is accustomed to working with me every day on the ranch is well trained and listens extremely well. She will alert me to anything she senses coming with body language and a low growl long before feeling the need to bark. Part of her training is that she will not bark after getting the "shut up" command until told to "go get them". She never likes letting me out of her sight but will stay until called if I tell her "Down" This keeps her out of the way if I'm trying to get a shot at game, and can also be used to drive game if necessary. I can lay her down and circle around the game to let her drive it into the open at the "go get them" command. She is quiet when needed, intimidating when asked to be, tough and well behaved. I couldn't ask for more.


Vicioustom February 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm

You know, for the longest time I was a firm believer in guardian type companion dogs, pit bulls, dobermans, and the like. I was a foster for rehabbed fighting dogs for a while too, back in the day. But then I was exposed to the world of herding dogs, collies, shepherds, cattle-dogs… Don't get me wrong here, there can be a lot of variance within a breed, I've had a lot of smart pits share my life with me, probably more intelligent than me, admittedly not a high bar there. But herding dogs are on a different level in trainability, and just thinking, and they retain very strong defensive drive. I now have a border collie/great Pyrenees cross that seems like the swiss army knife of dogs, smart, athletic/agile, energetic, great endurance, friendly, but not overly so, courageous. He faced down four men one evening off leash who attempted to accost my wife in the park, and remained controllable throughout the ordeal even though he's never received any high stress obedience training or attack training. I'd recommend the herding type dogs to anyone who asked, although I admit I still love goofy pit bulls.


Firetiger February 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

NORWEGIAN ELKHOUND. I recently acquired a new dog, and survival was one of the criteria I used to select the breed, which I think is perfect (for my situation). The elkhound is the dog of the vikings. Trained to hunt moose and other big game. It tracks game and holds it at bay until the hunter arrives. It is also used as a sled dog, so it can pull and carry. It is in the 40 – 60 pound class so it travels easier, but is still stocky enough to be a threat. Looks somewhat like a cross between a husky and a GSD. It's not considered aggressive, so you shouldn't have a problem with your homeowners association or homeowners insurance. Most popular dog in Norway.


jessiecrafty1 February 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm

my all time favorites are big dogs, st bernard, tibetan mastiff, newfoundland. my seconds would be the german sheperd and the rottweiler. big dogs can be very intimidating. they also eat a lot. and you cant give a rottweiler too much protein, as it can cause temperment issues. think cujo on steroids. i love rottweiilers but i cant trust one. id love to own a chow chow again for protection,they are superb dogs. the only problem with them is their health. i got a chow as a puppy and it was barely over a year when it died from hip displacia. losing hugo that way was horrendous, seeing as i got him for my birthday and all. had a bit of a temper, but was excellent with me and other kids. i was 7 at the time.


Horim2004 February 24, 2012 at 10:50 pm

For me it's my GSD. Why? Because it's the dog I have and love, and no other reason.

We train nightly together., we've become quite good.

I would never, ever, eat my dog.


hillbillywldmn February 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I have to say first of all, The Pit bull gets a bad reputation from bad owners and trainers. I have owned many and in the 1920's they were known as "Nanny dogs" for protecting chilren and I have noticed this trait today in my own dogs. But with that said, my favorite dog is that of the mutt catagory. I have a Mastiff Great pyreneese mix and she love to hunt racoons and goes to run traps with me and have trained to be quiet when I nee her to be. As far as protection, I don't get even get mail if she isn't chained up. In rural OK the mail is delivered by car route and she even bites at the trim and tires of any strangers car that happens to take a wrong turn and end up in my driveway. She's a good hunter and a very loyal companion, as far as protection goes, she weighs 140 pounds and I have seen her down a 1200 pound mule that was attacking our goats. she can over power most dogs. and over take wild hogs on occasion.


hillbillywldmn February 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm

As far as pure bred dogs go, the American Pitbull Terrior is my favorite, It can be trained to do anything and protect anything. Thanks to bad owners and stupid trainers, the looks alone puts fear into most people. Although the many that I have owned have been big old babies to me and my children and grandchildren no matter how rough the kids got with them. Many people use them to hunt hogs and discoverd lately they have a very keen nose.


Annie February 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

It depends upon what I need a dog for. When the time comes my druthers I would have three dogs; good ratter, a good hunter, and a good guard dog. When it comes to hunters, a tracker with a nose, a coat, ears, and tail which are easy to maintain, and good legs and good lungs. Guard dogs are not necessarily the most aggressive breeds. It is one that is loyal, barks, and holds its ground. Tough dogs that take off after an intruder will be easily lured away and killed. Ratters should be small, fast, smart, and with a bit of an independent streak.


Brickintubesock February 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I like how informative and well-written this article is, but please don't choose a dog just as an SHTF companion. My dad is a dog trainer, and he's shown me many times that any dog can be a good dog. We have nine mutts of various mixes, and they're all what any good dog owner would look for in a dog. If you choose to train your dog, the best ways are cruelty-free, like Cesar Milan's approach. And if you're looking for a dog, the animal rescues are always a good way to go. Beware of parking lot dog sales and some pet stores, because cruel puppy mills often run their business through those outlets.


kbwyne March 2, 2012 at 5:26 am

As a former K-9 Handler, I must say that most here are focusing on the dog, which I guess is the point of the thread. I would say however, the focus should be onthe handler. The best "survival" dog in the world will not prosper with a poor handler and conversely, a mediocre dog will shine if dealt with by a fine handler. I think that what is important, regardless of breed is that the dog has been taught to do whatever the handler finds most useful in their particular type of survival situation. Dogs of many breeds were either lost or left behind in Katrina, so they were not much use (I understand that in a lot of cases, it was against the will of the handler. But, I may expect different results from my dog in a survival situation than you, therefore it will come down to can I effectively teach my dog to do what it is I want him to do. As a police officer, I had an odd dog for police work, I had a Bull Mastiff (passed with intestinal cancer). But, he was very effective at what I expected him to do. Thats my two cents, for what it is worth.


buchanan March 25, 2012 at 8:43 am

what about a south african boerboel (mastiff)????


SurvingJerry March 26, 2012 at 8:22 am

On Netflix, check out "Dogs Decoded: Nova"

Interesting documentary about the domestication of dogs and the importance of dogs in the advancement of civilization.


Brian S. March 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

I had a Border Collie / Dalmatian mix that I wish I still had for as a survival companion.
1. Highly loyal, loyal family dog, would not let strangers around our baby until we said it was ok.
2. Endurance second to none – I never saw this dog get tired. It could run all day.
3. Good Size and weight at 60 pounds. there wasn't an once of fat on this dog
4. Intelligence was incredible
5. Agility was great, this dog could clear 6 feet with out a problem.
6. Great for security, also had a somewhat, don't want to say aggressive, but cautious stance towards visitors to the house. Would sense my feelings about if I like the person or not. New friend came over, dog would relax, salesman – my dog would bark strongly and let him know who's house he was in.

The only cons we had was the barking and energy level. But in a survival situation this dog would be great.


tim March 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

the best dog to have is a bluetick coonhound. i had one watch me when i was a baby and it backed 2 elderly ladies to the street when they came in the yard. the dog always seemed to know where my brothers were playing and would fetch them for supper.i had a great standard beagle for a pet once and it would stand on its rear to bawl out a hunting call one time before it would chase a rabbit.somehow it knew who was a threat and who was a friend. once it drove away a large animal away from my mom in the dark on a doesnt eat much and is trustworthy around kids.the only negative things are its tendency to roam the neighborhood and it doesnt understand that it isnt able to fight off a larger dog..


playerjack April 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I did not see one of my favorite breeds listed. The Komondor was and still is a fearless hearding dog, known to up against any size adversary to protect their "flock" or family. it is still used in that feild today, unlie some breeds that are no longer being widely used in the field they were origionally bread for. They are independant, and can live in almost any element because of their very unique coat. Just my 2 cents, check them out i think it would make an incredible companion for a survival scenario.


William June 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I have found that Any kind of collie, Border/Miniature alike are very good dogs. Can carry their own weight. Very alert. and will most definately let you know there is danger near with their growling and loud bark. Very friendly to almost everyone. Not very violent.
Another good choice would be a chow-chow. Very aggressive to strangers. Great family dog (Extremely well with young children if raised correctly) Always likes to stay close. can carry its own bug out bag. etc.


Thedogofwar June 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I'm biased with two of my own but topping the German Shepherd is hard to do. Adding to what the author has already said, they are extremely agile and find their way over large obstacles and through heavy brush nearly silent and with little effort. Staying away from the American bloodlines will help reduce health issues, especially with their hips.

Whichever you choose or already have I recommend feeding them at least a partial raw diet if you plan to have them in survival situations.


roseanne July 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

can anyone tell me if a chiwawa can hunt wild boar its an argument that is ongoing thanks


Mark July 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Rather than the English Mastiff I would recommend the Cane Corso. Slightly smaller but more athletic than the english (male is avgs 140lbs, Female 115Lbs). All of the good qualities plus much better endurance.


becca July 31, 2012 at 8:59 am

English Bull Terrier hands down my pick instinct and intuition aplenty they dont eat alot compared to most have the body and jaws for hunting they have no problem sharing with their family and they are built in babysitters for the kids never have i found a better dog and we have raised lots over the years these dogs people usually dont think of for purposes like hunting or sniffing but they love to please and will do anything their respected owner asks with little training


Wembly August 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

Pembroke Welsh Corgi


Frank August 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Jack Russell, best survival situation dog??? (Europe only)

My observations on my Jacks.

Small dogs are better guard dogs than big dogs. Not better attack dogs, but better at keeping the ears open and sounding the alarm.

They eat less than big dogs. The guts of a rabbit or dead rat will keep them going a good while. They find their own water when needed.

POTENTIALLY: They are less likely to be shot by a burglar who "may" not see them as a threat and "may" create a moral dilemma in the mind of an intruder. They are very quick, and don't square off to people because of that low fear factor, they seem to bark and run around a lot when they sense something. This may disorient an intruder giving you valuable seconds. In a collapse, big dogs might be shot on sight, bigger targets. Small dog will sound the alarm, and probably live to tell the tale. I'm not sure of this, of course.

They kill rats, mice, snakes (euro snakes) etc. They can feed themselves if needed. And will keep the vermin population down that will increase with a collapse scenario. They stay near their owners, especially at night. If trained to sleep at the bottom of the bed, and you have a cat flap or something, they'll patrol outside all night. They don't mind height, and if you put planks against the walls etc they will patrol barn rafters and even roofs.

They will protect livestock from European predators. They even chase birds flying over for some reason, this is good when the hawks come after the chickens. They can get through gates and fences, protecting animals without you having to open up for them at night. They were made for Foxes.

They are the smallest of the hunting dogs. They will dig anything out of a hole, go to ground, and will guard for days till it comes out.

They are very territorial. They smell better than they hear, and hear better than see. At night, what you might need is smell, they will sense stuff hundreds of metres away. Smell wakes them up like sound wakes us up. Both our Jacks jump up during the night at the same time to want to go out for no noticeable reason. But when we get outside the other animals are restless.

They don't give a crap about size, they'll always have a go with other animals and they don't give up easily. Our jacks tag team everything. They've been stitched up twice, mainly confronting wild pigs.

Yes, they will sod off once in a while. But if you leave them outside off the chain, and let them go around as they please, they don't do it really. Ours run off after being at the kennels for a week, or when my wife is away. About twice a year, but they come back. They can travel miles.

They have an understanding akin to that of a four year old, apparently. They understand stuff like, I'll be back, and find mummy really well etc.

They usually live 15+ years. Small dogs live longer than big dogs. Big dogs, and giant breeds like mountain dogs and bull mastiffs have about half the lifespan of a small dog.

As the list says, Pound for pound, the Jack Russell is the toughest dog on this list of Survival Dogs, and if you can't feed your dog, or it can't feed itself, it's not a good situation to be in. Easy to check for ticks. Very few health complaints.

They get caught in traps. They run towards fireworks. They don't like the cold for long periods. Deep snow is a problem, but very amusing to watch. It's very hard to shut them up once they start up. Don't know how they'd fare against a real snakes like other countries have. The snakes ours catch are non poisonous and they rip them to shreds. They are pretty quick though, and being quick and the low fear factor could keen them alive? The fear factor I think is with humans mainly, they run around barking and growling but do not engage, maybe that is a good thing? Perhaps you need a big one and a small one.


godsgift2halo August 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I dont agree with having an english mastiff on there as a survival dog. I currently own a 205lb english mastiff and he is the best dog, but at 4 years I am already starting to see hip and elbow problems even tho he is not over weight. He is a great watch/guard dog like mentioned above but when you have to move and possibly re locate, I feel like he would have a hard time keeping up because of his size but now if you are dug in, this is the best breed above all.


lBreaker August 29, 2012 at 12:49 am

I'd rather starve then eat my dogs as last resort food. I know some people could do it but me personally, my dogs are like children and I would kill for them. No other creature on this Earth is more loyal (with apologies to my wife). That said, my dogs would probably make poor Survival dogs. I have a Blackmouth Cur coon dog who sounds imposing but he's really a big wuss. He also does not know how to hunt and is GONE off a leash (thats how he came to us in the first place). My other dog is a Border Collie and she is exceptionally smart but also very shy when not in her territory. Not sure she'd be very imposing but she will at least listen to me off the leash (though her natural curiosity and high energy can make her difficult to control).


Nanook September 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Absolutely! I do like & have owned German Shepards, Rotties, & Akita's. They were all excellent dogs in their own right. The dog I had before the one I have now was a full blood aussie that I rescued after my aussie pup got stolen while I was out of state. I had him for 10 years before he passed. A truely great friend, brave, dependable, and could be vicious when necessary. But he was a bit of a bully with other dogs. Great with kids, though. The one I have now is a cross aussie & blue heeler. She is extremely smart, lovable, good with kids & other dogs, but I would not trust her for defense, but she is only two. Aussies are very high on the energy side & will drive you nuts if you don't give them something to do…or play with them – alot.


rijebaud September 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I was glad to see the Ridgies on here. After having been an owner of many different breeds of dogs, we chose Ridgies because they met almost all the criteria we needed to the letter. We have a 6 y/o male and Female.
1st – Extremely powerful and agile dog.

Extremely loyal to the family, not afraid to put themselves in harms way to protect (remember, they were bred to hunt the king of the beasts).

Highly intellegent (although this has been a con a few times, like when they figure out how to undo latches, climb fences, and open door handles).

Have never had an issue with either wanting to run off when with us.

They do great in Missouri winter (keep in mind, it gets cold in the desert at night as well). Probably not as well adept for very north.

I would disagree with the medium to low protection ability. If you have owned one, you will know they offer the highest protection for their loved ones of any breed I have come across.

Yes, they can be very stubborn, and are a different animal to train. Our male was food driven, the female affection driven (like our lab).

All in all this is the swiss army knife of dogs, the only caveat being if you are in constant and extreme sub-zero weather.


Tammy September 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm

The Giant Schnauzer, definitely!!!


Chris October 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

I have hiked a lot on the Appalachian Trail (not lately tho, sadly) and many hikers have dogs along, usually carrying their own saddlebags. By far most of the trail dogs are German Shepherds. All the ones I have encountered have pretty much ignored me while passing by on the trail, but that takes training. If you don't have a well trained doag, think twice about your bugout plans.


chainman1379 October 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

i have a rottweiler and she has an akita …5 years now and no problems…( must have gotten lucky )


Nina October 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

Since I live in Scandinavia I have dogs that can handle our broad range of temperatures as well as function as part of my family. My dogs can carry respectable loads or pull sleds and carts. I have not trained them to defend and /or attack. I have taught them to "catch that" if I want them to chase some other animal off my land. They stick in and around the house and only cross its boarders with my permission. I have taught them that I deal with crises situations . They have learned a command to growl which they do with sneaky amusement and great terror to their targets. I dont make my dogs fight for me. If my children or I were seriously threatened I think they would act according to instinct. They are family members who can seek , track , carry and pull loads longer than I can walk and Im in good shape. We live a peaceful life but these gentle family members would stand with me during anything -out of love! I have a White German Shepherd and a Australian/Dobermann mix.


zionfire November 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I think the best dog for survival was not listed here. That being the Australian Cattle Dog.


Sam November 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm

My own dog is a great dog for protection but his best ability is intimidation. My dog is a Wolf Shepherd. He's part Timberwolf and part German Shepherd. He is very tall and chased away burgalers while laughing before we moved to the country. I rescued him, taught him to keep his head away from the stove and grill when I was cooking, and was amazed with his prior survival training. He can take a gun from the hand while in a dead run without ripping the skin or fingers off! He's not the dog for everyone, but I do not have to worry about strangers with him around. Even the local sheriff was afraid to get out of his car when he came by! Another point in his favor is that he can carry his own Bug out bag and will keep me warm at night!!


Nix November 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

My Doberman will out run out wit and out most dogs. I swear this dog was a human in his past life. He's about 85-95lbs but runs as fast as a greyhound,he's won numerous awards for agility and sniff test. This is my third Doberman and I've had different breeds but this is the most loyal and easy to command dog I've ever owned. IMO


Jen Bur November 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Has anyone thought that a study dog could be used to haul things? I have a river not that far from me but far enough where hauling water would be difficult due to how heavy water is. I thought a good sturdy dog could help with a cart or trailer. Here is a link showing a dog with a trailer attached to the dog.…


Jen Bur November 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I have an Akita, a Pit bull and a Boxer. I love them all but for survival I like the Pit bull the best. They all eat "about" the same amount. The Akita is less active and so does not need a lot of food to hold onto his 105 pounds. The Boxer is very active and I have a hard time keeping her filled out, she eats more than the Akita. The Pit bull gets chubby on less than the Boxer eats. The Akita is not well adapted to the southern heat I live in. For the south the Pit bull is suited well. She kills critters that get into the yard. I find heads and puffs of fur where the opossums use to be, so she sometimes feeds herself. She barks at strangers and is not scared or spooked (like the Boxer is). Her fur is easy to care for. And the breed tends to be healthy and long lived. All the Pit bulls I know all have stable personalities and good family dogs.


omer kishanov December 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

the airedale terrier!!!!Period!!!!!! all around game hunter,excelant guard dog,!!!!


Jason December 2, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I have a Blue Heeler, and an Australian Sheppard. Both dogs are very obedient do well off leash and have a strong hunting instinct. The Heeler has caught a few ground squirrels and I have seen her eat lizards and the occasional coyote dropping, so I'm sure she can fend for herself. She is medium hair and does well in snow or heat, her merle coloring is excellent camouflage, sometimes I can only see her tongue. She is great at finding water, an excellent swimmer and drys off very quickly, as well as being very agile and can easily scale short cliffs and make log crossings. She always alerts me when someone or thing is near and the indicator is usually a quiet growl or an alert body stance. She is more a guard dog and definitely not an attack dog but Heelers have an aggressive reputation. She is 37 lbs an likes to sleep next to me so she is an great for a source of heat. She will chase small animals, usually up trees where they are an easy target if I needed. but she never runs off more than a few hundred yards. I often hide when she does, this game put the onus on mys dogs to always know where I am so I never need to call them. The only con to this dog is the very rare bark which could ruin an effort to remain stealth. Both dogs a great but the Heeler is better than the Australian Shepard in a few areas. The Aussie main shortcomings are because of the long hair which is problematic in deep snow, is slow to dry, and doesn't do as-well in the heat. But having two dogs does have some advantage when hunting and when I camp at night they post up on each side keeping eyes and ear out in twice as many directions. Another added benefit with training is your dogs can help you find your way back if you get lost. And if you need to keep quiet teach for dog all the necessary commands with hand signals.


Guest December 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Why doesn't anyone ever mention the MERICAN ESKIMO?? I havetow of them and the female just had 3 puppies. They are extremely protective of their masters and very sweet. My male was purchased from a woman in Missouri. She told me he was just 3 months old but I noticed when I picked him up at the airport he was a bright yellow and you could cont every rib in his body. After 2 weeks I called her to ask her why she had not taken out the rest of the money I owed her? She said have you received his papers yet? I SAID NO I got the papers in 4 days. He was 18 months old and he went crazy when he saw a man wearing a baseball cap?? I called her back and ask her if the dog was around anyone that wore a baseball cap. She said her 18 year old son fed him and he always wore a cap. I GOT MY ANSWER! THAT BOY ABUSED HIM. mY SON CAN GO IN THE KITCHEN WITH HIM BUT NOT GET TOO CLOSE TO ME? i HAVE HAD HIM 5 YEARS NOW AND HE STILL WILL NOT LET ANYONE NEAR ME!! I don't like that in a dog but I love him and I am old and worry about what will happen to him when I am gone.


Mimi December 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I was "found" by a mutt who showed up during a blizzard at our rural East Tennessee home about 9 years ago. He had a collar and no tag and an injured paw. We took him in, and being unable to find his owners, we kept him. Per the vet he is a chocolate lab/Pit mix. He got the best of both breeds and none of their problems. Very intelligent, easy to train, and loyal to the death. He is my soul mate and loves my husband also. Friendly unless I tell him not to be. I trust this dog with my and my family's lives. I was afraid of him at first because of the Pit reputation, but I think that nurture, not nature is secret to raising a good dog.


Heather December 31, 2012 at 2:40 am

About the Jack Russel Terriers. I live in Alaska and have a "pack" of them, along with other breeds of dogs. I have 3 labs, 26 huskies (I'm a musher, it's a good way of emergency transportation at my bug out location) 2 (female is currently pregnant) mastiff mixed with akitas , and 6 jack russels. I would have to say that my jack russels are by far the boldest dogs I have, my huskies are brave and will ward off bears when they are around other huskies(in their 'pack', but my jack russells will run up to bears and foxes and sometimes attack- it's heart renting for me, yet they are very quick and clumsy bears cannot hurt them, foxes are an easy kill for my dogs. Anyhow, they are EXTREMELY loyal and protective of me, they sleep under my sheets, under blankets on my lap, etc and are probably the most humanized dogs in the word, I have NEVER had a problem with my dogs running off, but then again I am a consistent trainer. I spent 4 months at my bug out location (rural area on 4,000 acres of land) and my jacks were able to catch ALL of my food and their food for that time period. (It was winter) They are AMAZING rabbit and spruce hen catchers, one dog (my favorite girl) caught 36 rabbits in an HOUR. (I liv in a rabbit abundant area though). They excel at catching birds mid flight, being able to jump up to 7 ft (I have long legged jacks, not shorties). Also they have very soft mouths and always bring everything they catch back to me. I've had my jacks run up fallen logs and catch squirrels up to 15 ft in the air! They all ganged up on a bear once that was about to attack me and my husband and chased it off (was a large black bear, not a grizzly but still could do damage) I've never had them bark "excessively" they bark at strangers, and when they hear four wheelers come up the train etc. Snow they have NO problem in, I have 6ft average snow fall where I live, they bound like little deer right through it and actually do better than all my other breeds because of how small they are & quick. They DO get cold if they aren't running around (which is literally never). They run sound so much that they don't get cold. In winter they can keep up with me snowmaching for up to 30 miles before they get tired(one of my jacks snuck out the door and I didn't notice until 30 miles down the trail, I felt terrible that the little bugger followed me at such a fast pace so far!) they are GREAT swimmers too, and can catch rainbow trout and small northern pike in shallow pools. They don't mind flying etc. I recommend them to EVERYONE. I have trained four of mine to be attack dogs, and they can scare someone and hold on, attack and bite like monsters. They are small, quick, and agile, and very strong for their little size. I recommend people get a FEMALE before they get a male, females are much easier to train and are better hunters and attack dogs. DONT spay them, I urge you, it takes the dog right out of them and they turn into lazy fat labs (labs are very lazy). Sorry for all mistakes, typing on iPad.


Jim Mullin February 8, 2013 at 12:50 am

I know about 600 breeds of dog.I have a huge library of books on dogs.I have had dogs all of my life.I know the history of most breeds.I know the capabilities of most breeds.I am almost 60 years old ( Feb17,2013 ),just so you'll know how long i've been around dogs.In my humble,but self assured,educated opinion,the most well rounded,adaptable,natural hunter,natural guard safe for the family, intelligent,personable,physically tough,unhysterical dogbreed as a survival companion would be…….The hunting type Airedale Terrier. Jim


Jim Mullin February 8, 2013 at 10:53 am

PS For the most part,in a survival situation,out in the boonies,an Airedale will be able to hunt meat for itself.If it runs into danger,a man,other dog,bobcat,coyote,lynx,wolf,wild boar,wolverine or cougar,a good specimen of this breed will hold it's own well enough to buy time for you to save him with your survival rifle. ( note: wolf is a single wolf,not a pack )On occasion, the only animal breed above that an airedale has not killed is the cougar,but,they have individually treed cougar.To sum up,the airedale is independent when problems arise. Jim


Jordan February 22, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I'm biased because I share my life/home with a large female German Shepherd. I can't imagine a survival companion other than a German Shepherd. That being said, I have several friends with dogs on this list, such as the Ridgeback, Akita, and Mastiff. They're all great dogs as well, and I'm sure each breed would get two thumbs up from their respective owners.


Colton March 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I own a Belgian Malimois, a Black Lab and a Lab and Border Collie mix. I think they would be the best survival dogs for certain situations.The Belgian Malimois would be the best overall for survival.


Becky March 30, 2013 at 3:49 pm

We have Australian Cattle Dogs. They are med size, but strong. Intelligent and easily trained. Leary of strangers, yet loyal to their families. Excellent watchdogs. They have low maintenance coats that are good for all weather. They are also hard workers with excellent endurance.


J. Brooks March 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

My first choice would be the Mountain Cur. These dogs were bred and raised to hunt for the settlers as well as protect the family. They are mostly good natured and play well with others. Very few health issues and capable of feeding themselves as well as their masters.

The Airdale terrier would be my second choice.


Rebecca July 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

I have to question where you get some of your info. Akitas and Pitts are excellent with children ESPECIALLY within the family. Both amazing guard dogs and both are easily trained and great hunters. I work with dogs every day and own 4 of my own- 2 pitts, 1 rottie and 1 akita.


justin July 26, 2013 at 2:06 am

im australian owned many dogs and crosses and the australian cattle dog is the best all rounder we also use the for hunting wild boar. You may say the aren't big enough for guard but all Aussies know you don't fuck with someone else's heeler or you'll get stitches a good heeler will take on the devil himself.Its very hard to fault these dogs.


nick August 4, 2013 at 6:21 am

mutt all the way


Dj August 10, 2013 at 8:39 am

Ok just saying my pit loves cold weather in fact she slept in the snow over her dog house with the warming pad same with the rain and she has a good sinse of smell it’s the bully’s who can’t smell that good as I have both breeds come on in strength Pitts are second to none ask slappy the 65 pound hard hitter pulled over 10,000 pounds they have a higher drive then any dog I normally see mind you bully are strong to and have a harder bite with the same drive but why not put the south afican borborl in the mix sorry not sure if I spelled it right as he was breed to take down lions plus some alone as family being from chad we pick the borborl over a ridgeback any day if you want a real dog who can hold his own alone even against the king of beast then comes my pitbulls and bully’s cause they show me new strength and smarts everyday


kiljoy616 August 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm

fila brasileiro would be my SHTF dog, there are plenty of other dogs that are great, but what I like about the breed which I personally have owned is their silence when confronting intruders, last thing you want is a dog who barks and gives away your position. Killing a dog is easy, so I would not be using mine but for guarding a camp or early warning. The ones I have had patrol the house during the night they tend to sleep short naps and are always on the job, they don't want you to play with them or anything like that, they are all business all the time.

Kid friendly and will not take off on you but will probably die protecting the family. Mine does a low grow when there is something that brings his attention and she wants mine.

Con's are that they are big, so lifting them and feeding them may not be easy if food is going to be an issue.


don August 28, 2013 at 1:48 am

we should first define what your survival dog needs to do.
what is his/her Job ?
do you need an alarm dog?
do you need a protection dog
do you need a hunting dog
do you need a dog the size of a Shetland pony?
how much food have you stocked for your dog?
have you trained the dog?
how will you continue the dogs training?


Eugenio September 11, 2013 at 10:43 pm

The best dog is the Kangal. He is smart, big, fast, strong loyal and brave. They are impressive. There is a breeder in Mexico of pure Kangals. They have the size of a mastiff but faster and braver. You don´t wanna mess with this dog.


ufimych September 12, 2013 at 4:48 am

It all depends on the environment, where you are to survive. In wilderness or in a depopulated lands, dog of people with primitive culture are the best. They are most adapted to life under conditions with minimal care: they do not need regular veterinary help, can live on meager food, genetically healthy and capable to hunt, obtaining food for themselves and for the master.


ufimych September 12, 2013 at 4:54 am

If you live in forest, West Siberian Laika is a naturally treeing dog. Just take you puppy in woods and he will start finding and barking under tree at squirrel, grouse, turkey, opossum, raccoon, bobcat, fisher and bear; choose what you want to shoot. It will bay moose and big grizzly bear, where available. If you live in prairie or desert, Saluki will catch jack rabbits for you. Both type dogs do not eat much and can provide food to the owner.


olipop23 September 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

says the mastiff can carry its own bug out bag lol, can carry your small children too.


Guest September 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

If you're survival plan is to Bug-Out then IMHO your best bet would be a good herding dog. Their territorial instincts are well suited to nomadic wandering and they will patrol and defend any new territory that you've deemed important for them to take note of, but will always stay within eye sight (or at least ear shot) of you and your party. If you have small children then herding dogs are absolutely ideal and should act extremely attentive to their protection in particular. Many breeds possess an almost 6th Sense of situational awareness pertaining to what's out of place or wrong with any particular location.

Blue Heelers from Australia are my favorite (ref. The Road Warrior)


Guest November 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I gotta take a page from Mad Max's book and go w/ the Australian CattleDog or "Heeler" as they are a medium-sized breed, that are smart and fiercely loyal. Real all 'round rugged dogs and can put-up a nasty fight. Whereas the Australian Sheppard was meant to maintain the flock or herd, the CattleDog was primarily used to run-off dingoes and can take them one-on-one, as well. I've heard it said that the breed's motto is "Nobody f*cks with Master"

Plus, being Australian grown, they're quite hardy and go far on not much. Can anyone argue with that logic???


Shootit November 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

Best mutt we every owned was a German Shepard / Lab cross. He had great hunting skills and would keep strangers in their cars when they drove on our farm.


groffeaston December 12, 2013 at 2:07 am

Well, I would have to say my favorite breeds are: German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Lab, Pitt Bull or American Statfordshire Terrier or American Pitt Bull Terrier, Boxer, Vizla, Weimeriner, and Doberman.

Neither one of these is perfect, but each one of these have their pro's and Con's. My top 4: German Shepherd, Doberman, Lab and Rottweiler.

If I were to recommend a Breed to anyone, I would recommend any breed from the Sporting Group, the Herding Group, and the Working Group as recognized by the AKC. Why? Because those breeds of dogs tend to be intelligent, athletic, and loyal to their owners. However, as with people, dogs also have individual personalities and require training, socialization and proper care.


Matt Z. January 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Ten years ago I would have said Siberian Husky, hands down. But after owning one I think they were designed to survive on their own….not aid someone in a survival situation.

Now, my choice is the Chesapeake Bay Retriever. I have a 5 yr old, full blooded male, and he is 100% canine! Also, he is a “one master” type dog. He’ll do anything I command, but hardly pays attention to anyone else. I would definitely want him with me if my survival was in question. He’s a hunter and a worker. Handles the frigid cold as well as the heat in summer. The “one master” thing pertains to protection as well. He”ll show aggresion to other dogs if its just me and him out together….but he’s more social in a big group. He’s an athletic/muscular 100lbs. So he can be pretty intimidating to strangers, too.

Give me my Chessie, and I think I can overcome any survival situation!!


Doug January 28, 2014 at 7:14 am

What about the Doberman? We need another list of other survival dogs. Review the biggest ones you missed.


Roger February 8, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I personally don't think there is a 'perfect' survival dog, I have several different dog breeds and each have their pros and cons (except maybe lap dogs). More important in my opinion is having a small (4-6 dogs) pack that you raise yourself from pups, but not necessarily all at once! Any dog can be a threat to strangers/or other animals, but no one I know of stacks up against an established pack! I prefer a mixed pack of different breeds as inbreeding will be less likely to be a problem, (especially after SHTF) and genetically all breeds are theoretically able to breed with other breeds. (NO mini-dogs and Saint bernard mixes, please) Also, different breeds have different skills/abilities, giving you as pack leader more options. Establish yourself (and your immediate family) as Alphas with firm but kind discipline; don't correct/punish except immediately after unwanted behavior (it's not bad behavior to them) as dogs live in the moment and don't have regrets. Be sure to teach all of them at least basic commands as this helps to establish your leadership position, and makes them (as a pack) easier to control!


angel March 29, 2014 at 11:57 pm

absolutely the Rottweiler, they have been herders, hunters, packers, and guarders. They were the basis of the Doberman, but have a dual coat to survive harsh weather. Gentle of mouth and loud of voice – dogs bark, rotties roar, a chest deep sound that is an unmistakable NO. The ultimate family protector. Stocky compact build makes them tough in rough terrain, a high pain tolerance make them the ultimate protectors. Where the Doberman is tall and lanky, the rotty is stout and solid.

They are old school working dogs. They will herd your livestock, hunt your rabbits, carry their own packs, pull a sled/cart. They have great noses, the one dog that found the most in the Oklahoma city bombing was a rotty.

I have had Rotties all cuddle-bears, all family protective, herders, hunters .. my children and later grand-children learned to walk clinging to a rotty butt.


Bobby Gambler April 18, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Thai Ridgeback’s are very rare but should get considerable mention in this category. Great hunting instincts, incredible stamina/prey drive, and very agile/quick. Super smart as well.

Boerboels are closer to what the English mastiff used to be and have perhaps the best natural guardian instincts of all breeds alive today. They rarely ever venture very far from their owners side while always scanning/watching for possible threats. Noble. Obedient. Powerful. Majestic. For personal protection Boerboels are second to no other breed.

A lot of the eastern breeds not known or bred here in the states can pretty much survive almost on their own. Breeds such as the Persian mastiff, Kangal dog, Caucasian ovchark, Boz shepherd. These dogs can easily fend off even kill wolves and other predatory animals which they were bred for.


julie kelly April 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm

My dog is a Canaan dog,only 4 generations from the wild,all dogs have Canaan DNA as they are the original wild dog and have no pre dispositions,live till 16 or 17 and are the only dogs that are genetically clear.They are bred to be aloof of strangers,guard their pack and property,think independantly and are faithful to their owners,can easily live inextreme conditions without humans


Katie May 9, 2014 at 12:04 am

Personally, I prefer ranch dogs. Heelers, Aussies, border collies, or any combination of the few. These dogs are hard working, intelligent, loyal, have a reasonable prey drive, are medium sized but still protective. My dog right now is a ranch mutt, and she would be excellent in a survival situation. I’ve taken her hiking in Phoenix deserts, camping and kayaking in Wyoming, and everything in between. She’s caught and killed rabbits, ducks, and cats. A little small for any serious personal protection, but definitely helpful in a scrappy situation. She’s large enough to carry her own pack, but not so big that she’ll use up all the resources I have. Many large and giant sized breeds eat more than I do


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I dont even know how I landed up on this website, was looking up some info on Rhodesian Ridgebacks and came across the above article. I was amazed to read such misinformation about the breed – "medium to low protection"….Here in riddled with crime Africa we survive thanks to the bravery and total loyalty of this highly valuable animals. I have RRs for a years. Mine and my son's lives were saved by our RRs when a gang of robbers tried to enter our property (here robbers dont just rob, they also kill). I can not tell all the stories of people (some of whom I personally knew) who's lives were saved by their RRs because my message will be a very long list of heroic acts of these dogs. Maybe just one story to make a point about intelligence, devotion and courage of RR. Here it goes – My friend had a female RR. A gang of robbers broke into his house when no one was at home. They broke in through the back door to which the RR didnt have excess (she was in a separated front part of the garden). His 8 years old daughter was coming back home from school, the child entered the property completely unaware of the intruders inside the house. She noticed an abnormal behaviour of the dog, as she entered the property the bitch was very "emotional" and was trying to pull the girl by her clothes away from the house. The girl didnt understand dog's warnings and proceeded towards the front door. Seeing that she cant stop the child, the dog charged to the window, broke it with her body and once inside the house she engaged in a fight with 4!!!! armed with the knives intruders! The girl saw whats going on in the house and ran away to seek help. By the time the neighbours arrived the robbers ran away, leaving bloody trail and blood marks on the back wall of the garden. They obviously were wounded , so as a hero dog, she had to have about 50 stitches, but she survived. And its just one of a many many situations where RRs defended with their lives the people they love. And there is no other dog that loves his owner as much as RR does. All dogs love their owners, but love of RR is something absolutely legendary. Many starve themselves literally to death when they loose their owners. Others will just stay forever depressed, broken. Its an amazing breed, with the deepest soul. Thats why the article is actually very right – They can not be rough handled. Tough punishments, beating is no go, it will break their spirit, damage it. They love and treasure you and want you to love them back. One needs to lead them, and it means you work together with them. They are so intelligent that you actually dont need to train them, when the need arises , your RR will know what to do. Just like Husky is the best survivor in a cold wilderness, RR is a best survivor in harsh hot climates. Dont get an RR if you are not prepared to give and get lots of affection. They thrive on affection, and fade away without it. If you dont want a dog that will lay at your feet and follow you every time you move, dont get RR. Their love is intense, you can not leave RR outside in the back yard. Its a family dog that insists to be beside you all the time, his life purpose is to look after your safety, so he needs to be by you. Plus, they need to be exercised. They can run for miles. They DO NOT attack family, even babies and elderly safe around them. Its just doesnt exists that RR would attack his own family members, does not happen. They can be difficult with other pets if they didnt grew up with them. So its a very special dog with special needs and a special love to give to his owner. Just sad when people do not understand a dog because he is such a "not a run of a mill" dog. For example, they dont take orders from others, only from their owners. Its a huge plus here in Africa, where the dog can be "sabotaged" by criminals. But in the "safe" countries people do not understand why he doesnt listen to whoever and the dog is labeled as stupid. In the mean while RR has a superior intelligence. I noticed when somebody is not smart enough to figure out the RR or doesnt understand the circumstances for which he was bred, such a person quick to label RR as a stupid dog. In the mean while there is a reason and a logic for the RR being the way it is. Hope it helps.


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm

RR was bred from at least 15 different breeds so in RR you have the combined benefits of many different breeds. Yes, I agree with you, best is to have a few of them (at least 2) as they thrive on a feeling of being a pack. But that requires space, a huge garden or a farm. Love them !


owner of 5 farm dogs August 10, 2014 at 8:25 am

I have big stocky working line male border collie. Big as average newhouland. He is a sire and herds cows but also hunts rabbits and foxes in his past time. Working bcs comes in all shapes and sizes unlike show line bcs this is bred to work hard all day without breaks.
Intelligent, fast, strong, agile, and have really good stamina.
Originally they were made to herd but later to hunt big game like boars, deer and elk thanks to their remained high preydrive and strong will.

Short medium coated Farmdogs like border collies, brasilian collies, Mc nab dogs, australian cattledogs, australian shepherds, kelpies, lurchers and canaan dogs could last long on their own or in small packs.
Even little jackrussels could have some chances to live on their own too. One runaway jr lived for months in small badger cave with her four newborn puppies (fift born dead).
Shibas are good intependent smart hunters also. Japan earthguake survivor Mari and her three puppies for example. These small survivors are underrated.
Also lost mutts and strays are known to fend themselves ( by killing livestock of course which is bad for farmers).


char16char August 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm

What about the husky that dog has a high prey drive there coat all weather proof there coat drys really fast and if you read the breed history in the chukka tribe let these dogs go wild in the summer and they also used as elk herders


Pedro April 10, 2011 at 3:27 am

I have 3 dogs, a fila brasilero (brazilian mastiff) an australian sheppard, and a puppy rotweiller, in my experience the fila is the best, he can give his life without thinking for yours. He is great for kids (my daughter rides him), I love the filas!


hillbillywldmn February 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Yeah George, the Brazillian Mastiff is a good dog, but Darn How would you feed it in a SHTF situation? They eat way too much. Although you do have a point, they are very loyal and do what ever to protect their human, but that is singular…human, and not family. they choose one human and place themselves 2nd only to that one human. With Bloodhound genes and mastiff genes which were bred for hunting 1st, they do make very good hunters, and make up with skill for what they are worth in feeding them. And if worse comes to worse…there is alot of meat on those bones.


Malinois owner September 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

There is a great breeder in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico.


Steve June 29, 2011 at 6:55 am

I agree!!! Have had three Ridgebacks. Found them to be very protective. Several times they have put people out of the yard and house that had no business being there. Without a doubt, saved my wife's live once.


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I fully agree with your comment. RR is an amazing breed !


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Haha, I also often call my Ridgeback Scooby-Doo…so do others who know him. He is not a dog, he is a clown, full of personality and soul. Its kind of hard to believe for people that never had them but RRs have a sense of humour. Such a special dogs.


devildogcpl84 July 9, 2011 at 10:56 am

Belgain Malinois is a great dog i seen them in action overseas, the marine corp got some critizim for using this breed to start the IED dog program but because of this breed and its success, now other branches and other countries are attempting to mimic the program


ira July 15, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Right on.I got two of those (always got two huskies ,since the last 30 years) Did a lot of backpacking with them.Great endurance,great hunters (though they might not want to share…)always on the up side and their food consumption is relativly small to their size.On one of my hikes, I admit,I got lost (still embarassed) and was safely returned to camp by my alaskan huskies. One thing though I personly would never,never consider them as the last resort food source as mentioned in the above article.I might eat the author…just kidding.


Ryan August 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

you gotta love the dogs that protect you like its their job, haha. recently i had all my cousins over and one of them kept hitting me, i told him to stop, not for my sake but for his, sure enough my dog damn near chased him out of the yard, i had to call her off and show that i was okay


Charlie Smith August 6, 2011 at 11:15 am

right on! I have been reading all this saying, "Where is the collie?"
They are the smartest dog, very likely to stay with the owner, very loyal, and small eaters. (I am talking about real collies here "border collies".
I have had all sorts of dogs, was a dog catcher, was a dog musher – had 35 huskies at a time – (an interesting thing about huskies is they are natural criminals. I must have known 30 other mushers, all had pet dogs, not one was a husky).
Something they have left out is I would make sure I had a bitch, a bread bitch, all those delicious pupps, have her whelp in time for the pups to be big enough to pull a sled come winter (9 – 10 months) and eat them in the spring after break up. They are delicious!
My farm collie that I have now is so smart that even though there is a farm skunk, he never gets sprayed by him, nor have I ever had a collie get any more than one or two quills from a porkupine.
As to protection, a collie would sound a warning, I do not nead a dog for protection. I do not need a dog to do my fighting, although it might be nice to know someone is coming around.
Charlie Smith


Nick August 31, 2011 at 8:26 am

Sounds like an incredible dog. What a collection of qualities! I'll bet she's pretty too, with the akita in her.


john August 10, 2012 at 5:04 am

I don't believe your dog killed a pittbull almost 35% bigger than your dog let alone it killing one the same size or smaller than your dog. Sorry but that is not at all believable. pit bulls are the toughest fighting dogs on earth and the only dogs that contend with bulls ; bears ; wild boar ; and most importantly each other. they were bred for hundreds of years to kill. Only dog like creature that could contend is a wild wolf or hyena. A champion fighting pitbull will lose to none which is evidenced by them being the only breed specifically bred for fighting. and F.Y.I my female 50 pound pit pulled 7,800 lbs on a pull cart at the last weight pulling competition and was only bested by two other pit bulls. There is no other breed that can match the physical prowess combined with raw strength and absolutely astonishing athletesism of an A.P.B.T. Also to note they are the only breed on earth that can score a perfect 100 on the greuling german F.H. tracking test.


mikellll August 16, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I dont belive your mutt killed a 75 pound pit. i have an akita nad a pit and the pit is the scapper dog. dont get me wrong akitas are tuff but they are not as dog aggressive or as capible as the american pitbull terrier.


Nick August 31, 2011 at 8:28 am

Goldens and Labs must share the fart gene. Awful. But they are nice animals.


KansasScout May 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm

ROFLMFAO! God you've discribed a mix between two dogs that have been pleasures to my family. First there was C. J. (short for Calamity Jane). C. J. was an Alaskan Malamute-Britainy Spaniel mix that had the bulk and markings of the malamute and the head and ear shape and colors of a Britainy. She defended our yards agains squirriels, rabbits, skunks, opossums, etc. Actually she was meeting new friends and playing with them. She would through them into the air and catch them after they returned to the Earth until for some reason she couldn't understand her playmates didn't get up again. Gophers were here favorite playmates. She usually played ball with them. The gopher was the ball. After a play session she would bark at the latest playmate not understanding that she played with them to death.


hillbillywldmn February 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm

you have a point, most people just link all molosseler breeds like the pits, the bulldogs and all other large chest,square ear types and flat-type muzzles all together. I have owned a fewpits, and boxers, and even a dogge-de-borduex. and all are fine breeds.


Bob March 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm

i grew up having a Ridgeback cross as a companion / family dog as a kid into my teen years. Similar display of temperament as mentioned above. Ours was a mix / pure bread father / shepard, lab mother.
He was a big boy at 110lb in shape but retained the Ridgeback look. His head rested on the kitchen table when standing on all 4's.
Strong as hell. He pulled his dog house + 15 feet of chain around the yard like he was on wheels.

Personality much like a human. i swear he understood conversations and gave feedback accordingly. (He learned new commands very quickly and easily) Great with family and kids/babies close friends but always alert to who was coming and going regardless of who it was he would let you know a car was in th drive way before they finished getting down the lane. High intimidation factor. Deep loud bark that gave no mixed messages as to what was on the other side of the door should you decide to open it.

As mentioned above they are great protectors and family friends – we were told on many occasions by people dropping in when we were not home that no way would they have opened the door to come in with him there. This dog is what i would consider instinctively to be a true family guard dog. Down side though when the mood was right and if he decided to run for what ever reason his prey drive would take over and nothing would stop him. He always came back but their was no telling when… 10 minutes – 10 hours

Also watching dogs at the park most will play running side to side darting around you. This dog on occasion will just run you over. Typically from behind with a shoulder into you knee taking your legs out from under you. I read about it and it is a trait bread into them for hunting. (it's like a train hitting you from behind)

Over all like most people who love their pets he was the best dog ever. Very alert to things well beyond human capability.

Only issues as mentioned the occasional will to take off on solo tours
and he was terrified of thunder storms. The only thing that would get him to calm down was if he could sit or be touching one of us.

If I had the proper space for one of these dogs i would get one in a heartbeat again.


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 2:09 pm

My family was also saved by our RRs. Amazing dogs.


magnesiumninja5 May 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

Although the mutt has its advantages, I would go with the ridgeback. The reason for this is because one can teach a dog to be obedient, loyal, and it will at least give you a heads up as to if someone is nearby. Also, you can build a well insulated pen for it in the "extreme cold weather."


KansasScout May 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

The other dog is my sister's current yellow lab, Sabrina. Sabrina is more of the scare the small animals out of the yard and leave area denial devices behing (landmines). She also believes in using bio-chemical warfare (farts that you can notice twenty to thirty feet away from her.)


mikelll August 16, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Akitas are bad but they are no pitbull. i couldnt have said it better than you my friend. a 35 pound pit could tare a 50 pound mutt to peaces. In all likely hood the pitbull is much stronger on top of that faster. Pitbull tenacity can not be matched, they will fight till the death even if near fatally wounded. Used to hunt everthing from bear to boar to something as small as a rat. A pitbull is the best survivle dog because they can be trained to do anything and do it well. I believe a pitbull can do anything. a pitbull can take dogwn large game as well and pull it home for you too. I know because when i go hunting i dont carry anything…..


Kristin September 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

The Fila is an amazing dog, I owned one who weighed 200 pounds. He had clipped ears and tail and was high temperament, he was prone to wanting to attack anything not in our household. We stopped him from attacking but he was a menace. His bark was very loud and ferocious. He had the height of a Great Dane and the Body of a Mastiff. His name was Uno. All people and dogs ran in his presence. I have never seen another animal like this; he also ate a lot!


Nanook September 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Well, I'll tell ya….I carry a pistol because I can't always carry a rifle. But, the pistol just might get me out of trouble long enough to get to my rifle. I feel the same about a small dog (except the sheltie, I love shelties). The only, & I mean only reason I';d have a small dog was because I couldn't get a large dog. I'm funnin' with ya, alittle, but really, if I had a small dog it would be a Sheltie. They have heart, brains & guts. They are extremely loyal to their family, too.


Nanook September 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Ashley, have you ever taken your Akita out in a large space off leash? Did you see how he stays out in front of you around 50 to 100 yards, watching over his shoulder to where you are heading? That's because the Japs actually used them for hunting, and he thinks he is your point man. Used to drive me nuts….till I found out what he was doing. Also, I was never around one that didn't suffer from BO.


Chakory November 4, 2012 at 12:14 am

haha same here i have a rottie and a chiuahua and the chiuahua is the boss
o my rottie looks mean and scary but the chiuahua has a mean strike to her she wil act kind until you try something with my kids the rottie just has a big head and mouth but he is my hunting dog
here in belium he hunt big and smal game with me now for a bug out i woul take my rottie i love my other dog too but the rottie can help me get my food and protect my family better then smaler dogs so i would say get a big working dog


Chakory November 4, 2012 at 12:15 am

srry *belgium


Nix November 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I agree! So loyal and very easy to command!


Sarah November 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

I like Malinois, but I think I prefer the slightly more compact Dutch Shepard.

I have a nine year old (pet) that has proven herself a hunter of small animals, although she was never taught to share. She has a very high guarding instinct, and even though she is only 45lbs can jump a six foot fence with ease. They seem to have a very high pain tolerance (much like an Airedale) as I have often found wounds that required stitching a few days later. She is loyal to a fault (not my husbands best friend).. but I can trust her whole hardily with my toddler.

Just another consideration.. since they do not require as much food.


groffeaston December 12, 2013 at 1:31 am

When I was a Teen, we had a mutt, a Black Lab/Doberman mix. We got him from the SCPA when he was 9 months old and we could not have had a better pet! He was such a loyal, friendly, guy. But don't try and come into our house when you are not supposed to! I remember one time my older brother who is about 20 years older than me, was supposed to come pick up my dad to go hunting. Our dog was in my room sleeping on my bed heard my brother come into the house. Our dog started barking up a storm. My brother figured; he would come up and let him out of my room, thinking 'the dog knows me and likes me so he will come out and be quiet." Well, that did not work! As soon as my brother opened the door, our dog was right there growling and showing his teeth! Would not let my brother come into my room and our dog would not come out! lol My brother kept saying: "Peanuts, it me Jake. You know me." then he asked him if he: "Do you want to go out for a walk?" That would normally get our dog running right to the font door or to where his leash was. But he still would not move an inch! Peanuts keep growling and snarling and showing his teeth! My brother finally gave up and closed the door and went back down stairs! lol Peanuts finally was quiet after I told him: " be quiet, it is only Jake." Then he came over and laid down right by my bed and continued to growl softly. lmao


ken June 22, 2014 at 9:19 pm

You have to be crazy to have a Malinois unless you can be devoted to it like it is your full time job.


Natalie August 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

So true! No wonder they say " Once you owned RR, you can not have other dogs". Other dogs are dogs, RR is something different, kind of a dog with a soul. Its an amazing breed.


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