Are Collies Good Guard Dogs? (Can they defend you?)

Collies do not make good guard dogs. Collies have been bred as herding dogs and have a strong herding instinct and a strong affinity for working with humans. As such, collies lack the attack instinct found in some other breeds like German Shepherds, which are often used as guard dogs.

Although they aren’t great as guard dogs, collies still have a protective instinct towards their owner and will bark if they see something or someone they don’t like, making them excellent watch dogs.

In this article, we’ll explore why a collie is a poor choice for a guard dog, go over some of the differences between guard dogs and watch dogs, and also some other roles that collies are great at instead.

What Makes a Dog a Good Guard Dog?

All dogs are descended from wolves and at some level possess the same basic lupine instincts of hunting and consuming prey.

Over time as humans have bred dogs for different purposes, some instinctual behavior has been lessened in each breed, according to their function.

A good guard dog is a breed that has been bred to retain or enhance the attack and consume predatory instincts from their wolf ancestors. Examples of good guard dog breeds are German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers.

Why don’t collies make good guard dogs?

Collies don’t make good guard dogs because they are not aggressive. Collies have been bred specifically to aid with herding sheep and have a strong chase instinct, but thanks to selective breeding for cooperativeness collies are usually not aggressive.

If you observe a team of Collies rounding up sheep, you can see their lupine chase instincts kicking in as they effortlessly corral the sheep in to their pen.

Collie Guard Dog
Luna keeping a watchful eye over the cat to make sure it’s not a threat

Do Collies Make Good Watch Dogs?

Collies aren’t great guard dogs, but they do make excellent watch dogs.

Although collies have had their attack instinct mostly bred out of them, they are an extremely intelligent breed and are quick to notice when something is out of place.

Collies will bark and growl if they see something or someone they don’t like, alerting you (and your neighbors) to the problem. This makes collies excellent watch dogs.

Would my Collie Protect Me?

Collies are not naturally aggressive dogs, but they have been bred to work closely with humans over hundreds of years so form a very close connection with their owners.

When collies are faced with a fight or flight situation their natural instinct is flight, however they will protect themselves and their owner if backed in to a corner and will definitely growl and bark if they decide someone is a threat to you.

Collie lying upside down
Luna on high alert for any intruders

Will a Border Collie Protect Chickens?

Collies are not natural guard dogs since they are not aggressive, however they are one of the most intelligent breeds out there. Collies are extremely observant and pick up on the slightest subtleties that humans and even other dog breeds would miss.

Although collies are not naturally aggressive, they are very loud and will bark and growl if they hear a fox or other would-be chicken predators around the chicken coop, which will be enough to deter all but the most determined foxes.

Are Collies Protective Dogs?

Collies have been bred specifically to work with humans over hundreds of years. They are extremely intelligent and form a very close bond with their owner.

They are overprotective of their owners, barking and growling at any perceived threat however they are more likely to run than fight since their attack instincts have been lessened by selective breeding.

Will a Collie Protect Livestock?

Collies and other herding breeds are often used to protect livestock. Although collies are not naturally aggressive, their loud barking and high observation ability makes them perfect for alerting the farmer to any problems.

Why do Collies Bark so Much?

Collies of all types have been selectively bred over hundreds of years as working dogs for farmers.

This results in their high intelligence, friendly disposition, agility, and their tendency to bark.

Working on the farm, collies would use barking to control the sheep herd, as a way to warn their owners about strangers or potential predators, and as a way to get the farmer’s attention.

Collie instincts are to work cooperatively with people, so it makes sense that they are more communicative than some other breeds.

Even pet collies maintain much of this instinctual behavior and barking is part of the deal when you have a collie.

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

I'm an experienced collie owner from Scotland. I started Colliepedia to share everything I know about collies. All the pictures you see on colliepedia are of my beloved collie Luna

Learn More about me and Luna's story on the about page!