Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions

Written by Colby Maxwell
Published: July 1, 2022
Image Credit Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:

Dogs truly are man’s best friend. Whether it’s a family-oriented snuggler or a hard-working field dog, there is a breed for almost any job that humans have come up with. One of the most notable things that dogs are used for is protection. All dogs can be protective, but certain breeds have been bred and trained for years to be the best guardians around.

Today, we will explore some breeds that may be perfect for anyone looking to hike in mountain lion territory! As the outdoor activities increase with the weather, having a companion join you on your hike may be the best thing you can do. Let’s discover the best dog breeds to protect against mountain lions!

Can a dog protect you from a mountain lion?

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
Cougars are large cats and, although not usually aggressive, have been involved in attacks on humans.

iStock.com/SandmanXX

15,818 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Before we start, it’s important to know that no dog, regardless of the breed, would be able to take on a full-grown mountain lion solo. Mountain lions are apex predators with the ability to kill elk, mule deer, and coyotes with ease. A domesticated dog wouldn’t stand much of a chance, despite what Where the Red Fern Grows tells us.

Still, having a dog around you can act as a deterrent for any predators that would otherwise have a go at you. As a general rule, predators like bears and cougars are opportunistic and don’t really want to risk getting hurt attacking two creatures, especially if one is barking and snarling.

With that in mind, we made a list of some of the best dogs that you could have that wouldn’t hesitate to protect you in the case of an emergency. While there are literally hundreds of amazing and protective dog breeds, we tailored this list for a few reasons.

Although some dogs are great protectors, they are much too big for hiking in habitats where a chance mountain lion occurrence could happen. A Mastiff, for example, would be a great deterrent, but they don’t make great hiking companions due to their size and stamina.

Our list has dogs with:

  1. Strong protective instincts
  2. Stamina and agility for hiking
  3. Physical size

Let’s get started.

A list of the most protective breeds for hiking

1. Akita

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
The Akita was bred in Japan to protect royal families and hunt bears.

Erika Tcogoeva/Shutterstock.com

The Akita is an ancient dog breed that was originally bred in Japan as a protector of the royal families and to hunt bears.

Akitas are exceptional protectors and are known for their regal and headstrong nature. The drive to protect is so strong in this breed that early socialization is very important for them. Akitas are usually 20-30 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 120 lbs.

As far as guardians go, Akitas are among the best and a clear deterrent for predators. The only thing to be mindful of is their coat. They have thick double coats that could cause them to overheat if you are hiking during the summer.

2. Belgian Malinois

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
There are few working dogs with the drive, energy, and intelligence that a Belgian Malinois has.

iStock.com/RKSS

Belgian Malinois are among the most versatile dogs on the planet. They are widely used as police dogs, drug dogs, herding, obedience, and more. These dogs can be trained to do nearly anything, as a quick YouTube search will show. With a sturdy and athletic build, they are prime for highly athletic households. Mals are usually 22-26 inches tall and weigh 44-66 lbs.

Mals are wonderful dogs that wouldn’t hesitate to lay their lives down for the owner they love. As highly athletic working dogs, they won’t have any trouble keeping up with a human on the trail, either. The only concern with Mals is that they require extensive training and care in order not to become destructive.

3. Doberman or Beauceron

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
The Doberman and the Beauceron are wonderful companions and marvelous guardians.

eAlisa/Shutterstock.com

The Beauceron, an ancient French breed, and one of the later breeds created from it, the Doberman, are widely recognized as some of the best guardian dogs around. Although the Doberman is more famous, the Beauceron is actually much older and was one of the breeds that were used to create the modern Doberman.

Both dogs are strongly built and incredibly athletic, although the Doberman is leaner and more angled, while the Beauceron is quite a bit thicker. Dobermans are usually 25-28 inches tall and weigh 71-100 lbs. Beaucerons are usually 24-28 inches tall and weigh 66-115 lbs.

There isn’t much that is needed to be said about Dobermans. They are agile, intelligent, and magnificent guardians. Beaucerons are like thicker versions of Dobermans. They are hard-working, intelligent, and natural herders and guardians.

4. German Shepherds

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
German Shepherds are among the best all-purpose dog breeds around.

TanyaCPhotography/Shutterstock.com

German Shepherds are among the most famous dogs today. They were bred as all-purpose dogs and are often recognized among the finest breeds in their fields. German Shepherds are large dogs with sharp minds and wonderful demeanors. They are usually 22-26 inches tall and weigh 50-88 lbs.

A healthy adult German Shepherd is one of the finest guardians in all of the world. German Shepherds would, without a doubt, lay their lives down in order to protect their families. Whether it’s a cougar, bear, or wolf, a German Shepherd would charge headlong to save their loved ones.

5. Pit Bull Breeds

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
Pit bull breeds are incredibly strong, protective, and loving.

Sophia Tr/Shutterstock.com

Although it isn’t commonly known, there are multiple breeds within the “put bull” category. Some of the common breeds are the American Bully, the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bulldog.

Although many of these breeds are different in a few ways, they share similar traits, namely their aptitude for protection. These dogs are incredibly powerful and have courage that can be astounding to watch.

Sadly, many of these breeds have a bad reputation, often due to their protective natures and use in fighting rings. If you know one personally, however, you know how amazing they are. Despite being outclassed by mountain lions in size, their heroic drive and courage abound.

6. Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
Rhodesian Ridgebacks are from South Africa and were historically used to track lions.

Osetrik/Shutterstock.com

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have become more popular in recent years, but not without reason. These dogs are fearless and ferocious when acting as guard dogs but love their families and a good snuggle at home. Additionally, they are incredibly athletic and powerfully built, perfect for keeping up on a long hike. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are usually 24-28 inches tall and weigh 77-100 lbs.

This breed is well-known for the distinct ridge running down its back, giving it its name. Rhodesian Ridgebacks were originally bred to track and bay lions, making them the perfect option for people looking for dogs with some experience! To be clear, Rhodesian Ridgebacks never killed lions, but they did track and bay them as a pack.

7. Rottweilers

Best Dog Breeds to Protect Against Mountain Lions
Rottweilers are well known to be powerful, protective, and loyal, famous for their instinct for guarding.

iStock.com/Jana Richter

The Rottweiler is a superbly strong dog that descends from the ancient mastiffs that the Romans used in battle thousands of years ago. In a home, Rottweilers are silly playmates and wonderful friends. In the field, they are world-class guardians that are still used today. They are usually 22-27 inches tall and weigh 77-132 lbs.

Rottweilers work as cart dogs, protectors, herders, and drivers all around the world. In fact, they get their name from the region of Rottweil, where they began pulling butcher carts. Although they are quite large, they have great stamina and would make wonderful protectors for anyone hiking where there are mountain lions around.

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
Rottweiler Teeth - Ferocious Rottweiler

Lukas Gojda/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:
About the Author

Colby is a freelance writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. When he isn't distracted by his backyard birdfeeder, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone around him about what he's recently learned. There's a whole world to learn about and Colby is content to spend his life learning as much as he can about it!

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.