What Are the Best Kinds of Dogs for Preppers to Own?

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Dog Breed for Preppers InfoGraphicI have an interesting question for you today. Have you ever given any thought about what the perfect type of dog would be for a prepper to own? If not, well, you’re not alone. Until recently, this thought hadn’t actually occurred to me either.

Unfortunately, we recently lost our beloved English Mastiff to bone cancer. This was especially difficult for my husband as this was HIS dog. We adopted her and she chose him right away.

Now that we find ourselves with a void in our lives, we’ve been talking about getting another dog and the thought that occurred to me was, if I was going to pick a dog that would be ideally suited for a prepper, what would it be?

When thinking about this, it reminded me of a concept that many preppers believe in and that is that in a survival situation, if you are going to make it through the crisis, everyone has to contribute in some way. It’s my opinion that a group, when working together, is much stronger as a whole than if all of the people in the group are on their own. Think of a wolf pack; a pack of wolves is much stronger and more dangerous than several lone wolves.

With this in mind, I think that it would probably be a good idea for our family to select a dog that won’t just be dead weight but rather one that will be able to contribute to helping the family survive in a crisis.

We’re not at the point that we’re ready to make our decision yet but I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you in this article. Below are three things that have been on our minds as we have been trying to make our selection.

  • One strategy would be to choose a dog that could help secure food. This would most likely be some type of hunting dog. A dog that is breed for and trained to hunt could help our family secure food if we ever have to bug out and leave our home. Some thoughts that come to mind are German Shorthaired Pointers, Labrador Retrievers, or perhaps a breed that specializes in hunting small game such as rabbits.
  • My second thought would be choosing a dog that could “pull his own weight”. I mean this in the literal sense. A large breed of dog such as a Newfoundland or Bernese Mountain Dog that is bred for draft work could be trained to pull a cart full of survival supplies. These larger breeds could also be helpful in carrying things as they make very nice backpacks that are especially designed for dogs to carry. One drawback to this strategy would be that they would need to eat more since they are bigger dogs so we would have to account for the extra food that they would require.
  • My last thought would be to get a breed that could help with security such as a German Shepherd or Doberman Pinscher. Not only could they act as a deterrent to people who might have intentions of harming your family or at the very least, stealing your family’s supplies, they could actually help protect your family from these types of people.

Does This Rule Out Small Breeds?

My initial thought was that small breeds should immediately be ruled out since they wouldn’t really be able to “contribute” to helping our family survive. Then I remembered that my mother-in-law has a little Miniature Schnauzer that already serves as an EXCELLENT early warning system. Anytime someone drives up in their driveway, knocks on their door, or even walks into their yard, he starts barking loudly. A dog that could do the job of alerting you to people who may be approaching, could be extremely helpful. Sure, any of the dogs that I’ve already described could perform this job but an advantage of a small breed would be that they eat very little so we wouldn’t have to pack as much dog food as we would for a larger dog.

Some Other Factors to Consider

Some other things that are worth considering are:

  • Is the breed relatively healthy in general? The last thing we want to be worried about is dealing with a dog that is prone to a lot of health problems since we may not have easy access to a veterinarian. This brings up something that is important to consider. If your dog has to be on medications for an existing health condition, make sure that you have plenty put back for a rainy day.
  • What are the breed’s grooming needs? In a survival situation, there will be many chores that need attending to. Spending hours grooming the family pet could detract from your focus as well as consume valuable time and resources. Another way of looking at this is if you have a family with children. If you do, the chore of grooming your pet could give children something to occupy their time and provide them with a sense that they are contributing in some way.

What Are Your Thoughts?

As you can see, there are many things to consider if you’re selecting a dog with the intention of them helping you survive during a major natural disaster or doomsday scenario. As mentioned above, we’re still contemplating which breed will be right for us. My current thoughts are that a dog that is versatile and one that can fill as many of the roles outlined in this article as possible would be ideal.

I’m really curious to know what breed you would select if you were choosing a dog strictly from a preppers perspective. Please take a minute and share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

Knowledge is Power!

Thanks for stopping by but before you leave, I suggest that you take some time to read my article called How To Learn Morse Code For Survival Situations.

16 Responses to “What Are the Best Kinds of Dogs for Preppers to Own?”

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  1. Sandra says:

    Small breeds are great as alarms… nothing gets past them. Other smaller dogs such as the Terrier types and Dachshunds are good for vermin protection.

    A better hunting dog, besides a German Shorthaired Pointer would be a gun dog, there are several Hound breeds, or a retriever, like a Golden Retriever. You will want dogs from a hunting line, not a “pet” line.

    German Shepherd or Doberman Pinscher are VERY VERY SMART dogs. Really, they can be very smart and can do several tasks. They also can get bored and do very destructive behavior if there is not enough work or challenges to keep them occupied.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Good points Sandra. Thanks for your insight!

  2. Zach Swinehart says:

    A Jagdterrier is hands down one of the best hunting breeds out there. Gritty hunters who can be trusted with the family.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Hi Zach,

      I have to admit that I’ve never even heard of this breed. I’ll have to do some research on it. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Joie says:

    A versatile hunting dog would get my vote. We have a wirehaired pointing griffon – similar to a German wirehaired pointer but allegedly better family dogs. He is an excellent retriever and would be a great tracker if we took the time to train him. Extremely intelligent. Bonus: minimal shedding. I wouldn’t hesitate to get another when ours goes.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Hi Joie,

      I hadn’t considered that breed but I’ll have to add it to the list of possibilities. We had a German Shorthaired Pointer years ago and she was a very tenacious hunter but not much of a watch dog.

      Thanks for your idea and comment!

  4. Kathryn Rogers says:

    I never thought about what type of dog would be best in a survival situation before reading this article. However, I think I may have accidentally chosen the perfect dog for my family. We have a pit bull & blue heeler mix that is great with my daughter, extremely loyal and protective, a good hunter, good at alarming us to anyone approaching our house, strong enough to carry a pack, and highly intelligent. He’s not quite 5 months old, but has already shown all these attributes, and proven himself to be an excellent guard dog, as well as companion. I’m very happy in my choice of puppy.

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Wow Kathryn,

      Sounds like you lucked out. As I mentioned in my article I’ve never looked at choosing a dog from a preppers perspective either. It’s been very interesting now that we’re including these factors in the selection of our next dog.

      Thanks for your comment!

  5. Kelly says:

    All of the breeds mentioned are amazing dogs that have been bred with skills to perform a variety of tasks…so you can’t go wrong with any of them. You know your family and families needs best. Having stated that my vote goes to a medium sized breed, a soft coated wheaten terrier. I Love this breed for so many reasons. … They are tenacious multi-taskers outside. They were bred to work the farm: herding, ratting, watch-dog, tracking, retrieving, and playmate too. They’re compact enough to go everywhere, yet big enough to run with the pack. They’re great companions because they know how to follow the pack leader, yet when left to act alone, are independent thinkers capable of making quick decisions. They’ve enough energy to keep an eye on a group of children and silly enough to keep them enertained for hours. Just like the terrier breed wheaties don’t shed. But they do have silky fur that needs grooming. On the plus side, they can adapt to any weather. Inside, wheatens know how to snuggle up and settle down. I had a wheaten mix who was my best friend growing up. I’ve had numerous breeds before and since, yet the soft coated personality and loyalty won my heart. I thought maybe I’d had a one-time lucky chance, but last year my family was blessed with another wheaten and I can now say with confidence that it truly is the whole breed. Great companions and working dogs.

    • Patty Hahne says:


      Thanks for your insight into this matter. I can honestly say that I hadn’t considered this particular breed but now that you’ve mentioned their fine qualities, I’ll have to do some research into them.

      Thanks for you comment!

  6. Patty says:

    most dogs can catch their own food if given the opportunity. I prefer one that is fast, is protective and obeys wholeheartedly. Got one!

    • Patty Hahne says:

      Good point Patty. We used to have a German Shorthaired Pointer who would hunt for squirrels all day long if we let her. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Thomas Cole says:

    Versatility is the key of the around the farm dog. Breeds like the Australian Sheppard and in some cases Border Collies are nice because they are small, smart, have a great sense of smell and are brave beyond belief. I have seen Aussies hunt small game and bring it home to share. They hate rats. Even the strongest of men will fall when they get ahold of him. Most importantly, they eat light and are very low maintenance.

  8. Kevin Moulder says:

    I found this article interesting because I have a 1 year old German Shepherd. I got him before I “discovered” all of this prepping/surviving lifestyle but realized that I wouldnt choose any other dog. He is VERY smart as a previous poster said, he actually learned how to unlock and open the sliding glass door by himself. He has already protected my mother and her two beagle mix dogs from a pit-bull yesterday.

    I am buying a MOLLE harness for him and will attach MOLLE bags that will carry his own supplies such as emergency vet medical kit, extra leash, dog boots (yes those are important in rockier locations), his dog food, portable bowls for water and food and some energy type treats that are good for him.

    He provides protection, love, loyalty and im sure he could bring me a rabbit if I asked him to (he knows the names of every toy he has and will retrieve them on command). He also acts as a warning system because he is constantly alert, and being that he is so loyal, he will go every where I go. he wont run off and always keeps an eye on me.

  9. Madison says:

    I have a 6 month old Queensland Heeler lab mix that fills all if these tasks. She is an EXCELLENT hunting dog, as well as rat killer, she guards me with great alertness, and is muscular enough to carry a well packed bag. She guards our land with great care and is also quite loveable. I’m very happy with my family dog

  10. lauren says:

    You might want to consider an medium mutt, they tend to be healthier and you could save an four legged friends life if you adopted, as well as the fact you could get an mix such as an shepard/hound mix which could do multi duty! perhaps you should also look into other animals for both enjoyment and prepping such as an aquaponics system with something like goldfish being they are just a fancy carp and in an large enough system can easily reach an pound….

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