German shepherds have topped a ranking of the most popular personal protection dogs. Analysis from animal research firm Pet Breeds revealed the canines, which are often used for search and rescue operations, are highly sought after due to their obedience, fierce bite and trainability.
The analysis was based on Animal Planet data and the 2014 American Kennel Club Popularity Rankings. The final list had 29 breeds of dog, with German shepherds beating poodles to the top spot.
Poodles, the national dog of France, are military dogs that were originally used for duck and bird hunting. They are known for their intelligence and loving nature.
Some 48,000 German Shepherds were enlisted in the German Army during the First World War, according the UK Kennel Club. The breed is fiercely loyal and typically live approximately ten years.
“The protective nature of this famous breed makes them exceptional guardians of the home,” Pet Breeds stated.
Rounding out the top five were Doberman pinschers in third, and Australian shepherds and mastiffs in fourth and fifth respectively. Dobermans also originated in Germany, and were bred in the early 20th century.
Bull terriers, chow chows and Rhodesian ridgebacks also made it into the top ten, while Giant Schnauzers, Great Pyrenees and German wirehaired pointers made the top 15.
The criteria for the Pet Breeds rankings were that canines on the list must have strong watchdog abilities and be large or giant in size. Selected dogs should also have reputations as protectors and not be prone to barking.