More than ever, we're thinking about ways to keep our families safe.

While some have chosen to purchase a firearm to keep in their home, guard dogs have become more popular for families uneasy about having a firearm in their home.

Ask anyone in law enforcement and most will tell you the K-9s are the most effective deterrent they have.

Before deciding on taking in any dog, it's important to understand the commitment.  Bringing in a dog is akin to having a baby.  It's a long-term commitment.

Do not rush into making this decision.

In my experience in getting to know professional k-9s and their handlers, I was amazed by how smart they are, how powerful they are, and how cute and playful they become when they aren't working.

Dog Breeds That Offer Security For Families

One breed to consider is the Akita.  Good Housekeeping points to their large build and strength.  They are considered to be loyal and protective of those in their pack.

The Doberman Pinscher is deceptively sleek, but they are fast and powerful and Doberman Planet says when properly socialized, they are great with kids.  Further, the Doberman is the only breed bred for personal protection.

Boxers are another great choice for families with children.  Hello Bark makes the point that these dogs are affectionate and love being around children.  They are always on alert for danger.

If Allergies are a Problem, Consider the Giant Schnauzer

For families looking for a hypoallergenic dog, K-9 Integrity Services suggests you consider the Giant Schnauzer.

They don't shed, and their hypoallergenic coats are great for those with allergies.  They are cute and cuddly and fiercely protective of their family.

Do Police K-9s Make Good Family Pets?

The German Shepherd, Czech Shepherd, and Belgian Malinois are commonly used in police work.

Watch them in action, and you might believe there's no way they can be family pets.

These are strong dogs, with great intelligence and are easy to train.  They're fiercely protective of their family.

Surprisingly, they are good with kids.  They are full of energy and love to play.

As with all breeds of dogs (and all pets for that matter), your kids should never be allowed to get physically aggressive with these dogs.  Boundaries should be set.

Regardless of breed, you should never leave young children alone with dogs.  However, if the dog is properly trained, you will have a fierce protector of your family and a best friend for your kids.

A note about the photo used in this story. K-9 Kobe is an active member of the Richland County Sheriff's Office. 

Kobe was recently shot while chasing and apprehending felons who were firing on deputies.  Kobe survived and is expected to make a full recovery.  You can read his story HERE.

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