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Dogs and home insurance: what you need to know

Did you know that dogs could impact your home insurance? No, we’ve not gone barking mad. Having a dog can mean more than just a furry best friend. It could also mean added security, or potentially additional damage, which you might have to claim on your home insurance policy.

An image of a brown Labrador licking its face

 
 

We explore the best breed of dog for keeping your home safe, while also looking at which breeds might pose a higher risk to your home and the contents inside. See who’s been a good boy or girl, and who needs to spend a little more time at doggy day care.

 

The best guard dogs

Having a guard dog could make your home feel much safer. Not only is it likely to put a burglar off, but it can also provide extra comfort if you’re ever home alone. Think of it like an alarm, just much more fun to play fetch with.

An asset showing the top 10 best guard dogs

1. Bullmastiff

It's no shock to see bullmastiffs at the top of our guard dog list. These big breeds boast a muscular build, and have a frame imposing enough to deter all but the most determined burglar. They require around 2 hours of exercise every day to keep them active, but can be trained to be very obedient and incredibly loyal. This is the ideal combination for any good guard dog.

2. Doberman Pinscher

These dogs can be wonderful family pets if trained properly, making them an ideal security companion. They’re a medium build breed of dog, but their incredible power and speed make them a dog not to be messed with. You might recognise Doberman Pinschers from many films where they’ve been used as a deterrent, and there’s a good reason why.

3. Rottweiler

Rottweilers are very loyal to their owners, but can be trained professionally to be less friendly towards strangers. They can be medium or large dogs, and while they start off as cute puppies, soon grow into a muscular obstacle for any intruder.

4. Komondor

This dog might not look that menacing, but don’t let its huge fleece deceive you. Komondors have been used as guard dogs for centuries, especially when it comes to guarding sheep. The big breed can easily fend off predators, while its look helps it blend in with livestock. Around your home, expect a big best friend that will do all it can to defend you.

5. Puli

Just like the Komondor, Pulis were bred to defend livestock. They’re a smaller breed of Hungarian sheep-dog, but still pack a powerful punch. Their instinct is to protect their family.

 

The best watch dogs

Watch dogs are slightly different from guard dogs. While both will keep a lookout for anyone breaking in, a watch dog’s main job is to alert you. They’ll bark at the intruder and wake you up, while a guard dog will act as your personal bodyguard if needed.

An asset showing the top 10 best watch dogs

1. Rottweiler

The third best guard dog is the best watch dog. Rottweilers can be very protective, but can also be trained just to bark, while their sheer physical presence might be enough to put most people off.

2. German Shepherd

One of the most obedient dogs of all, German Shepherds are a large and incredibly loyal species. They have an excellent sense of smell, so will notice any changes around them and alert you if any of them are a threat.

3. Scottish Terrier

Unlike other dogs on our list, Scottish Terriers are much more bark than they are bite. One of the smaller watch dogs, their incessant barking will be sure to wake you up if anyone tries to get in. They’re incredibly intelligent dogs and react very well to praise, so with good training you’ll have a little soldier ready to take commands.

4. West Highland White Terrier

Fun loving, inquisitive and very energetic, Westies make a great family dog with added security. They’ve also got an eye for anything unexpected, and unusual sounds will see their little tails wagging and their barks ringing around your home.

5. Miniature Schnauzer

These dogs can be pretty stubborn, but if trained well from a young age, they’ll make excellent allies. They’re very intelligent and can pick up signs if something is wrong. They’re also fiercely loyal, so won’t accept any strangers trying to cause harm.

 

Pointers cause more home damage than any other dog breed

While some dogs are good for your home (and all dogs can be great friends), there are others that might cause you a few headaches. These dogs may cause more damage around your house than any other breed unless they’re trained effectively and given plenty of exercise. Their nature makes them love fun and activities, so if you don’t provide them with stimulation, they may get their kicks elsewhere.

We’ve used Google search volumes for dog breeds and damage to determine which dog could leave you claiming the most on your home insurance policy.

An asset showing the top 10 most dog-damaged items

1. Pointers and clothes

Pointers love getting involved with your washing. Because of their heritage, they’re designed to rummage in the undergrowth to find the spoils from a hunt. As far as they’re concerned, a pile of freshly washed clothes offers just the same opportunity.

2. Cavapoos and furniture

Small, fluffy and very playful, it’s cavapoos’ excitable nature that makes them a hazard to household furniture. Expect to see them zooming around your living room, tracking muddy footprints across anything that gets in their path. Exercise and lots of fuss is a good cure to this troublesome problem.

3. Cavapoos and shoes

Sorry, cavapoos, you’re here again. The breed isn’t the only kind of dog that loves playing with shoes, but they can be the trickiest to deal with. They love playing with people, so any attempt to try and remove the shoe from their mouths might just be seen as you joining in.

4. Bernese and doors

These dogs just don’t understand how big they are. Bernese mountain dogs are one of the largest breeds around, and one of them running will be too much for many doors to withstand. Expect head-shaped holes unless they’re routinely exercised.

5. Rottweilers and paper

Rottweilers are another dog breed that require lots of activity. If they get bored, their attention could soon turn to your home, leaving trails of shredded paper behind them. Keep your mail up high and any filing locked away, or the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse could soon come true.

 

The most obedient dogs

One of the main signs of a good dog is obedience. The following dogs named in our top 10 are excellent family friends, famed for their ability to follow commands, and deter uninvited guests.

We’ve used Google search volumes for dog breeds and damage to determine which dog could leave you claiming the most on your home insurance policy.

The top 10 most obedient dogs

Rank Breed
1
Border Collie
2
Poodle
3
German Shepherd
4
Golden Retriever
5
Doberman Pinscher
6
Shetland Sheepdog
7
Labrador Retriever
8
Papillon
9
Rottweiler
10
Australian Cattle Dog

1. Border Collie

You might recognise Border Collies from the countryside, and that’s because they started out life as sheep-herding dogs. Generations of training and following orders has evolved the breed into the most obedient dog around. They can follow the most precise instructions, making them excellent working dogs and brilliant pets around the house. 

2. Poodle

Didn’t expect to see poodles here, did you? While these dogs are better known for being accessories of the rich and famous, they’re also very easy to train, and love being around people. If they see you as an authority figure, they’ll work hard to please you, making them very obedient and lots of fun to have around.

3. German Shepherd

There’s a reason German Shepherds are commonly used as police dogs: they’re generally easy to train. German Shepherds are very energetic, and require a lot of exercise to stop them getting bored. If you keep them active and interested, they’ll follow your every demand. For the police, that might involve tracking down criminals or hunting for evidence. For you, that could just be, “Sit, roll over and fetch.”

4. Golden Retriever

Perhaps one of the friendliest dog breeds around, Golden Retrievers love little more than long walks and resting their heads on their people’s laps. They’re incredibly loyal, and will bond with anyone that gives them a good fuss. The only downside is that they leave a lot of hair behind, so be prepared to invest in a good vacuum cleaner.

5. Doberman Pinscher

Not only are Doberman Pinschers great guard dogs, they’re also excellent dogs to train. Because of their occasionally aggressive nature, training from a young age is essential. If you do that well, they’ll be loyal for life, providing excellent company and almost unbeatable home protection.

 

The biggest deterrent for burglars

It’s not just dogs that may put burglars off, although they could definitely help. We’ve used data from a burglar deterrent survey to see which dogs deterred them most. The survey revealed the sound of a barking dog was the second most likely thing to deter them, the first being a CCTV camera. Listed below are all the other things we’ve found most likely to stop burglars trying to gain access to your home.

An asset showing the top 10 best burglar deterrents

1. CCTV cameras

According to the Office of National Statistics, 49% of all burglaries happen during the night. That makes CCTV all the more important. This can capture anyone attempting to break in, while the sight of cameras alone may be enough to put most criminals off. You can get a range of systems installed, including ones that live in your doorbell and can catch would-be thieves unaware.

2. The sound of a barking dog

As mentioned earlier, dogs are a big put-off for burglars. Hearing one bark as they try to break in should stop most of them in their tracks, as they don’t want to risk getting injured. Dog barks also alert attention, something burglars definitely want to avoid.

3. Strong, heavy doors

Modern doors are much harder to break down than older varieties. They’re built to survive any attempt at kicking them in, and often come with multi-locking systems that are much more challenging to bypass.

4. A turned-on TV

While leaving your TV on overnight isn’t advisable, if thieves hear it during the evening it’s a good sign that you’re home. A quiet, dark house is a lot more inviting than one that looks active.

5. Locked UPVC windows

Just like modern doors, modern windows pose a real obstacle to any burglars. They can’t be moved from their frames, and when locked, are too strong to break through without a lot of effort.

 

How dogs can affect your home insurance

Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com comments:

“Dogs bring so much joy to our lives. Having a constant companion and bodyguard is a great incentive to buy or adopt, and having that added layer of security in the home is certainly a positive too.

“But it’s also no secret that with dogs can come a lot of destruction! From ripped up furniture to damaged belongings, it's likely you’ll be forking out to replace or repair items in the home that have been damaged by your dog. And for this reason, having a dog could have an impact on the price you pay for insurance, as you’re more likely to make a claim for damage.

“While this certainly doesn’t outweigh the joy of having a dog in our lives, it’s something to consider. It’s always best to do your research on home insurance costs before committing, as not all insurers will cover pet damage, so it’s certainly something to check prior to purchasing.”

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