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golden retriever being protective

Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs?

Despite their reputation as sweethearts, we look at whether Golden Retrievers can be good protective dogs as well.

Golden Retrievers are some of the loveliest, calmest, and most loyal dog breeds in the world. They have a wonderful, gentle nature and make perfect family pets and canine companions.

Goldens are very easy to train and are eager to please, which is why this breed is loved by so many. But are Golden Retrievers good guard dogs?

Golden Retrievers are not naturally good guard dogs as they simply are not bred this way. While they can be protective and loyal, they are not defensive or aggressive. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be good companion dogs and to retrieve small game for hunters. 

Let’s look at the breed and whether Golden Retrievers can be good guard dogs.

General Info About Golden Retrievers

The Golden Retriever is one of America’s favorite dog breeds, and it’s no wonder why. They are highly intelligent, fiercely hard working, as they were originally bred for hunting and field work, but are now commonly used as guides for the blind, and as search and rescue dogs. 

A Golden Retriever will generally be of a medium size with a muscular build, and a dense, long and fluffy coat of golden fur. With a wide head, cute, round eyes and straight muzzle, these dogs are handsome animals. They’re also incredibly friendly, intelligent and perfect for first time dog owners. 

As these dogs have so much energy and high intelligence levels, they do require a lot of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy.

This means giving them lots of exercise, playtime, games and toys. If a Golden Retriever is understimulated, it can become bored, which can lead to destructive, undesirable behaviors that may be hard to quash. 

Golden Retrievers are very soft and gentle in nature, but do be warned that these dogs are known to have a very long and active puppyhood, that seems to stretch on for more than other dog breeds. 

This breed is medium sized, weighing between 55-75 lbs depending on gender, and standing about 22-24 inches tall. As you can imagine, they tend to have golden fur, but some may have light, blonde, white fur and others will be darker and more fox red in color. 

A Golden’s lifespan will be on average 10-12 years, though a rare few have lived to be as old as 20.

When it comes to personality, you can expect a Golden Retriever to thrive off training, as being working dogs, they love having something to do. They also have a lot of energy to burn and love to give, so they’ll need a strong bond and relationship with their owner.

However, these dogs don’t tend to be that difficult. They’re not prone to aggression, barking or any real bad behavioral problems, as long as they are trained and exercised properly. So, if they’re not aggressive in the slightest, are they good protection dogs?   

Attributes That Make A Good Guard Dog

  • Large size
  • Loyal
  • Ability to be aggressive
  • Ability to be vocally intimidating
  • Intelligent
  • Obedient

While Golden Retrievers are large dogs, are very loyal to their owners, are intelligent and obedient, they are not good protection dogs as they are not defensive or aggressive.

Why Golden Retrievers Are Not Good Protection Dogs

Guard dogs are there to look after you, your family, and your home if you need them. They can ward off unwanted visitors, strangers, and other dogs, animals or threats. If you’re looking for a protection dog, then you need to know whether this breed will be right for you.

Some dogs are more prone to protecting their owners fiercely, by baring their teeth, barking, biting, snarling and snapping at potential threats to keep them away, whereas others may just bark to alarm their owners, but are not really suitable (or scary enough) to fight off an intruder. In the case of an intruder, many dog breeds would bark, but upon entry would probably end up licking them to death rather than fighting them off.

Golden Retrievers are not the first dogs that come to mind when you think of a protection dog. You tend to picture a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler. But, due to their loyalty, size, agility, and intelligence, a Golden Retriever will be able to protect you!

That being said, they do have some traits that also make them unsuitable as a protection dog, as they are very sweet and gentle in nature. This means that they may not defend you in the case of an emergency, or fight off any threats because they’re just so nice.

If it’s a protection dog you’re looking for, then go for something more like a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or a Doberman, as these dogs are bred to be protective, and will scare off any intruders with ease!

The Golden Retriever is a protective dog in the sense that they love their owners so much, but they are not useful as protection dogs. Instead, a Golden Retriever will be more suited as a family dog, being loving and affectionate towards you, and they will naturally scare off any smaller threats to the home to keep you all safe.

Why Golden Retrievers Can Be Good Protective Dogs

If you look at our list of protective dog attributes above, a Golden Retriever nearly fits the bill. They are large dogs, with big, booming barks that could easily ward off wrong doers or intruders.

They are also incredibly loyal and love to be around their family. In general, this breed is also very obedient, and is one of the most common breeds to achieve the AKC Obedience Champion titles in competitions, and are often used as guide dogs and service dogs due to their intelligence and eagerness to please.

Examples Of Hero Golden Retrievers

Golden Retriever Wards Off Brown Bear

Golden Retriever Protects Owner From Rattlesnake

Are Golden Retrievers Protective Dogs?

While Golden Retrievers are not protection dogs per se, they do have their own ways of protecting and defending their owners. These dogs are not known to be aggressive or intimidating, but all dogs will try to defend the ones they care about.

Ways Golden Retrievers Protect Their Owners

While Golden Retrievers are not protection dogs per say, they do have their own ways of protecting and defending their owners. These dogs are not known to be aggressive or intimidating, but all dogs will try to defend the ones they care about. 

The most common ways that they will do this is by baring their teeth, barking, placing themselves between you and a potential threat in order to protect their owners.

For the most part, your Golden Retriever will bark to ward off potential threats, and you may find that they’ll do this at the mailman, cars that drive by and people that walk by your home. Whilst this does not seem like a threat to you, it is a threat and stressful to your dog, so they will bark to mark their territory and protect you and its home. 

Another way that a Golden Retriever can protect you is by deterring threats with their size and stature. They are larger dogs, and have deep, booming barks which can scare off burglars or intruders. For example, if someone broke into your home, and could just hear a large dog barking, the chances are that they are going to turn and go the other way. 

Despite not being guard or protection dogs, Golden Retrievers may also bear down and growl when they feel really, extremely threatened. They can also do this to alert you to potential dangers and threats, but it is mostly their way of defending themselves and standing against the threat to protect you. 

However, it does take a lot for a Golden Retriever to really growl at something, and they may only do so if something is really wrong, bothering them, or if they feel really nervous.

In addition to this, a Golden Retriever will try to block the threat by standing between you and the problem. They are such loyal and loving dogs that they will put your first before themselves, and will guard you in that sense. 

Finally, there have been countless stories of Golden Retrievers stepping in to help their owners in their time of need. Whether it’s to block and take the bite of a rattlesnake or bug, or to run and find help when an owner is injured or unwell, these dogs have so much love to give. 

Golden Retriever acting protectively

Can You Train A Golden Retriever To Be A Protection Dog?

Yes, it’s possible to train a Golden Retriever to be a good protection dog, but the actions simply do not come naturally to them. They are more likely to be friendly, loving and kind towards others rather than aggressive.

Are Golden Retrievers The Friendliest Dogs?

Golden Retrievers are known to love their owners and families so much that they will lay their lives down to protect them, however, we do not recommend them as protection dogs, or guard dogs.

One of the reasons that we say that a Golden Retriever is not suited to this purpose is because they are repeatedly voted one of the world’s friendliest dog breeds!

Golden Retriever Temperament

Golden Retrievers are so eager to please, easy-going, and are known to be very calm, gentle, and affectionate. They love socializing with not only other dogs but people too.

These dogs can even recognize that smaller dogs such as puppies need to be handled with care, and can sense vulnerability in babies and children, changing their behavior and being cautious around them so that they do not get hurt.

They are also massive cuddle monsters. Most Golden Retrievers think that they are small babies, and that they can fit on your lap, or that bedtime is snuggle time. They absolutely love affection, and their fluffy, hairy coats make them the perfect cuddle partner. Does that sound like a personal protection dog to you?

The thing is that these dogs are wonderful companion dogs. Yes, they will defend you if they feel threatened, as all dog breeds do.

Dogs create strong bonds with their owners, and they will try to step in if they feel threatened or under attack, however, they are not strong-willed, aggressive, or intimidating enough to be considered a go-to breed for a protection dog.

Do Golden Retrievers Bite?

At the end of the day, a Golden Retriever is a dog. Yes, they are lovely and good-natured dogs, but Golden Retrievers can still be aggressive and bite.

Even if you have the sweetest, kindest dog in the world, if they are nervous, anxious, stressed, or fearful, they can bite as a defense mechanism if they are placed in an uncomfortable situation.

Why Goldens Don’t Bite

Golden Retrievers were actually bred to retrieve game birds and small animals, and have soft mouths to carry them back.

There are countless videos of Golden Retrievers being given eggs to carry by their owners, to see whether they would be gentle enough not to break them. This shows that they are not naturally big biters or dogs that often like to use and bare their teeth in an aggressive manner.

However, most dogs will try to defend their territory from other animals, dogs, and even humans, and growling and biting is a means of doing this. Whilst Golden Retrievers are not prone to this, they are still dogs at heart, so can snap if they deem it necessary, or they are scared, nervous, and depressed.


Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Their gentle, kind and loving nature is what makes them oh so cute and lovable. They are also fiercely loyal and bonded to their owners, wanting to please them and spend all of their time with them. 

Because of this, Golden Retrievers can protect their owners, and will defend their homes from small threats, by growling, barking or just their sheer size. That being said, this breed is not intended or recommended for protection dogs, as they are simply too soft, affectionate and fun-loving. But, they do make wonderful companions and are the perfect family pet. 

If you are looking for a protection dog, then we recommend a dog breed designed for this such as a German Shepherd, Doberman, Rottweiler or a Bullmastiff instead. 

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor