Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs? – 5 Best Practices (and Real Stories!)

Golden Retrievers are the world’s sweethearts when it comes to dog breeds, they are caring, affectionate, energetic, and as loyal as they come. While getting yourself a pawed partner, an aspect of their personality that you normally think of, aside from their fluffiness and loving characters, would be their protectiveness and ability to defend you when it is needed.

So, Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs? Golden Retrievers can be guard dogs with training but they’re better as watchdogs because golden retrievers’ loving personalities prevent them from attacking strangers and hurting anyone unless they’re threatened, even though, their attentiveness, loud barks, and huge size make them good watchdogs.

Continue reading this article to find out what makes a perfect guard dog and how to train your golden retriever to protect you whenever you need it.

Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs? 

Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs
A Golden retriever sleeping on duty is one of the many reasons they can’t be good guard dogs

The main reason dogs evolved was because they were protected by humans, we appreciated their services as guard dogs to our homes and livestock, and with centuries, this mutually beneficial relationship turned into companionship where we have become emotionally attached to each other.

To understand why goldens are not the perfect guard dogs we wish they could be, you first need to understand what makes good guard dogs in the first place.

A perfect guard dog should have the following personality characteristics:

A perfect guard dog is territorial

A perfect guard dog is territorial thinking of their home, apartment, or other location where they reside as their own territory. Strangers, intruders, and unknown visitors irritate guard dogs, and they will attack if they grow suspicious of them. 

A guard dog’s most fundamental feature is territoriality, which provides it with the necessary aggressiveness to fight and protect. Female dogs, on the whole, are less territorial than male dogs. You can learn more about the differences in male vs female golden retrievers here.

A perfect guard dog is loyal

The dog must be devoted to his or her family and must go to great lengths to protect them. A good guard dog will not hesitate to put his or her life on the line to protect a human family member; it has a strong protective instinct.

Only if its owner loves and cares for it can a dog develop loyalty. A guard dog needs love and affection as well. Always treat them as though they were a member of your family. However, do not overindulge in the dog or else it could dilute its protection instincts. Thankfully, that is a check for golden retrievers who are fiercely loyal to their families.

A perfect guard dog is physically active

A guard dog must be physically active and not sedentary.

When a puppy enjoys fetching, running, or catching a frisbee, it indicates that it is ready to learn. Laziness has no place in the attitude of a guard dog. This one is another check for Goldens as they are very energetic and active dogs.

A perfect guard dog is controlling over their temper

A good guard dog must be able to control their aggression and attack only when necessary. A dog with uncontrolled aggression may attack members of the family, visitors, and other people. Guard dogs should not be aggressive creatures, but rather even-tempered warriors who attack to defend their land or people.

Because aggressiveness requires intelligence, a guard dog should be extremely intelligent as well. This one is another check, Goldens are one of the smartest dog breeds there are, and this also makes them easy to train.

Dogs have evolved an inclination not to attack people after living with humans for thousands of years. A good guard dog, on the other hand, overcomes this impulse when defending its human and territory, and should not hesitate to attack in an emergency.

A perfect guard dog has a stable temperament

When selecting a puppy for a future guard dog, look for anxiety, aversion to human contact or presence, fear, lack of playfulness, and an easy-to-provoke temperament. A steady disposition is a must for a good guard dog.

It should be sociable with humans and other pets, but also distant. A dog that is too friendly or trusting will not make a good security dog. Your security dog should not be dominated by your other pets.

A perfect guard dog is physically strong

Guard dogs should be robust, strong, and have a forceful bite and bark. These characteristics are critical in overcoming any invader and alerting the human family.

A sensitive dog will never be a good guard dog. A guard dog should have a loud bark in order to deter intruders. The majority of guard dog breeds have imposing appearances and large sharp teeth that can frighten even the most hardened criminals.

For the latter point, goldens are not actually the loudest barkers nor do Goldens bark a lot. However, despite their fluffy appearance, golden retrievers are actually surprisingly strong and have a muscular build. They also have quite a strong bite, and while it may not be one of the strongest dog bites out there, it’s still strong enough to do some serious damage to attackers.

5 Reasons that Make Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs 

Golden retrievers can defend you due to their devotion, intellect, and size. However, their soft and kind attitude may not make them the greatest choice for the job.

A golden retriever, on the other hand, is a good choice if you want a family dog that’s huge and noisy enough to deter most dangers while still having the ability to protect you in the extreme cases where it’s needed.

Here are five characteristics that make a golden retriever a guard dog:

Big in size

Golden retrievers that are fully grown can weigh up to 75 pounds; A person or critter that may pose a threat might be intimidated by their size. They’re also athletic and can run quite fast, which allows them to chase away potential predators.

Although Goldens will not charge strangers right away, you can actually train them to do that on command and use their body mass to do tackle down intruders and even bite, although it’s never recommended to train a golden retriever to be this aggressive as it’s against a golden’s sweet and friendly nature.


Because of their propensity to be obedient and constant willingness to please their owners, they’re one of the finest breeds to train as service dogs.

Some golden retrievers may be stubborn when they are transitioning from puppyhood to adulthood, but with good training and socialization, the stubborn streak usually disappears completely.


Dogs that are intelligent are simple to teach. And there’s no denying that Golden Retrievers are intelligent. With less than five repetitions, they will grasp new orders. Furthermore, Goldens obey recognized orders 95% of the time or better the first time they are made.

Golden Retrievers have high adaptive intelligence and are capable of learning by themselves based on previous experiences. In other words, you can easily train them to tell the difference between a welcome visitor and an unwanted intruder and to bark at intruders or attack them if they get too close.


While all dogs are supposed to be devoted to their owners, the Golden Retriever stands out for its ability to form a deep and loving relationship with them.

Goldens are loyal companions that will remain with you through thick and thin, which is a great quality in a guard dog.

Based on history and temperament, the Golden Retriever is considered one of the most loyal dogs. Loyal dogs instinctively offer their owners safety and security. They’ll always be there for you.

They have the potential to attack

Golden retrievers have a strong prey drive since they were designed to be hunting dogs in the first place.

While this may not be useful in terms of protecting you from people, it may be useful in terms of protecting you from animals.

You can learn what your golden retriever will do with an intruder here.

5 Reasons why Golden Retrievers may not be Good Guard Dogs 

The Golden will have certain characteristics that will make him an ideal buddy and companion. When considered as a guard dog, however, the same traits may disqualify him as a guard dog, or at least make him a less-than-an-ideal choice for the job.

Goldens have a tendency to be excessively friendly

Golden Retrievers have a natural tendency to “love everyone.” They want to be friends with everyone, including other humans, dogs, and cats

Golden Retrievers can be calm

Goldens may miss out on informing you that your home is being unlawfully inhabited by invaders due to their calm nature. How calm your golden retriever is will depend on his age, health, and activity level. You can learn when do golden retrievers calm down here.

Everyone is inherently protected by goldens.

A Golden who takes the side of a thief in difficulty with an irate audience is an extreme example of an excessively protective Golden. 

This is especially true if you’ve taught your Golden Retriever to be compassionate, which comes easily to these dogs. Golden Retrievers will provide assistance to anyone who appears to be in need.

Goldens are not at all aggressive

When almost any golden retriever owner is asked to describe their dog, aggressive is usually one of the last adjectives that come to mind.

Because goldens are often more fun and silly than hostile, they may not be the best guardians.

That isn’t to suggest they can’t be aggressive toward an attacker; it’s simply that they don’t do so very often.

They’re really welcoming

If an intruder broke into your house, most goldens would offer them a toy rather than fight them.

How to Train Your Golden Retriever to better Guard Dogs 

Get them attaxched to territories

Attach a leash to your Golden and take him for a walk around the area you want him to guard. You want him to concentrate, so keep quiet as you go. If you do this every day, this will quickly become his domain.

Obedience training

It’s also critical that you enroll him in group obedience training. You must ensure that he is still able to interact with other people and animals. You don’t want him to be a bully around everyone.

Encourage protective behaviors

You’ll also need to start encouraging the behaviors you want to see as soon as feasible. This entails giving him nice goodies and complimenting him verbally anytime he shows interest in a stranger or barks.

Teach them to bark

Place him in a position where you know he is likely to bark. When you’re about to take him for a stroll or feed him, for example. Then, as he begins to bark, say ‘bark’ in a clear, upbeat voice. For the instruction, you can use any word or phrase you like.

Give him a treat and verbal praise right away if he continues to bark.

Someone should approach you. Take him to the location or thing you want him to protect. Allow someone to approach slowly before issuing the ‘bark’ command.

Reward Have the individual shriek and flee once he begins barking. It’s critical that he understands he must bark until the visitor departs.

Start as early as possiblle

Golden Retriever pups are the most responsive to training. So get started training right away and you’ll notice results far faster.

Use delicious snacks and vocal praise to pique people’s attention.

While you’re teaching him to be a guard dog, it’s equally critical that you keep any uncontrolled aggressiveness at bay. When he barks or becomes violent with family or friends, do not praise him. It’s critical that you maintain control and channel his rage correctly.

Why Goldens Make Better Watchdogs than Guard Dogs 

The watchdog acts as a deterrent to suspected behavior by barking and raising the alert. In this sense, the Golden Retriever is more than capable of acting as a good watchdog.

Although it might be beneficial, size is not a necessity for a watchdog. Many tiny dogs make great watchdogs because they bark and notify their owners. Being larger, on the other hand, gives a barking dog a little more respect. It may offer any would-be invaders another cause to flee.

Because of its medium to big size, the Golden Retriever may intimidate intruders, which may be an added deterrent for some.

A Golden Retriever’s great trainability makes him an excellent watch or alarm dog.

The bark of a Golden Retriever is loud and booming, making it ideal for sounding an alarm. You’ll know whether a Golden is barking if you hear it. Anyone outdoors will feel the same way. If they are afraid or threatened, they may growl, which is another deterrent for a watchdog.

Can a Golden Retriever Protect you? 

Golden retrievers can be wary of strangers. When training Golden Retrievers to be capable guard dogs, you may need to be more consistent and patient. Some of these responsibilities are in direct opposition to their personalities and dispositions, so don’t give up too soon!

Golden Retrievers can be great watchdogs. They are big, protective, and intelligent enough to guard your house and family with little to no training. This is owing to their devoted and submissive attitude.

They will, without a doubt, be less effective guard dogs than other breeds due to their extremely friendly temperament and inherent protectiveness (for all humans).

When it comes to guarding their humans, their obedience, intellect, devotion, size, loud bark, and prey drive can be beneficial.

However, if protectiveness is high on your list of qualities to search for in a breed, they’re probably not the breed for you because they’re quite friendly and not generally aggressive.

Real Stories of Golden Retrievers Being Superb Guard Dogs

I’ve always heard of stories where golden retrievers jumped to the rescue of their owners and families and of their dogs transferring from a cuddly furball into an aggressive protector in milliseconds, here are some of those stories:

One day, in the kitchen my wife was supervising a cook we had hired, who was not very competent, to put it mildly. So whenever my wife would say something, he would start arguing in a very loud voice.

It sounded like he was fighting even though he was not – it was just his way of talking. One day when he started arguing with my wife loudly, my dog (his name is Simba), entered the kitchen and started barking at the cook.

And his bark is quite powerful. My wife was obviously embarrassed and tried to shoo him out of the kitchen. But I realized that even though our dog is very friendly, his protective instincts are very much there.

Rajan Singh, CEO HabitStrong

My mom’s dog isn’t inherently aggressive but he’s aware of my emotions.

One time I was walking my dog alone. We walk a loop and we were on the far side of the track across the street from my neighborhood. It’s a secluded part of the track around a retention pond.

As we were walking we saw a man coming towards us. I’m not sure what it was about this man but he creeped me out. He kept scanning me and looked like he was mentally undressing me and it made me very uncomfortable. I got scared and my dog sensed it.

The dog tensed up and his tail didn’t wag – which it normally does when he sees people. The man asked if he could pet the dog and I said without thinking “he bites!” and the man shuffled away quickly.

My dog was poised and tense the whole time with a low growl. His tail didn’t wag and he was close to me. he tracked the man with his eyes the whole time until he was gone.

Tina Bauer, Owner of two golden retrievers

One evening, our grudges took an extra toll. It became physical.

She (his ex) hit me first with her bare hands, i knew her habit well. She when was mad she threw everything in her reach. I knew what was coming next, i was at silence hoping it will ease a bit.

Then she grabbed a dining chair, it had pointed edges and as she was about to throw at me, my retriever came just in front of me and plunged at her although he did not bite her. He was growling and his sharp teeth was very much visible, she then turned her attention at my retriever but feared at his intervention

Male Golden, raised from 8 weeks, age 6, 80lbs, neutered. I was having a disagreement with someone who decided words were not enough so they resorted to shoving.

This sweet gentle soul got between the two of us, latched onto the shover’s arm, knocked him down, and kept him there until police arrived. When my boy saw I was okay, he released the arm, and walked over to the cops to be petted and give kisses

N Keen

Same male dog, age 12. Out for a walk around dusk on a cold Autumn day, 2 males walking towards us going opposite direction on same sidewalk and all bundled up in black. Dog stopped suddenly, got between us, hair raised, teeth showing, deep growl, firm stance. He never attacked but 2 males crossed the street and just kept walking away. My boy turned around to watch until they were gone before we could continue our walk

N Keen

Golden Retriever VS Cougar

A famous story happened in 2010 in Canada, where a young boy’s life was saved when his Golden Retriever fought off a mountain lion to protect him.

The dog — named Angel — leaped into action and threw herself between her owner, 11-year-old Austin Forman, and the cougar that was charging at him.

Sherri Forman, Austin’s mother, said her son was outside with Angel around 5:30 p.m. gathering firewood from their backyard. She explained that Angel normally runs around and plays when she is outside, but on this afternoon she was behaving differently.

He had come in at one point to tell me how cute Angel was being because she was sticking pretty close to him in the yard, which was unusual for her,” Forman told CNN.

In hindsight she realizes that Angel was protecting her son from an unseen danger. When the cougar charged, Angel ran to protect the boy.

“She intercepted the cougar,” Forman said. “Austin came into the house very upset, and I had to get him to calm down so I could understand what he was saying. Finally he said ‘there’s a cougar eating Angel.'”

Angel and the cougar fought under the family’s deck, while Austin’s mother called 911 for help. A constable was in the area and able to make it to their home and kill the cougar quickly.


Thankfully, the dog survived but he did though with some serious injuries.

Do Golden Retrievers make good police dogs? 

In rare cases, Golden Retrievers can be employed as police dogs. The strong sense of smell of a golden retriever may be used to detect out illegal drugs or dangerous items like explosives and firearms.

Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, are not suitable for employment in security or apprehension units owing to their loving, gentle temperament.

A Golden Retriever’s characteristics are ideal for hunting, tracking, searching, and locating. In terms of law enforcement, its keen sense of scent and amiable demeanor make it an ideal breed for search and rescue, as well as a variety of other police duties.

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers have some of the most sensitive noses for detecting work and are consequently one of the most common breeds utilized in police enforcement agencies. Retrievers have a keen sense of smell as well as a strong drive to work, making them a valuable asset to their owners.

Related Questions 

Do Golden Retrievers protect their owners? 

Golden Retrievers protect their owners; Although golden retrievers aren’t typically thought of as a protective dog breed, they may be. Due of their zeal, intelligence, and size, golden retrievers can protect their loved ones.

Can a golden retriever defend your home? 

​​Golden Retrievers defend their home;. They are big, protective, and intelligent enough to guard your house and family with little to no training. They will, without a doubt, be less effective guard dogs than other breeds due to their extremely friendly temperament and inherent protectiveness.

Are Golden Retrievers Good Protective Dogs? 

Golden Retrievers are good protective dogs; Although golden retrievers aren’t usually the first breed that comes to mind when you think of a protective dog, they can be. Golden retrievers can defend you due to their devotion, intellect, and size.

Will my Golden Retriever defend me? 

Your Golden Retriever isn’t likely to defend you; Goldens may not be the finest defense species because they are frequently more amusing and foolish than threatening. That’s not to say they can’t be aggressive toward an attacker; it’s just that they don’t do it very often.

Helpful Resources 

Phenotyping of Aggressive Behavior in Golden Retriever Dogs with a Questionnaire

Evaluation of the Serotonergic Genes htr1Ahtr1Bhtr2A, and slc6A4 in Aggressive Behavior of Golden Retriever Dogs

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

If you liked the article, you can share it using the share and pin buttons at the end of the post. I’ll really appreciate it ♥️♥️


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

Recent Posts