Are Golden Retrievers Loyal? The Myths and Truths

Dogs are the most loyal friend you can have. They will do anything to keep us safe. This makes some people wonder if the same applies to the friendlies dogs out there, such as Golden Retrievers, who do seem to be loyal but not

Are golden retrievers loyal? Yes, golden retrievers are incredibly loyal, they will literally do anything for you, the reason why golden retrievers are so loyal is because of their genetics and history as they were bred as hunting dogs so they needed to be extremely smart and loyal to their owner.

But to understand how truly loyal your golden retriever is and what makes them so loyal, keep reading.

Are Golden Retrievers Loyal? 

Golden retrievers are so loyal because of their history, the story begins when this breed originated in the Scottish highlands, they were bred as hunting dogs to retrieve birds and small animals with their soft mouths, so they needed to be extremely smart and loyal to their owner.

They can also sense when you are troubled or require a much-needed snuggle

Spending time with your golden retriever will foster a fierce loyalty in your dog and forge a bond that both of you will benefit from.

Their loyalty appears in every move and everything they do for you, they will bark at strangers as a form of loyalty, but they are not generally aggressive, it’s not part of their nature.

Are Golden retrievers loyal to one person? 

Yes, golden retrievers can be loyal to just one person, and yes, they can play favorites, so if they spend more time with one person in particular than they spend with anyone else then that’s their favorite person and they will be loyal to that person more than anyone else.

You can learn how goldens choose their favorite person here and follow the tips I discuss there to be your dog’s favorite human, it is easy but it requires that you put in the time and effort while knowing what you’re doing, so make sure to take notes.

Are golden retrievers protective? 

Golden retrievers can be protective if they feel that their humans are in danger. If they feel that you or anyone they love is threatened, they will protect you by any means necessary. They are intelligent, loyal, and their large size and muscles can truly make a difference in a struggle.

So, yes, in dire and extreme situations, goldens can turn aggressive to protect their owners from attackers, but you really shouldn’t count on your golden retriever for protection.

If you need a dog for protection, you should get something like a German Shepherd or a Pitbull, but goldens are more of the family, snuggle-with-you-on the couch types of dogs.

Will a golden retriever attack an intruder? 

 Golden retrievers are unlikely to attack an intruder, however, if the intruder is physically threatening a family member or you, they will push them to protect their owners in dangerous situations due to their strong protective instincts.

The topic of attacking an intruder is a very large one, and I have dedicated a full post to it. You can learn everything about how goldens deal with intruders here to understand your dog’s behavior and what to expect from them in different situations.

Do golden retrievers hold grudges?

No, golden retrievers do not hold grudges, they are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the entire world because they are so friendly and they do not go looking for conflicts.

How do dogs choose the person they’re most loyal to?

There are some elements that control who your dog feels the most attached to and so this person, naturally, becomes the one the dog is most loyal to.

These are the factors that control who the dog is most loyal to:

  • The first six months
  • Attention 
  • Your personality 
  • Positive association

The first six months

Just like any baby, you need to be there for them in the first six months of their life (socialization period), at this age, your puppy’s brain is incredibly receptive, and their early social experiences influence your pooch for the rest of their life.

That is why socialization is really important to ensure your puppy has positive interactions with a wide range of dogs and people.

For example, if they are only exposed to women then they may become afraid of men later in life, and not just people but items too such as cars, bikes, coats, or even hats.


Dogs tend to bond with the person who gives them the most attention, and it doesn’t have to be the primary caregiver person.

Physical affection solidifies the bond between the dog and any person, so if you groom them, trim their nails, bathe them, massage them, and give them plenty of attention and love, then they are more likely to look for spending more time with you.

However, some dogs look for quality more than just the amount of attention, which means that you can take such good care of them but they will prefer the person that lets them play wherever and whenever they want.

Your personality

Some dogs choose their favorite person based on common traits and habits, so if the dog is energetic and active they will probably choose someone who matches their own energy level, and if they are calm or even lazy their favorite person will be someone chill and more likely to be an introvert.

Positivity association

Dogs tend to prefer people who are a source of good stuff such as their favorite treat or toys.

Which makes sense some people do that too, also they tend to like the person who feeds them more often, so just find their favorite meal and be the only one who gives them that meal. 

Can dogs change their favorite person?

No, if their favorite person is in their life, then probably they will stay as their favorite person, however, if you feel that you are not your dog’s favorite person, then you can change that.

They can have multiple favorite people, dogs have a big heart that helps them be friends with everyone, and loved by anyone that interacts with them.

Here’s what you can do to bond with your dog;

  • Spend at least 30 minutes focused on them (just the two of you and it doesn’t include watching TV, walks, or yard time)
  • You can play fetch, hide and seek, or tug with them.
  • Try a sport any sport that you and your dog can play as a team such as flyball or agility 
  • Make sure to give them a healthy and try some homemade meals for your dog 
  • Make mealtime one of the bonding activity between you two and make sure to do some eye contact 
  • Clean their bedding 
  • Have a training session, train them to run with you and start by walking, and slowly keep it up.
  • Try hiking with your dog or swimming 
  • Give your dog a grooming session or message 
  • Make sure to socialize with them
  • Give them a positive experience 
  • Praise them when they are well-behaving and give them treats
  • Treat them well in general 

Related Questions 

Which dogs are most loyal? 

Here are the most loyal dog breeds 

  • Xoloitzcuintli 
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel 
  • Labrador retriever 
  • Staffordshire bull terrier 
  • Golden retriever 
  • German shepherd 
  • Dobermann Pinscher 
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Chihuahua 
  • Akita  
  • The Great Pyrenees 
  • Collie 
  • Rottweiler 
  • Beagle 
  • Brittany 
  • Boxer 
  • Dachshund 
  • St. bernard 
  • Bulldog 

Can a golden retriever get mad at you? 

Yes, golden retrievers can get mad at their owners and feel upset, so they can be mad at you but not in the same way that you are imagining, golden retrievers (or any dog) can feel basic emotions such as sadness, anger, happiness, anxiety, and love, so being mad is associated to one of these emotions. 

You can learn why and how do golden retrievers get angry here.

Why do dogs sleep next to their favorite person?

Dogs choose their favorite person based on common traits between the two of them, so the dog is energetic and active then their favorite person probably gonna be the same, so they like to spend most of their time with that person even if they are just sleeping.


Why are Dogs So Loyal?

Why are Dogs Loyal


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.

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