Can a Golden Retriever Be a Guard Dog?

When I got my Golden Retriever, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve seen them in pop culture as these loving, docile dogs, but I didn’t know what that meant as far as protection. So, I started to do a little research about Golden Retrievers habits when it comes to being a guard dog. Turns out, they are so easy to train that they can be great guard dog without even realizing it.

 Can a Golden Retriever be a guard dog?

So, can a Golden Retriever be a guard dog? Yes, Golden Retrievers make good guard dogs. Though they may require some training because they aren’t naturally aggressive, their loyal nature will ensure that you and your family are safe. There are many characteristics that Golden Retrievers have that help or hurt their ability to be a good guard dog. So, let’s talk about the characteristics that make them good guard dogs.

 What are some characteristics that make Golden Retrievers good guard dogs?

Golden Retrievers have a lot of characteristics that are great for families, especially with small children, but they also have qualities that make them good guard dogs.

Can a Golden Retriever Be a Guard Dog?


Golden Retrievers are large dogs, and they can be very intimidating for criminals or people trying to hurt you. For example, if someone is looking to break into your house and they see a large dog in your home, they may be less likely to even try.


These dogs are one of the most intelligent breeds out there. So, they are easy to train, and tend to be aware if something is wrong. The natural instinct of dogs can certainly make them good guardians because they tend to know when something is wrong or when someone means harm. Golden Retrievers are also easy to train. So, if you want your dog to be a better guardian, then they can be trained to do so. Their intelligence certainly helps Golden Retrievers be better guardians for you and your family because they are easily taught.


Golden Retrievers are very obedient dogs. They just want to please their owner, and this can make them good guard dogs because they are more likely to listen to commands. Also, their loyalty means that they will stick by you no matter what happens. They aren’t likely to run away scared when danger comes because they are your dog and therefore, loyal to you. So obedience and loyalty are the two best traits for guard dogs, so even if they aren’t natural guardians, they can easily be taught.

 What are some characteristics that make Golden Retrievers bad guard dogs?

Using the words “bad” and “Golden Retriever” in the same sentence just doesn’t feel right because they aren’t bad dogs. However, there are some characteristics of the breed that make them not the best choice for a guard dog. Most of these characteristics are things that can be easily addressed or changed. So, even though these are legitimate concerns, they are by no means unfixable.


Golden Retrievers aren’t really a barking breed. Sure, they bark every now and then, but it is more rare. So, when thinking about what makes a good guard dog, barking or alerting of an intruder is a big part of that. Humans aren’t as good at hearing as dogs are, so sometimes we count on them to be able to hear things before we can. But a Golden Retriever may not alert you as quickly or effectively as another breed might. I you want to know more about barking habits of Golden Retrievers, check out our article here for more information:

 Friends with everyone

Golden Retrievers are really just friendly dogs, which is why they are so popular. The only problem with this is that they may not be able to tell the difference between and friend and an enemy. So, if someone is threatening you, your dog might just go up to them and ask for pats. This, of course, can be overcome with some training, and because they are naturally obedient, your Golden will probably listen to you if you tell them to stay.

 Protective in their own special way

Your dog will be protective of its family, but that doesn’t mean they will run out and face danger. Most of the time, friendlier dogs when they feel threatened will stay behind you, not realizing that they should be protecting you, not the other way around. This makes for a not so effective guard dog because they want you to face the danger first, or tell them what to do. Golden Retrievers will rarely just go attack an intruder without your command.

 So, how do we train them to be guard dogs?

Golden Retrievers are relatively easy to train, but like other dogs, it’s best to start when they are young. We’ve all heard the term “teaching an old dog new tricks” and they say that for a reason. Younger dogs tend to learn a lot easier than older dogs. So, if you start training your dogs to guard as a puppy, they will grow up to continue this behavior.

Most people choose to train them using the command technique. This is normally a cue word that is spoken to your dog that puts them in protective mode. This can take a while to perfect with your dog as they are not naturally aggressive, but it will work if it is taught over time. You can teach your dog to bark on command, which will warn an intruder that you have a dog present or you can go further teaching them to chase or even attack an intruder as well.

Some owners, instead, choose the boundary method. This teaches your dog what property is theirs to protect. Then, when a stranger approaches your property, they will alert you of someone being there as they know to protect their home. This method is not as common because your dog may not know the difference in a person entering your property versus a squirrel. They will both be seen as a potential threat. This might not be the best option for hyper or energetic Golden Retrievers as they may be more vigilant than necessary. If your dog is still very energetic, then this article may help you understand why and how you can fix it.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that your dog knows first and foremost to listen to you.

Can a Golden Retriever Be a Guard Dog Can a Golden Retriever Be a Guard Dog?

In conclusion, Golden Retrievers have potential to be great guard dogs. However, they need a bit more training before they get there. Make sure to work with your dog from as young of an age as possible, and train them to pay attention to you as well. You never want your dog just running off doing its own thing when you are in danger. So, teaching your dog to stay by your side and only attack when commanded is going to be the best option for both of you to be protected. Having your dog charge at an intruder might be okay if they are empty handed, but what if they have a weapon? This could lead them to harm your dog. So, make sure your dog listens to you when training so that if a dangerous situation happens, you will both make it out unharmed.

Golden Retrievers are so naturally friendly and well-behaved. So, don’t make them go against their nature unless they have to. These dogs are going to want to listen to you no matter what’s going on. So, teach them commands and they will be great guard dogs in no time.

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