Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive? 4 Must-Know Causes

Golden Retrievers are not an aggressive breed. They make fantastic house dogs because of their affectionate behavior and protective nature.

Generally, Golden Retrievers are great dogs, but aggression can happen because of carelessness and neglect. Aggression occurs because of poor genetics, a lack of socialization, and much more. Fortunately, you can prevent aggression by giving your Golden Retriever plenty of attention and teaching people around you proper dog etiquette.

Fixing aggression can take time and patience, but luckily the nature of the Golden is to love its human companion. If you show your Golden Retriever you trust them, the intelligence of your canine will shine through, and they will learn to trust you as well!

Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive?

Generally, Golden Retrievers are a loving breed who are not aggressive. These intelligent dogs form strong connections with their owners Golden Retrievers are not usually aggressive, although retrievers can develop aggressive behaviors for various reasons.

Golden Retrievers are loyal dog breeds whose passive nature makes them the perfect sidekick. These dogs are known for being helpful contributors to society, often used as seeing-eye dogs. Their high intelligence makes them one of the most helpful dogs in the world.

However, Golden Retrievers can become aggressive if their human companions mistreat them, even in the smallest ways. Golden Retrievers love to spend time with their human companion. If they do not get enough socialization, they may become aggressive.

Do Golden Retrievers Attack Humans?

As one of the friendliest dogs around, Golden Retrievers are unlikely to attack humans unprovoked. Golden Retrievers are lovers who would much rather spend time playing with humans than biting them.

When evaluated, Golden Retrievers were not among the most aggressive dog breeds. They are a friendly breed that does not attack humans without provocation. Although, every dog is different.

You can train Golden Retrievers to protect your family. They make excellent guard dogs. So, if you are looking for an obedient guard dog, Golden Retrievers may be the right dog for you.

Golden retriever young dog portrait with toy bone

Are Golden Retrievers Likely to Bite?

Golden Retrievers are not likely to bite unless they are provoked. Golden Retrievers are loving dogs who care about humans. However, their bite force of 190 PSI can be painful, so it is best to avoid getting bit at all costs.

One of the most common reasons that Golden Retrievers bite humans is that humans have invaded their personal space. When someone invades their personal space, a dog will react defensively. Golden Retrievers do not bite because they hate people. They bite because they feel unsafe or because they are scared.

The following are instances when Golden Retrievers are more likely to bite:

  • Feeling unsafe
  • A large dog is approaching them
  • Medical problems
  • Invading its personal space
  • Introducing a new dog

If your dog is having biting problems, it might be worth seeking out the help of a medical professional. Although the Golden Retriever is a generally sweet and friendly dog, they may bite for several reasons. Every dog is different, and their personalities differ in massive ways.

Invading Your Dog’s Personal Space

Whether you are a dog or a human, invading your Golden Retriever’s personal space is a fast track to getting bit. Once a Golden Retriever becomes uncomfortable enough, they will bite defensively.

Avoid approaching your dog when they begin showing defensive behavior like cowering or snarling. Please step back and give your Golden Retriever time to themselves. Do not approach your Golden Retriever or force them to cuddle if they do not want to, or they will bite your hand.

Dogs need personal space, too, so respect their comfort zone when your dog is expressing a need for it.

Use of Physical Punishment

Using physical punishment can cause your Golden Retriever to bite in response. The use of physical punishment often results in your dog reacting defensively. It should come as no surprise if your dog bites back after you smack them on the head.

In addition to physical punishment, scolding and yelling can also cause a dog to become aggressive. Golden Retrievers who get verbally scolded for normal behavior like barking can become aggressive, especially when greeting new guests.

Instead of punishing your dogs physically, try using more humane methods.

Alternative ways to punish your dog are:

  • Positive reinforcement
  • Obedience school
  • Home training methods

Humane punishment shows your dog there are alternatives to harmful behavior. It can also strengthen the bond between you and your canine companion.

They Feel Threatened

When a dog feels threatened, it will act defensively. One of the most obvious reasons dogs feel threatened is when you introduce a new dog into the household. If you have recently brought a new dog into the house, it should be no surprise that your dog’s aggression level rises. They’re competing for your attention now, after all!

Feelings of discomfort happen when Golden Retrievers meet new people (dogs or humans). When bringing a new dog to your home or a new visitor, a Golden Retriever might feel a special need to defend their territory.

Defensive behaviors are often aggressive, including biting, bearing teeth, and putting its tail between its legs.

Are Golden Retrievers Friendly to Everyone?

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature. A well-trained Golden Retriever will welcome guests and make friends with new faces quickly. Whether you are a dog or a human, a Golden Retriever is bound to make friends with you in no time at all!

Over time, you will notice how intuitive your Golden Retriever is. Train your dog to obey commands and pick up on your body language to detect a visitor from an intruder.

Golden Retrievers are a great dog for someone with children and constant visitors. As long as you give them attention each day, they love to socialize with other people. They are friendly with people and love to form new relationships.

Why is My Golden Retriever Aggressive?

Your Golden Retriever might be acting aggressively for several reasons. In many cases, aggressive behavior stems from a lack of socialization. Golden Retrievers were bred to become man’s best friend, hunt by his side, and guide the blind. A Golden Retriever who does not receive enough affection as a puppy can become aggressive toward humans when they mature.

Lack of affection is not the only reason that Golden Retrievers become aggressive. It is common for Golden Retrievers to become hostile when their owners abuse them. Past trauma is a major influence on a dog’s behavior. Dogs who have gone through shelters and multiple foster homes turn to aggression to avoid making close bonds.

Golden Retrievers can become hostile to people and other dogs for many different reasons. When a dog becomes aggressive, give them space and never force them to socialize with you.

Your Golden Is Sick

Common ailments like broken bones and skin allergies make dogs feel vulnerable and send dogs into fits of aggression. Approaching or petting your dog when it does not feel well makes them feel vulnerable.

There are many other sicknesses that a dog might experience that cause them to feel ill.

Signs of illness include:

  • Resistant or gentle to touch
  • Not eating all their food
  • History of health issues
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Unhealthy poop (blood, parasites, etc.)
  • Lethargy

If you believe that your dog is experiencing a health problem, take them to the veterinarian. The sooner you see your veterinarian, the sooner you can begin treatment and save your beloved dog’s life.

Adopting From an Unreliable Breeder

Unreliable breeders can raise dogs inhumanely and breed irresponsibly. Some breeders do not care about the treatment of their Golden Retrievers. Instead, they will lock them in small cages and let their dogs become aggressive, thus creating a genetic pattern that future Golden pups cannot shake.

The most important factor in a breeder’s credibility is the legitimacy of their kennel registry. Every breeder, kennel, and dog shelter must have current documentation. If any documentation is out of date or unable to be provided by the breeder, this is an obvious sign that they are an illegitimate breeder.

You can tell the reliability of a breeder by checking a few things. One visible indicator is the quality of its facility. If the dogs are kept in small kennels and treated inhumanely, you should not trust the breeder.

A Lack of Socialization

When your Golden does not get the socialization that they need, they may become aggressive. Golden retrievers require daily socialization and constant playing.

There are several ways to socialize your dog, but the most important thing is that your dog is enjoying the time together. Forcing your dog to socialize with you can only lead to further aggressive behavior.

Creating a social bond with your dog can help your dog familiarize itself with you. Whether they are a puppy or a senior, opening up can be difficult. Dogs go through changes just like humans, and sometimes they can become standoffish when you leave them alone too long. Show your dog that you are interested in them by paying them a little attention!

Never force your dog to socialize with you, and always consider what makes them happy. Use hypoallergenic treats and personal beds, food bowls, and toys for all dogs in the household.

Past Trauma

An abused Golden Retriever will likely be aggressive. Even if you are a loving owner, resentment for their previous owners usually carries to their new owners as well. A dog with trauma may bite even when issuing positive reinforcement.

The highly social Golden Retriever is especially prone to trauma when placed in shelters. Over time, severe social deprivation can take a toll on their behavior! Goldens can become aggressive and standoffish. Traumatized dogs may not respond well to human interaction, be territorial, and have many other issues.

With compassion, owners can work through the past trauma of their canine companions. Overcoming trauma is not an easy obstacle. Your dog is likely to experience triggers throughout its lifetime, but that does not mean that you cannot form a close bond and enjoy your time together.

As you learn more about your Golden Retriever, you can form a more comfortable environment and cope with the things that make them uncomfortable.

Common things that trigger past trauma include:

  • Loud noises
  • Other dogs or cats
  • Flashing lighting
  • Scolding and yelling
  • Physical punishment

To avoid evoking negative reactions, accommodate your dog’s needs. Accommodating your dog’s needs includes creating a quiet and positive environment.

agressive golden retriever standing on white background and looking up to sideHow to Prevent Aggression in Golden Retrievers

There are several methods for preventing aggression in Golden Retrievers.

Taking preventative measures is the best way to avoid aggressive behavior in your canine companion. Training your dog early and socializing them as a puppy are typically the best ways to prevent it from becoming aggressive as an adult.

Avoid placing your dog in dangerous situations or placing them in troublesome environments. Competitive environments can be playful initially. However, a Golden Retriever who is constantly defending their territory can become aggressive.

Socialize Your Golden

Socializing your Golden Retriever is a major factor in preventing aggression. Social dogs love to meet new faces. On the other hand, anti-social dogs are guarded and can become aggressive when meeting new people.

To prevent aggressive behavior, spend more time with your Golden Retriever. Socializing your Golden as a puppy is critical to developing a social personality later in adulthood.

Ways that you can socialize your Golden Retriever include:

  • Giving your dog treats
  • Go on an adventure
  • Introduce your dog to many faces (dogs, cats, people)
  • Cuddling
  • Spend time with your Golden
  • Playing
  • Take your Golden on a walk

Introducing your dog to plenty of faces at a young age guarantees that they are social in their adult life. It is also essential that you devote a significant portion of your day to spending time with your Golden Retriever.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Using positive punishment is the best way to enforce good behavior. Positive reinforcement is an excellent way to maintain a positive relationship with your dog. There is no physical abuse used, and your Golden Retriever gets rewarded for good behavior.

Eventually, your dog will learn the importance of the desired behavior and behave well independently.

Adopt From a Reliable Breeder

Adopting from a reliable breeder guarantees that you know the pedigree of your Golden Retriever. Furthermore, this lineage is trusted, and all records are transparent.

A reliable breeder will cost more than shelters and adoption centers. However, they are typically worth it because of the care these breeders have put into their animals. In some cases, breeders will train Golden Retrievers.

Reliable breeders should be able to provide all paperwork and documentation to prove the legitimacy of their kennel.

Define Your Dog’s Space

Prevent territorial aggression by defining a space for your Golden Retriever. Give your Golden their bed, and toys will establish independence. However, do not let this fool you. Golden Retrievers get along well with other dogs.

Defining a space for your Golden always gives your dog a place for themselves. If you have multiple dogs or pets in the household, a place to sleep prevents territory battles.

Territorial battles can become extremely aggressive, especially when larger breeds confront the medium-sized Golden Retriever.

Teach Children About Dog Boundaries

As a pet owner, you must teach your child how to behave around pets. Of all dog bite victims, 50% are children. To prevent aggression, teach children dog-friendly behaviors.

Teaching children how to behave around your Golden Retriever is not limited to your child. When another child visits your household, let them know the expectations. Inform parents of your dog’s boundaries and common warning signs.

Parents and pet owners are responsible for informing children how to behave around pets. A pet is never at fault for instinctual behavior.

Want To Train Your Golden Retriever With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Golden Retriever properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, that you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Golden Retriever completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


Can Golden Retrievers Protect You?

Golden Retrievers make excellent guard dogs, and you can train these hyper-intelligent hunting dogs to protect your family.

Do Baby Golden Retrievers Bite?

A baby Golden may bite as they teeth, but typically they do not bite aggressively.

Which Dog Has the Strongest Bite?

The Kangal dog has the strongest bite, with a PSI of 743. This bite is powerful and can be very dangerous.


Golden Retrievers are not usually aggressive. This loving dog breed makes an excellent family dog and best bud to any dog lover! You can train the Golden Retriever to become a guard dog if desired. This protective dog breed makes a great protector because of its compassionate nature and strong bite.

The Golden Retriever can become aggressive for a few reasons, like provocation and trauma from previous owners. A dog who has been abused or has not received proper socialization can resent their current owners.

Always remain conscious of your dog’s mood as they interact with other people and other animals. Preventative measures are the best way to avoid an aggressive Golden Retriever. To prevent aggression, socialize your Golden Retriever and reward your dog for good behavior. Never force your dog to cuddle or spend time with you. Giving your dog their space is a form of respect.