Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. So you may be wondering whether or not golden retrievers are good guard dogs, or whether they’re just family dogs.
In this article you’ll find out the traits that make golden retrievers good guard dogs, the traits that make them bad guard dogs, how to train them, whether male or female golden retrievers are better, and other great alternatives!
So keep reading to find out more!
Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs?
So, are golden retrievers good guards? They’re not the BEST guard dog, but they can be trained to make good guard dogs and excellent watchdogs. However, if you’re looking for the best guard dog around, they’re definitely not the number one choice.
What Makes Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs?
Now you know that golden retrievers have the potential to be guard dogs, it’s important to know what traits make them good guard dogs, and what traits make them bad guard dogs. Here are their good traits!
They’re Large Dogs
Depending on the list you look at, golden retrievers are either considered large breed dogs or medium-sized dogs. This means they’re still big enough to carry a lot of mass and muscle. Golden retrievers typically weigh between 65-75 pounds and grow 23-24 inches tall. As a comparison, this is roughly the same size as a rottweiler.
They’re INCREDIBLY Loyal
Golden retrievers are one of THE MOST loyal breeds of dog around. Once your dog has bonded with you, they’re going to be extremely loyal. While they tend to be more loyal to one person in particular, they’ll still be incredibly loyal to your whole family.
This is perfect as one of the most important traits to look for in a guard dog is loyalty. If they’re not loyal to you then it’s less likely they’re going to want to protect you.
They’re Exceptionally Intelligent
Often making the top 10 list for intelligence, golden retrievers are incredibly smart dogs. They normally rank 4th in intelligence just under german shepherds.
This can be seen in the fact that they’re often working dogs. They used to be used for retrieving game, but more presently they often make excellent guard dogs. Did you know that golden retriever/Labrador crosses make some of the best guard dogs?
Having a dog that is intelligent is going to make them a lot easier to train, and if you want a guard dog, they’ll definitely need training!
This high level of intelligence also allowed them to inherently be able to figure out who’s a threat and who’s not. Just make sure that you’ve been socializing them from a young age! If not they may begin to think that everyone’s a threat, (or much more likely, that no one is).
Golden Retrievers Are Also Obedient!
Golden retrievers love recognition for working hard and listening to what they’ve been told. Which means they’re incredibly obedient. In fact, if you’re going to choose a golden retriever as your first dog, they couldn’t be better. Their obedience also makes them incredibly easy to train.
This can be seen in the fact, they’re one of the dogs to most commonly win obedience competitions!
They Have A Protective Personality
While they may not be as fierce and intimidating as more common guard dogs, it doesn’t mean they aren’t protective. In fact, golden retrievers are incredibly protective of the people they love!
For example, if you ever playfight around a golden retriever, a lot of the time they’ll jump in between to break up the fight and keep barking until it stops. With the right training, you could teach them to jump in between only when someone is attacking!
As well as this, while they’re not commonly barkers, they do growl a lot when they sense danger.
They Have Tons Of Energy
Lastly, golden retrievers have TONS of energy. When a dog has high energy, they’re alert a lot more often, and eager for stimulation. If you had a low energy dog, they would lack the motivation and eagerness to chase intruders. Which you definitely don’t want in a guard dog.
Problems With Golden Retrievers As Guard Dogs
While there are a lot of great reasons to have a golden retriever as a guard dog, there are definitely some problems you need to be aware of.
They’re Naturally Friendly
One BIG problem with golden retrievers is that they’re naturally friendly. If you don’t train your golden retriever properly, they’re going to see everyone as their friend. They may even end up greeting an intruder with kisses instead of barks.
Fortunately, though, this friendliness can definitely be trained out of them, and they can still make a fierce guard dog.
Golden’s Don’t Bite Naturally
Okay, all dogs bite naturally, however, biting isn’t as much of an instinct in golden retrievers as it is in other more typical dog breeds. And even when they do bite, their bite is often a lot softer than other dogs.
The reason for this is that it’s simply what they’ve been bred for. When they were used for retrieving game, their bite would need to be gentle enough as to not pierce the skin. Because of this, it’s less likely that they’ll bite hard, and they may even try to avoid conflict.
(Find out more about why your golden retriever might be biting!)
They LOVE Food (And Whoever Gives It To Them)
Golden retrievers absolutely LOVE food and they’re going to love whoever gives it to them. So if you plan on having a golden retriever as a guard dog, this is something you need to be aware of.
Unlike other dogs which are motivated by protecting and guarding, golden retrievers are definitely motivated by treats. And if the wrong person is giving them a treat, you may find your golden retriever happily lets them into your home.
They May Be Too Compassionate
Lastly, thanks to their high intelligence, golden retrievers are extremely compassionate and protective of everyone. They’re always happy to help people, and will protect anyone they think is in danger. Even if it’s an intruder in your house.
While it’s great that they’re like this, it’s definitely something you’re going to want to train out of them.
Even with all these problems, if you don’t think you want a golden retriever as a guard dog, they can still make excellent watch dogs!
Do Male Or Female Golden Retrievers Make Better Guard Dogs?
Generally speaking, male golden retrievers will make better guard dogs than females. However, the only reason for this is because males are larger. Personality and temperament wise, they’re going to be equal when it comes to which sex makes the better guard dog, and training is more important than whether they’re a boy or a girl.
How To Train Your Golden Retriever To Be A Guard Dog
If you want to train your golden retriever to be a guard dog, there are a couple of different methods that you should try. However, in some cases, there’ll be golden retrievers that simply aren’t cut out to be guard dogs. If this sounds like yours, then remember they can still make excellent watchdogs!
However, here’s how to train your golden retriever to be a guard dog!
Marking The Boundaries
The first method you can try is marking the boundary of your home, or the territory you want your golden retriever to protect.
Follow the steps below to do this:
- Take your golden retriever for a walk and remain silent during the process. (This shows them that it isn’t their territory.)
- Once they return home, begin letting them explore the house and your gardens. This way they’ll become familiar with it and realise it’s their home. (If your golden retriever is already at home there, you can skip this step.)
- Now you need to teach them to speak. Every time they bark, say speak and then reward them with a treat. (Find out what makes them bark to help speed up the process.)
- Once they’ve learnt how to bark you should also make sure they know “no” to stop them barking too.
- Now when ever an animal or person approaches your “territory” teach your golden retriever by saying speak and getting them to bark. Keep doing this, and they’ll instinctively begin to bark whenever someone new approaches your home.
- When they bark every time something approaches their territory, make sure you reward them with a treat in the early days.
Barking When They Hear Something
The second method is to get your golden retriever to bark every time they hear something. It’s very similar to the first method, however, obviously, it focuses on hearing not seeing.
- Have a friend make suspicious noises outside like banging, a gate swinging open, tapping on the window, shouting etc. However, make sure your golden retriever doesn’t know where the noise is coming from.
- When the noise happens tell your golden retriever to speak. (Using the method you learnt earlier.)
- Once they’ve been barking for a while command them to stop again, and once more reward them.
- As well as this, you can also appear in front of your golden retriever and say stop, so they learn that when you’re there they don’t need to bark anymore!
This a great method and it works fantastically!
When They’re A Puppy
If your golden retriever is still a puppy then you can start them early. To do this, every time there’s a noise or something you want them to bark at, rile them up and get them excited until they bark. Remember they’re going to mirror your actions, so if you act alert they will too.
Once they begin to bark and become alert every time there’s a noise reward them. However, just make sure they aren’t becoming too aggressive.
(Find out more about golden retriever barking.)
What Dogs Are A Better Choice As Guard Dogs?
Fortunately, there are a lot of great choices when it comes to deciding the dog you wish to protect your home. If you haven’t purchased a dog and you’re looking for a guard dog specifically, then you should consider getting one of the following.
My top pick for a guard dog has to be a German Shepherd. And there are a few reasons for this. First of all, they’re intelligent and easy to train. As well as this, they’re naturally protective, not just over you but over your family and property as well.
They’re also not afraid of confrontation and they’re extremely confident in their own abilities. As you know, they’re also great at sniffing things out which means they’ll be able to sense someone coming.
However, if you plan on training your german shepherd to be a guard dog, then you need to make sure you have a strong enough will and presence. If you’re not extremely confident when you handle them, then they may end up becoming unruly and acting out.
(Find out more about german shepherds as guard dogs.)
Rottweilers are another great choice when it comes to deciding which type of guard dog you want. They’re particularly good with families as well, so they’ll strike the fine balance between protecting your house, and being friendly around your children.
If you are going to pick a rottweiler to be a guard dog, then generally speaking it’s better to pick a male. While they’re more mischevious than females, they’re also less trusting and much less likely to be docile. And while it is possible to train a female to be a good guard dog, training a male will be easier.
Lastly, you’ll also need to make sure that you’re wary of any signs of aggression coming from your Rottweiler. They are known to be aggressive at times, but you need to make sure it’s aimed at the right places.
(Find out more about Rottweilers as guard dogs.)
Bullmastiff’s are another great choice, if you’re willing to put in the work. But from the get-go you’ll need to understand that a lot of work will need to be put in.
You’ll need to raise them from a puppy, making sure that they see your whole family as your pack. Once they see your family as their pack, they’ll do anything they can to protect them.
And they also back up their intimidating looks. Bullmastiffs, will have no issues taking down a fully grown man and attacking anyone that tries to harm your family or get onto your property.
However, they’re not all attack attack attack, so don’t let this put your off them. When they’re familiar with your family, they’re going to be extremely loving and gentle!
Boxers are a particularly great dog if you already have children in your home. They strike the perfect balance between defending your family and loving them. In fact, boxers particularly love the attention of children.
While they may not be the biggest dog, they’re still big enough to appear menacing. And when this is combined with their desire to protect your family, you’ve got a great guard dog on your hands!
No list of guard dogs would be complete without having Rhodesian Ridgebacks on it. Rhodesian ridgebacks were originally bred to hunt lions, and this is still rooted in their DNA. Because of their need to hunt lions, they have a lot of energy, resilience, and intelligence.
They also make great family pets with the right family. Your family should be energetic, and it’s best to avoid small children. This isn’t because they’re aggressive, but they can be extremely boisterous and it’s not uncommon for them to knock a child over.
And of course, they’re also intimidating dogs. Anyone that tried to break into your house or harm your family will quickly be scared off.
Dobermans are another great dog to keep as a guard dog, especially if you want them to protect your family. This is because they’re incredibly loyal, and once they’re trained, they follow all of their owners instructions.
They’re naturally wary of other people, which is another great trait that you want in any guard dog. Especially when it’s combined with their intimidating looks.
However, there are also some downsides to Dobermans. You definitely don’t want to add them in to any house with small children. And if you should also avoid Doberman’s with small children if the Doberman has passed the puppy phase of their life.
Now you know that golden retrievers can become guard dogs with the right training and guidance. However, if you do plan on getting a dog solely to be a guard dog, there may be better choices such as german shepherds and rottweilers.
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