Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive?

Written by Guest Author

No, Golden Retrievers are not an aggressive breed. I'd go so far as to say no breed is an aggressive breed but goldens in particular are often just big teddy bears.

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the world, especially among families. They are stereo-typically known for being gentle with children and being very social and open to strangers and other animals. Overall, these dogs are great to have as pets as long as you’re willing to give them a bit of obedience training early on.

However, golden retrievers are in fact dogs and like all living creatures there is a possibility of them having outbursts of inappropriate behavior. This behavior is not common among this breed but it’s important to focus on obedience early on so you won't have to deal with an 80lb problem later!

Typical Golden Retriever Temperament

One of the most consistent traits with golden retrievers is their high energy level. This breed was MADE for hunting and that requires a lot of energy. Retrieving waterfowl and other game birds is a tough job!

Because golden retrievers have so much energy, they can get bored easily which can make them very antsy. This can cause them to bark excessively or act rambunctiously. If you’re thinking of getting a retriever you need to be prepared to spend time walking it or bringing it to dog parks. 

Another great way to expend energy and keep your dog physically and mentally health is to teach them a new trick! The brain is a muscle that needs a bit of exercising also and training or practicing new commands or tricks is a great way to keep your dog engaged and entertained. A happy dog is a healthy dog and a great companion.

A Few Tricks To Try...

The Brain Training for Dogs Program is designed to help train and engage your dog's mind. If you teach your dog half of what's inside this great program, your friends will think you had professional help training your pup!

Get Brain Training For Dogs Today

Golden Retrievers Are Awesome

Goldens are also known for their loyalty and showing a high level of care for their owners. Golden retrievers do very well with a second animal in the home and love the company and companionship when you can't be around.

Golden retrievers typically get along very well with other animals and for most of them it helps to keep them happy if they have a friend. 

Retrievers, in general, are known for being intelligent. Because of this, they are one of the top breeds used as service dogs. Intelligence also helps to make training easier.

Reasons Why Your Golden Retriever Would Act Aggressively

Like any living being, there is still a possibility for a golden retriever to act aggressively. There are many possible reasons why your dog could be acting aggressively and it’s important to recognize the reasons why they’re acting in such a way. Once you’ve identified the reasons why, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from acting out. 

Fear Aggression

One of the most obvious reasons why they would act aggressively is if they feel they need to defend themselves or are afraid. If they are in a situation where they feel threatened there is a possibility of them growling, barking, and even biting to defend themselves. 

Usually, fear is accompanied with the feeling of being threatened. Fear can be caused by being in unfamiliar situations or because of past experiences.

Fear is a common trigger for aggression in many dogs and can come in many forms. From fear of cars or bikes to fear of fingernail clippers (Yes, that's a thing!).

In almost every case, fear aggression can be avoided by solid socializing as a puppy and continued socializing as an adult. Socializing not only shows the dog that new things are generally good, it builds confidence and confident dogs are not easily scared.

Dominance Aggression

A dog can sometimes act out to assert dominance. Getting another dog can sometimes be difficult for this reason and it’s hard to predict how your golden retriever might act, unless of course you properly socialized your dog, then you have a real good idea how they will act.

Surprisingly, dealing with dominance (which is often misdiagnosed) can be handled in much the same way as dealing with fear. 

If your dog is confident, and sure that you have the situation in hand, they will allow you to lead and will be less likely to feel the need to assert dominance.


Golden retrievers often make horrible guard dogs because they do not act over protective or feel the need to protect territory or family. After all, that's our job right?

That being said, there are exceptions to every rule. For example...

If your golden retriever just had puppies she may act aggressively towards anyone she thinks may be a threat to her babies. This usually lasts for a couple of days after she has given birth and will go away after a while. Be wary of letting other animals or children around her or her puppies after she’s given birth. 

Neglect or Confinement

When any dog has been neglected they could start acting aggressively. This is common when they don’t get fed often enough or when they stay cooped up in confinement for too long. It’s important to form a bond with your dog and take care of them properly so that they can live a happy life. 

Aggression caused by neglect or confinement can often be found in rescue dogs and is often solved by building trust and confidence back up in the dog.

Pain Aggression

Let's be honest, last time you stubbed your toe you probably acted a bit aggressively. Maybe you cursed or threw what you were holding across the room?

Dogs are much the same, if your golden retriever is in pain or has some sort of illness they could act moody or aggressive. 

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