Can A Golden Retriever Kill You? What you need to know!

In theory, a Golden Retriever can kill you, although it does seem highly unlikely. Your relationship with the Golden Retriever will determine whether it can harm you, but the stronger your bond, the less likely the possibility of this.

If one does kill you, it will likely be accidental, and they will likely be remorseful afterwards.

Golden Retrievers are gentle-natured, hence why they make great family pets and provide companionship. They prefer to snuggle up by the fire and relax with their owners than to bite or fight off others.

That being said, they are also very protective of those they love and will go to extremes to protect them. Any aggression from a Golden Retriever will likely come in response to a threat to them, or someone they love.

Golden Retrievers are considered to be great guard dogs due to their protective tendencies, although they also make excellent service dogs. Unfortunately, they are still dogs and retain some form of aggression, no matter how small which could lead to death in some cases.

Can A Golden Retriever Kill A Human?

A Golden Retriever is capable of attacking or killing a human, but such an occurrence is rare and is usually accidental. Golden Retrievers are large and strong, traits which add to the possibility of them killing a human, even if they don’t bear such intentions.

A Golden Retriever attack can prove to be just as fatal as other dogs often renowned for their aggression and strength.

Fortunately, there aren’t many chances of a Golden Retriever killing a human as they don’t typically have violent instincts. In most cases where a Golden Retriever has displayed violence and aggression, it is usually in reaction to something by the human.

They may have the ability to kill a human, but it isn’t likely to happen as their aggression is low and compassion high.

Interestingly, a Golden Retriever can attack a human in response to abuse, especially when it is physical. Some people don’t know how to care for a dog and are often violent prompting a response from the Golden Retriever.

Once the dog has had enough, they are sure to respond like the owners toward them.

Can Golden Retrievers Kill Their Owners?

Golden Retrievers are known to bite their owners, and surprisingly can kill them if they end up biting too hard. They have a reputation as gentle, kind and loving animals, and their killing isn’t something you’d expect from them.

However, they are still dogs and act instinctively, though it isn’t always the reason why they bite.

While they tend to bite and possibly kill their owners, their bites are often soft, and may even be considered playful. Most owners offer to ignore it, especially when it’s just a puppy, but mistakes can occur.

They may accidentally use more force than necessary, prompting the need for a solution to their frequent biting. The first step to solving the problem is understanding the possible reasons why your Golden Retriever could be biting you.

Possible Reasons For Golden Retrievers Killing People

They are well-mannered dogs and are generally considered friendly, but most of all, they rarely do things without a reason. Instinct may be a driving factor, but it isn’t all that could cause them to kill someone. Some other possible reasons include:


Teething is often uncomfortable and all your Golden Retriever will want is for the pain to stop. To that end, they will be restless and biting at whatever they can find, often with the hopes of some relief.

This also happens to be why puppies bite at their mothers’ nipples once Their teeth start coming in. They are happy to keep biting at inanimate objects but should your hand or other parts of your body become available, they would bite it as well.

It doesn’t matter whether you placed your hand in their mouths or not, they could just bite you without warning. Depending on where they bite you, they can kill you, especially when they use more force than necessary.

Luckily, teething is a temporary process, one that will pass on its own and the biting should pass along with it.

They are threatened

Fear is a powerful tool and motivator, and often prompts dogs into a response, with Golden Retrievers subject to this. Once they feel threatened, their natural response is defence and their teeth are one of their best assets in such a scenario.

This usually rules out dogs biting their owners, but only when the owners are friendly.

If the owner is aggressive and terrible towards the dog, biting could occur at any time. On the other hand, strangers are prone to this when they encounter one for the first time. The dog may view any gestures towards it as hostile, even when there is no such intent.

They Feel It Is Acceptable

If the owner has indulged the behaviour from its puppyhood, a Golden Retriever may view biting as a normal occurrence, one that is harmless. They are creatures of habit and once they see it as acceptable, it becomes a part of them.

Ironically, the behaviour won’t end with the owner alone and may extend to strangers, especially if they view it as a way to express themselves.

The bites may not be harmful but mistakes could happen and cause nasty injuries or death. The best solution is to dissuade the behaviour as soon as it starts, as opposed to letting it go on. The longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be to stop once they reach adulthood.


Biting can be instinctive especially when it is prompted by pain, but often in reaction to the individual behind it. When a dog is injured or sick and in pain, any contact with the affected area will cause it to react aggressively.

The greater the pain, the harsher the response, resulting in different bite forces. Too much pain, and there is a possibility of the dog killing a person in response.

Your best option when examining any affected area is to avoid the area directly, examining the surroundings instead.

Your best bet in such a scenario is to leave any examination to a vet to avoid nasty bites.

Alternatively, you can strap the dog with a mouthguard, eliminating the threat before you begin. Try to be gentle to prevent inflicting more pain than necessary on the defenceless dog.


Trauma tends to leave lasting scars and can affect a dog subconsciously, leading them to act out or bite.

Trauma-related killing is mostly associated with rescue dogs, especially when their previous owners were hostile. However, even dogs you’ve raised from childhood yourself can still have trauma.

From your actions toward the dog or issues with other people or dogs, it can still develop trauma. You may not have much control over how it interacts with others, but you can control your actions.

Luckily, traumatic experiences can be handled with delicate care and different treatment than what it is used to. It takes time for a dog to get over the trauma so patience will be key. 

Stopping A Golden Retriever From Killing You

Stopping a Golden Retriever from killing someone is easy only when you start early. If you don’t stop it, the habit becomes stronger and the risk of them hurting you through biting increases.

There are a few different methods you can employ to that effect, some of which include:


There isn’t much you can’t achieve with your dog using the right Training methods and procedures. As earlier stated, dogs tend to follow a set routine, and once you can get them to behave a certain way, they’ll do so for a long time.

You can train them not or attack or do so on command, whatever you prefer. Violence isn’t something that comes naturally to Golden Retrievers but they can still pick it up. If you are training them to attack, control is the keyword.

Not only should they be able to attack, but they should be able to control the outcome of their attacks.


A Golden Retriever will be better suited to dealing with people when they are socialised early. Socialisation will involve introducing them to other dogs, and people, and learning to interact with them.

While there may be limits to be established, the result will see your dog better at interacting with others. This eliminates the potential of random acts of aggression or biting which can leave someone injured, or dead.

Socialisation should start when the dog is still a puppy, as it becomes more difficult when they are adults. For rescue dogs, start as soon as you get them, to establish the tone of your relationship, and guide their transition.


Dogs that have past trauma will therapy to deal with their issues before they can move on. If a Golden Retriever has been traumatized, it may be jumpy, and scared of any form of contact.

It may not always be possible to identify dogs with trauma, especially when dealing with rescues. The best option is to put them in therapy once you acquire them and start the healing process.

Therapy alone isn’t always enough, but it goes a long way in helping the Golden Retriever reintegrate into society. Once the trauma is addressed, then other behaviours can be learned and the dog can live a normal life.


Supervising your dog constantly is another way to prevent aggression, biting or other unwanted behaviour. It isn’t feasible to provide round-the-clock supervision, but you can give it a shot. Technology has made it a little easier to keep a watch on your pets when you aren’t home.

The goal here is to stop aggressive behaviours and biting before it becomes a habit. Each time your dog displays such behaviour, caution them gently but firmly. Aggression will risk causing trauma, and the dog may come to associate with it. Once they understand how wrong the behaviour is, they aren’t likely to repeat it.

Can A Golden Retriever Bite Kill You?

One bite from a Golden Retriever isn’t enough to kill you, but repeated aggression is. As Golden Retrievers aren’t known for aggression, it lowers the chances of them killing you.

However, they are strong dogs and, under the right circumstances, can attack repeatedly. A single bite can do significant damage, but the sustained attack can and will likely end in death.

Another factor that influences whether a Golden Retriever’s bite can kill you is the bite location. Vital areas are more prone to fatality than others, and Dogs tend to target such areas instinctively.

They may not be the most aggressive breeds, but they still retain canine instincts from their ancestry. Your best option is to protect vital areas like the neck if you ever find yourself being attacked by a Golden Retriever.

Another factor that can influence how fatal a dog’s bite is, is its bite force which is about 190 PSI. This bite force is almost two times stronger than that of a human and much more deadly.

Can A Golden Retriever Bite Infection Kill You?

Infection from a Golden Retriever’s bite is a genuine possibility, and can often be fatal. It also happens to be the biggest threat when dealing with death.

All dogs run this risk, and the more time they spend outdoors, the greater the risk of infection from a bite. Once bitten by a dog, you need to contact a vet to minimize the chances of any complications.

Dogs carry bacteria in their teeth, which they introduce into the bloodstream with each bite. These bacteria are foreign agents coming into the blood and can upset a person’s system.

The degree of infection often varies based on the composition of the person and innate defenses. The more the dog bites you, the greater the risk of infection, and potentially, the more fatal.

If a dog bite is infected, you should start seeing signs of this after the first 24 hours. You shouldn’t wait till the infection is obvious before treating the affected area. Treat each dog bite like it is infected, wash the affected area and visit the vet for further advice.

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