Labradors have an easy-going, non-aggressive, social, good-natured personality with other dogs and humans.  With children, they are patient and gentle.  

They were bred to hunt, fish, and fetch so they are also sporty and strong.  With the type of personality they have, it does not sound like they would have the temperament to want to protect their owners, but is that personality sort of misleading, and is really hiding a protective nature?

Do Labradors Protect Their Owner?

The answer is yes but it all comes down to the temperament of your Labrador.  Each dog has its own temperament no matter what breed they are, their age, or their size.  Your Labrador will protect you but how far will it go to protect you?  A Labrador is one of the friendliest breeds.

They will come to your rescue but just to an extent.  They will usually bark at the thing or person that is threatening their owner but that is about as far as a Labrador will go in regards to protecting their owner.  They do not have in their nature to attack anyone so don’t expect them to fight.  They just will not do it.  They are bred to be a playful, friendly breed, not a protective, threatening breed.

As with anything, there is always the exception to the rule.  Each Labrador has its own temperament so there is a chance you might have one that has aggressive behavior.  At the first hint of fear, you may notice this aggression.  This is because fear is one of the few things that can make the Labrador aggressive. 

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Frustration can also make them lash out.  There are some of the mellow protective behaviors that a Labrador that could suggest it could be a guard dog.  Sometimes they can be a little overprotective of children.

angry labrador

1. Guard Dog

A Labrador cannot be a guard dog because it does not have the mental requirement although it may have the physical requirements.  In general, a guard dog is trained to protect people or property and is not always alert.  They are expected to aggressively react but it might not attack unless they sense a threat. 

Guard dogs are usually big in size so they appear more threatening but the Labrador is a dog of medium-size.  A Labrador does not have the right temperament to be the type of dog a guard dog is required to be.  With their friendly personality, it can prevent them from understanding the threat.  The guard dog is supposed to be aggressive and threatening but that is not a Labrador.

2. Watchdog

Even though the Labrador would not make a good guard dog, they would make a great watchdog.  They are quick learners and easy to train.  One way to train them to be a watchdog is to give them a treat every time it barks when someone comes into the house or around the property that is a stranger.

Soon your Labrador will start to bark naturally when it spots someone it does not recognize trying to come in the house or the yard.  A watchdog is just meant to keep an eye out for dangers but is not trained to attack whatever the threat is.  They are meant to stay alert and warn you about any intruders, Trained right the Labrador will do lots of loud barking.

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What Will Labrador Protect?

When a Labrador protects their family or property, they will emit a loud threatening bark but will not attack.

  • Family—they are a loyal dog and will protect the family if the need arises because they love their family
  • Other pets—a Labrador will also protect any other animals you might have.
  • Bed—for some odd reason, the Labrador feels that they have to protect the bed
  • Water and food—from the beginning of time it has always been a survival of the fittest and that means protecting their water and food.  Even if they are a friendly dog, they may still fight to protect their water and food.
  • Seat in the car—dogs love to stick their heads out the window and let the breeze blow over them so if they have a seat in the car they claim as their own, they will protect it so do not try to take it away from them.
dog protects the owner

Training Them to Protect

With the right training, your Labrador can learn how to protect their owners and property.  When you are training them you need to make sure that you reward them.  When they bark to let you know that someone is coming toward the house you give it a treat. Take them out on the leash to let them get familiarize themselves with the area you want them to protect.  Soon they will know when to bark and when not to

What Labradors Can Do

In addition to being trained to protect, a Labrador is a perfect breed to be trained as:

  • Therapy dogs for a hospital
  • Detection of drugs and other substances
  • Hearing dogs for the deaf or guide dogs for the blind
  • Detection of bombs and if a fire was arson or not
  • Work as a search and rescue dog in earthquakes, avalanches, etc
  • Detect cancer
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Even if they do not have the temperament to be a guard dog, they can do so much more, in addition, to be trained to protect.


  • The Labrador is intelligent, obedient, and loyal
  • They have a natural ability to understand the difference between a threatening or dangerous situation and a normal one.  
  • A Labrador may be trained to protect but it can never be a guard dog because it does not have the traits that a guard dog needs.
  • Labradors are bred to be loyal dogs and many times they look at their owner as of the pack leader so they generally follow you everywhere.
  • Although you can train your Labrador to bark and let you know when a stranger is around, they would most likely not attack them.
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Hi! I'm Anna and I´m a certified cynologist (KAU, ACW). Expert, blue cross volunteer, owner of Chinese crested kennel "Salvador Dali" and breedless friend called Fenya. "I can't imagine my life without dogs and I totally support the idea #AdoptDontShop".