Gold nanoparticles with uniform mean sizes (≈3 nm) loaded onto various supports have been prepared and studied for the oxidant-free dehydrogenation of benzyl alcohol to benzaldehyde and hydrogen. The use of hydrotalcite (HT), which possesses both strong acidity and strong basicity, provides the best catalytic performance. Au/HT catalysts with various mean Au particle sizes (2.1–21 nm) have been successfully prepared by a deposition–precipitation method under controlled conditions. Detailed catalytic reaction studies with these catalysts demonstrate that the Au-catalyzed dehydrogenation of benzyl alcohol is a structure-sensitive reaction. The turnover frequency (TOF) increases with decreasing Au mean particle size (from 12 to 2.1 nm). A steep rise in TOF occurs when the mean Au particle size becomes smaller than 4 nm. Our present work suggests that the acid–base properties of the support and the size of Au nanoparticles are two key factors controlling the alcohol dehydrogenation catalysis. A reaction mechanism is proposed to rationalize these results. It is assumed that the activation of the β-CH bond of alcohol, which requires the coordinatively unsaturated Au atoms, is the rate-determining step.