Targeted theranostic platform that integrates multi-modal imaging and therapeutic function is emerging as a promising strategy for earlier detection and precise treatment of cancer. Herein, we designed targeted gold-nanoshelled poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) magnetic hybrid nanoparticles carrying anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2) antibodies (Her2-GPH NPs) for dual-modal ultrasound (US)/magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and photothermal therapy of breast cancer. The agent was fabricated by coating gold nanoshell around PLGA nanoparticles co-loaded with perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB) and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs), followed by conjugating with anti-Her2 antibodies. Cell-targeting studies demonstrated receptor-mediated specific binding of the agent to Her2-positive human breast cancer SKBR3 cells, and its binding rate was significantly higher than that of Her2-negative cells (P < 0.001). In vitro, the agent had capabilities for contrast-enhanced US imaging as well as T2-weighted MR imaging with a relatively high relaxivity (r2 = 441.47 mM−1 s−1). Furthermore, the Her2 functionalization of the agent prominently enhanced the US/MR molecular imaging effect of targeted cells by cell-specific binding. Live/dead cell assay and targeted photothermal cytotoxicity experiments confirmed that Her2-GPH NPs could serve as effective photoabsorbers to specifically induce SKBR3 cell death upon near-infrared laser irradiation. In summary, Her2-GPH NPs were demonstrated to be novel targeted theranostic agents with great potential to facilitate early non-invasive diagnosis and adjuvant therapy of breast cancer.